White Supremacists Are Planning A "Summit" In Tennessee's Smoky Mountains
Disturbing reports suggest that a group of white supremacists will gather in the Great Smoky Mountains for a summit on Sept. 30. Members and supporters of the online white supremacist forum Stormfront will gather for its annual summit at an undisclosed location outside Knoxville, Tennessee, during the last weekend in September, according to a public forum posting from the group's founder.
Stormfront founder and known white supremacist, Stephen Donald "Don" Black, promised "great fellowship in a still beautiful part of nearly all-White east Tennessee outside Knoxville" in a post, published to the forum last month, announcing that registration for the Sept. 29-30 event had opened. Black billed the event as the "Seventh Annual Great Smoky Mountain Summit."
According to Black, the event will include an evening reception and "informal events" such as a "David Duke Nature Walk." David Duke, an avid Trump supporter and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and Sam Dickson, a man who identifies as a "racial communitarian activist," are among the summit's speakers.
"This is not a secret meeting, but it is private," Black noted in his announcement, reported The Daily Times, a newspaper in eastern Tennessee. "That means, if you are not a regular here, we'll need to talk to you." The group has kept additional details about the event private.
Ahead of its summit, Stormfront members reportedly plan to join Confederate 28 — the white supremacist group, with ties to the British-based skinhead group Blood and Honour, recently reformed after five years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center — in holding a rally protesting the potential removal of a Confederate monument at Fort Sanders in Knoxville, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. On its website, Stormfront promotes itself as "the voice of the new, embattled White minority" and reportedly subscribes to the motto, "White Pride World Wide." The group repeatedly references the "pro-White movement" and describes "the problem with humanity" being an issue of "blood."
Stormfront was reportedly launched in March 1995 by Black, a known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon. Last year the group claimed to have more than 300,000 registered members, although SPLC claims the number of "active members" is actually far fewer.
If one thing is for certain, it's that this gathering will meet opposition. Indivisible East Tennessee's Sarah Thompson-Herron said the following in a statement released Sunday:
We're in discussions with other progressive organizations about responding to the white supremacists who are coming to our district. Our focus continues to be on holding our members of congress accountable and we will most certainly be calling on Rep. Duncan and Sens. Corker and Alexander to denounce these hate groups.