Nationalist group plans rally next month in Elizabethton

Published 4:25 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

Protests on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus involving a “Silent Sam” and action going on locally has a southern nationalist group looking to demonstrate next month in Elizabethton to show their displeasure.

The Tennessee League of the South announced Thursday evening their intention to hold a rally at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park on Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning at 9 a.m. as a way to “draw attention to the continued assault upon our people and heritage,” according to League State Chairman Tom Pierce. The rally was intended to take place in Johnson City, according to the League.

“We’re hoping people come out and join in our efforts to organize as many southerners of decent character into a formidable political bloc,” Pierce told the Elizabethton Star Friday morning. “Our Tri-Cities chapter of the League is actively engaged in these efforts.”

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One of the key reasons for the event, according to Pierce, is to raise attention to the recent destruction of a Confederate statue on the UNC campus.

Monday evening, protesters on campus topple the statue of “Silent Sam,” which was created in the 1910s depicting a soldier from the Civil War. Pierce described the toppling of the statue as “ISIS-like” tactics.

Another reason for the rally is in regards to Johnson City “changing the culture in the area,” according to Pierce and that led to the decision of organizing within Sycamore Shoals’ historic area.

“Johnson City is rapidly becoming a diverse and anti-traditional town … that was one reason we picked the area,” Pierce said. “Hosting this rally now near Fort Watauga holds deep symbolic meaning as the Watauga Association was the first western government to establish this side of the Appalachians. This is literally our land handed down to us from our grandfathers all the way back to the Watauga Association. We cannot let it slip into moral degeneracy and turn into a multicultural, third-world region. The time to act is now while we still hold the power demographically.”

Officials with Sycamore Shoals State Park told the Elizabethton Star Friday afternoon that they were unaware of the rally until learning about it via news outlets Friday morning.

Front office staff stated that park leadership is coordinating with Nashville and the Elizabethton City Manager to find out an answer to the pending rally.

Tennessee State Parks issued the following statement in regards to the upcoming event.

“Tennessee State Parks does not endorse hateful ideology in any form. Tennessee State Parks has a constitutional obligation to act in accordance with the law and to make public forums available to all individuals or groups, regardless of their beliefs, as long as the individuals and groups follow the law and park policies while visiting,” the statement read.

According to the Tennessee Chapter website, “the League of the South is a Southern nationalist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, whose ultimate goal is ‘a free and independent Southern republic.’ The League defines the Southern United States as the states that make up the Confederate States of America. While political independence ranks highly among our goals, we are also a religious and social movement, advocating a return to a more traditional, conservative Christian-oriented Southern culture.”

There is an anti-protest group already circulating on social media. For those wanting to learn more about that side of the issue, visit the Anti-Hate Counter-Protest: Sycamore Shoals State Park Facebook event page. The event is being spearheaded by the “Overmountain Men” group. As of Friday afternoon, over 90 people have stated they will attend the anti-protest group.