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Sunday, January 18, 2004  

Neo-Confederate commemorates King

Different people have different ways of doing things, including celebrating holidays. Linda Sewell of Alabama wrote this poem in commemoration of the birthday of civil rights martyr Martin Luther King, Jr.

From: LindaLee4dixie (Original Message)

Sent: 1/16/2004 9:19 AM

It is a fright, a horrid shame,
that Monday I will know dismay;
how soon the South has sold her soul,
R.E. Lee for MLK.

It pains me so to see how close,
one honoured, one of low degree;
tis shame to mention in one line,
MLK and R.E. Lee.

A whorish man, decietful (sic) lies,
on bended knee, pretends to pray;
who could not write one paragraph,
but signed them all with MLK.

Compare the honour, duty, strength,
that fills one with integrity,
a Godly man, a Southron son
is what we have with R.E. Lee.

It is a fright, a horrid shame,
so many now have gone astray;
For R.E. Lee is pushed aside
and people worship MLK.


Sewell has been the very energetic doyen of the state's neo-Confederate movement. A member of the Daughters of the Confederacy and associated with the segregationist and secessionist Council of Conservative Citizens, she heads Alabama's Heritage Preservation Association. She and her organization have been adept in obtaining recognition of Confederate holidays and situating Confederate flags and statues around the state, often in predominantly black areas. But, Sewell suffered a setback last year. Despite wearing a disguise, she was photographed accepting an award from the Ku Klux Klan by local media. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which knows her well, shares the details.

Like most latter-day Confederate groups, the Atlanta-based Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) says it cares about preserving history, not promulgating racism. "We do not foster hatred, nor do we tolerate those who do," the HPA's Web site declares. "Our organization is built on the love of our heritage and not [on] hatred or bigotry towards our fellow Americans."

But the president of HPA's Alabama branch, Linda Sewell, has been keeping company that calls the group's tolerant nature into question. On Jan. 25, a clumsily disguised Sewell joined a coalition of hard-line neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity hate groups in a protest outside the Southern Poverty Law Center.

She then gathered with about 60 of the white supremacists at a post-rally meeting in the Clanton, Ala., Shoney's Inn, where Sewell accepted a "certificate of appreciation" from Bradley Jenkins, imperial wizard of the Aryan Nights of the Ku Klux Klan.

"This is somebody who needs to be recognized," Jenkins said, introducing Sewell. Then, before she came forward, he lapsed into a racist reverie: "The only people I hold grudges against is the Jews, the niggers, the Mexicans, the mud race," Jenkins ranted, before coming back to the matter at hand. "This certificate of appreciation is presented to Linda Sewell in appreciation of all her hard work and dedication to our cause."

Other neo-Confederates in the state stood by Sewell during her debacle. Though she was reported to have submitted her resignation, the president of the national HPA said she had done nothing wrong and retained her leadership position. Among those who refused to criticize her, even after the pictures of her accepting the award were shown on television, was the town's mayor, Mike Dow. More recently, she is said to have decided to lower her profile.

Ultimately, Sewell bowed out. On April 22, Ben George, Mobile's leading neo-Confederate activist, sent an E-mail message to Mobile Mayor Mike Dow and other city officials announcing that Sewell had resigned from the Atlanta-based HPA. . . .

Whether or not the Heritage Preservation Association tolerates haters, Linda Sewell does not appear to be sticking around. Sewell's one-time ally, George, says that she and her husband - who has been a local leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens hate group - have left public life, vowing never to be heard from again.

Sewell may have curtailed her other activities somewhat, but she is still very active in the neo-Confederate forums I have monitored for years. Her poems, a mixture of maudlin sentiment, misspellings and malevolence, are staples of the sites she visits.

Note: The photo of Sewell in camouflage is from the SPLC's report on the controversy.

3:10 PM