Residence: Marietta, Georgia
Ideology: White supremacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Communism
Publication: The Truth At Last (formerly The Thunderbolt)
Affiliations: National Alliance (since 2003), Council of Conservative Citizens. Previously affiliated with: The Columbians; The Anti-Jewish Party; National States Rights Party; New Order; Knights of the KKK; America First Party
Influences: Julius Streicher, Eugene Talmadge (segregationist Georgia governor), J.B. Stoner
Works: Jews Behind Race Mixing (pamphlet); The Jew Comes to America (introduction); Was There Really a Holocaust? (pamphlet); What World Famous Men Said about the Jews (pamphlet); The Jewish Origins of Communism (booklet)
Notable for: Impressive networking among extreme right and racist organizations
A non-practicing chiropractor from Marietta, Georgia, Edward Fields has been active in white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups since he was a teenager in the late 1940s. Beginning a decade later, when he founded the National States Rights Party (NSRP), and lasting into the mid-1970s, Fields was a significant force in the racist world, known both for collaborating with notorious racist bomber J.B. Stoner and for publishing the NSRP's Thunderbolt newspaper. He was forced out of the group in 1983 and his influence has since waned, but his crude writings continue to circulate widely. He maintains an impressive network of extreme-right connections in both the U.S. and Europe, and publishes The Truth At Last. He joined the National Alliance in 2003.
Born in 1932, Edward R. Fields became active in the nascent neo-Nazi movement while a teenager in Atlanta. Born of Catholic parents, he was barely of high school age when he joined the Columbians, described by the California Attorney General as a "fascist stormtrooper group... [and] para-military combat group that actively plotted a takeover of the state of Georgia."
1 In a raid of the group, which was considered subversive by the Justice Department, members were discovered with a cache of arms and explosives and a list of people to be "exterminated." Fields was not linked to the plot, though he and others formed a committee to lobby for the release from prison of the group's leader.
In 1952, not yet twenty, Fields joined J.B. Stoner's Christian Anti-Jewish Party, whose aim was 'to make being Jewish a crime, punishable by death.'
In 1952, still shy of twenty, he met the flamboyant racist J.B. Stoner while the two were attending law school in Atlanta, and joined Stoner's Christian Anti-Jewish Party (formerly the Stoner Anti-Jewish Party), a very small mass-mailing outfit in Atlanta. Stoner said he founded the organization to "out-Hitler Hitler," whom he called a "moderate"; his aim was "to make being Jewish a crime, punishable by death."
Fields eventually dropped out of law school, choosing instead to attend Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, in 1953. The following year he and another student allegedly posted signs on storefronts in Davenport and two other towns reading, "This store owned by Jews" and "Anti-Jewish Week, Feb. 21-28" (in fact, the end of February had been designated National Brotherhood Week). No charges were filed, but Fields was placed on probation. He remained undaunted, apparently; his schooldays continued to be marked by anti-Semitic and racist pickets, meetings and mailings. During this time he built networks across the American far-right underground. He attended Palmer until 1956, and thereafter referred to himself as "Dr. Fields" - a title that conferred prestige among hardcore racists.
The National States Rights Party
Fields' breakthrough into the national extremist scene began in 1958 when he founded the National States Rights Party (NSRP) and began to publish The Thunderbolt, the NSRP's newsletter. From the beginning, Fields' group, an avowed "white racist political party," attacked Jews as fiercely as it did integration, which was uncharacteristic of the time. As Southern historian Dan Carter has written: "Even within the context of the zany bestiary of racist right-wing politics that characterized much of Alabama's political culture, this Dixie version of the Hitlerjugend careened over the edge."
The party became a stalwart of Southern racist and anti-Semitic activity during the most intense years of the civil rights struggle. Working again with Stoner, Fields moved the headquarters in 1960 from Indiana to a stone building in Birmingham, Alabama, which he "outfitted to resemble a military headquarters," according to the California Attorney General's report. NSRP members wore white shirts, black ties, black pants and armbands with the Nazi thunderbolt symbol; they aimed to "save Alabama and the nation from Jew Communists and their nigger allies."
Stoner became the group's national chairman and most popular figure, and was widely known for his radicalism. The FBI suspected that he was involved in bombing at least a dozen synagogues and black churches, according to Carter. Fields, whose titles included national secretary and national information officer, oversaw daily operations. Claiming inspiration from both Eugene Talmadge, the segregationist governor of pre-war Georgia, and Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, he produced tens of thousands of copies monthly of The Thunderbolt, a crude hybrid of Nazi-style anti-Semitism and white supremacy that was widely read by Klansmen and neo-Nazis. At its height, in the late 1960s, the publication's paid circulation reached 15,000.
In addition to nominating segregationist candidates for office, the party demonstrated frequently and sparked or participated in street violence in several states. In St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964, Connie Lynch, the NSRP's "official policy speaker," told a crowd of 800, "I favor violence to preserve the white race....Now I grant you, some niggers are going to get killed in this process..." Immediately afterward, a mob wielding clubs, bricks and bottles attacked civil right demonstrators, injuring 40. Several nights of violence followed until Florida's governor sent two hundred National Guardsmen into the city to restore order. A state investigation found that the NSRP had played a key role in the riots and specifically named Lynch and Stoner as having been instrumental in causing them.3
In 1966 Lynch and four other party leaders were convicted and sent to prison for inciting a riot in Baltimore, and killings took place in the wake of NSRP rallies in Alabama in 1965 and in Kentucky in 1968. Throughout this time, Fields - more of an ideologue and organizer than street fighter - mixed with a wide range of race-haters and fringe activists, ranging from Klansmen and the White Citizens' Councils to conspiratorial anti-Communists and George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. Always a purist, he characterized Stoner's loss in a U.S. Senate race in 1972 - one of Stoner's five candidacies in the 1970s - as a tribute to the NSRP having "held to our open and clear-cut message of White Racism and Anti-Jewism." The candidate might have won more votes with a more moderate campaign, Fields acknowledged, but Stoner's approach ensured that once the party came to power it would "have a mandate to sweep the nation clean of the subversive vermin eating away at the foundations of our race and civilization." In a July 1972 article in The Thunderbolt, Fields gave an idea of what he meant by a "clean sweep" of the "vermin": "Every Jew who holds a position of power or authority must be removed from that position. If this does not work, then we must establish [the] Final Solution!!!"
Fields' activity continued apace through the 1970s. In the latter part of the decade, he organized a small Ku Klux Klan group in north Georgia - the New Order, Knights of the KKK - and served as its Grand Dragon. He was invited to attend the first national meeting of the nation's largest Klan, the Knights of the KKK, in 1980. That same year he met with European neo-Nazi organizations in England, and in October he and Stoner conferred in Atlanta with leaders of the Belgian neo-Nazi movement.
Factional trouble beset the NSRP in the spring of 1983 when Stoner was convicted, following a protracted investigation, for conspiring to bomb civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth's Birmingham church in 1958. Stoner went on to serve three and one-half years of a 10-year sentence. Without his old ally, Fields quickly lost control of the organization. He was accused by rivals of "personal immorality" and diversion of NSRP funds into his Klan group. In August 1983, the NSRP's executive committee expelled him. (The group was already in decline and by 1987 it was essentially out of business.)
"Every Jew who holds a position of power or authority must be removed from that position. If this does not work, then we must establish [the] Final Solution!!!"
Fields was able to maintain control of The Thunderbolt, but readership plummeted and in the late 1980s the paper was threatened by financial difficulties. Fields sent subscribers "emergency appeals" asking for help in defraying production costs. In an effort to boost readership, he changed the publication's name to The Truth At Last.
Despite these problems, Fields continued to consort with the country leading's activists. In 1985 he participated in a conference of far-right leaders hosted by white supremacist organizer Robert Miles at Miles' Michigan farm. The following year he was invited to speak at the Aryan Nations Congress in Idaho (although apparently failed to do so). In 1988 he addressed the National Democratic Front's White Unity Day in North Carolina, taped an interview for Tom Metzger's now-defunct "Race and Reason" videotape series, and raised funds for Robert Miles' legal defense in the Fort Smith sedition trial (in which ten leading white supremacists were charged but later acquitted of conspiring to overthrow the government).
1990s: America First Party and beyond
Throughout the 1990s, Fields remained one of the busiest networkers on the far right.
In 1993, Fields founded a new organization, the America First Party, which he currently heads. The party, though with far less support, essentially reformulated the defunct NSRP: its goal was to create a white Christian America, free of immigrants, feminists, Jews, blacks, gays and liberals. In its first few years, it attracted a measure of attention, particularly in the South. Its co-founder, A.J. Barker, was also the North Carolina state chairman of the Council for Conservative Citizens; other CCC figures attended America First meetings, as did European white supremacists and domestic racist luminaries like Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler and David Duke. In recent years, however, the party has been quiescent.
Throughout the 1990s, Fields remained one of the busiest networkers on the far right:
- In 1991 he organized a Klan rally in Montgomery, Alabama, along with Thom Robb of the Knights of the KKK.
- In 1992 he launched a "National Campaign to Expose the Holocaust," making common cause with Holocaust deniers.
- The following year he worked with Kirk Lyons and with Thom Robb and Bill Hoff of the Ku Klux Klan, Holocaust denier Ross Vicksell and various skinheads to protest against the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
- In 1994, he spoke at the Populist Party National Convention, where he remarked on the number of Jews in the Clinton cabinet. He also visited England and met on several occasions with neo-fascists, including John Tyndall, head of the British National Party.
- " By 1996 he was broadcasting a short-wave program, America First Radio, on World Wide Christian Radio (WWCR). He also traveled to Winter Haven, Florida, to speak at the Second Annual White Rights Rally of David Duke's National Association for the Advancement of White People.
- In September 1998, he and long-time collaborator J. B. Stoner traveled to Zinc, Arkansas, to speak at a national Klan conference. In the same year he co-sponsored with Dan Daniels, a former militia leader, a National Patriot's Conference in Auburndale, Florida. Earlier, in June, his close associate Jeff Wilkerson, the America First Party chairman, began organizing speaking engagements for Holocaust denier David Irving.
Fields' networking has continued into the new millennium. In February 2001 he attended the funeral of Byron de la Beckwith, murderer of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, and he has associated with and promoted the Creativity Movement - formerly known as the World Church of the Creator - and the National Alliance.
The Attorney General's report, which describes Fields' history in detail, was published in 1965 - after Fields' National States Rights Party became active in California.
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The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, The Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), p. 164.
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While not necessarily implicated in violence or crime, many other NSRP leaders did not lack for passion. Those who went on to achieve notoriety in their own right include Identity Pastor James Warner; Neuman Britton of Aryan Nations, who was slated to succeed Richard Butler but died first, in 2001; and American Nazi commander Matt Koehl
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