The Southern Legal Resource Center eU P D A T E
SLRC LAUNCHES FALL FUNDRAISING DRIVE IN FACE OF HARD TIMES, POWERFUL ENEMIES
BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC — The Southern Legal Resource Center, the only legal organization devoted entirely to advocating in Southern heritage issues, began its fall fundraising campaign Wednesday under the twin clouds of national financial uncertainty and new activity from well-heeled anti-Southern elements.
The Center, a charitable corporation founded in 1995 to provide assistance to Southerners whose civil rights have been violated as a result of trying to honor their heritage, has barely managed to keep itself operational from year to year. It is still taking on heritage violators through the court system – a new case will be filed in Memphis, TN, next week – but SLRC board members now say how long it can stay in the fight is anybody’s guess.
Although other organizations, particularly the Sons of Confederate Veterans, have underwritten the costs of several of the SLRC’s court cases, the Center depends for its day-to-day operation on the support of individual contributors. Like many nonprofits, the SLRC tends to experience lean times in January and February, when donors are retrenching after Christmas, and in late summer, when discretionary income goes towards vacations and back-to-school. “Normally we start to see a rebound in September,” said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie, “but this year it’s been really slow. Times are hard and the financial news is scary. We just hope Southerners can manage to give us some priority while they’re rearranging their budgets. We can’t try the cases if we can’t pay the rent.”
“The SLRC has done so much with so little for so long that now people evidently think it can do everything with nothing,” said K. G. Watson of Ladson, S.C., Chairman of the SLRC’s Budget and Finance Committee. “If the SLRC can’t sustain itself, the court cases will be a moot point.”
Meanwhile, organizations and individuals traditionally hostile to Southern heritage have been ramping up their rhetoric. A notable example is a new book, Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, slated for release by the University of Texas Press this December. The book’s co-editors are Heidi Beirich, “Director of Research” for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Dixie-phobic Intelligence Report; Ed “Crawfish” Sebesta, whose “Temple of Democracy” website routinely lambastes “neo-Confederates” and Euan Hague, a geography professor at DePaul University who has previously collaborated with Sebesta in publishing “scholarly” material.
“Having those three publish a book with that focus is like asking Osama Bin Laden to do a scholarly investigation into 9/11, or like having a Texas A&M Aggie do an analysis of University of Texas football,” said SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons, who is a University of Texas alumnus. “So this is what Alma Mater’s press is publishing these days.”
“Whatever forces are at work out there – financial, political or whatever – we have no choice but to continue to suit up and show up as long as we can,” McCredie said. After all, we’re the only ones who do what we do, and if we don’t do it, who will?”
A roundup of the SLRC’s current cases, showing where we stand and what’s ahead.
HARDWICK v. LATTA SCHOOL DISTRICT – On September 19, the SLRC met by phone with opposing counsel and reached agreement on a new discovery order. A scheduling order for the hearing of the case is being filed as this issue goes to press. The discovery phase of the case, now finally freed from its judicial logjam, will open later this month. Barring summary judgment in favor of either side, the case will probably finally come to trial next September.
McCALLUM et al. v. CASH (BURLESON SCHOOL DISTRICT) — Following summary judgment in favor of the defendants by the lower Texas court, the SLRC filed an appeal brief in September before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Defendant’s response is due in late October, the SLRC will then file a reply brief. If the Court grants oral arguments, the case will likely be heard in the Spring
GEORGIA DIVISION, SCV, et al. v. CITY OF RINGGOLD – The SLRC’s Request for Admissions from the Defendants has been refiled and the discovery phase of the case is going forward.
McCLAREN v. COMPASS INTERVENTION CENTER – After nearly a year of intense preparation, the SLRC is now ready to file suit in the case of SCV member Paul McClaren, a counselor and staff psychologist, who was fired after ten years’ service when he refused to comply with demands from the firm’s new CEO that McClaren remove his vehicle from the Company parking lot because it displayed a Mississippi state-issued SCV license tag and a decorative Battle Flag front plate. The action will take the form of a retaliatory dismissal claim against the employer and will be heard in a Tennessee state court.
DEAFENING SILENCE GREETS SLRC’S QUESTIONS TO APOLOGY’S SPONSORS
The SLRC has not received a single response to a letter it sent in August to some sponsors of a Congressional apology for slavery, asking if they would consider reparations for the descendants of Southern civilians who lost lives and property during the War Between the States.
Congress passed the slavery apology on July 29. It was co-sponsored by 120 members of the House of Representatives, including 27 Southerners. On learning of the bill’s passage, the SLRC sent letters to each of the Southern co-sponsors, asking if they would be willing to introduce or co-sponsor a similar apology for “war crimes and depredations that were endorsed by the United States government and carried out as a matter of policy by United States troops” against Confederate civilians.
In addition, the co-sponsors were asked if they would support “a system of reparations to the descendants of Southerners who suffered loss of life and/or the wanton destruction of their homes, crops and means of livelihood, as well as wholesale assault, rape and degradation.”
The letters were sent on letterhead to each co-sponsor’s home office. One letter, to U. S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-NC, was hand delivered.
“We didn’t bother to send letters to the Yankee co-sponsors,” said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie, “but we thought we might get some interesting responses from the Southerners. I guess we did, at that.”
House members receiving letters from the SLRC were:
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
Rep. Frederick Boucher (D-VA)
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Rep. George Butterfield (D-NC)
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-GA)
Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)
Rep. Barton Gordon (D-TN)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Rep.Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Henry Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL)
Rep. Bradley Miller (D-NC)
Rep. James Moran (D-VA)
Rep. David Price (D-NC)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC)
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL)
The Southern Legal Resource Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, and contributions to it are fully tax deductible. Credit card and PayPal donations may be made at our website by clicking on “How You Can Help.” Checks payable to the Southern Legal Resource Center should be mailed to P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711. “Thumbs Up for Dixie” stickers are available for SLRC and local heritage fundraising projects. Contact us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org or (866) 564-8747 (toll free) or (828)669-5189.