Today, February 15, marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005).

Francis was one of the most literate and compelling writers to have made a living as a political pundit and Washington, DC, operative. His career also stands as a testament to the power of political correctness and the cowardliness of the self-styled “conservative movement.” With a doctorate from the University of North Carolina and experience as a senatorial advisor, Francis established himself as an arch-conservative columnist at the rightward-leaning Washington Times. But his willingness to discuss racial hypocrisy and guilt-mongering–and, more provocative, White identity and pride—unmade his career. He quickly went from insider to outsider and, anticipating subsequent conservative cleansings, he became unmentionable for his erstwhile colleagues.

In the end, Francis’s purging proved a liberation, as he moved beyond Republican politics as a writer, editor, and organizer. One such endeavor was his co-founding of The National Policy Institute. In 2005, at a point when his second career was reaching its culmination, Francis died of an aneurysm at the age of 57.

Sam remains one of the most fondly remembered writers of our movement, but also one of the most misunderstood, particularly when he is equated with “paleoconservatism.” For those revisiting Francis, or discovering him for the first time, the best place to start is his work.