Almost as soon as an alliance of white nationalist groups announced it was planning to hold a rally this month in Tennessee, opposing activists across the state sprang into action. “I think we can affect the national discourse for this, but I also think in Shelbyville, for the minorities, for the people of color and the Jews, this is going to be a chance to say ‘It’s not the 1950s anymore,’ ” said Chris Irwin, an attorney aligned with the Tennessee Anti-Racist Network. “These guys don’t get to walk the streets unopposed in their robes anymore. These towns belong to us, not them. And I think that’s really exciting.”
The rally is being organized by the Nationalist Front, a loose collection of far-right groups. The Nationalist Front took part in Charlottesville's infamous 'Unite the Right' rally.
Brad Griffin, a League of the South member and popular white nationalist blogger known under the alias Hunter Wallace, has repeatedly said he believes Charlottesville resulted in as many violent confrontations as it did because police there didn’t take measures to separate opposing sides.
Anti-fascists known colloquially as 'Antifa' will make their presence known as well.
"The community needs to be ready to defend itself against white nationalists and neo-Nazis," said Corey Lemley, a self-described Antifa activist who plans to be among the resistance showing up to the rallies that day in Middle Tennessee.