The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Even as tens of thousands of people – black and white, young and old, preachers and presidents – poured into Selma, Al., last weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the voting rights victories that followed, members of the Ku Klux Klan were driving through town, throwing plastic bags stuffed with KKK fliers and rocks onto doorsteps and lawns.
In the last two weeks, Robert Jones, the grand dragon of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, told AL.com that members of his group had distributed some 4,000 fliers to random homes throughout Selma and Montgomery, some 50 miles away. The rocks inside the flier bags were meant to act as paperweights to keep the hate from blowing away.
“We pretty much put out fliers, some against King and some against immigration,” Jones told AL.com. “It’s times for the American people to wake up to these falsehoods that they preach about MLK.”
But that wasn’t all. A few days before the eyes of the country turned to Selma, a neo-Confederate group, Friends of Forrest, Inc., once again put up a racially charged billboard about a half-mile from the Edmund Pettus Bridge – the site of the Bloody Sunday beating of mostly black civil rights marchers on March 7, 1965.
The billboard, with the Confederate flag in the background, depicts Confederate Army General and later KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, astride a warhorse next to his signature battle cry: “Keep the skeer [scare] on ‘em.”
Friends of Forrest has ties to the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group that promotes racial separation, argues that slavery was ordained by God, and advocates modern-day secession. (Lately, LOS has been paying for billboards of its own across the south and plastered with one word: “Secede.”)
Patricia Goodwin, the head of Friends of Forrest, told the New York Daily News, that the billboard “was put there with positive intent to ask people who come to Selma to explore and enjoy our 19th century history.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, a group of young racists at the University of Oklahoma weren’t wearing white sheets as an expression of their racist views. They were dressed in black tie.
Several members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), one of America’s largest college fraternities, were caught on video chanting a racist ditty as they headed for a black-tie affair on a bus Saturday night.
“There will never be a nigger SAE. There will never be a nigger SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a nigger SAE.”
Someone posted the 9-second video to Youtube and by late Sunday night, according to The New York Times, Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its University of Oklahoma chapter. Hours later, university president, David Boren, said at an early morning anti-racism rally that the university had severed all ties with the fraternity and ordered it members out of the frat house by midnight.
In a written statement directed at the frat boys on the bus, Boren said, “You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots.”
It has indeed been a busy few days in the fairy tale kingdom called post-racial America.
But in the real America, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Saturday, President Barack Obama embraced Congressman John Lewis, whose head was cracked open by a state trooper’s billy club on Bloody Sunday. Then the president addressed the nation.
“In one afternoon 50 years ago,” the president said, “so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham; and the dream of a Baptist preacher – all that history met on this bridge.”
Obama said he and the thousands of people gathered at the bridge with him had come to “honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching towards justice.”
Although the country has come far since that Bloody Sunday, the president said that there is still work to be done.
“We just need to open our eyes,” he said, “and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts a long shadow upon us.”
And just a few blocks away, a plastic bag filled with rocks and hate was tossed on another doorstep.
As police took Frazier Glenn Miller into custody minutes after three people – including a 14-year-old boy – were shot to death at two Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City last April, the long-time neo-Nazi shouted “Heil Hitler.”
Then, according to The Kansas City Star, Miller asked the officers a chilling question. “How many f——- Jews did I kill?”
The bloody scene was recalled in a Kansas courtroom today by a veteran police officer, Sgt. Marty Ingram, as the first day of testimony began in an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Miller, a lifelong racist, should stand trial for the murderous shooting spree last April in Overland Park, Kan.
In a latest attempt to capitalize on political and racial controversy, a Ku Klux Klan faction from Mississippi has initiated a “Call to arms in Alabama” in response to federal courts ruling that an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
The post, which appeared on the United Dixie White Knights’ (UDWK) website and later on Stormfront — the largest online white supremacist forum — championed Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore for defying federal courts and called for Klansmen to leave their robes behind and take to the streets in protest.
“The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny,” Brent Waller, the UDKW’s imperial wizard, wrote in a Stormfront post. “The fudge packers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!”
Waller’s reason for his fellow Klansman to wear plain clothes is simple. “We have made the decision that we don’t want to distract attention away from the issue, as anytime the Klan rides, we are made the issue by the zionist controlled media,” he wrote. Not that wearing robes and hoods has been a consideration before.
Klan groups in recent months have sought to capitalize on already tense situations by appearing with a word of commentary and disappearing. Klan members have called for “corpses” on the Arizona-Mexico border, tried to raise money for the legal defense of the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and even distributed candy as a recruiting ploy in South Carolina. But their rush to the spotlight this time may be different.
Alabama on Monday became the 37th state in the country to recognize same-sex marriage after a federal judge struck down the “Sanctity of Marriage” amendment to the state’s constitution as unlawful. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore responded by ordering Alabama probate judges not to comply with the federal ruling, throwing the state into a heated controversy involving states’ rights and federal reach.
In his post, and in subsequent email exchanges with Hatewatch, Waller speculated as to whether the federal government will send “Jack Booted thugs” — a comment meant to invoke Civil Rights era struggles and draw comparisons between the razing of Southern states during the Civil War and what the Imperial Wizard sees as the destruction of Southern values through marriage equality.
“We as White Christians intend to see that no outside agitators bully or intimidate the White Christian majority in the State of Alabama,” Waller told Hatewatch on Tuesday. “We salute those like the chief justice for standing against the Immoral, Ungodly and activist Federal Judges.”
A man just arrested in Virginia on murder-for-hire charges has ties to racist Christian Identity and KKK groups that hosted a “whites only” gathering and cross burning in 2012 in Alabama, a television station reports.
Dallas W. Brumback Jr., 35, of Sterling, Va., was arrested on Jan. 22 by Loudoun County sheriff’s detectives on a charge of attempted capital murder. The suspect is accused of making a $2,500 down-payment last November to have his ex-wife murdered in a $5,000 deal with a hit-man, charging documents allege.
Brumback is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for a bond hearing. The suspect’s attorney, Caleb A. Kershner, of Leesburg, Va., did not return telephone calls from Hatewatch seeking comment.
Julie Carey, the Northern Virginia bureau chief for NBC4 Washington who broke the story on Monday, reported that court documents and interviews with Brumback’s neighbors revealed his ties to a “whites-only Christian organization.”
In July 2012, Brumback helped organize a racist gathering near Birmingham, Ala. where Ku Klux Klan banners were displayed and only certain white Christians were allowed, the station reported.
During that three-day racist gathering, Brumback, who said he lived in Virginia, told ABC 33/40, a television station in Birmingham, that he was a “pastor” with Christian Identity Ministries.
“The Ku Klux Klan is a political organization for white Christians,” Brumback told the Birmingham station in explaining the purpose of the gathering and cross-burning. He appeared with short hair in the 2012 video, a stark comparison to long hair and a beard at the time of his arrest.
News video from that gathering shows a banner listing the Ku Klux Klan Realm of Virginia and a website that’s no longer active.
The NBC4 report said Brumback and the woman he allegedly wanted killed filed for divorce in 2006, with his then-wife complaining he was in the Ku Klux Klan and that he “threatened to commit suicide by cop, prompting her to call police because of his erratic behavior.”
Brumback denied the suicide claim but not his KKK ties before the couple’s divorce was finalized in 2007, the Washington station reported. It’s unknown what motivated the murder for hire plot.
Brumback lives with his new wife and 3 children in a home on Redrose Drive in Sterling. His mother, Fay Brumback, lives next door. She hung up and wouldn’t respond to question and hung up when contacted by Hatewatch today.
Her ex-husband and the suspect’s estranged father, Dallas W. Brumback Sr., who also lives in Sterling, told Hatewatch he didn’t participate in the 2012 racist gathering in Alabama and wasn’t aware of his son’s involvement with hate groups.
NBC4 also reported that said some of Brumback’s neighbors “considered a threat because he frequently fired his weapon in his yard, killing crows and other animals” and frequently wore camouflage clothing. Other neighbors told the station that his activities didn’t bother them, but they confirmed his ties to white supremacist groups.
A police lieutenant in Charleston, W.Va., resigned yesterday just before he was scheduled to appear at a termination review hearing for producing racially insensitive videos involving his daughter dancing to KKK music.
Those who have seen the seven videos made by Lt. Terry Shawn Williams describe them as “disgusting and unspeakable,” Charleston station WCHS reported today.
“I knew when … I heard about [the videos] and when I saw them, this police officer was never going to wear a gun and a badge in the city of Charleston ever again,” Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said Wednesday. “They’re a whole lot more than racially insensitive.”
The videos, stored on Williams personal computer, surfaced last year as he was going through a divorce, the West Virginia MetroNews Network reported.
They reportedly show Williams’ young daughter dressed like a police officer and dancing to KKK music. The videos were shown privately to some Charleston City Council members in December, three months after Williams was placed on administrative leave. The mayor said he doesn’t regret that decision or a judge’s order sealing the tapes.
The mayor said the city didn’t leak word of the videos, which he suggested came from one of the “many people who were privy to the divorce.” Now, Jones said, “We don’t have to show them in a hearing and hopefully no one will ever see them again unless it’s in his divorce hearing.”
Williams’ decision to resign came on the eve of a hearing before a city police appeals board where he sought to appeal a decision by the department to fire him. The police officer, who frequently acted as the department’s media spokesman, has said he believes the investigation was politically motivated and that he knows about other incidents of racism within the police department.
To that, the mayor said Williams “was just trying to shed blame. He can go out … and make all the allegations he wants against us. Now, all he can do is go back to his klavern,” a reference to a KKK chapter.
“I knew he couldn’t win this case and apparently he finally did, too,” the mayor told MetroNews. “I think it’s a sad chapter in our history that’s finally come to an end.”
In his resignation letter to Police Chief Brent Webster, Williams said: “It is clear to me and most of the general public that I will not be able (to) resolve my personal problems based upon the way in which this administration has strategically ‘leaked’ and handled my internal investigation. In my sixteen years of service to this department, I have never before witnessed the ‘leaks’ from an internal investigation such as mine. Therefore, I feel that resigning is in the best interests for my family.”
Jones suggested the resignation also is in the city’s best interest, and now he vows to see that Williams’ police certification is revoked so he can’t become a police officer elsewhere.
Think Progress: GOP leaders circle the wagons for House whip Steve Scalise over speech to white supremacists.
Huffington Post: David Duke warns politicians from both parties he might expose their ties to his organization.
Louisiana Voice: As Steve Scalise scandal grows, sordid details emerge about the dark underside of the white supremacist movement.
Right Wing Watch: The five craziest right-wing conspiracy theories of 2014.
The Root: Vandals hit Alabama grandmother’s home with broken windows, racist graffiti: “Move nigger now..”
Helena Independent-Record: Militia-promoting pastor Matthew Trewhella to deliver election sermon at Montana state capitol.
Idaho Statesman: Idaho appeals court overturns conviction of black man after prosecutor recited Confederate anthem.
Athens (GA) Banner-Herald: Georgia Ku Klux Klan group fighting to be able to join highway-cleanup program.
Mediaite: Fox’s Jesse Watters says that if police were really racist, they would just let blacks kill each other.
This time, there is no doubt who put up the latest racially charged billboard in Harrison, Ark., a nearly all-white city in the Ozarks that is struggling for its soul.
The Ku Klux Klan did it.
The sign brought national media attention to the city and its history of racial hostility to African Americans. But no one claimed responsibility for the sign. The man who owned the billboard company declined to say who paid to lease the space.
The Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations, which has been working mightily for 12 years improve race relations and the city’s reputation, put up two signs of its own: “Love your neighbor.”
In March of 2014, another racially charged billboard was added just below the yellow sign. It featured a picture of a smiling white family and read, “Beautiful Town, Beautiful People, No Wrong Exits, No Bad Neighborhoods.”
The signs stayed up until about four weeks ago when they were replaced by billboards for the local McDonald’s and a Baptist church, saying everybody was welcome.
The Task Force celebrated, figuring – hoping – that the Harrison billboard wars were finally over, “because there are so many good things and great people in Harrison to focus on,” Task Force member Layne Ragsdale told Hatewatch Tuesday.
But on Monday, a new “pro-white” billboard went up in the city in a different spot, “an even better location than the others,” Thomas Robb, the longtime leader of the Knights Party, one of the longer-lived KKK organizations in the country, chortled on the white nationalist Web forum, Stormfront.
The new sign proclaims, “It’s NOT Racist to [HEART] Your People.”
Below those words is a website address that links to KKKRadio.
Billy Roper, a former neo-Nazi-turned-Klansman, wrote on Stormfront Monday that “the Anti-White elites were celebrating the fact that the previous two billboards were removed in town.”
“Haven’t they heard,” he added, “that you can’t keep a good Klan down?”
The Knights Party, also known as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, has long been associated with Harrison, primarily because it uses a Harrison mailing address, although its headquarters is actually 15 miles outside of the city of 13,000 residents. In his Stormfront posts about the new sign, Robb said he wanted the Task Force “to celebrate and do their Hi-Fives” about the racially charged signs coming down before hitting them with the new billboard.
“We could have put the billboards up the next day,” he smirked, “but it is more fun to allow them to be puffed up and then prick their bubble.”
He added that he is looking to put up another sign on Interstate 40 in Russellville, near Arkansas Tech. “I already have the OK from the billboard company,” Robb wrote, “but we need a little of this stuff $$. Anyone want to help?”
Ragsdale of the Task Force told Hatewatch today that when she first heard about the new billboard going up she hoped it was a joke. “But it’s real,” she sighed. “They’re still trying to smear the community with their opinions. They’re trying to pretend they’re the voice of Harrison. It just gets so old. Move on, already.”
Faced with an exploding crisis sparked by the revelation that the No. 3 Republican in the House gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis a dozen years ago, the GOP in Rep. Steve Scalise’s home state of Louisiana is doubling down, calling the entire episode a mere “manufactured blogger story.”
Really? A manufactured blogger story?
Scalise claimed yesterday that he had no idea of the views promoted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), whose workshop he addressed in 2002 at a hotel in Metairie, La. And he was backed by an array of Louisiana Republicans including state GOP chair Roger Villere Jr., who described Scalise as “a man of great integrity who embodies his Christian faith in his life.” Villere dismissed the story broken by Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. as “an attempt to score political points by slandering the character of a good man.”
But Scalise’s claim of ignorance is almost impossible to believe. He was a state representative and an aspiring national politician at the time, and Louisiana-based EURO already was well known as a hate group led by America’s most famous white supremacist.
EURO was founded two years before Scalise agreed to speak to its conference by Louisiana resident David Duke, a media-friendly neo-Nazi and onetime grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who had made a national name for himself by running repeatedly for office. He won his first elected office in 1989, when he became a state representative, garnering local headlines across Louisiana. In 1990, he won more than 600,000 votes in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, and in 1991, he took almost 700,000 votes in a run for governor. Newspapers around the world wrote about his ultimately losing fight against the scandal-dogged Edwin Edwards and the bumper sticker it engendered: “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”
Video of the 2005 EURO conference.
That’s not all.
Newspapers at the time of the EURO conference reported that a minor league baseball team from Iowa had changed hotels after learning that it would be held where they planned to stay. A hotel official also told a local paper that the company “did not share the views” of EURO, according to the Huffington Post.
And Scalise’s claims met with skepticism even from some well-known out-of-state conservatives. “How do you not know? How do you not investigate?” asked Erick Erickson, a former Louisiana resident, on his RedState blog yesterday. “By 2002, everybody knew Duke was still the man he had claimed not to be. EVERYBODY. How the hell does somebody show up at a David Duke organized event in 2002 and claim ignorance?”
In an interview with NOLA.com yesterday, Scalise reiterated the claim that he had no idea what EURO was and said that he “went and spoke to any group that called.” That prompted Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin to ask the obvious question: “Would he have spoken to a KKK rally? To the American Nazi Party?”
The fact is that Scalise may have had some real affinities with EURO. In 1999, Roll Call reported that Scalise “said he embraces many of the same ‘conservative’ views as Duke, but is more viable.” To the extent that he had a problem with Duke, it appears it was only that he was unelectable. “Duke has proven he can’t get elected,” Roll Call quoted Scalise as saying, “and that’s the first and most important thing.”
In 1999, Scalise voted against making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday, one of just three state representatives to do so. And in 2004, two years after the EURO conference, he was one of six to vote against the holiday.
There appears to be no transcript of Scalise’s speech to EURO, but blogger Lamar White Jr., who first broke the story on Sunday, found postings on the neo-Nazi Stormfront Web forum that described it. In one, a user said Scalise “brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft with the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent giveaway to a selective group based on race.”
A colleague at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich, actually attended EURO conferences in 2004 and 2005. The venues were adorned with Confederate flags and racist slogans and offered racist merchandise.
Scalise, a politician who already had national aspirations at the time of the 2002 EURO conference, certainly should have known what his dalliance with open white supremacists might cost him. In 1998, a scandal erupted when it was revealed that U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Georgia) and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had endorsed and spoken to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a major white supremacist hate group. In late 2002, after singing the praises of segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Lott was forced to resign his leadership post.
Now Steve Scalise should do the same.
The Ku Klux Klan, which in recent years has been a shadow of its once monolithic self, has been trying to make a comeback. From handing out candy to children, appearing in robes on the U.S.-Mexican border to protest President Obama’s executive action on immigration—even raising money for Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.—it seems Klansman are everywhere.
Is the Klan growing?
This week, Vice published a video report on the Klan experiencing a rise in members, in part fueled by a strategy that targets veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In it, host Rocco Castoro talks with the SPLC’s Mark Potok about hate group recruitment often being tied to military conflict.
“There is a very high degree of interest on the part of Klan groups in returning military veterans with high end military skills that they think will be useful to them one day,” Potok said. “A lot of these men are coming back traumatized with serious PTSD and other problems. The economy is not good. They’re not getting jobs, so they come home to find a situation that is not very good for them. … What some veterans find in these groups is family.”
Watch the videos.
If you ask the Ku Klux Klan, a gut wrenching racially charged American tragedy should never go to waste.
Since the beginning, in early August, at least two factions of the hooded Klansmen have repeatedly tried to exploit and inject themselves into the middle of the sad saga of the death of Michael Brown, the black, unarmed teenager who was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., by police officer Darren Wilson.
Since then, the Klan has raised money for Wilson, who is white, joined rallies for him with other supporters and vowed to come to the Ferguson area to protect “white businesses” with guns.
And most recently, as Ferguson and the rest of the country anxiously await the decision by a grand jury on whether Wilson will be charged in the case – a decision expected to be announced any day now – the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan last week threatened to use “lethal force” against protesters in the St. Louis suburb.
“We will not sit by and allow you to harm our families, communities, property nor disrupt our daily lives,” the group declared in a flier.
For months now, protesters – black and white – have filled the streets of Ferguson, demanding Wilson be arrested and charged with the 18-year-old’s slaying. While most of the protests have been nonviolent, some have included looting, clashes with heavily armed police and dozens of arrests.
That fact didn’t stop the Klan from issuing its threats, veiled in the talk of self-defense.
“You have been warned by the Ku Klux Klan,” the flier stated. “There will be consequences of your actions against the peaceful, law abiding citizens of Missouri.”
But it is the Missouri-based Klan group that has had to face the consequences of its actions. Shortly after the Klan threat, the hacker collective Anonymous launched a campaign to target the group, publicly identifying its members through social media, as well as taking over its Twitter account.
“Due to your actions we started Operation KKK,” Anonymous said in a video. “The aim of our operation is nothing more than Cyber Warfare. Anything you upload will be taken down, anything you use to promote KKK will be shut down.”
The Missouri KKK group was not the first band of Klansmen trying to throw gasoline on the tensions in Ferguson.
Just days after Brown was killed, the South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan announced its Missouri chapter was raising money for the then still unnamed officer, who the Klan group hailed as a hero for shooting Brown at least six times in the middle of the street in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.
“We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” the Klan said in an email. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place.”
A few days later, as black and white protesters filled the streets of Ferguson, demanding the officer’s arrest, the Empire Knights issued another chilling message. They said they were coming to the Ferguson area from three different states to guard “white businesses,” but it is unclear if any of ever showed up.
So far, it appears the two groups are filled with not much more than keyboard Klansmen, who throw verbal Molotov cocktails and then hide behind their sheets.
That is, before Anonymous got ahold of their Twitter account and ripped off their hoods.