Obama’s second term stirs up KKK in Virginia
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 14:01
Howard University student Jenelle Coy has painful memories of growing up in Newport News, Va. Her neighborhood was predominantly White. The sign in the window of a beauty salon across her home read: “Whites only.”
“Mind you, this was in the ‘90s. So I had to grow up seeing that kind of stuff,” the junior journalism major said last week with sadness in her voice.
Coy reflected on President Obama’s second Inauguration and the reported spike in KKK recruitment activities in her home state, Virginia.
Particularly troubling, Coy said, were news reports that the Ku Klux Klan was using the president’s second Inauguration as a recruiting tool for new members.
Residents of Mechanicsville, Va., are reporting a surge of fliers from the “Loyal White Knights” of the KKK of Virginia in the wake of President Obama’s re-election.
“We of the Knights of the Southern Cross soldiers of the Ku Klux Klan are un-apologetically committed to the interest and values of the White race!” fliers dropped in residents’ driveways read. “We are determined to maintain and enrich our cultural and racial heritage! We are growing fast and strong because we have NEVER nor will we ever compromise the truth!”
For Coy and other Howard students from Virginia, the fliers are opening sore wounds.
Cheney Bostic, a senior public relations major from the Richmond area, vividly recalls instances of racism in her hometown.
“Where I’m from, which is Midlothian, VA, you would come to school on certain days and see confederate flags flying from trucks,” she said. “You knew when the Klan was having meetings at the public library. You just knew where to go and where not to go on certain days.”
Bostic said she has no problem with what KKK wants to do. “But what they won’t do is try an up-rising to take over my community,” she boldly asserted.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there has been a nationwide increase in Ku Klux Klan “klaverns” (local KKK organizational units) and other hate group activities since Obama’s election in 2008. The Center reported eight hate incidents with possible Klan ties in Virginia in 2012.
One of the incidents involved a Manassas White supremacist charged with illegally obtaining a fully automatic AK-47 after suggesting President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder should be removed from office by violent means.
But Klansman Grand Dragon James Moore of the Loyal White Knights of Virginia insisted that his organization is not a hate group.
“I didn’t join because I hate anyone,” Moore told The District Chronicles last week. “I joined because I am worried about my country. Every race has several groups working for their best interest and to advance their people. What do we have? Ku Klux Klan. And it’s only wrong when Whites are White and proud.”
Aston Haughton, president of the Stafford, VA, branch of the NAACP, said his branch was unaware of Ku Klux Klan activity in his county, but will stay vigilant for anything that may arise.
“If that has come to light and we are aware of it, we will take aggressive action to bring it to light and to make the law enforcement community be aware of such activity,” Haughton said. “The Klan is a hate group. It’s not a religious group. They’re not out there passing out Bibles.”
The First Amendment protects the Klan and permits the distribution of fliers. But the thought of the Klan leaves a sour note in the minds of people who have experienced prejudice first hand.
Haughton vowed to fight racism and to stop out racial discrimination. “It’s a constant battle,” he said. “We never go to sleep on that subject.”