A Tennessee minister stepped down from his home schooling foundation after a news report revealed his funding of a pro-Confederate organization involved in the Charlottesville white supremacist rally.
David O. Jones claims he cut ties between Heritage Covenant Schools, which provides resources to home schooling families, and the Mary Noel Kershaw Foundation, a neo-Confederate hate group, reported Hatewatch.
WSMV-TV reported earlier this month that Jones was funneling donor money from his non-profit organization to a group named for the wife of notorious segregationist Jack Kershaw, who co-founded the League of the South and represented Martin Luther King Jr. assassin James Earl Ray.
“We were funneling it through that foundation strictly for the purpose of legality, so there would be a bona fide tax deduction,” Jones told The Tennessean.
Jones insisted he cut ties with the League of the South two years ago, but Hatewatch reported that he continued to fund the Kershaw Foundation, claimed on his Facebook page to be chairman of the League of South and listed himself as chairman of the Southern National Congress on the Heritage Covenant Schools website.
“(League of the South) was becoming more militantly pro-white,” Jones told the newspaper. “I’ve got no problems being pro-white, but the language tended toward white supremacy and white militancy — and I’m not that.”
He’s also associated on social media with a variety of neo-Confederate activists who took part in the Charlottesville march that left a woman dead.
Donors, including former federal judge Robert Echols, said Jones funneled their money without permission to the Kershaw Foundation, which was identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Echols said he was unaware Heritage Covenant Schools glorified the Confederacy in teaching materials provided to students.
“I guess there’s a lot of folks that are trying to hang on to the old Southern ways, but I’m not aware of any of them,” the former judge said. “They must be appealing to those people that … would like to rewind history, so there’s another South, and there’s a North. I’m totally against that.”
Jones said he tried to keep his politics separate from the nonprofit he oversaw, but he admits to wanting to establish an explicitly religious government.
“I feel that I am a Southerner, and all that entails,” he told The Tennessean. “I am not looking for a resurrection of the Confederacy … I am looking for an independent Christian republic.”