Archive for the ‘Ku Klux Klan’ Category

Photos from the Charlottesville KKK rally. – Slate Magazine

On July 8, 2017, the Ku Klux Klan came to Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of two statues commemorating Confederate generals: one of Robert E. Lee, the other of Thomas Stonewall Jackson.

Jamelle Bouie

The rally wasnt a surprise. This chapter of the Klan, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, had obtained permits for their protest in the spring. Soon after, locals began organizing events to coincidefrom concerts meant to keep people from the circus to a direct counterprotest. As the day of the Klan rally approached, city leaders encouraged residents to stay away. That plea fell on deaf ears.

Jamelle Bouie

Around 50 Klansmen came to Charlottesville, but more than 1,000 people gathered in response, yelling anti-Klan slogans and otherwise taunting or mocking the assembled white supremacists. Those protesters ranged from clergy to college students, from Black Lives Matter activists to the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Some Klansmen were armed, and local and state police were there to keep the peace. But if anyone was in danger, it was the Klan members, not the protesters.

Jamelle Bouie

The Loyal White Knights had come to Charlottesville to stand up for white rights. But what they actually did was demonstrate their irrelevance and show the extent to which this incarnation of the KKK is a far cry from its larger, more dangerous predecessors.

But while the Klan is a faded image of itself, white supremacy is still a potent ideology. In August, another group of white supremacistsled by white nationalist Richard Spencer and his local allieswill descend on Charlottesville to hold another protest. Unlike the Loyal White Knights, they wont have hoods and costumes; theyll wear suits and khakis. Theyll smile for the cameras and explain their positions in media-friendly language. They will look normalthey might even be confident. After all, in the last year, their movement has been on the upswing, fueled by a larger politics of white grievance that swept a demagogue into office.

The Klan, as represented by the men and women who came to Charlottesville, is easy to oppose. They are the archetype of racism, the specter that almost every American can condemn. The real challenge is the less visible bigotry, the genteel racism that cloaks itself in respectability and speaks in code, offering itself as just another perspective. Charlottesville will likely mobilize against Spencer and his group, but the racism he represents will remain, a part of this community and most others across the United States. How does one respond to that? What does one do about that?

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

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Photos from the Charlottesville KKK rally. – Slate Magazine

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Activists, ACLU ask Charlottesville to drop charges, revise police tactics after tear gas deployed at KKK rally – Richmond.com

CHARLOTTESVILLE Activists want all charges dropped against protesters arrested at the July 8 KKK rally in Charlottesville after they say police used unnecessary force against demonstrators, and the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking residents to urge the City Council to increase civilian oversight and accountability in policing.

Lodging allegations of police brutality, activists associated with Solidarity Cville held a news conference Friday in front of the Charlottesville Police Department, asking for police to apologize for their tactics at the rally and revoke the permit for the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally, organized by pro-white blogger Jason Kessler.

Emily Gorcenski, who attended the rally, said it was unnecessary for police to declare unlawful assembly as protesters gathered around a garage where members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had parked. She said police did not give protesters and others enough time to leave the area before Virginia State Police deployed three canisters of tear gas.

To be frank, it is ridiculous to expect a grieving community, with a deep legacy of racial violence, to simply pack up and go home after the KKK rallied in our city, Gorcenski said.

After the Klansmen left, some protesters turned their attention to police and followed officers back up to High Street, where they continued to defy police commands to leave the area.

Gorcenski and other activists also criticized police for bringing riot gear and tear gas to the rally. Citing the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, the activists questioned why police still use tear gas, even though its use has been banned in warfare.

The convention which went into effect in 1997 bans the use of riot control agents, like tear gas, in war, but specifically states domestic law enforcement can still use chemical agents to control riots, according to Politifact.

In a brief interview earlier this week, city Police Chief Al Thomas said the decision was made to use the tear gas after people refused to leave and items were thrown at officers and pepper spray was used. The activists deny any use of pepper spray against police and, instead, argue police were not provoked.

When asked for information about the alleged assaults against their officers or the alleged use of pepper spray, a police spokesman said the department will release additional information about the rally in the future, while an internal review moves forward.

Every city officer at the rally wore a body camera during Saturdays events, and police said it will take time to go through all of the footage.

Two ACLU legal observers and members of the media were among those hit by the tear gas. Now the organizations Virginia chapter is urging Charlottesville residents to email the City Council about a lack of civilian oversight of policing at the local level.

The ACLUs form letter makes three requests:

We plan on reviewing these requests carefully, as we do all constituent requests of council, in consultation with our staff, Mayor Mike Signer said.

The Charlottesville police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adeola Ogunkeyede, director of the Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center, also attended Fridays news conference and said police could have done a better job of de-escalating tensions between the community and Klan members.

Asking for police to remain peaceful and use more de-escalation techniques in the future, Ogunkeyede said its important for police to understand how hate groups like the KKK deeply affect the community.

There is no better way for the city of Charlottesville to demonstrate that it respects the humanity of all its community members than by directing law enforcement to show understanding to those who gather in solidarity to drown out the racist and violent chants of a group of people who want nothing more than to see those who oppose them harmed, Ogunkeyede said.

Four protesters currently face felony charges, while 10 others face misdemeanor charges. Solidarity Cville is asking the city to drop the charges against them, as well as previous charges filed against activist Veronica Fitzhugh, which include misdemeanor assault charges.

The group also is asking the city to revoke the permit for assembly for the rally in Emancipation Park. The activists question whether Kessler is abiding by the permitting process, and they cite the potential for violence.

According to the permit, the rally is estimated to attract 400 people upset with the citys decision to rename two parks once named for Confederate generals and to sell a statue in one of them.

While the KKK rally also protested the decision, Kessler has tried to distance himself from the Klan.

Kesslers rally, though, has been promoted by former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke and is expected to draw several leaders of the white nationalist alt-right movement, including Richard Spencer, who led a torch-lit rally at the foot of the citys Robert E. Lee statue in May.

Daily Progress staff writer Allison Wrabel contributed to this story.

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Activists, ACLU ask Charlottesville to drop charges, revise police tactics after tear gas deployed at KKK rally – Richmond.com

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22 arrested, tear gas deployed as Ku Klux Klan rallies in …

CHARLOTTESVILLE After seeing the Ku Klux Klan in the movies, Jabril Carter thought he knew a little bit about what to expect Saturday. But coming face to face with around 50 Klan members rallying in Charlottesville stirred something deeper he couldnt easily explain.

My adrenaline is pumping right now, the 23-year-old cook said as he paused on the chaotic downtown streets of the progressive college town he grew up in. It hurt my soul, man.

Carter was part of a group of young African-American men who stood directly in front of the Klan rally, taunting the robe-wearing, Confederate flag-waving group as a crowd of protesters estimated at over 1,000 drowned out the Klans white-pride speeches.

The 45-minute rally in Justice Park newly renamed as part of Charlottesvilles push to rid itself of public parks designed to honor the Confederacy while elevating African-American history was mostly peaceful due to a massive police presence involving more than 100 Charlottesville and Virginia State Police personnel.

Protesters hurled a few water bottles and pieces of fruit at the ralliers, and a few Klansmen shouted racial slurs and directed white-power salutes at the crowd. Direct physical confrontations were avoided as police escorted the Klan members in and out of the park and enforced a strict barricade between the two groups.

The rally was supposed to begin at 3 p.m., but got off to a late start apparently due to the logistical difficulties of safely moving the Klansmen through the crowd encircling the fenced-off demonstration area.

Police arrested several protesters who tried to block the entrance to the park before the Klan members entered around 3:45 p.m. Tensions escalated after the Klan group left the rally site. Protesters rushed through the streets trying to track the Klan and block roads as police tried to allow vehicles to exit.

Unable to reach the Klan members, several protesters shouted angrily at the police for protecting the group, chanting: Cops and the Klan go hand in hand!

Using a bullhorn, police told the group to disperse and warned that chemical agents would be used on anyone who stayed. After a group of protesters formed a line across High Street near the citys courthouses, police shot three tear gas canisters into the crowd around 5 p.m.

In a statement Sunday morning, city officials said 22 people were arrested. On Saturday, officials had reported that 23 were arrested.

Most appeared to be anti-Klan protesters, but officials could not immediately provide the affiliations of those arrested. Three people were hospitalized; two for heat-related issues and one for alcohol, officials said.

The Klan rally was the latest flashpoint in a summer of unrest in Charlottesville, where the City Council voted to strip the names of Confederate generals from two parks and begin the process of removing statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson. In May, alt-right figure Richard Spencer, a leader of the new wave of white identity groups, participated in a torch-lit rally around the Lee statue. Alt-right groups are planning to return to the city next month for whats being billed as a bigger rally to Unite the Right.

Saturdays Klan rally took place in the shadow of the Jackson statue in what used to be Jackson Park.

Klan members held signs with anti-Semitic and anti-black slurs. In interviews, several members said they came to Charlottesville to protect white history and argued that white people alone are told they have no right to racial pride.

Israels got a wall around their country. Why cant we have a wall around ours? said Douglas Barker, one of a few Klan members who spoke to reporters. They believe in preserving their own race. Why is it wrong for the white man to preserve their own race?

Many of the Klan members declined to give their names or say where they were from, but several who did said they had come from out of state.

Several shouting matches broke out before the rally between the protesters and a handful of people displaying Confederate flags who said that even though they dont support the Klan, the statues should still be preserved.

City leaders and University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan had encouraged the Charlottesville community to avoid the Klan rally. A slate of alternative events was organized to give people other outlets and avoid drawing attention to the Klan.

Groups like this come to communities like this for the purpose of incitement and controversy and a twisted kind of celebrity, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said in an interview after swinging through the park in the early afternoon. The victory over them is to deny them that and keep on not only telling our story but refusing to be intimidated away from the sort of work we have been doing that has made us a target for these kinds of groups.

Plenty of others wanted to meet the Klan head-on, insisting on countering hate with direct resistance. The park was a full-blown spectacle even before the Klan arrived, with drum circles, singing and a man wearing nothing but a loincloth shimmying in front of a street preacher.

Sarah Fitzgerald, 23, of Staunton, said that even though Klan members have the right to free speech, the crowd that dwarfed the Klan has every right to counter it with their own.

That we are still allowing this straightforward hate group to still have a voice at this time in this country, its just crazy, Fitzgerald said.

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22 arrested, tear gas deployed as Ku Klux Klan rallies in …

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Four charged with felonies related to Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville – Richmond.com

Four people are facing felony charges following Saturdays Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville.

Twenty-two people were arrested Saturday during the rally and subsequent protests in and around Justice Park, according to police.

Sarah E. Barner, 32; Diego Trujillo, 20; and Naomi Michelle Bendersky, 18, all face felony charges of wearing masks in a public place. Jordan Lee Romeo faces a felony charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer.

All four are expected to appear in court on Aug. 24.

Ten other people are facing misdemeanor charges:

Jarell Sykes Jones, 28, faces a charge of assault and battery.

Jo Zenobia Donahue, 24; Thomas Freman, 52; Nicolas Roy McCarthy, 28; Veronica Haunami Fitzhugh, 38; and Jeanne Marie Peterson, 37, each face a charge of obstructing free passage.

Katherine M. Niles, 26; Erika Jenna Riles, 25; and Tracy Gene Redd, 25, each face a charge of obstructing justice.

Rasha Langston, 19, faces a charge of failing to disperse in a riot.

As the Klan members were escorted back to their vehicles by police following their rally on Saturday, counter-protesters tried to block them from leaving. At that point, police declared the gathering to be an unlawful assembly and told people to leave or they would be arrested.

Once the Klan members left the city, the protesters turned their attention toward police and refused to leave the area. State police tossed three canisters of tear gas toward the protesters in an effort to disperse the group, which has been criticized by activists as excessive.

Police currently are assessing the rally response and investigating the days events.

On Facebook, Mayor Mike Signer had expressed his gratitude for the way the rally turned out, as well as his support for how police handled public safety.

At the end of the day, our police succeeded in executing their strategy of protecting both the 1st Amendment and public safety up to and during the KKK rally, he said.

On Monday, he addressed criticisms, saying authorities owe our citizens an accurate account both of what happened on July 8 and why, and adding that city police Chief Al Thomas would answer questions from the media on Tuesday.

Signer continued: I know that July 8 was deeply distressing for many. For anyone who experienced trauma that day, I am sorry. I recognize that many in our community had different opinions about July 8, including whether to directly protest the rally, participate in other events or stay home. But I am deeply proud that we spoke with one voice in rejecting bigotry here.

Albemarle County Commonwealths Attorney Robert Tracci also took to Facebook to ask for patience as authorities assess the rally while also praising local and state law enforcement.

I urge all area citizens to extend heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the exceptional sacrifice and professionalism of our law enforcement community, Tracci wrote.

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Four charged with felonies related to Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville – Richmond.com

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Confronting White Supremacy: Lessons From a Counter-Rally at the Birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan – Truth-Out

On Saturday, July 8, members of the Ku Klux Klan arrived at a park in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Police violently removed counterprotesters who were blocking the Klan from entering the park. (Photo courtesy of Laura Goldblatt)

Since election night 2016, the streets of the US have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this ongoing “Interviews for Resistance” series, experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers share their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same. Today’s interview is the 54th in the series.Click here for the most recent interview before this one.

Today we bring you a conversation withLaura Goldblatt, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Mimi Arbeit, an organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice, a group working to end white supremacy and make reparations in the city of Charlottesville.

Sarah Jaffe: We are talking on Saturday [July 8] after the conclusion of a rally by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the counter-rally that you helped organize. Tell us about how the rally went.

Laura Goldblatt:I think today people in Charlottesville showed up in an act of community of self-defense when the city showed that they would not defend us, nor would the police. In that sense, we celebrated our strength as a community and our ability to stand with each other and provide some measure of safe space in the midst of a really hostile moment.

People showed up at the park early in the day. People started with prayers and more and more people gathered. There was music. There were people with signs. There was this beautiful crane installation of a thousand cranes because cranes are a Japanese sign of solidarity. It is believed that if you fold a thousand cranes, you will be granted a wish. So, people embedded in the cranes their wishes to end white supremacy.

There were thousands of people there. It was a really moving show of the community coming out despite the fact that the city had officially discouraged people [from] coming and instead organized a variety of alternative events. Then, the police provided safe passage for the Klan to enter the park. They violently removed protesters who were standing at the entrance that the Klan had intended to use in order to prevent them from entering and from endangering our community. Police brutally removed those protesters, but nonetheless, activists remained chanting at the Klan and lingered long after, following the police as the police, again, provided safe passage to the Klan back to their cars.

Then, following that, the police set off several chemical agents, including several in the vicinity of activists who they had injured in pushing them away or pushing them down. Those activists were in the direct line of those chemical agents and could not move because they were wounded.

We delayed the Klan. They showed up. Their permit was from 3 pm to 4 pm and they didn’t even get into the park until like 3:55pm. we could not completely prevent them from entering. It would have been a bigger victory, but yes, we delayed them. There were like eight of them and thousands of us. We are stronger than them; there [were] more of us than them, and the state and the threat of racist terrorism can’t keep us away.

Mimi Arbeit:Charlottesville mobilized yesterday. The people of Charlottesville came out in high numbers with strong spirit and really showed the vibrancy of our collective energy to resist intimidation and initiate change. What we did see was that the police were there to protect white supremacy. The police chose the Klan over our people. That is excruciating.

Let’s go back a little bit. Tell us about the history of the Klan in this area. Why did they decide to have this rally here now?

Goldblatt:Part of the reason that the Klan is coming back is because of the city council vote to remove the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee statues from two public parks in the area. The Klan has a really long and intimate history with those statues. The Klan wasformed [in Charlottesville] in 1921 at Thomas Jefferson’s grave at Monticello. So, they are very closely tied with a long history that goes all the way back to the founding of the United States as a sovereign nation in terms of the history of white supremacy.

Then, the Klan, with various supporters, put up these statues. They were actually put up overlooking what, at the time, were two prominent Black communities as a way to intimidate people of color and Jews and immigrants in the area. They served as a kind of warning. In a lot of ways, the Klan coming back today to this particular park and to rally around this statue was a kind of homecoming for them and shows us the ties between historical white supremacy and its persistence in the city to this day.

Arbeit:To talk about history, let’s start with the person who is credited with the founding of Charlottesville, which is Thomas Jefferson, who also founded UVA, the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson popularized white supremacist ideology in this country. The history of enslavement, the history of Thomas Jefferson raping Sally Hemings is connected to the history of the Lee and Jackson statues that uphold the violence of the confederacy and the oppression of slavery, and the Klan is part of that history, too.

What we need to do in Charlottesville is to confront the legacy of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson is still celebrated. There is a festival weekend dedicated to celebrating him. The president of the University of Virginia, Teresa Sullivan, references Thomas Jefferson time and again. There are so many things named after Thomas Jefferson. The people of Charlottesville need to confront and be able to betray the racist, rapist legacy of Thomas Jefferson in order to truly be ready to do the work of racial justice.

On Saturday, July 8, anti-racism organizers formed a counterprotest to a KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Eze Amos)

You mentioned briefly the response of the city government to the Klan deciding to have this rally and the police protecting them. Talk a little bit about the different attempts that were made to stop this from happening.

Goldblatt:People had been to city council meetings and had demanded that this permit be revoked as a matter of public safety and we reiterated that demand for August 12 — which will be an even larger white supremacist really in newly named Emancipation Park, which was formerly called Lee Park — where we are going to see even more groups, groups that have a real commitment to violence and have been violent at other similar events across the nation. So, activists attended city council meetings and demanded that these permits be revoked as a matter of public safety.

People wrote letters, sent emails, wrote editorials and the city had said that this is constitutionally protected free speech and that they cannot revoke the permit and these groups are allowed to come despite the threat that they pose to public safety. Instead, the city has said, “You should just ignore them. We will provide other events for you to go to,” but, of course, historically, ignoring white supremacy has not been a winning strategy.

Tell us about the organizing that has been done on that front since the city refused to revoke the permit. Talk about how the counter-rally came together today and the ties in the community that are growing out of this organizing.

Goldblatt:There were a bunch of groups that came together to organize. It was a larger coalition than we had seen so far in terms of different groups. One group that was organizing was SURJ — Standing Up for Racial Justice. There was a Black Lives Matter chapter that was organized. There was a recently formed group called Congregate C’ville, which is a group of faith leaders who are really concerned about white supremacy and racial justice and have come together in an act of solidarity with these other groups.

We saw that there are these other groups — EPiC: Equity and Progress in Charlottesville — which plugs a lot of the events and some people had cross-pollinated between the two groups. And even some people from the Indivisible chapters of Charlottesville had come to organizing meetings. There are also some other local activists who lent their hands. We had a lot of people working on a lot of different fronts.

It was a really, really large rally. It took a lot of organizing. All these different groups were meeting on these various topics. Everything from action plans, security, to medics, to jail support and then attentive legal response. We only really came together as a larger coalition with certain representatives yesterday and got to talk through how we were taking care of each other and things like that.

Arbeit:Showing Up for Racial Justice is committed to mobilizing white people to do the work of dismantling white supremacy and supporting the Movement for Black Lives. We have been working in Charlottesville on a number of levels to have conversations to make sure that white people are paying attention and engaging and also doing the deep healing work to open ourselves to seeing the lies of white supremacy and to reconcile the harm that has been done for centuries, and working in coalition with brilliant and powerful activists in all different kinds of groups. Some people working sometimes with organizations, sometimes representing themselves, a lot of people just coming out to do the work as individuals, as community members, because it is essential work to do.

You said there is going to be another larger rally in August.

Goldblatt:Yes.

What are some lessons that you took away from how this rally went that you are planning to put into the planning for the next one?

Goldblatt:One lesson is that our community is strong and that we are looking out for each other and we are here to protect each other despite the fact that it is very clear that the city and the police are not there to protect us. That is an old activist lesson, but one that I think was reiterated across today. The police are here to protect capitalism. They are here to protect white supremacy, and we shouldn’t be surprised that we see these racist policies in our criminal justice system with things like bail bond and the fact that people can be held because they are too poor to get themselves out of jail, or the ways that people [are] prosecuted for drug crimes in the area.

I think those are two big lessons that were strong. That the police are not necessarily for us. But the other lesson we learned is that these monuments are symbols of white supremacy in Charlottesville and it is not enough to call for their removal. We have to push for these material demands. We have to say, “You cannot get rid of one without getting rid of the other,” and that these two things are linked. We are using this as a way to catalyze communities in Charlottesville.

Arbeit:Yes, it is interesting that you say that. The rally coming up in Charlottesville is the August 12 Unite the Right March on Charlottesville. This is planned by a set of new white supremacist groups that have been on the rise more recently. The Klan, specifically as the Ku Klux Klan, is not named, but these newer white supremacist groups are no different from the KKK, except they pose an even greater threat of violence.

Ignoring the Klan in the 1920s allowed them to terrorize and murder Black people, andignoring new white supremacist groups today– these ones that are coming in August [to] Charlottesville –led to their gain in political power, led to their gain of the presidency, and has led to harassment and violence nationwide.We must confront and disavow this march on Charlottesville that is scheduled [for] August 12. The local community is asking Mayor [Mike] Signer and the City of Charlottesville to revoke the permit for the August 12 rally. This is essential for racial justice and for community safety.

Talk a little bit about the things that you want to see change see down in Charlottesville, the organizing beyond just confronting the right.

Goldblatt:I mentioned some of the changes to the criminal justice system. We have what we call JADE — Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement. This is a really inequitable system that targets people of color and gives them really serious criminal sentences for small possession for personal use and has been used to decimate poor [communities] and communities of color in Charlottesville in ways that have disenfranchised and decimated inherited wealth for generations. That is one thing we see. Same thing with the bail bond system.

We are at a crisis for public housing in Charlottesville. I should mention that PHAR — the Public Housing Association of Residents — is really active here. They have been doing a lot of self-advocacy, but also through their support behind this rally. They have put forth a really robust and compelling plan for what public housing should prioritize and what it should look like. But we see instead that the city has been favoring developers and have been trying to basically ghetto-ize the city’s poorest residents. Those policies need to change. They need to take real action to solve this public housing crisis and make sure that our most vulnerable communities have access to safe jobs and to safe places to live.

We want the August 12 permit revoked. We want the statues removed. And we want them to change the ways that the foster care system works because we see that people of color lose their children at really astonishing rates. It is totally racist to take these kids out of homes where they are loved and to put them into these really unstable circumstances because of a sense that certain kinds of homes don’t meet a white standard of what they should look like.

Arbeit:This is a mobilizing moment. Particularly for white Americans, this moment can be a life-changing moment to see how much deeper we need to go for Black lives to matter here and to see the threat of violence and the possibility of movement-building. I want people to see that if Charlottesville can be a target of racist violence and intimidation, communities across the country can also be a target of racist violence and intimidation.If Charlottesville can mobilize in resistance, communities across the country can also mobilize in resistance.

How can people keep up with you and the work that the coalition is doing, especially leading up to the August rally?

Goldblatt:We have a website:solidaritycville.com. People should check us out there. They can follow us on Twitter@SolidCville.They can also check out theBlack Lives Matter chapter in Charlottesville by liking their Facebook page. Same thing with SURJ: Standing Up for Racial Justice, the chapter in Charlottesville. I don’t know if Congregate C’ville has a Facebook page yet, but hopefully they will soon, if they don’t. They can follow all of those.

We are planning not to be idle between now and August 12. We are going to continue to advocate for our cause, advocate to have that permit revoked, but also to advocate for changing these policies that Charlottesville — like other places in the country — is confronting this real terrorism of racial injustice and racial violence and we can stop it. We can make this change and we can have a community that provides good jobs and a sense where people are able to watch out for each other and to support each other rather than having to deal with police oppression and brutality.

Interviews for Resistance is a project of Sarah Jaffe, with assistance from Laura Feuillebois and support from the Nation Institute. It is also available as apodcastoniTunes. Not to be reprinted without permission.

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Confronting White Supremacy: Lessons From a Counter-Rally at the Birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan – Truth-Out

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Skeletons in the closet: Historical society displays KKK robes, keeps owners secret – C-VILLE Weekly

After several weeks of prodding by a UVA researcher, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society produced two of the 26 Ku Klux Klan robes in its collection, but its president refused to reveal which of the citys citizens wore those robes in the 1920s.

The yellowed robes were stretched out in the exhibit hall of the historical society July 6 for a private viewing that included the media, UVA researchers and members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces.

The robes were discovered in a shed in the eastern part of the city in 1993, according to the historical society. The Klan apparel was stored in a crate and had been exposed to dirt, heat, humidity and wear.

The resident who discovered and donated the robes did not request that his or her identity be concealed, nor did the donor request that the original owners of the robes remain anonymous, says historical society president Steven Meeks.

Due to the sensitive nature of these artifacts, and in the interest of protecting the privacy of the descendants of both the donors and the original owners of the artifacts, at this time the society is not disclosing the address where the artifacts were found, nor the identity of the donor or the names of the two Klan members associated with this collections, says Meeks.

Along with the robes was a KKK certificate of knighthood dated June 1, 1926. A facsimile of the certificate was enlarged and the name of the Klansman was redacted.

Meeks did not attempt to contact the donors, he says. He cited the impending visit of the Loyal Knights of the KKK as the reason for protecting the owners and their descendant

That decision caused some concern among the historians and members of the blue ribbon commission present.

UVA Associate Professor Jalane Schmidt, who is researching UVAs ties to the KKK, which donated $1,000 to Memorial Gym in 1921, says she filed a research request with the historical society in mid-June to view the robes and received no response.

She believes the robes should be displayed and the owners revealed. This is not good practice for a historical society, she says.

John Edwin Mason is a UVA history professor who served on the blue ribbon commission. If the historical society displays the robes, as Meeks suggested it might, to understand them fully, its job would be to interpret the artifacts, says Mason, You cant do your job as a historical society without the provenance being attached to the display of this archive. It just cant be done.

Mason questioned protecting the identity of owners who are long since dead. Knowing who wore the robes is essential to understanding the role of the Ku Klux Klan in Charlottesville society, he says.

Meeks did say the wearers of the two robes displayed were neither one prominent members of the town.

But a June 28, 1921, Daily Progress article on the newly organized Klan chapter and its inaugural cross-burning at Monticello says the event was attended by hundreds of Charlottesvilles leading business and professional men.

And a 1922 Progress story notes that robed and masked Klan members showed up with a floral tribute with three Ks spelled out in white flowers at the funeral of Albemarle Sheriff C.M. Thomas.

I think [Meeks] is being overly cautious when it comes to the people who at the time were associated with the Klan, says Mason. He says hes much less bothered with keeping the names of the donors secret.

But Don Gathers, who chaired the blue ribbon commission, says what the Klan members stood for is morally wrong, and the fact that the donors did not request anonymity raises the question why Meeks would take that stance.

Doug Day, former executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, says he displayed the robes in 2005 or 2006. At the time, the provenance was already smudged, he says. The garments were found in Belmont when someone bought a house there, he adds.

Day says he would have real reservations about releasing the names of the owners and donors. Why expose them? To what end? he asks. Its perfectly in the purview of the historical society to withhold the names.

Attorney and lifelong Charlottesville resident Lewis Martin says Meeks discussed the issue with him. It wasnt so much a legal decision as about where we are now, says Martin. The historical society didnt want to expose any descendants of Klan members, nor discourage anyone who might want to donate artifacts to the organization.

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Skeletons in the closet: Historical society displays KKK robes, keeps owners secret – C-VILLE Weekly

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How to defend the Constitution when the KKK comes to town – CNN

As many Americans are aware, a great deal of what most would call hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. The Nazis in Skokie are the classic case. In 1977, the National Socialist Party of America proposed to march in this predominantly Jewish community, home to many Holocaust survivors. The ACLU defended their right to wear Nazi uniforms and display swastikas, and courts upheld that right. The Nazis won (though they ultimately decided to march elsewhere).

I used to talk about freedom and its costs in terms of Skokie. This fall, when the students return, I will be talking about home.

As in Skokie, the demonstrations in Charlottesville have proved the strength of the First Amendment but also shown its steep cost. The Nazis chose Skokie precisely because its residents would find their message deeply offensive. Hate groups have targeted Charlottesville precisely because it voted to take down the monument, and because it is a community actively grappling with a thorny Confederate and Jim Crow past.

Not only that, but the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists all reject a basic tenet of the American system: that all people are created equal. So why does our Constitution protect them?

Not because they deserve respect. In popular culture, people sometimes act as though “exercising my First Amendment rights” should earn them a pat on the back and, if not agreement, at least grudging respect. Nothing about the First Amendment requires that. We permit hate speech, but we need not respect it.

We also need not worry that we’re wrong in our lack of respect. Judge Learned Hand, quoting Oliver Cromwell, said that every courthouse and public building should have inscribed above its entrance, “Consider that ye may be wrong.” But there are certain facts that do not require hedging, and the fundamental equality of all people is one of them.

But these reasons have their costs, and those costs are not borne equally. They fall disproportionately on African-American, Jewish, Muslim, and other minority members of the community. They are the ones who absorb these very public, very ugly assertions that they are worth less than other Americans.

They are the ones who have to live with not only the message of these demonstrations but also the unpredictability of where all this is going. In the short term, the city is preparing for another rally of white nationalists on August 12. In the long term, the fact is that free speech is not free, and we do not split the check evenly.

One thing we must all do is be conscious of these costs. Another is to recognize that, in permitting all viewpoints, the First Amendment puts the responsibility on us to choose what to espouse and what to reject. All views are not equally good. It may be vital to the legitimacy of our system that we have the freedom to choose. It is vital to its survival that we choose wisely.

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Ku Klux Klan rally attracts large counterprotest in …

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A rally here by the Ku Klux Klan and its supporters to protest the Charlottesville city council’s decision to remove a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee encountered a loud and angry counterprotest Saturday afternoon.

Members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which is based in Pelham, North Carolina near the Virginia border, gathered at Justice Park, situated in a quiet, leafy residential neighborhood in downtown Charlottesville. They shouted “white power” and some wore white robes.

About 30 Klansmen were escorted to and from the rally by police in riot gear who were out on a hot day to separate the rally-goers and approximately 1,000 counterprotesters who greeted them with jeers. Attempts by Klan leaders to address the crowd were repeatedly drowned out by boos and chants. Some of the Klan members arrived armed, carrying handguns in holsters at their belts.

Scroll through the gallery to see photos from the rally and protest.

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this

A counter-protester holds up a sign before a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

A counter-protester holds up a sign before a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet

A Ku Klux Klan group from North Carolina protested in Justice Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson

A Ku Klux Klan group from North Carolina protested in Justice Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: The Ku Klux Klan protests on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: The Ku Klux Klan protests on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -JULY 08: Some of the crowd of anti-KKK protestors are reflected in the sunglasses of a KKK member. A KKK group from North Carolina called the Loyal White Knights protested in Justice Park (formerly Jackson Park) because they aren’t happy with decisions being made by the city that will effect Civil War memorials in city parks. Less than 50 KKK members attended but hundreds of counter protestors showed up against them.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -JULY 08: Some of the crowd of anti-KKK protestors are reflected in the sunglasses of a KKK member. A KKK group from North Carolina called the Loyal White Knights protested in Justice Park

Members of the Ku Klux Klan arrive for a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan arrive for a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Officers clash with counter protestors after the Ku Klux Klan staged a protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Officers clash with counter protestors after the Ku Klux Klan staged a protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A woman who had been tear gassed is helped away after a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A woman who had been tear gassed is helped away after a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal

Police are covered in tear gas used on counter-protesters following a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

Police are covered in tear gas used on counter-protesters following a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A protestor has his face washed after being tear gassed during a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A protestor has his face washed after being tear gassed during a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Counter protestors gather during a planned Ku Klux Klan protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Counter protestors gather during a planned Ku Klux Klan protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General

Ku Klux Klan rally attracts large counterprotest in Charlottesville

The rally was held about a block away from Emancipation Park – the renamed Lee Park – where the statue of Lee astride a horse still stands. Charlottesville police reported that vandals had painted messages in green and red paint on the statue overnight.

More than one hundred officers from the Virginia state police, Albemarle County police and University of Virginia police were prepared to assist Charlottesville police in maintaining order.

After the Klan rally ended, police led several people away in handcuffs after a large group of counterprotesters remained near the vicinity of the park. Police asked those still gathered nearby to disperse. Wearing riot gear and gas masks, the police declared the counterprotesters “an unlawful assembly” and used gas canisters to compel them to leave the area.

Police said Sunday that 22 people were arrested. Authorities said three people were hospitalized – two for heat-related issues and one for an alcohol-related issue.

Story continues below.

“I was pleased with the professionalism and commitment of our law enforcement partners as our safety plan was well executed. Officers traveled from near and far to assist the CPD in maintaining law and order during this difficult endeavor,” Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said Sunday.

“Hundreds of local citizens rose up in a non-violent protest against the hate that was being spewed in Justice Park,” Thomas said in a statement. “When Klan members arrived, the atmosphere quickly became emotionally charged. Several outside groups made it clear they would become confrontational; however, we were prepared for the unrest that occurred near the conclusion of the event which unfortunately resulted in a number of arrests. Order was quickly restored and our community remains safe.”

Charlottesville, a city of close to 50,000 and home to the prestigious public flagship campus of the University of Virginia, had become increasingly tense as the rally approached. “A CITY ON EDGE” read the front-page headline in the local paper, The Daily Progress, on Saturday.

City leaders organized diversionary events elsewhere in the city and encouraged residents and visitors to not confront the KKK members directly. While many took that advice, others wanted to make sure the rally participants heard their voices.

“It is important for me to be here because the Klan was ignored in the 1920s and they metastasized,” said Jalane Schmidt, a professor at the University of Virginia who has been among those leading the call for the Lee statue removal. “They need to know that their ideology is not acceptable.”

“I teach about slavery and African-American history and it’s important to face the Klan and to face the demons of our collective history and our original sin of slavery. We do it on behalf of our ancestors who were terrorized by them.”

Though the council voted to remove the statue, a court order has stopped the city from acting on that decision until a hearing next month. Some observers predict a protracted legal battle that would further delay the removal.

In an editorial last month, city councilwoman Kristin Szakos said the council voted to remove the statue and join a “growing group of cities around the nation that have decided that they no longer want to give pride of place to tributes to the Confederate Lost Cause erected in the early part of the 20th century.”

The Klan says the city’s decision to remove the Lee statue is part of a wider effort to get rid of white history.

“They’re trying to erase the white culture right out of the history books,” Klan member James Moore said on Thursday.

Brandi Fisher, of Ridgeley, West Virginia, drove hours to attend the rally.

“I don’t agree with everything the Klan believes, but I do believe our history should not be taken away,” said Fisher, 41. “Are we going to remove the Washington and Jefferson memorials because they were slave owners?”

Ezra Israel, 32, who is African-American, says the statue should stay up as a reminder of slavery and the people who supported it.

“It’s hiding history to take it down,” he said as he made his way to the rally. “We need to leave it up so people can see it and see that we were oppressed and we’re still a product of that today.”

Toung Nguyen, an immigrant from Vietnam who moved to Charlottesville as a child in the early 1980s, believes the money that will be spent on removing the statue could be better used improving the local school system. But he says racism has gotten worse in the last couple of years and he understands why many believe the statue needs to go.

“It’s just disappointing that we still have to deal with this kind of nonsense,” Nguyen said. “Our country feels like it’s going full circle.”

Charlottesville is already planning for another protest next month. Several white nationalist groups have a permit for an Aug. 12 rally also calling for the council’s decision on the statue to be reversed.

– – –

The Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro contributed to this report.

Video: The Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Charlottesville, VA protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Approximately 1000 counterprotesters surrounded them in opposition. (Zoeann Murphy / The Washington Post)

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UPDATE: 22 arrested, tear gas deployed as Ku Klux Klan …

CHARLOTTESVILLE After seeing the Ku Klux Klan in the movies, Jabril Carter thought he knew a little bit about what to expect Saturday. But coming face to face with around 50 Klan members rallying in Charlottesville stirred something deeper he couldnt easily explain.

My adrenaline is pumping right now, the 23-year-old cook said as he paused on the chaotic downtown streets of the progressive college town he grew up in. It hurt my soul, man.

Carter was part of a group of young African-American men who stood directly in front of the Klan rally, taunting the robe-wearing, Confederate flag-waving group as a crowd of protesters estimated at over 1,000 drowned out the Klans white-pride speeches.

The 45-minute rally in Justice Park newly renamed as part of Charlottesvilles push to rid itself of public parks designed to honor the Confederacy while elevating African-American history was mostly peaceful due to a massive police presence involving more than 100 Charlottesville and Virginia State Police personnel.

Protesters hurled a few water bottles and pieces of fruit at the ralliers, and a few Klansmen shouted racial slurs and directed white-power salutes at the crowd. Direct physical confrontations were avoided as police escorted the Klan members in and out of the park and enforced a strict barricade between the two groups.

The rally was supposed to begin at 3 p.m., but got off to a late start apparently due to the logistical difficulties of safely moving the Klansmen through the crowd encircling the fenced-off demonstration area.

Police arrested several protesters who tried to block the entrance to the park before the Klan members entered around 3:45 p.m. Tensions escalated after the Klan group left the rally site. Protesters rushed through the streets trying to track the Klan and block roads as police tried to allow vehicles to exit.

Unable to reach the Klan members, several protesters shouted angrily at the police for protecting the group, chanting: Cops and the Klan go hand in hand!

Using a bullhorn, police told the group to disperse and warned that chemical agents would be used on anyone who stayed. After a group of protesters formed a line across High Street near the citys courthouses, police shot three tear gas canisters into the crowd around 5 p.m.

In a statement Sunday morning, city officials said 22 people were arrested. On Saturday, officials had reported that 23 were arrested.

Most appeared to be anti-Klan protesters, but officials could not immediately provide the affiliations of those arrested. Three people were hospitalized; two for heat-related issues and one for alcohol, officials said.

The Klan rally was the latest flashpoint in a summer of unrest in Charlottesville, where the City Council voted to strip the names of Confederate generals from two parks and begin the process of removing statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson. In May, alt-right figure Richard Spencer, a leader of the new wave of white identity groups, participated in a torch-lit rally around the Lee statue. Alt-right groups are planning to return to the city next month for whats being billed as a bigger rally to Unite the Right.

Saturdays Klan rally took place in the shadow of the Jackson statue in what used to be Jackson Park.

Klan members held signs with anti-Semitic and anti-black slurs. In interviews, several members said they came to Charlottesville to protect white history and argued that white people alone are told they have no right to racial pride.

Israels got a wall around their country. Why cant we have a wall around ours? said Douglas Barker, one of a few Klan members who spoke to reporters. They believe in preserving their own race. Why is it wrong for the white man to preserve their own race?

Many of the Klan members declined to give their names or say where they were from, but several who did said they had come from out of state.

Several shouting matches broke out before the rally between the protesters and a handful of people displaying Confederate flags who said that even though they dont support the Klan, the statues should still be preserved.

City leaders and University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan had encouraged the Charlottesville community to avoid the Klan rally. A slate of alternative events was organized to give people other outlets and avoid drawing attention to the Klan.

Groups like this come to communities like this for the purpose of incitement and controversy and a twisted kind of celebrity, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said in an interview after swinging through the park in the early afternoon. The victory over them is to deny them that and keep on not only telling our story but refusing to be intimidated away from the sort of work we have been doing that has made us a target for these kinds of groups.

Plenty of others wanted to meet the Klan head-on, insisting on countering hate with direct resistance. The park was a full-blown spectacle even before the Klan arrived, with drum circles, singing and a man wearing nothing but a loincloth shimmying in front of a street preacher.

Sarah Fitzgerald, 23, of Staunton, said that even though Klan members have the right to free speech, the crowd that dwarfed the Klan has every right to counter it with their own.

That we are still allowing this straightforward hate group to still have a voice at this time in this country, its just crazy, Fitzgerald said.

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Photos from the Charlottesville KKK rally. – Slate Magazine

On July 8, 2017, the Ku Klux Klan came to Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of two statues commemorating Confederate generals: one of Robert E. Lee, the other of Thomas Stonewall Jackson. Jamelle Bouie The rally wasnt a surprise. This chapter of the Klan, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, had obtained permits for their protest in the spring. Soon after, locals began organizing events to coincidefrom concerts meant to keep people from the circus to a direct counterprotest. As the day of the Klan rally approached, city leaders encouraged residents to stay away. That plea fell on deaf ears. Jamelle Bouie Around 50 Klansmen came to Charlottesville, but more than 1,000 people gathered in response, yelling anti-Klan slogans and otherwise taunting or mocking the assembled white supremacists. Those protesters ranged from clergy to college students, from Black Lives Matter activists to the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Some Klansmen were armed, and local and state police were there to keep the peace. But if anyone was in danger, it was the Klan members, not the protesters. Jamelle Bouie The Loyal White Knights had come to Charlottesville to stand up for white rights. But what they actually did was demonstrate their irrelevance and show the extent to which this incarnation of the KKK is a far cry from its larger, more dangerous predecessors. But while the Klan is a faded image of itself, white supremacy is still a potent ideology. In August, another group of white supremacistsled by white nationalist Richard Spencer and his local allieswill descend on Charlottesville to hold another protest. Unlike the Loyal White Knights, they wont have hoods and costumes; theyll wear suits and khakis. Theyll smile for the cameras and explain their positions in media-friendly language. They will look normalthey might even be confident. After all, in the last year, their movement has been on the upswing, fueled by a larger politics of white grievance that swept a demagogue into office. The Klan, as represented by the men and women who came to Charlottesville, is easy to oppose. They are the archetype of racism, the specter that almost every American can condemn. The real challenge is the less visible bigotry, the genteel racism that cloaks itself in respectability and speaks in code, offering itself as just another perspective. Charlottesville will likely mobilize against Spencer and his group, but the racism he represents will remain, a part of this community and most others across the United States. How does one respond to that? What does one do about that? Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie Jamelle Bouie

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Activists, ACLU ask Charlottesville to drop charges, revise police tactics after tear gas deployed at KKK rally – Richmond.com

CHARLOTTESVILLE Activists want all charges dropped against protesters arrested at the July 8 KKK rally in Charlottesville after they say police used unnecessary force against demonstrators, and the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking residents to urge the City Council to increase civilian oversight and accountability in policing. Lodging allegations of police brutality, activists associated with Solidarity Cville held a news conference Friday in front of the Charlottesville Police Department, asking for police to apologize for their tactics at the rally and revoke the permit for the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally, organized by pro-white blogger Jason Kessler. Emily Gorcenski, who attended the rally, said it was unnecessary for police to declare unlawful assembly as protesters gathered around a garage where members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had parked. She said police did not give protesters and others enough time to leave the area before Virginia State Police deployed three canisters of tear gas. To be frank, it is ridiculous to expect a grieving community, with a deep legacy of racial violence, to simply pack up and go home after the KKK rallied in our city, Gorcenski said. After the Klansmen left, some protesters turned their attention to police and followed officers back up to High Street, where they continued to defy police commands to leave the area. Gorcenski and other activists also criticized police for bringing riot gear and tear gas to the rally. Citing the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, the activists questioned why police still use tear gas, even though its use has been banned in warfare. The convention which went into effect in 1997 bans the use of riot control agents, like tear gas, in war, but specifically states domestic law enforcement can still use chemical agents to control riots, according to Politifact. In a brief interview earlier this week, city Police Chief Al Thomas said the decision was made to use the tear gas after people refused to leave and items were thrown at officers and pepper spray was used. The activists deny any use of pepper spray against police and, instead, argue police were not provoked. When asked for information about the alleged assaults against their officers or the alleged use of pepper spray, a police spokesman said the department will release additional information about the rally in the future, while an internal review moves forward. Every city officer at the rally wore a body camera during Saturdays events, and police said it will take time to go through all of the footage. Two ACLU legal observers and members of the media were among those hit by the tear gas. Now the organizations Virginia chapter is urging Charlottesville residents to email the City Council about a lack of civilian oversight of policing at the local level. The ACLUs form letter makes three requests: We plan on reviewing these requests carefully, as we do all constituent requests of council, in consultation with our staff, Mayor Mike Signer said. The Charlottesville police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Adeola Ogunkeyede, director of the Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center, also attended Fridays news conference and said police could have done a better job of de-escalating tensions between the community and Klan members. Asking for police to remain peaceful and use more de-escalation techniques in the future, Ogunkeyede said its important for police to understand how hate groups like the KKK deeply affect the community. There is no better way for the city of Charlottesville to demonstrate that it respects the humanity of all its community members than by directing law enforcement to show understanding to those who gather in solidarity to drown out the racist and violent chants of a group of people who want nothing more than to see those who oppose them harmed, Ogunkeyede said. Four protesters currently face felony charges, while 10 others face misdemeanor charges. Solidarity Cville is asking the city to drop the charges against them, as well as previous charges filed against activist Veronica Fitzhugh, which include misdemeanor assault charges. The group also is asking the city to revoke the permit for assembly for the rally in Emancipation Park. The activists question whether Kessler is abiding by the permitting process, and they cite the potential for violence. According to the permit, the rally is estimated to attract 400 people upset with the citys decision to rename two parks once named for Confederate generals and to sell a statue in one of them. While the KKK rally also protested the decision, Kessler has tried to distance himself from the Klan. Kesslers rally, though, has been promoted by former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke and is expected to draw several leaders of the white nationalist alt-right movement, including Richard Spencer, who led a torch-lit rally at the foot of the citys Robert E. Lee statue in May. Daily Progress staff writer Allison Wrabel contributed to this story.

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22 arrested, tear gas deployed as Ku Klux Klan rallies in …

CHARLOTTESVILLE After seeing the Ku Klux Klan in the movies, Jabril Carter thought he knew a little bit about what to expect Saturday. But coming face to face with around 50 Klan members rallying in Charlottesville stirred something deeper he couldnt easily explain. My adrenaline is pumping right now, the 23-year-old cook said as he paused on the chaotic downtown streets of the progressive college town he grew up in. It hurt my soul, man. Carter was part of a group of young African-American men who stood directly in front of the Klan rally, taunting the robe-wearing, Confederate flag-waving group as a crowd of protesters estimated at over 1,000 drowned out the Klans white-pride speeches. The 45-minute rally in Justice Park newly renamed as part of Charlottesvilles push to rid itself of public parks designed to honor the Confederacy while elevating African-American history was mostly peaceful due to a massive police presence involving more than 100 Charlottesville and Virginia State Police personnel. Protesters hurled a few water bottles and pieces of fruit at the ralliers, and a few Klansmen shouted racial slurs and directed white-power salutes at the crowd. Direct physical confrontations were avoided as police escorted the Klan members in and out of the park and enforced a strict barricade between the two groups. The rally was supposed to begin at 3 p.m., but got off to a late start apparently due to the logistical difficulties of safely moving the Klansmen through the crowd encircling the fenced-off demonstration area. Police arrested several protesters who tried to block the entrance to the park before the Klan members entered around 3:45 p.m. Tensions escalated after the Klan group left the rally site. Protesters rushed through the streets trying to track the Klan and block roads as police tried to allow vehicles to exit. Unable to reach the Klan members, several protesters shouted angrily at the police for protecting the group, chanting: Cops and the Klan go hand in hand! Using a bullhorn, police told the group to disperse and warned that chemical agents would be used on anyone who stayed. After a group of protesters formed a line across High Street near the citys courthouses, police shot three tear gas canisters into the crowd around 5 p.m. In a statement Sunday morning, city officials said 22 people were arrested. On Saturday, officials had reported that 23 were arrested. Most appeared to be anti-Klan protesters, but officials could not immediately provide the affiliations of those arrested. Three people were hospitalized; two for heat-related issues and one for alcohol, officials said. The Klan rally was the latest flashpoint in a summer of unrest in Charlottesville, where the City Council voted to strip the names of Confederate generals from two parks and begin the process of removing statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson. In May, alt-right figure Richard Spencer, a leader of the new wave of white identity groups, participated in a torch-lit rally around the Lee statue. Alt-right groups are planning to return to the city next month for whats being billed as a bigger rally to Unite the Right. Saturdays Klan rally took place in the shadow of the Jackson statue in what used to be Jackson Park. Klan members held signs with anti-Semitic and anti-black slurs. In interviews, several members said they came to Charlottesville to protect white history and argued that white people alone are told they have no right to racial pride. Israels got a wall around their country. Why cant we have a wall around ours? said Douglas Barker, one of a few Klan members who spoke to reporters. They believe in preserving their own race. Why is it wrong for the white man to preserve their own race? Many of the Klan members declined to give their names or say where they were from, but several who did said they had come from out of state. Several shouting matches broke out before the rally between the protesters and a handful of people displaying Confederate flags who said that even though they dont support the Klan, the statues should still be preserved. City leaders and University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan had encouraged the Charlottesville community to avoid the Klan rally. A slate of alternative events was organized to give people other outlets and avoid drawing attention to the Klan. Groups like this come to communities like this for the purpose of incitement and controversy and a twisted kind of celebrity, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said in an interview after swinging through the park in the early afternoon. The victory over them is to deny them that and keep on not only telling our story but refusing to be intimidated away from the sort of work we have been doing that has made us a target for these kinds of groups. Plenty of others wanted to meet the Klan head-on, insisting on countering hate with direct resistance. The park was a full-blown spectacle even before the Klan arrived, with drum circles, singing and a man wearing nothing but a loincloth shimmying in front of a street preacher. Sarah Fitzgerald, 23, of Staunton, said that even though Klan members have the right to free speech, the crowd that dwarfed the Klan has every right to counter it with their own. That we are still allowing this straightforward hate group to still have a voice at this time in this country, its just crazy, Fitzgerald said.

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July 13, 2017   Posted in: Ku Klux Klan  Comments Closed

Four charged with felonies related to Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville – Richmond.com

Four people are facing felony charges following Saturdays Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville. Twenty-two people were arrested Saturday during the rally and subsequent protests in and around Justice Park, according to police. Sarah E. Barner, 32; Diego Trujillo, 20; and Naomi Michelle Bendersky, 18, all face felony charges of wearing masks in a public place. Jordan Lee Romeo faces a felony charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer. All four are expected to appear in court on Aug. 24. Ten other people are facing misdemeanor charges: Jarell Sykes Jones, 28, faces a charge of assault and battery. Jo Zenobia Donahue, 24; Thomas Freman, 52; Nicolas Roy McCarthy, 28; Veronica Haunami Fitzhugh, 38; and Jeanne Marie Peterson, 37, each face a charge of obstructing free passage. Katherine M. Niles, 26; Erika Jenna Riles, 25; and Tracy Gene Redd, 25, each face a charge of obstructing justice. Rasha Langston, 19, faces a charge of failing to disperse in a riot. As the Klan members were escorted back to their vehicles by police following their rally on Saturday, counter-protesters tried to block them from leaving. At that point, police declared the gathering to be an unlawful assembly and told people to leave or they would be arrested. Once the Klan members left the city, the protesters turned their attention toward police and refused to leave the area. State police tossed three canisters of tear gas toward the protesters in an effort to disperse the group, which has been criticized by activists as excessive. Police currently are assessing the rally response and investigating the days events. On Facebook, Mayor Mike Signer had expressed his gratitude for the way the rally turned out, as well as his support for how police handled public safety. At the end of the day, our police succeeded in executing their strategy of protecting both the 1st Amendment and public safety up to and during the KKK rally, he said. On Monday, he addressed criticisms, saying authorities owe our citizens an accurate account both of what happened on July 8 and why, and adding that city police Chief Al Thomas would answer questions from the media on Tuesday. Signer continued: I know that July 8 was deeply distressing for many. For anyone who experienced trauma that day, I am sorry. I recognize that many in our community had different opinions about July 8, including whether to directly protest the rally, participate in other events or stay home. But I am deeply proud that we spoke with one voice in rejecting bigotry here. Albemarle County Commonwealths Attorney Robert Tracci also took to Facebook to ask for patience as authorities assess the rally while also praising local and state law enforcement. I urge all area citizens to extend heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the exceptional sacrifice and professionalism of our law enforcement community, Tracci wrote.

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July 12, 2017   Posted in: Ku Klux Klan  Comments Closed

Confronting White Supremacy: Lessons From a Counter-Rally at the Birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan – Truth-Out

On Saturday, July 8, members of the Ku Klux Klan arrived at a park in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Police violently removed counterprotesters who were blocking the Klan from entering the park. (Photo courtesy of Laura Goldblatt) Since election night 2016, the streets of the US have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this ongoing “Interviews for Resistance” series, experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers share their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same. Today’s interview is the 54th in the series.Click here for the most recent interview before this one. Today we bring you a conversation withLaura Goldblatt, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Mimi Arbeit, an organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice, a group working to end white supremacy and make reparations in the city of Charlottesville. Sarah Jaffe: We are talking on Saturday [July 8] after the conclusion of a rally by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the counter-rally that you helped organize. Tell us about how the rally went. Laura Goldblatt:I think today people in Charlottesville showed up in an act of community of self-defense when the city showed that they would not defend us, nor would the police. In that sense, we celebrated our strength as a community and our ability to stand with each other and provide some measure of safe space in the midst of a really hostile moment. People showed up at the park early in the day. People started with prayers and more and more people gathered. There was music. There were people with signs. There was this beautiful crane installation of a thousand cranes because cranes are a Japanese sign of solidarity. It is believed that if you fold a thousand cranes, you will be granted a wish. So, people embedded in the cranes their wishes to end white supremacy. There were thousands of people there. It was a really moving show of the community coming out despite the fact that the city had officially discouraged people [from] coming and instead organized a variety of alternative events. Then, the police provided safe passage for the Klan to enter the park. They violently removed protesters who were standing at the entrance that the Klan had intended to use in order to prevent them from entering and from endangering our community. Police brutally removed those protesters, but nonetheless, activists remained chanting at the Klan and lingered long after, following the police as the police, again, provided safe passage to the Klan back to their cars. Then, following that, the police set off several chemical agents, including several in the vicinity of activists who they had injured in pushing them away or pushing them down. Those activists were in the direct line of those chemical agents and could not move because they were wounded. We delayed the Klan. They showed up. Their permit was from 3 pm to 4 pm and they didn’t even get into the park until like 3:55pm. we could not completely prevent them from entering. It would have been a bigger victory, but yes, we delayed them. There were like eight of them and thousands of us. We are stronger than them; there [were] more of us than them, and the state and the threat of racist terrorism can’t keep us away. Mimi Arbeit:Charlottesville mobilized yesterday. The people of Charlottesville came out in high numbers with strong spirit and really showed the vibrancy of our collective energy to resist intimidation and initiate change. What we did see was that the police were there to protect white supremacy. The police chose the Klan over our people. That is excruciating. Let’s go back a little bit. Tell us about the history of the Klan in this area. Why did they decide to have this rally here now? Goldblatt:Part of the reason that the Klan is coming back is because of the city council vote to remove the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee statues from two public parks in the area. The Klan has a really long and intimate history with those statues. The Klan wasformed [in Charlottesville] in 1921 at Thomas Jefferson’s grave at Monticello. So, they are very closely tied with a long history that goes all the way back to the founding of the United States as a sovereign nation in terms of the history of white supremacy. Then, the Klan, with various supporters, put up these statues. They were actually put up overlooking what, at the time, were two prominent Black communities as a way to intimidate people of color and Jews and immigrants in the area. They served as a kind of warning. In a lot of ways, the Klan coming back today to this particular park and to rally around this statue was a kind of homecoming for them and shows us the ties between historical white supremacy and its persistence in the city to this day. Arbeit:To talk about history, let’s start with the person who is credited with the founding of Charlottesville, which is Thomas Jefferson, who also founded UVA, the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson popularized white supremacist ideology in this country. The history of enslavement, the history of Thomas Jefferson raping Sally Hemings is connected to the history of the Lee and Jackson statues that uphold the violence of the confederacy and the oppression of slavery, and the Klan is part of that history, too. What we need to do in Charlottesville is to confront the legacy of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson is still celebrated. There is a festival weekend dedicated to celebrating him. The president of the University of Virginia, Teresa Sullivan, references Thomas Jefferson time and again. There are so many things named after Thomas Jefferson. The people of Charlottesville need to confront and be able to betray the racist, rapist legacy of Thomas Jefferson in order to truly be ready to do the work of racial justice. On Saturday, July 8, anti-racism organizers formed a counterprotest to a KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Eze Amos) You mentioned briefly the response of the city government to the Klan deciding to have this rally and the police protecting them. Talk a little bit about the different attempts that were made to stop this from happening. Goldblatt:People had been to city council meetings and had demanded that this permit be revoked as a matter of public safety and we reiterated that demand for August 12 — which will be an even larger white supremacist really in newly named Emancipation Park, which was formerly called Lee Park — where we are going to see even more groups, groups that have a real commitment to violence and have been violent at other similar events across the nation. So, activists attended city council meetings and demanded that these permits be revoked as a matter of public safety. People wrote letters, sent emails, wrote editorials and the city had said that this is constitutionally protected free speech and that they cannot revoke the permit and these groups are allowed to come despite the threat that they pose to public safety. Instead, the city has said, “You should just ignore them. We will provide other events for you to go to,” but, of course, historically, ignoring white supremacy has not been a winning strategy. Tell us about the organizing that has been done on that front since the city refused to revoke the permit. Talk about how the counter-rally came together today and the ties in the community that are growing out of this organizing. Goldblatt:There were a bunch of groups that came together to organize. It was a larger coalition than we had seen so far in terms of different groups. One group that was organizing was SURJ — Standing Up for Racial Justice. There was a Black Lives Matter chapter that was organized. There was a recently formed group called Congregate C’ville, which is a group of faith leaders who are really concerned about white supremacy and racial justice and have come together in an act of solidarity with these other groups. We saw that there are these other groups — EPiC: Equity and Progress in Charlottesville — which plugs a lot of the events and some people had cross-pollinated between the two groups. And even some people from the Indivisible chapters of Charlottesville had come to organizing meetings. There are also some other local activists who lent their hands. We had a lot of people working on a lot of different fronts. It was a really, really large rally. It took a lot of organizing. All these different groups were meeting on these various topics. Everything from action plans, security, to medics, to jail support and then attentive legal response. We only really came together as a larger coalition with certain representatives yesterday and got to talk through how we were taking care of each other and things like that. Arbeit:Showing Up for Racial Justice is committed to mobilizing white people to do the work of dismantling white supremacy and supporting the Movement for Black Lives. We have been working in Charlottesville on a number of levels to have conversations to make sure that white people are paying attention and engaging and also doing the deep healing work to open ourselves to seeing the lies of white supremacy and to reconcile the harm that has been done for centuries, and working in coalition with brilliant and powerful activists in all different kinds of groups. Some people working sometimes with organizations, sometimes representing themselves, a lot of people just coming out to do the work as individuals, as community members, because it is essential work to do. You said there is going to be another larger rally in August. Goldblatt:Yes. What are some lessons that you took away from how this rally went that you are planning to put into the planning for the next one? Goldblatt:One lesson is that our community is strong and that we are looking out for each other and we are here to protect each other despite the fact that it is very clear that the city and the police are not there to protect us. That is an old activist lesson, but one that I think was reiterated across today. The police are here to protect capitalism. They are here to protect white supremacy, and we shouldn’t be surprised that we see these racist policies in our criminal justice system with things like bail bond and the fact that people can be held because they are too poor to get themselves out of jail, or the ways that people [are] prosecuted for drug crimes in the area. I think those are two big lessons that were strong. That the police are not necessarily for us. But the other lesson we learned is that these monuments are symbols of white supremacy in Charlottesville and it is not enough to call for their removal. We have to push for these material demands. We have to say, “You cannot get rid of one without getting rid of the other,” and that these two things are linked. We are using this as a way to catalyze communities in Charlottesville. Arbeit:Yes, it is interesting that you say that. The rally coming up in Charlottesville is the August 12 Unite the Right March on Charlottesville. This is planned by a set of new white supremacist groups that have been on the rise more recently. The Klan, specifically as the Ku Klux Klan, is not named, but these newer white supremacist groups are no different from the KKK, except they pose an even greater threat of violence. Ignoring the Klan in the 1920s allowed them to terrorize and murder Black people, andignoring new white supremacist groups today– these ones that are coming in August [to] Charlottesville –led to their gain in political power, led to their gain of the presidency, and has led to harassment and violence nationwide.We must confront and disavow this march on Charlottesville that is scheduled [for] August 12. The local community is asking Mayor [Mike] Signer and the City of Charlottesville to revoke the permit for the August 12 rally. This is essential for racial justice and for community safety. Talk a little bit about the things that you want to see change see down in Charlottesville, the organizing beyond just confronting the right. Goldblatt:I mentioned some of the changes to the criminal justice system. We have what we call JADE — Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement. This is a really inequitable system that targets people of color and gives them really serious criminal sentences for small possession for personal use and has been used to decimate poor [communities] and communities of color in Charlottesville in ways that have disenfranchised and decimated inherited wealth for generations. That is one thing we see. Same thing with the bail bond system. We are at a crisis for public housing in Charlottesville. I should mention that PHAR — the Public Housing Association of Residents — is really active here. They have been doing a lot of self-advocacy, but also through their support behind this rally. They have put forth a really robust and compelling plan for what public housing should prioritize and what it should look like. But we see instead that the city has been favoring developers and have been trying to basically ghetto-ize the city’s poorest residents. Those policies need to change. They need to take real action to solve this public housing crisis and make sure that our most vulnerable communities have access to safe jobs and to safe places to live. We want the August 12 permit revoked. We want the statues removed. And we want them to change the ways that the foster care system works because we see that people of color lose their children at really astonishing rates. It is totally racist to take these kids out of homes where they are loved and to put them into these really unstable circumstances because of a sense that certain kinds of homes don’t meet a white standard of what they should look like. Arbeit:This is a mobilizing moment. Particularly for white Americans, this moment can be a life-changing moment to see how much deeper we need to go for Black lives to matter here and to see the threat of violence and the possibility of movement-building. I want people to see that if Charlottesville can be a target of racist violence and intimidation, communities across the country can also be a target of racist violence and intimidation.If Charlottesville can mobilize in resistance, communities across the country can also mobilize in resistance. How can people keep up with you and the work that the coalition is doing, especially leading up to the August rally? Goldblatt:We have a website:solidaritycville.com. People should check us out there. They can follow us on Twitter@SolidCville.They can also check out theBlack Lives Matter chapter in Charlottesville by liking their Facebook page. Same thing with SURJ: Standing Up for Racial Justice, the chapter in Charlottesville. I don’t know if Congregate C’ville has a Facebook page yet, but hopefully they will soon, if they don’t. They can follow all of those. We are planning not to be idle between now and August 12. We are going to continue to advocate for our cause, advocate to have that permit revoked, but also to advocate for changing these policies that Charlottesville — like other places in the country — is confronting this real terrorism of racial injustice and racial violence and we can stop it. We can make this change and we can have a community that provides good jobs and a sense where people are able to watch out for each other and to support each other rather than having to deal with police oppression and brutality. Interviews for Resistance is a project of Sarah Jaffe, with assistance from Laura Feuillebois and support from the Nation Institute. It is also available as apodcastoniTunes. Not to be reprinted without permission.

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July 12, 2017   Posted in: Ku Klux Klan  Comments Closed

Skeletons in the closet: Historical society displays KKK robes, keeps owners secret – C-VILLE Weekly

After several weeks of prodding by a UVA researcher, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society produced two of the 26 Ku Klux Klan robes in its collection, but its president refused to reveal which of the citys citizens wore those robes in the 1920s. The yellowed robes were stretched out in the exhibit hall of the historical society July 6 for a private viewing that included the media, UVA researchers and members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces. The robes were discovered in a shed in the eastern part of the city in 1993, according to the historical society. The Klan apparel was stored in a crate and had been exposed to dirt, heat, humidity and wear. The resident who discovered and donated the robes did not request that his or her identity be concealed, nor did the donor request that the original owners of the robes remain anonymous, says historical society president Steven Meeks. Due to the sensitive nature of these artifacts, and in the interest of protecting the privacy of the descendants of both the donors and the original owners of the artifacts, at this time the society is not disclosing the address where the artifacts were found, nor the identity of the donor or the names of the two Klan members associated with this collections, says Meeks. Along with the robes was a KKK certificate of knighthood dated June 1, 1926. A facsimile of the certificate was enlarged and the name of the Klansman was redacted. Meeks did not attempt to contact the donors, he says. He cited the impending visit of the Loyal Knights of the KKK as the reason for protecting the owners and their descendant That decision caused some concern among the historians and members of the blue ribbon commission present. UVA Associate Professor Jalane Schmidt, who is researching UVAs ties to the KKK, which donated $1,000 to Memorial Gym in 1921, says she filed a research request with the historical society in mid-June to view the robes and received no response. She believes the robes should be displayed and the owners revealed. This is not good practice for a historical society, she says. John Edwin Mason is a UVA history professor who served on the blue ribbon commission. If the historical society displays the robes, as Meeks suggested it might, to understand them fully, its job would be to interpret the artifacts, says Mason, You cant do your job as a historical society without the provenance being attached to the display of this archive. It just cant be done. Mason questioned protecting the identity of owners who are long since dead. Knowing who wore the robes is essential to understanding the role of the Ku Klux Klan in Charlottesville society, he says. Meeks did say the wearers of the two robes displayed were neither one prominent members of the town. But a June 28, 1921, Daily Progress article on the newly organized Klan chapter and its inaugural cross-burning at Monticello says the event was attended by hundreds of Charlottesvilles leading business and professional men. And a 1922 Progress story notes that robed and masked Klan members showed up with a floral tribute with three Ks spelled out in white flowers at the funeral of Albemarle Sheriff C.M. Thomas. I think [Meeks] is being overly cautious when it comes to the people who at the time were associated with the Klan, says Mason. He says hes much less bothered with keeping the names of the donors secret. But Don Gathers, who chaired the blue ribbon commission, says what the Klan members stood for is morally wrong, and the fact that the donors did not request anonymity raises the question why Meeks would take that stance. Doug Day, former executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, says he displayed the robes in 2005 or 2006. At the time, the provenance was already smudged, he says. The garments were found in Belmont when someone bought a house there, he adds. Day says he would have real reservations about releasing the names of the owners and donors. Why expose them? To what end? he asks. Its perfectly in the purview of the historical society to withhold the names. Attorney and lifelong Charlottesville resident Lewis Martin says Meeks discussed the issue with him. It wasnt so much a legal decision as about where we are now, says Martin. The historical society didnt want to expose any descendants of Klan members, nor discourage anyone who might want to donate artifacts to the organization.

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How to defend the Constitution when the KKK comes to town – CNN

As many Americans are aware, a great deal of what most would call hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. The Nazis in Skokie are the classic case. In 1977, the National Socialist Party of America proposed to march in this predominantly Jewish community, home to many Holocaust survivors. The ACLU defended their right to wear Nazi uniforms and display swastikas, and courts upheld that right. The Nazis won (though they ultimately decided to march elsewhere). I used to talk about freedom and its costs in terms of Skokie. This fall, when the students return, I will be talking about home. As in Skokie, the demonstrations in Charlottesville have proved the strength of the First Amendment but also shown its steep cost. The Nazis chose Skokie precisely because its residents would find their message deeply offensive. Hate groups have targeted Charlottesville precisely because it voted to take down the monument, and because it is a community actively grappling with a thorny Confederate and Jim Crow past. Not only that, but the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists all reject a basic tenet of the American system: that all people are created equal. So why does our Constitution protect them? Not because they deserve respect. In popular culture, people sometimes act as though “exercising my First Amendment rights” should earn them a pat on the back and, if not agreement, at least grudging respect. Nothing about the First Amendment requires that. We permit hate speech, but we need not respect it. We also need not worry that we’re wrong in our lack of respect. Judge Learned Hand, quoting Oliver Cromwell, said that every courthouse and public building should have inscribed above its entrance, “Consider that ye may be wrong.” But there are certain facts that do not require hedging, and the fundamental equality of all people is one of them. But these reasons have their costs, and those costs are not borne equally. They fall disproportionately on African-American, Jewish, Muslim, and other minority members of the community. They are the ones who absorb these very public, very ugly assertions that they are worth less than other Americans. They are the ones who have to live with not only the message of these demonstrations but also the unpredictability of where all this is going. In the short term, the city is preparing for another rally of white nationalists on August 12. In the long term, the fact is that free speech is not free, and we do not split the check evenly. One thing we must all do is be conscious of these costs. Another is to recognize that, in permitting all viewpoints, the First Amendment puts the responsibility on us to choose what to espouse and what to reject. All views are not equally good. It may be vital to the legitimacy of our system that we have the freedom to choose. It is vital to its survival that we choose wisely.

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July 12, 2017   Posted in: Ku Klux Klan  Comments Closed

Ku Klux Klan rally attracts large counterprotest in …

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A rally here by the Ku Klux Klan and its supporters to protest the Charlottesville city council’s decision to remove a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee encountered a loud and angry counterprotest Saturday afternoon. Members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which is based in Pelham, North Carolina near the Virginia border, gathered at Justice Park, situated in a quiet, leafy residential neighborhood in downtown Charlottesville. They shouted “white power” and some wore white robes. About 30 Klansmen were escorted to and from the rally by police in riot gear who were out on a hot day to separate the rally-goers and approximately 1,000 counterprotesters who greeted them with jeers. Attempts by Klan leaders to address the crowd were repeatedly drowned out by boos and chants. Some of the Klan members arrived armed, carrying handguns in holsters at their belts. Scroll through the gallery to see photos from the rally and protest. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this A counter-protester holds up a sign before a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. A counter-protester holds up a sign before a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet A Ku Klux Klan group from North Carolina protested in Justice Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson A Ku Klux Klan group from North Carolina protested in Justice Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: The Ku Klux Klan protests on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: The Ku Klux Klan protests on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -JULY 08: Some of the crowd of anti-KKK protestors are reflected in the sunglasses of a KKK member. A KKK group from North Carolina called the Loyal White Knights protested in Justice Park (formerly Jackson Park) because they aren’t happy with decisions being made by the city that will effect Civil War memorials in city parks. Less than 50 KKK members attended but hundreds of counter protestors showed up against them. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -JULY 08: Some of the crowd of anti-KKK protestors are reflected in the sunglasses of a KKK member. A KKK group from North Carolina called the Loyal White Knights protested in Justice Park Members of the Ku Klux Klan arrive for a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. Members of the Ku Klux Klan arrive for a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Officers clash with counter protestors after the Ku Klux Klan staged a protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Officers clash with counter protestors after the Ku Klux Klan staged a protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A woman who had been tear gassed is helped away after a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A woman who had been tear gassed is helped away after a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal Police are covered in tear gas used on counter-protesters following a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The afternoon rally in this quiet university town has been authorized by officials in Virginia and stirred heated debate in America, where critics say the far right has been energized by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. Police are covered in tear gas used on counter-protesters following a Ku Klux Klan rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. The CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A protestor has his face washed after being tear gassed during a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: A protestor has his face washed after being tear gassed during a counter protest to the Ku Klux Klan on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Counter protestors gather during a planned Ku Klux Klan protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JULY 08: Counter protestors gather during a planned Ku Klux Klan protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Ku Klux Klan rally attracts large counterprotest in Charlottesville The rally was held about a block away from Emancipation Park – the renamed Lee Park – where the statue of Lee astride a horse still stands. Charlottesville police reported that vandals had painted messages in green and red paint on the statue overnight. More than one hundred officers from the Virginia state police, Albemarle County police and University of Virginia police were prepared to assist Charlottesville police in maintaining order. After the Klan rally ended, police led several people away in handcuffs after a large group of counterprotesters remained near the vicinity of the park. Police asked those still gathered nearby to disperse. Wearing riot gear and gas masks, the police declared the counterprotesters “an unlawful assembly” and used gas canisters to compel them to leave the area. Police said Sunday that 22 people were arrested. Authorities said three people were hospitalized – two for heat-related issues and one for an alcohol-related issue. Story continues below. “I was pleased with the professionalism and commitment of our law enforcement partners as our safety plan was well executed. Officers traveled from near and far to assist the CPD in maintaining law and order during this difficult endeavor,” Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said Sunday. “Hundreds of local citizens rose up in a non-violent protest against the hate that was being spewed in Justice Park,” Thomas said in a statement. “When Klan members arrived, the atmosphere quickly became emotionally charged. Several outside groups made it clear they would become confrontational; however, we were prepared for the unrest that occurred near the conclusion of the event which unfortunately resulted in a number of arrests. Order was quickly restored and our community remains safe.” Charlottesville, a city of close to 50,000 and home to the prestigious public flagship campus of the University of Virginia, had become increasingly tense as the rally approached. “A CITY ON EDGE” read the front-page headline in the local paper, The Daily Progress, on Saturday. City leaders organized diversionary events elsewhere in the city and encouraged residents and visitors to not confront the KKK members directly. While many took that advice, others wanted to make sure the rally participants heard their voices. “It is important for me to be here because the Klan was ignored in the 1920s and they metastasized,” said Jalane Schmidt, a professor at the University of Virginia who has been among those leading the call for the Lee statue removal. “They need to know that their ideology is not acceptable.” “I teach about slavery and African-American history and it’s important to face the Klan and to face the demons of our collective history and our original sin of slavery. We do it on behalf of our ancestors who were terrorized by them.” Though the council voted to remove the statue, a court order has stopped the city from acting on that decision until a hearing next month. Some observers predict a protracted legal battle that would further delay the removal. In an editorial last month, city councilwoman Kristin Szakos said the council voted to remove the statue and join a “growing group of cities around the nation that have decided that they no longer want to give pride of place to tributes to the Confederate Lost Cause erected in the early part of the 20th century.” The Klan says the city’s decision to remove the Lee statue is part of a wider effort to get rid of white history. “They’re trying to erase the white culture right out of the history books,” Klan member James Moore said on Thursday. Brandi Fisher, of Ridgeley, West Virginia, drove hours to attend the rally. “I don’t agree with everything the Klan believes, but I do believe our history should not be taken away,” said Fisher, 41. “Are we going to remove the Washington and Jefferson memorials because they were slave owners?” Ezra Israel, 32, who is African-American, says the statue should stay up as a reminder of slavery and the people who supported it. “It’s hiding history to take it down,” he said as he made his way to the rally. “We need to leave it up so people can see it and see that we were oppressed and we’re still a product of that today.” Toung Nguyen, an immigrant from Vietnam who moved to Charlottesville as a child in the early 1980s, believes the money that will be spent on removing the statue could be better used improving the local school system. But he says racism has gotten worse in the last couple of years and he understands why many believe the statue needs to go. “It’s just disappointing that we still have to deal with this kind of nonsense,” Nguyen said. “Our country feels like it’s going full circle.” Charlottesville is already planning for another protest next month. Several white nationalist groups have a permit for an Aug. 12 rally also calling for the council’s decision on the statue to be reversed. – – – The Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro contributed to this report. — Video: The Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Charlottesville, VA protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Approximately 1000 counterprotesters surrounded them in opposition. (Zoeann Murphy / The Washington Post) URL: http://wapo.st/2tVzOxv Embed code:

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UPDATE: 22 arrested, tear gas deployed as Ku Klux Klan …

CHARLOTTESVILLE After seeing the Ku Klux Klan in the movies, Jabril Carter thought he knew a little bit about what to expect Saturday. But coming face to face with around 50 Klan members rallying in Charlottesville stirred something deeper he couldnt easily explain. My adrenaline is pumping right now, the 23-year-old cook said as he paused on the chaotic downtown streets of the progressive college town he grew up in. It hurt my soul, man. Carter was part of a group of young African-American men who stood directly in front of the Klan rally, taunting the robe-wearing, Confederate flag-waving group as a crowd of protesters estimated at over 1,000 drowned out the Klans white-pride speeches. The 45-minute rally in Justice Park newly renamed as part of Charlottesvilles push to rid itself of public parks designed to honor the Confederacy while elevating African-American history was mostly peaceful due to a massive police presence involving more than 100 Charlottesville and Virginia State Police personnel. Protesters hurled a few water bottles and pieces of fruit at the ralliers, and a few Klansmen shouted racial slurs and directed white-power salutes at the crowd. Direct physical confrontations were avoided as police escorted the Klan members in and out of the park and enforced a strict barricade between the two groups. The rally was supposed to begin at 3 p.m., but got off to a late start apparently due to the logistical difficulties of safely moving the Klansmen through the crowd encircling the fenced-off demonstration area. Police arrested several protesters who tried to block the entrance to the park before the Klan members entered around 3:45 p.m. Tensions escalated after the Klan group left the rally site. Protesters rushed through the streets trying to track the Klan and block roads as police tried to allow vehicles to exit. Unable to reach the Klan members, several protesters shouted angrily at the police for protecting the group, chanting: Cops and the Klan go hand in hand! Using a bullhorn, police told the group to disperse and warned that chemical agents would be used on anyone who stayed. After a group of protesters formed a line across High Street near the citys courthouses, police shot three tear gas canisters into the crowd around 5 p.m. In a statement Sunday morning, city officials said 22 people were arrested. On Saturday, officials had reported that 23 were arrested. Most appeared to be anti-Klan protesters, but officials could not immediately provide the affiliations of those arrested. Three people were hospitalized; two for heat-related issues and one for alcohol, officials said. The Klan rally was the latest flashpoint in a summer of unrest in Charlottesville, where the City Council voted to strip the names of Confederate generals from two parks and begin the process of removing statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson. In May, alt-right figure Richard Spencer, a leader of the new wave of white identity groups, participated in a torch-lit rally around the Lee statue. Alt-right groups are planning to return to the city next month for whats being billed as a bigger rally to Unite the Right. Saturdays Klan rally took place in the shadow of the Jackson statue in what used to be Jackson Park. Klan members held signs with anti-Semitic and anti-black slurs. In interviews, several members said they came to Charlottesville to protect white history and argued that white people alone are told they have no right to racial pride. Israels got a wall around their country. Why cant we have a wall around ours? said Douglas Barker, one of a few Klan members who spoke to reporters. They believe in preserving their own race. Why is it wrong for the white man to preserve their own race? Many of the Klan members declined to give their names or say where they were from, but several who did said they had come from out of state. Several shouting matches broke out before the rally between the protesters and a handful of people displaying Confederate flags who said that even though they dont support the Klan, the statues should still be preserved. City leaders and University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan had encouraged the Charlottesville community to avoid the Klan rally. A slate of alternative events was organized to give people other outlets and avoid drawing attention to the Klan. Groups like this come to communities like this for the purpose of incitement and controversy and a twisted kind of celebrity, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said in an interview after swinging through the park in the early afternoon. The victory over them is to deny them that and keep on not only telling our story but refusing to be intimidated away from the sort of work we have been doing that has made us a target for these kinds of groups. Plenty of others wanted to meet the Klan head-on, insisting on countering hate with direct resistance. The park was a full-blown spectacle even before the Klan arrived, with drum circles, singing and a man wearing nothing but a loincloth shimmying in front of a street preacher. Sarah Fitzgerald, 23, of Staunton, said that even though Klan members have the right to free speech, the crowd that dwarfed the Klan has every right to counter it with their own. That we are still allowing this straightforward hate group to still have a voice at this time in this country, its just crazy, Fitzgerald said.

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