Michael Hill (activist)
Michael Hill (center) at the Unite the Right rally in 2017
J. Michael Hill
1951 (age 69–70)
|Alma mater||University of Alabama|
|Occupation||Neo-Confederate, White supremacist|
|Organization||League of the South|
Michael Hill (born 1951) is an American political activist from Alabama. He is a co-founder and the president of the "Southern secession" movement the League of the South, an organization whose stated goal is to create an independent country made up of the former slave states of the American South. A Neo-Confederate, Hill is known for his white supremacist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, pro-slavery views.
Early life and education
Hill taught British history at Stillman College, a historically black college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for 18 years until 1998. Building on the views of his mentors at the University of Alabama, he published two books on the Celts, romanticizing the "Celtic" soldier.
In 1994, Hill co-founded the League of the South, a pro-Southern secession organization, with Rev. J. Steven Wilkins of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana and 39 other Neo-Confederates. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the League of the South to be a hate group. In 1995, Hill established a chapter of the League of the South on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Alabama. With Thomas Fleming, Hill co-authored an article entitled "New Dixie Manifesto" in The Washington Post in June 1995.
The League of the South venerates what it calls the South's "Celtic" heritage, advocating a version of racist pseudohistory in which (white) southerners are alleged to descend from Scottish and Irish immigrants and the "liberal" north is alleged to descend primarily from English immigrants. Michael Hill's speeches make frequent reference to the movie Braveheart, and he often states that a war between the "Celtic" south and the English north is "inevitable". In an Abbeville, South Carolina speech he asked the crowd "What would it take to get you to fight? … What would it take to turn you into a William Wallace?" in reference to the central figure from the movie Braveheart. His supporters also support and glamorize groups like the IRA and the Scottish National Party. The notion that the South is "Celtic" and the North is "English" has been dismissed by scholars on numerous grounds.:112 It both provides a justification for the civil war that is based on a pseudoscientific racial determinism and which also does not include the southern states explicitly seceding for the sake of preserving slavery. Furthermore it has been pointed out:112 that proponents of the theory define numerous parts of southern and central England as "Celtic", in order to make the numbers work, and it ignores the fact that even amongst the working classes immigrants from Scotland and Ireland were massively outnumbered in the south by English indentured servants by a collective margin of roughly 5:1 (with groups like the Scots-Irish not being the largest immigrant group at this time as Hill and his group claim, but rather they are the largest non-English group) and that in the 1980 census when people were asked what their ancestry or ethnicity was, a large majority of southerners self-identified as being of English ancestry.
Hill tried to revive the Southern Party in 2003. A decade later, in 2013, Hill promoted "opposition to immigration and same-sex marriage." In June 2015, he spoke out in defense of slavery and white supremacy, stating that his views were backed up by science.
- Simpson, Brooks D. (July 7, 2015). "The League of the South Tells Rainbow Confederates to Shape Up or Ship Out". Crossroads. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
- "Michael Hill". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
- Atkins, Steven A. (2011). Encyclopedia of Right-Wing Extremism In Modern American History. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 166. ISBN 9781598843514. OCLC 763156200.
- Shackel, Paul A. (2003). Memory in Black and White: Race, Commemoration, and the Post-bellum Landscape. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman Altamira. p. 185. ISBN 0759102627. OCLC 470393322.
- Pittock, Murray (1999). Celtic Identity and the British Image. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719058264.
- "League of the South". Southern Poverty Laws Center. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
- Hague, Euan; Beirich, Heidi; H. Sebesta, Edward, eds. (2010). Neo-confederacy : a critical introduction. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292721623.
- A People and a nation: a history of the United States, Volume 1 by Mary Beth Norton, 1986. Pg. 74
- "Table 3a: Persons who reported from a single ancestry group for regions, divisions, and states: 1980" (PDF). US Census. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2020.