KKK Abandons Parade Plans In North Carolina After Being Greatly Outnumbered By Protesters

A local KKK affiliate abandoned its plans to hold a parade in North Carolina after far greater numbers of protesters than Klansmen showed up for the event, The American Prospect‘s Barry Yeoman reports.

The North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan planned to hold a “Victory Klavalkade” in the town of Pelham to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory in the November 8 presidential election. The Loyal White Knights is based out of Pelham.

“[T]hey ended up exulting from the safety of their cars in the old cotton-mill town of Roxboro, 37 miles away,” Yeoman writes.

“A motorcade of about 30 vehicles barreled through the streets, sporting Confederate flags, as their drivers shouted ‘white power’ to no one in particular.”

It probably didn’t help the KKK that one of the organizers of the parade was arrested the night before in connection to the stabbing and beating of another Klansmen at a “pre-rally gathering,” Natalie Allison Janicello reports for the Burlington Times-News.

Eugene Barker, founder of the Loyal White Knights, was hosting other KKK members at his home in Yanceyville, North Carolina, when a verbal altercation between two guests turned violent.

William Ernest Hagen, 50, was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Barker was charged with felony aiding and abetting assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, according to Janicello.

Janicello and others tweeted that the KKK’s humble display in Roxboro was more reminiscent of a funeral procession than an organized rally or victory celebration.

Anti-KKK counter demonstrations, on the other hand, drew large numbers of supporters across the state, according to Yeoman’s report.

“In Pelham, anti-Klan protesters chanted such slogans as ‘No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,’” Yeoman writes.

“In Charlotte, they lay flowers at a Holocaust memorial and at statues of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. In Salisbury, they sang ‘Lean on Me’ before marching through the historic downtown. They gathered in Greensboro near the site where Klansmen and Nazis killed five protesters in 1979. They held an advocacy fair in Asheville, and a prayer service in Reidsville, a textile-and-tobacco town that has seen its own share of Klan activity.”

The largest anti-KKK rally took place in Raleigh, where about 1,000 people showed up to call for “a unified response to attacks on racial and religious minorities.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that instances of hate crimes and racially motivated harassment and intimidation have spiked since Trump won the presidential election. Many blame Trump’s nationalistic and anti-immigrant rhetoric during his presidential campaign for inspiring or inciting members of the alt-right and neo-Nazi movements to violence in the United States.

Yeoman notes that North Carolina has a history of resisting white supremacists.

“During the late 19th Century — when Democrats governed North Carolina to the benefit of bankers and railroad barons — a political alliance of African Americans and rural and working-class whites came together over shared economic grievances,” Yeoman writes.

“The Fusionists, as they were called, briefly took over state government in 1894. They boosted school spending, shifted the tax burden from small farmers to railroads, and made it easier for the disenfranchised of both races to vote.”

The Fusionists also pushed for allowing cities to elect their own leaders, which led to a Fusion government in Wilmington, a port city with a majority black population.

This didn’t sit well with everyone, however, and in 1898 elections the Fusionists were swept from elected offices throughout the state in a supremacist backlash. Yeoman quotes Duke University historian Tim Tyson as attributing the results to “a propaganda effort that would incite white citizens into a furor that led to electoral fraud and mass murder.”

That may have worked in 1898, but the KKK having to cancel their rally Sunday while successful counter protests took place throughout the state seems to indicate that North Carolinians, as a whole, are through with accepting overt racism.

[Featured Image by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]