The Struggle for the Sons of Confederate
Veterans: A Return to White Supremacy
in the Early Twenty-First Century?
During the 108th annual reunion of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (scv), held in July 2004 in Dalton, Georgia, Walter C. ("Walt") Hilderman III was ejected from the event by scv lawyers Burl McCoy, then serving as the group's Judge Advocate General, and Sam Currin, a prominent former U.S. attorney and superior court judge from North Carolina who had chaired that state's Republican Party from 1996 to 1999.1 Hilderman, a South Carolinian with a fondness for reenacting Civil War battles and tidying up Confederate cemeteries, had publicly asked the scv to remove white supremacists and secessionists from its ranks. After forcibly removing Hilderman from the convention, the scvers present voted nearly unanimously for a resolution to consider revoking Hilderman's scv membership. In November 2004, that resolution passed the scv's General Executive Council (gec), the scv's leadership committee comprising officials appointed by the elected Commander, all living past Commanders, plus two elected officials from each of the three major scv divisions: the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee, and the Army of the Trans-Mississippi—divisions named after the components of the Confederate military.
Hilderman's ejection from the Dalton reunion symbolized the end of a fifteen-year attempt by moderates and Civil War history buffs to modernize the scv by renouncing segregation and race hatred. Having passed its first anti–Ku Klux Klan resolution in 1989, the scv by 2004 considered its experiment with racial tolerance over. This change of heart came as the result of a concerted effort by extremists, predominantly from the white supremacist neo-Confederate organizations the Council of Conservative Citizens (ccc) and the League of the South (ls), to infiltrate the scv and move it toward their own positions. This infiltration strategy was clever. It targeted a conservative group of men with deep nostalgia for the antebellum South and