IOTC: Power Struggle in the League of the South? Or Cynical Attempt to Exploit Martin Luther King, Jr.?

The League of the South as a group is not celebrating Martin Luther King Day. On the League of the South Facebook page, League president Michael Hill is celebrating Confederate heroes today:

In Memoriam . . .
As we Southern Nationalist mark the birthdays of two of our great military heroes–Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson–let us not be content to merely remember. Rather, let us emulate them and continue the honorable cause that motivated these two noble Southern men–the survival, well being, and independence of the Southern people.
Note: If you wish to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. please go elsewhere. He is not one of us. And besides, who can honor a communist, womanizer, and plagiarist?–Michael Hill

In a mind-bending inconsistency, Hill tells readers who honor King, Jr. “to go elsewhere.” Yet, on the board of his organization, the League of the South, is one who has at least pretended to honor King — Michael Peroutka. In the video below, Peroutka speaks in glowing terms of King’s call for the equality.
In the video, Peroutka errs dramatically by saying King did not call for civil rights but, nonetheless, he gives tribute to King, Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech. According to League president Hill, Peroutka should go elsewhere.  Is this inconsistency an indication of a power struggle in the League? Or is Peroutka’s video, and Hill’s silence about it, just a cynical effort to appeal to multiple audiences?
I think the answer to the second question is yes. My opinion is that the Institute on the Constitution (which is simply Peroutka’s law firm) is masquerading as a pro-American, and pro-Constitution organization. Recently, Peroutka told Steve Deace that civil rights laws are not laws and should not have been passed. On the IOTC website is an article justifying racial discrimination, and this one calling Confederate troops, “the American forces” who fought for freedom and “an American way of life.” Peroutka supports the League’s secessionist aims, and pledged the resources of the IOTC and his family to the League’s efforts.
I don’t know what Peroutka’s motives are for invoking King, but there is nothing consistent or particularly noble about it. If Peroutka really wants to give tribute to King and his work, then he should publicly denounce the League and as Michael Hill advised – “go elsewhere.”

Review: David Barton’s Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, Part One

I just finished reading David Barton’s Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White. In this book, Barton attempts to demonstrate that the Republican party has historically been the party of civil rights while the Democrats have worked to prevent full equality for African Americans. As with other claims made by Barton, this claim has some truth to it. Democrats, especially southern Democrats worked against Reconstruction era reforms while certain Republicans advocated for full civil rights based on the Declaration of Independence. However, my impression is that Barton skews the history in several ways to give less than a complete and accurate picture of the period of time he covers (from pre-Civil War to the 1960s).

Thus far, I can identify three major problems with Barton’s narrative. One, he fails to make clear the divisions within the Republican party over Reconstruction and civil rights. Throughout the Reconstruction era, moderate and radical Republicans debated how far to go in granting civil rights to freed blacks. However, Barton’s narrative is clearly Democrat versus Republican. Barton mentions Plessy v. Ferguson as an adverse decision for blacks but fails to mention that most of the Justices who decided that case were either Republican or appointed by Republican presidents.

Two, Barton fails to consider the role of the Christian church in the southern resistance to civil rights. The Confederate constitution invoked God and many post Civil War opponents of equality embedded their arguments in the Bible. Barton makes the southern resistance to civil rights for blacks into a political issue without dealing with the religious justifications for segregation.

Three, Barton fails to even mention the 1964 presidential campaign and Barry Goldwater’s vote against the Civil Rights Act as turning points in black voting behavior. Prior to the Goldwater campaign, Republican presidents had received significant support from African Americans. For instance, Eisenhower received 39% of the black vote in 1956 and Nixon got 32% in 1960. In 1964, when Goldwater ran for president, only 6% of the black vote went Republican. Although Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman began the change of trend in voting, Goldwater’s lack of support for the Civil Rights Act and the reaction of black leaders — including Martin Luther King — were crucial factors in solidifying black support for the democrats.

This clip summarizes the history nicely:

Note at 4:03 into this clip, Martin Luther King, Jr. urged everyone to vote against Goldwater. Apparently many black leaders did not believe Goldwater was personally racist but the policies adopted by Goldwater and other Republicans at the time were of great importance. Barton completely omits these events.

For a good description of Reconstruction and beyond, I can’t recommend Barton’s book. I am currently reading Concerning a New Republic: The Republican Part and Southern Question, 1869-1900 by Charles Calhoun which is thus far a much better treatment of the facts than Setting the Record Straight. In upcoming posts, I hope to add some depth to these initial observations.