The man who attacked historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston may have been initiated into the white supremacist movement by an organization that has for years been associated with Southern politicians, mostly Republican, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Dylann Roof, 21, allegedly opened fire on a Bible study Wednesday night at the culturally significant church, assassinating state senator, civil rights leader and pastor Clementa Pinckney and eight others.
In a rambling manifesto uncovered by Twitter users @HenryKrinkle and @EMQuangel, the author, who is allegedly Roof, discusses his hatred of groups including Jewish and Latino people. But his deepest hatred is reserved for African-Americans.
After noting his animosity over the Trayvon Martin protests, Roof writes:
But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words "black on White crime" into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders.
As of Saturday, the Council of Conservative Citizens' (CCC) website had either been taken down or was experiencing technical problems and couldn't be accessed. But internet archive site Wayback has a copy of it online.
The website is a hodgepodge of re-written media stories with facts either twisted or fabricated to give the viewer an impression that there is a constant barrage of black-on-white crime.
"Fifteen new black on white murders: Where is the outrage from the mainstream media?" a May 15 headline screams.
"Racial spree shooting in Texas, 1 killed, 2 injured:
Beautiful 19 year old woman slaughtered in racial hate crime attack," reads another from May 6.
The concentration of stories that cause the false perception whites are under attack by blacks is significant, because Roof told his victims, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go."
The SPLC procured a list of 38 politicians, most of whom are from Mississippi and all but three of whom are Republican, who had been involved with the CCC between 2000 and 2004. Some, like Republicans John Moore and Dean Kirby of Mississippi, are still in office.
According to the SPLC:
The CCC is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South. Today, the CCC dedicates itself to educating whites on what it sees as an epidemic of black on white crime in the United States. The CCC website has been a touchstone for the radical right to get “educated” on this issue – and it appears this was the first stop for Roof on his dive down the white nationalist rabbit hole.
This story has been updated.