NOTE ON LYONS ARTICLE INACCURACIES
Mr. Chuck McMichael, commander in chief of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, has requested that I clarify three statements in the Lyons story, having to do with the membership, money and magazines of the organization he heads.
I wrote, "Hard times are here, and nonprofit foundations of all kinds and colors are suffering. The Sons, whose income from membership dues has been declining, as members die of old age, has also seen its stock market holdings go South"
1. MEMBERSHIP. Mr. Mc Michael says it ain't so. He says that in 1999, 25,000 people belonged to the Sons. Today some 30,000 do, and he adds that as a general trend, membership numbers are stable or improving a bit.
He has greater access to the figures than I do.
2. MONEY. Mc Michael admits that the IRS Form 990 for the period between Aug. 1, 2007 and Aug. 1, 2008--the latest 990 to be made publicly available--shows a decline in the value of stocks held by the Sons from $3,645,663 to $3,464,457--some $180,000. But he says that's not a great amount, and he's right: it's about 5 percent. He admits that as a consequence of the current financial crash, stock values have probably gone south a bit more. The upcoming Form 990 should give fuller details.
3. MAGAZINE. In another paragraph of the article, I wrote: "The Sons, an organization of some 30,000, is today an ultra-right organization whose magazine, The Southern Mercury, has named Lincoln as the nations 'first communist president.'"
But I was apparently in error again. The Mercury apparently quit publishing at the end of 2008, and the membership magazine of the Sons is the "Confederate Veteran"--and always has been.
The Mercury was founded by former Sons commander in chief Ron Wilson, in Columbia, Tennessee (population 38,000)--the town in which the Sons in headquartered--and its address was a box at the same post office which serves the Sons. It was produced by the Foundation for Preserving American Culture, Inc., a group that the pages of the Mercury and Mr. Mc Michael say, was "an educational foundation of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc." The Mercury was, as I say, a magazine of the Sons, but not the magazine of the Sons.
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