League of the South Video Stunt Sets Off Alarms at Newly Bulletproof Emmett Till Monument

League of the South Video Stunt Sets Off Alarms at Newly Bulletproof Emmett Till Monument November 6, 2019

Uh oh. This past Saturday, members of the League of the South pulled up at the Emmett Till monument and started their cameras rolling. Five white men dressed in khaki pants and dark tops, the unofficial League the South uniform, held white supremacist flags and stood by the memorial while two white women filmed them making a racist screed.

Then an alarm sounded, and they scattered, double time. But their antics didn’t go unobserved—this time. See, there is now video surveillance, and the Jackson Free Press got wind of the incident and wrote about it.

Patrick Weems, the executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, told the Jackson Free Press that they installed the cameras around the monument to help protect it. The monument has been replaced multiple times after being vandalized and shot up. The Center is monitoring the new memorial, which is bulletproof. The Center shared the footage with the Jackson Free Press Saturday evening.

You remember this memorial. It’s in Mississippi, and white supremacist groups have pulled photo-op stunts by it before. But this time there’s surveillance. And video.

That second video above is especially worth watching—you can hear the security alarm go off. For all their cahones standing before the monument to make their little video, they sure get out of there quickly when they realize they’ve been noticed.

Just what was it they were saying in their rehearsed little speech? I’ll quote from the Jackson Free Press, on this, as they do a good job contextualizing the League of the South’s screed:

“What we want to know is, where are all the white people over the last 50 years that have been murdered, assaulted and raped by blacks going to be memorialized like this? We are League of the South,” Hill says, playing on a long history of false, racist claims that African Americans are inherently more violent than white people—a lie that Donald Trump himself repeated when he retweeted a white supremacist’s fake statistics in 2015.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows, though, that the overwhelming majority of crimes against white people are committed by other white people.

Still, racists used lies of deeply held beliefs, later supposedly borne out by “scientific racism” and false claims about a genetic predisposition to violence to justify thousands of lynchings of black people in the years after the Civil War. Black men were often lynched after being falsely accused of raping white women.

Till’s killers justified his 1955 by murder by pointing to a claim Carolyn Bryant, a white woman, made; she claimed the 14-year-old boy whistled at her in a grocery store. Three white men then brutally beat him before dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. A white jury acquitted the men who killed him.

Seven decades later, in 2017, Bryant admitted that she had made the whole thing up; the boy never whistled at her, she said.

Till’s memorial has had to be replaced multiple times after getting shot at and riddled with bullets. The current memorial, installed a few weeks ago, is bulletproof and includes a security system.

As the Jackson Free Press notes, the false and malicious claim that black people are dangerous and violent and need to be carefully kept under control by white people is so old that it was used as a justification to prop up slavery—and Jim Crow. In other words, this is no harmless lie. Indeed, it’s this very lie that killed Emmett Till. And that makes the League of the South’s choice of location especially insidious and dark. The very lie they tell there resulted in the brutal death of a 14-year-old child.

In case you’re curious to know more about the League of the South—and it’s quite possible that you aren’t—here’s how the organization describes their concerns and objectives on the landing page of their website:

Our culture is being sacked by an unholy crusade of leftist agitators and foreign religions and our very physical survival depends on us organizing and effectively defending ourselves from this enemy who seeks to eliminate us from the planet earth. If we fail to do this then not only will there be no more Southern flags and monuments, but soon there will be no more Southern people. We will all have been erased and our birthrights and those we intend to hand down to our children will have been given to foreigners and strangers who have no love for our way of life.

We are being purposefully replaced by people who hate the Bible, they hate our ancestors, they hate our families, and they hate us with such a passion they would stop at nothing to see our culture and bloodline eradicated forever. This is why it is absolutely imperative that we rally what is left of our people, our resources, and every last vestige of Western Civilization in Dixie; to stand together and secure a future in which OUR culture can survive, dominate and thrive.

If you read that and thought “huh, it sounds like they’re calling for some kind of race war,” congratulations, you can read!

On a more positive note, “Weems told the Jackson Free Press that the Emmett Till Center has raised more than $9,000 at emmett-till.org since the video went viral on Saturday.” So there’s that! With the new monitoring, white supremacists can’t use the Emmett Till monument as a prop without helping the Emmett Till Center’s fundraising efforts in the process! Cool! That’s progress, right?

You know what would be nicer, though? Not having white supremacists to deal with to begin with. I don’t know what it will take to actually change things, but this is just absurd.

Postscript: I almost made it, but you knew I couldn’t write a post about the League of the South without mentioning Douglas Wilson, didn’t you? Well you would be right! I couldn’t! So here we go!

Wilson, a reformed theologian still widely accepted and lionized in evangelical circles, co-authored a book full of racist lies with the League of the South, frequently had League of the South speakers to events he organized, and later, when pressed, refused to disavow or condemn the work being done by the League of the South. That mainstream conservative evangelicals continually give space to a man who so blatantly defends and pals around with white supremacists is a major pet peeve of mine.

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