I traveled to Jacksonville this weekend to give a speech on how Southerners became a distinct and separate people at the 2015 Florida League of the South State Conference. As you can see, the topic that I was assigned has stimulated my thinking on the subject and required me to order my thoughts in one place.
In the course of writing that speech, I became more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses. In the next few months, I plan to explore some topics that I haven’t dwelt on as much here in the past, but which I think have been crucial to forging a separate and distinct Southern identity. We’re going to start with the Southern Agrarians and branch off from there into Southern literature, music, and religion.
Steven Ingram gave an excellent speech on the failure of the US Constitution, which he compared to the Trojan Horse, and its inability to constrain the growth of the federal government. The point of the speech was that reforming the present system is impossible and undesirable. He used a timeline of Supreme Court decisions and a man escaping a straight jacket as a visual aid to make the case for secession.
Dr. Michael Hill was unable to attend the Florida state conference, but we were read the text of his speech. Hill’s prepared remarks were about the history of the League of the South and how it has evolved into a more cohesive organization over time. I saw many familiar faces at the Florida conference and we all share more or less the same nationalist worldview. At the end of the meeting, there was a video with highlights of some of the activism we have done in Florida over the past two years.
Matthew Heimbach and Matt Parrott of the Traditionalist Youth Network were in attendance in Jacksonville. In addition to Florida, their recent tour of the South has included stops in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Georgia, where they have met up with comrades who are a part of our network. That’s the core of what we are doing: taking people who share our views off the internet, integrating them into a larger network, organizing state and local chapters, and creating horizontal relationships between activists that go beyond just a tenuous commitment to a shared ideology.
As always, most of the fun at these conferences takes place in the conversations around the official event. Several of us stayed an extra night in Jacksonville. We went to Jacksonville Beach and swam in the Atlantic Ocean. Two of our members toured Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park while they were in North Florida. Renee and I stopped Valdosta, GA on the way home to eat at the Smok’n Pig BBQ.
Although we saw plenty of Confederate Battle Flags in North Florida and South Georgia, we noticed that a Dixie Outfitters outlet near our hotel was going out of business. In Callahan, FL, we drove past a group of Judeo-Christians holding a street demonstration in support of Israel. The interracial couples we saw at a Jacksonville Beach were another reminder of being trapped between an Enduring South and the No South.
If the South is to survive the 21st century as a separate and distinct culture, it will require many more people deciding to get active and take a stand like the fine men and women of the Florida League of the South.