Asheville Conference

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The Asheville Conference was a gathering of religious nationalists and anticommunists in Asheville, North Carolina during the week of August 12-16, 1936. The conference was sponsored by the American Forward Movement headed by Reverend Ralph E. Nollner. Catholic and Protestant leaders were invited to warn against the Communist threat and to support "Americanism." William Dudley Pelley suggested the conference be held in his home town of Asheville hoping to receive an endorsement for his presidential campaign on the Christian Party ticket.[1]

Two hundred clergy and laymen were originally invited. Two rabbis were later invited to appease those who protested the exclusion of Jews at the conference. When it was discovered the rabbis would be allowed to speak, 45 prominent anti-Jew activists bolted the conference in protest.

Among the insurgents were Gerald B. Winrod, Harry A. Jung, Robert E. Edmondson, James True, Colonel Eugene Sanctuary, George Deatherage, Howland Spencer, Nelson E. Hewitt, Ernest Elmhurst[2] Edward F. Sullivan, Michael Ahearn[3] and O. K. Chandler. The breakaway nationalists formed thier own group.

Other members of the breakaway group were:[4]

  • Rev. Louis R. Patmont of Berkeley, California
  • Clyde J. Wright, of Houston. Texas
  • Mrs. J. A. Wakefield of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Mrs. James Conningham Gray of Boston
  • Rev. Oliver E. Wil­liams of Pittsburgh
  • Rev. Rex A. Mitchell, of Paso Robles, Calif.;
  • Edward Herman Rettig, of Seattle
  • Rev. Fred Bosworth of River Forest, Illinois
  • Fred E. Bennett of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Dr. W. B. Riley of Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Rev. E. P. Weber of Oklahoma City
  • John S. Wise, Jr. a New York City attorney and defender of Robert Edmondson


  1. William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-wing Extremism and the Occult, By Scott Beekman, page 114
  2. The World Hoax, by Ernest F. Elmhurst, page 1
  3. The Propaganda Battlefront December 1, 1943
  4. House on Un-American Activities Report

See also

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