A Ku Klux Klan group has been granted permission to rally at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, according to a Friday report from the Associated Press via New York Daily News.
Park officials said the KKK group out of Rosedale, Maryland, applied for and received a special use permit to “exercise its First Amendment rights on October 5.” The event will be held in the afternoon on the lawn area north of General George Meade’s headquarters.
Civil War buffs (and any kid who even remotely listened in history class) will know that Gettysburg was the place where the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, delivered his short-but-sweet Gettysburg Address. The speech extolled the virtues of freedom during a time when the country warred over who should have it.
The Union armies under President Lincoln’s oversight fought to abolish slavery, while the Confederacy fought to uphold it. It was out of this bitter conflict that the Ku Klux Klan was born, so you can see how it’s a bit of a brow-raiser that the Maryland-based KKK would choose this setting as a place to protest the immigration policies (and pretty much all of the policies over the last five years) of America’s first black President.
Despite the remaining differences between the KKK and African-Americans (or any group that isn’t white), some organizations are trying to make headway with their fellow black citizens.
Recently, a Ku Klux Klan group out of Montana had a sit-down with a NAACP organization out of Wyoming to hash out their differences.
Jimmy Simmons, president of the NAACP, said that he thinks the KKK’s violent history is a legacy with which the organization continues to struggle, adding:
“It’s about opening dialogue with a group that claims they’re trying to reform themselves from violence. They’re trying to shed that violent skin, but it seems like they’re just changing the packaging.”
John Abarr, a KKK organizer at the meeting, said the Klan is not about violence, but rather “being proud to be white.”
At the end of the meeting, Abarr joined the NAACP and made a $20 donation.
Do you think the Ku Klux Klan has a long way to go to repair its image as a hate group? Do you think the KKK Gettysburg organizers will even try?