Hatewatch

Strange Bedfellows Snuggle Under White Sheets

Check out the story of the Klansmen and the Crip.

A Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard in Alabama and an African-American Crips street gang member in Memphis, Tenn., say they are teaming up to organize a counter-protest against the Klansman’s fellow hooded haters, who vow to hold “one of the biggest KKK rallies of all time” on March 30 in the Mississippi River city where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The Klan rally is a protest of an earlier decision by the city council to rename three Memphis parks that honored the Confederacy, including one named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is organizing the rally and says Klansmen from across the country are expected to attend.

Bradley Jenkins, the imperial wizard of the Alabama-based United Klans of America, told ABC 24 that he will be in Memphis to protest the protesters.

“The Ku Klux Klan stands for not self but others,” Jenkins told the station in a blatant display of self-serving revisionist history. “How can that be for others arguing over the name of a park inside a city that made the decision to rename it? That is the community’s prerogative.”

Dajuan Horton of the Grape Street Crips agreed.

“If you’re coming from out of town, excuse my French, I don’t give a fuck what your opinion is,” Horton said in a YouTube video denouncing the Klan rally. “We’re going to rename our parks, blacks and whites of Memphis, Tenn.”

It was Horton’s poorly lit video that led to the partnership of the Klansman and the Crips. Jenkins saw it and reached out.

“We will stand resolute with the citizens of Memphis and this young man and anyone in town, no matter what color they be, because hate and racism has no place,’’ Jenkins told the station.

It’s unclear whether the reporter reminded the imperial wizard that he belongs to an organization that has done nothing but preach racism and hate and spread terror for more than a century.

In a telephone interview with Hatewatch late today, Jenkins said he was not “allying himself with gang members,’’ but “standing up with the community.”

“We want to make sure our country ain’t torn apart over racial lines,” he said. “That’s how its been done for 50 years. It has come time for it to stop.”

Jenkins said since he announced his plans to protest the Memphis Klan rally he’s been roundly criticized on white nationalist web forums. “They’re saying we ain’t Klanish, that we’re committing treason,” he said. “I’m not a very popular person right now.”

He insisted that the Klan, at least his Klan, is a “fraternal organization.” He didn’t laugh as he said it.

“There are things that happened in America’s past the country ain’t too proud of either,’’ he said. “America still doesn’t want to think what it did to the Indians.’’

Horton said some of his fellow gang members questioned the wisdom of joining forces with the KKK, but that he met with the Klan and felt comfortable with the alliance.

How much Horton knows about the history of the Klan is uncertain. In the video, he said he was upset that the Klan was coming to Memphis in the middle of Black History Month. He was a month off.

Still, this could be a teachable moment for Horton and his street comrades. As he says in the video, “KKK people are known for hurting black people.’’ So are street gangs.