News Release

Southern Partisan T-Shirt Identical to One Worn by Timothy McVeigh at Time of Arrest

Factual Background:

Mid-1990s
Southern Partisan sells T-shirts celebrating the Lincoln assassination with a quote from John Wilkes Booth (“Sic Semper Tyrannis”) on the front, and Jefferson’s quote about liberty requiring “the blood of patriots and tyrants” on the back.

April 19, 1995
Timothy McVeigh is arrested after bombing the Oklahoma City federal building, wearing a T-shirt identical to the one sold by Southern Partisan. (Front and back views of the Southern Partisan shirt can be seen at FAIR’s website.)

December 1995
Southern Partisan General Store sends out form letter stating: “Due to a surprising demand for our anti-Lincoln T-shirt, our stock has been reduced to odd sizes. If the enclosed shirt will not suffice, we will be glad to refund your money or immediately ship you another equally militant shirt from our catalog.”

April 24, 1997
In his opening statement on day one of McVeigh’s murder and conspiracy trial, the prosecutor described the T-shirt worn by McVeigh at the time of his arrest, as reported by the New York Times (4/25/97): It “showed the tree of liberty, with droplets of bright red blood where the fruit should be, and the slogan ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.’ [The quotation is from a 1787 letter by Thomas Jefferson to Williams Stevens Smith.] On the front was a picture of Lincoln, emblazoned with the Latin slogan ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis’ [thus always to tyrants], shouted by his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.”

For more on the editorial content of Southern Partisan, contact at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR):

STEVE RENDALL
JEFF COHEN

More Information

For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020