Dozens of fliers associated with the self-described “southern nationalist” and “alt-right” group Identity Dixie were found tacked to utility poles throughout Old Town Warrenton Saturday, hours before the participants of an anti-white supremacy march were scheduled to march through the area.
The fliers included the slogans “HONOR YOUR HISTORY,” under drawings of Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; and “WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST,” under a black-and-white photo of white children saluting the American flag. The website listed on the fliers promotes racist, derogatory and homophobic views in its posts.
The fliers were discovered by a few Old Town Warrenton residents at about 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
Carter Nevill said he spent about two hours removing the signs after a friend called to tell him about one posted to a light pole outside her home.
“When I heard that, I made it my mission to find every single one of them and remove them,” Nevill said.
The posters were found on Falmouth, Main and Lee streets. In all, Nevill said he and other residents removed between 60 and 75 posters.
Because it rained Friday night and the fliers were mostly dry, it is believed they were posted early Saturday morning, Nevill said.
Deputy Police Chief Gary Dillon said an investigation has been opened. But it’s not clear yet if there was any violation of Virginia law in connection with the posters.
“The Warrenton Police Department was not initially notified of these posters,” Dillon said. “Once notified, we began an investigation into this matter. Any posters that are discovered will be taken down in accordance with Town ordinance. Any charges, if appropriate, will be forthcoming.”
Nevill, a lifelong resident of Warrenton, said he’d never seen such fliers posted in Warrenton. He said he assumed they were placed in response to the March to Confront White Supremacy.
The marchers arrived in Fauquier County on Saturday and marched to Gainesville Sunday. Several Warrenton and Fauquier County residents supported the march by joining the participants on U.S. 29 and by providing lunch and dinner for the marchers on Sunday.
But Nevill said he felt certain the fliers were posted to send a different message.
“It was no accident that they appeared on the morning the march came through here,” Nevill said of the posters. “This was designed to send a public message against the march … to point out [the marchers] are a threat to our community.”
Nevill said he’d never heard of the group Indentity Dixie before finding the posters. The group’s website states they are “southern nationalist and alt-right” group whose goal is to “achieve the independence of the Dixieland.”
“Your Southern ancestors’ memorials and flags are being defiled and dishonored? Are you just going to stand on the sideline and do nothing? If you’ve had enough, then you’re in the right place and have the right (Southern) stuff,” the website states.
The Rev. Stephen A. Green, senior pastor of Heard AME Church in Roselle, New Jersey, said the fliers are not the first hostile response the marchers have encountered on their 118-mile journey from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C.
“It’s been confirmed to us that folks have been passing out fliers and leaflets supporting white supremacy and the KKK and also threats on social media,” Green said. “Of course, we are cognizant of them but we are not deterred because of those comments and remarks.”
Green said the marchers have also received “an outpouring of love and support from folks” but noted: “What we’re doing here is pushing the envelope. That’s allowed the true essence of people’s emotions to come out and be on public display.”
Green said there are many examples of systemic white supremacy that might not be immediately perceived as such, including the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a mostly minority community, and the disproportionate representation of people of color incarcerated by the nation’s criminal justice system.
“I think it shows there’s still a rationale and a reason why this nation has to come to grips with its original sin,” Green said. “It shows the roots of white supremacy that is embedded in this nation’s culture.”
Nevill, who is not connected with the march, said the fliers appear to try to appeal to “middle of the road people” by mentioning words like “heritage” and “history” without disclosing the group’s darker goals.
“They’re casting a wide net to bring in people who might otherwise despise them to their side,” he said.
This is a developing story. Stay with Fauquier Times for updates. Reach the Fauquier Times at email@example.com.