The National Socialist Movement (NSM), has made it his personal mission to disband the largest and most active neo-Nazi organization in the United States, in what seems to be an ironic case when an Afro-American man who has been elected leader of the group.
In court papers filed last Thursday, Afro-American James Hart Stern, who is the new director and president of the NSM is attempting to use his new position to sabotage their defense in a lawsuit filed against them for their involvement in the deadly 2017 Charlottesville white supremacist rally, according to the Associated Press.
On Stern’s website, he claims that after successfully obtaining the power of attorney as well as ownership of the property of the former imperial wizard of the KKK, Edgar Ray Killen, he moved to disband his klan. He claims that he was then subsequently able to successfully negotiate with Jeff Schoep, who led the NSM for 24 years to give up his seat to him. This was, however, largely due to the pending lawsuit against Schoep and the group.
The Associated Press further reports that Stern, who was at a certain point was imprisoned for mail fraud served his time in the same facility as Killen, who was serving a 60-year sentence for his involvement in the Freedom Summer murders of three civil rights activists in 1964. Killen passed away in January last year. However, Stern’s claim of ownership of Killen’s property is being challenged in court.
As the new leader of the NSM, Stern has moved to replace the swastika logo of the group. He also claims in the statement which appears to not have been updated on his website that he was set to meet Schoeps on February 12, 2017, to “to sign a proclamation acknowledging the NSM denouncing being a white supremacist group or anyone [sic] being such.”
According to Stern, the move is in the right direction.
“Anyone [sic] that stands in the way of this is really the Racist, don’t say you want to change and you don’t give the racist a chance to change. He was thought to be a racist he can learn not to be one,” he continued.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Stern claimed Schoep called the group an “albatross hanging around his neck” and also felt undervalued by his followers.
Schoep, however, denied parts of Stern’s account claiming he only transferred ownership as a result of Stern convincing him the change will get the lawsuit thrown out of court.