Learning to notice white supremacist symbolism

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has a comprehensive guide to symbols used by hate groups, including the KKK and white supremacist groups.

The first time I saw some of these symbols and logos around my own neighborhood, I was very surprised. But the more I looked around, the more I saw. I decided to begin documenting the evidence of far-right “signaling” that I see around my own neighborhood. White supremacy is not some abstract, far-away phenomenon, but is alive and happening right here, right now.

 

The 3rd National

Sometimes folks with unpopular beliefs want to fly just a little bit under the radar. The “3rd National”, aka the “Blood Stained Banner”, is a popular choice for the discerning neo-Confederate who is worried about what the neighbors will think if s/he flies the regular ol’ Confederate flag. Here is an example of the 3rd National flag, flying on a corner lot located about 3 blocks from my house:

3rd National Flag

Since the “3rd National” was the last official flag of the Confederacy, you might fly it if you believe that the South never should have surrendered. In fact, this is the flag that flew in front of the “last capital of the Confederacy” in Danville, VA until recently. Every Saturday, “flaggers” still show up in Danville to insist that this particular flag be returned to fly in front of the Capitol building.

Protesters asking that the 3rd national flag of the Confederacy fly in Danville once again

Patriots and Militias

On my run one day, I spotted this flag hanging from a window in some student housing one block from Elon’s campus. It has three capital letter I inside a Betsy-Ross style flag.

III%, 3%, Three Percent flag
3% flag

The “three-percenters” are a Patriot-style militia movement (wikipedia). The name refers to the group’s claim that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against the British in the American Revolution. Examples of militias include:

  • The Oath Keepers (nationwide),
  • The Alamance Rangers, and
  • The NC Tactical Response Force Militia, which has provided security for multiple alt-right/neo-Confederate events such as when ACTBAC protested the removal of the Confederate flag from schools in Orange County.

The ADL has some additional history about the ties between the Oath Keepers and the 3% movement, and the site explains that 3%-ers “also represent the three percent of the population of American gun owners ‘who will not disarm’.” The SPLC has more on the Oath Keepers, calling it “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.”

Speaking of militias, less than 1 mile from my house hangs this interesting flag with red and blue stripes and a white field with 8-pointed stars. (Yes, I spotted this one while running too – I guess runners see things we didn’t really want to see…)

guilford courthouse militia flag
Guilford Courthouse militia flag

This is the Guilford Courthouse flag, “a North Carolina militia banner” that was flown at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse during the Revolutionary War. How is that anything harmful? Well, sometimes its name is shortened to the “North Carolina Militia Flag”, as explained in this National Parks Service Word doc, and sometimes militia groups decide to fly this flag at their events.

For example, just last weekend (June 10, 2017), we spotted this distinctive flag in Raleigh at an anti-Islam rally hosted by the anti-Muslim group “Act for America”.

Guilford Courthouse Flag, aka NC Militia Flag, at the Act For America rally. Raleigh, NC June 10 2017

These anti-Muslim rallies were held in more than 20 cities nationwide, with Oath Keepers and militias providing “security” for the events.

The Guilford Courthouse flag is also used as the Facebook profile photo for the “Guilford News Network”, which is a Facebook-based right-wing news propagation network.

GNN has threatened to doxx and harass protestors following the May 20, 2017 Graham Confederate Memorial Day.

Guilford News Network threatens to doxx protestors after the May 20 Confederate Memorial Day event

GNN is also promoting the ‘Unite the Right’ free speech rally to be held on August 12 in Charlottesville. This rally has a speakers list full of notorious neo-Nazis, white supremacists, including Matthew Heimbach (Traditionalist Workers Party), Michael Hill (League of the South), and so on.

The contemporary use of this particular flag as a right-wing militia/hate symbol could be confusing to Greensboro-area history buffs who also fly it as a legitimate historical marker of a Revolutionary War event. The question we are struggling with is: Why was it also flown by militia members at the Anti-Muslim “Act for America” event and why is it flown by a group with ties to the TWP and League of the South? Perhaps, like so many other historical symbols (the swastika comes to mind here, also Pepe the frog), this one is in the early stages of being co-opted for a new purpose.

If history buffs don’t want to see this flag co-opted by right-wing militia groups, they need to be vocal about it, and call out its inappropriate use.

Identity Evropa

While we were protesting the Raleigh anti-Islam event, we noticed that a newer white supremacist group, Identity Evropa, had posted dozens of flyers around the city. They also took credit for posting these flyers on their Twitter feed.

About a month earlier, similar flyers were spotted on UNC-Chapel Hill Campus:

Identity Evropa flyer found at UNC Chapel Hill

If Chapel Hill and Raleigh seem too far away to bother you, consider that on May 20, 2017, at a Confederate Flag Rally in Graham (right here in Alamance County!) two US Marines acting on behalf of Identity Evropa were arrested after trespassing on a building to drop a banner with a quote from George Orwell and the abbreviation “YWNRU” (“You Will Not Replace Us”), the slogan of Identity Evropa.

Identity Evropa banner dropped in Graham, NC

The YWNRU slogan was used on banners and in chants at the Charlottesville, VA torch lighting last month. Extra credit if you can spot the “3rd National” in the photo below.

Identity Evropa with their “You will not replace us” banner in Charlottesville, VA

The KKK

Maybe these newfangled groups like Identity Evropa are too artsy for some folks. For those who want to keep their hatred old-school, the KKK has a long history in Alamance County. Just today I was reading Elaine Frantz Parsons’ book Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction and didn’t even make it past the first paragraph of the “here’s how the KKK got started” section before Alamance County was mentioned (and not in a good way):

Alamance County mentioned almost immediately in Parsons’ book

Surely the KKK can’t still be relevant in this day and age? In Alamance County? Well, at the same Graham, NC rally – the Alamance County seat, about 10 miles from my house – in the same spot where the Identity Evropa banner was unfurled, and on the same day, we spotted these lovely homemade t-shirts sporting the KKK triangle logo:

Woman wearing homemade t-shirt with KKK triangles logo
Man wearing homemade KKK shirt with triangle logo

The signs and symbols are everywhere if you know what you’re looking for.