Leader says SC Secessionist Party is disbanding

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FILE – In this July 19, 2011 file photo, Confederate battle flags fly outside the museum at the Confederate Memorial Park in Mountain Creek, Ala., Tuesday, July 19, 2011. Major retailers are halting sales of the Confederate flag after the June 17, 2015 shooting deaths of nine black church members in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Dave […]

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — The chairman of the South Carolina Secessionist Party says the group is dissolving.

The Anderson Independent Mail reported Friday that chairman James Bessenger says “the organization was taking a turn I didn’t want it to take.” More specifically, he says that the people genuinely interested in history were being outnumbered by “blatant and racist homophobes.”

The group is responsible for at least two Confederate flag displays in Clemson since September. But he says the membership fractured before the move of a Confederate flag to the state Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum this month.

A senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, Keegan Hankes, says the group was relatively minor in the larger Confederate movement.

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