Ch. 3: The Koch Family - An Unbroken Lineage of White Supremacy
Part 4: The League of the South and the White Citizens Councils
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the League of the South is a militant white nationalist hate group. LOS identifies as a “Southern Nationalist organization that seeks the survival, well being, and independence of the Southern people.” LOS advocates for secession and the establishment of a white southern state.
The League of the South has very close ties to the White Citizens Council (now known as the Council of Conservative Citizens). At least four founding members of the LOS played active roles in the WCC/CCC, including David Cooksey, Roger Busbice, Michael Grissom, and Phil Beverly.
One LOS founding board member was Tennessee lawyer, Jack Kershaw, who was active in the Tennessee White Citizens Council and other segregationist groups. Kershaw was the defense attorney of James Earl Ray, the man convicted of murdering Martin Luther King Jr. As recently as 2009 (and presumably until his death in 2010), Kershaw was listed among “Affiliated Scholars and Artists” at the League of the South Institute.
Tax deductible donations can go to the League of the South through their non-profit League of the South Institute, which is actually the “the educational branch” of the Mary Noel Kershaw Foundation, named after Jack Kershaw’s wife. 2015 Kershaw foundation tax forms show $5,725 to the League of the South for “self defense classes,” one with firearms.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has detailed the activities of the League of the South extensively (2000, 2003). According to the SPLC, the LOS “worked with other racist groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens to promote rallies supporting the Confederate battle flag.”
LOS has taken the lead in pro-confederate flag activism in the south, often bringing the League into direct conflict with Black Lives Matters/anti-confederate flag demonstrators, like the confrontation at the University of Mississippi.
In 2014, the SPLC revealed that the LOS was “training a uniformed, paramilitary unit tasked with advancing a second southern secession by any means necessary.”
LOS President Michael Hill was a speaker at the deadly Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally, where a white nationalist murdered Heather Heyer. Hill has since re-affirmed their participation without apology, affirming that “[o]pen cooperation with other groups on the hard right can be to our benefit, and we shall continue to pursue those opportunities to cooperate with them."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented the increasingly violent rhetoric of the League of the South. Since the election of Donald Trump, the LOS called for “all able-bodied, traditionalist Southern men to join our organization’s Southern Defense Force for the purpose of helping our State and local magistrates across Dixie combat this growing leftist menace to our historic Christian civilization.” The LOS considers itself to be currently engaged in a “race war.”
In August of 2017, A LOS member was arrested for misdemeanor violence at a 2017 Auburn University appearance of white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Members of the Florida League of the South were among those arrested in Charlottesville, several of whom were captured on film assaulting a woman. Convicted Aryan terrorist Michael Tubbs, from the Florida chapter of the League of the South, was also seen with the LOS in Charlottesville.
White supremacists and Neo-Nazis chanted the famous Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil” throughout the two-day “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
In Part 5 of this chapter, we examine the events leading up to the founding of the League of the South, and the role that the Center for Libertarian Studies played.