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Entries in KKK (4)

Tuesday
Jun122012

KKK Group's Application to Adopt Georgia Highway Denied

Ray Wise/Flickr/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A Ku Klux Klan group's controversial application to adopt a stretch of highway in north Georgia has been denied by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

"Promoting an organization with a history of inciting civil disturbance and social unrest would present a grave concern to the Department," spokesman David Spear wrote in a statement. "Issuing this permit would have the potential to negatively impact the quality of life, commerce and economic development of Union County and all of Georgia."

The group, the International Keystone Knights of the KKK, had applied to adopt a one-mile stretch of highway in northern Georgia.

"Maintaining the safety of our roadways is this Department's foremost mission," the statement said. "Encountering signage and members of the KKK along a roadway would create a definite distraction to motorists."

The GDOT also said that the section of roadway requested is ineligible for adoption because its posted speed limit of 65 mph exceeds the program's maximum of 55 mph. A letter of denial is being sent to the group.

The KKK group member who submitted the application did not respond to request for comment.

The application set off a battle between a state representative condemning the application and the group's ardent but anonymous leaders.

"The state of Georgia is absolutely shameful in even considering an application from the KKK," Democratic State Rep. Tyrone Brooks told ABC News. "If the state will accept an application from the KKK, we may as well get ready to accept applications from the Nazi party, Taliban, al Qaeda and Aryan Nation."

The group dismissed Brooks' comments.

"What we're trying to do is something positive and this Tyrone Brooks is trying to raise a stink about it. We just want to do something good for the community," a representative of the KKK group, who would only agree to be identified as the "Imperial Wizard," told ABC News.

The man was adamant that his real name not be used, in order to protect his job and family, he said.

"[Brooks is] coming out and calling the Klan a terrorist organization. Prove it in black and white that the U.S. government has labeled us a terrorist organization," the Imperial Wizard said. "Prove it. He needs to prove it. I challenge him."

The Imperial Wizard insisted that the Klan does not commit criminal acts and that "everybody has a past they want to forget about."

When asked if he maintained the beliefs of the KKK, notorious for violently condemning minorities and religious beliefs that conflict with their own, the Imperial Wizard said, "I'm a separatist. I'm not a racist. I believe in the separation of the races. It was originally printed in the Bible."

The Georgia Department of Transportation says on its website, "Any civic-minded organization, business, individual, family, city, county, state, or federal agency is welcome to volunteer in the Georgia Adopt-A-Highway program."

The case is similar to one in Missouri that turned into a lengthy legal battle. When a KKK group tried to adopt a Missouri road, the state tried to prevent it. The state eventually lost when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that membership in the "Adopt-a-Highway" program cannot be denied because of a group's political beliefs.

Brooks said he wants Georgia's story to end differently.

"I think the state of Georgia should send a loud, clear message that we are not going to allow the KKK to adopt our highways and byways," he said. "Say that firmly and then let the chips fall where they fall."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

KKK Group Applies to Adopt Georgia Highway

Ray Wise/Flickr/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Ku Klux Klan has applied to adopt a stretch of highway in northern Georgia, setting off a battle between a state representative condemning the application and the group's ardent but anonymous leaders.

"The state of Georgia is absolutely shameful in even considering an application from the KKK," Democratic Georgia State Representative Tyrone Brooks told ABC News. "If the state will accept an application from the KKK, we may as well get ready to accept applications from the Nazi party, Taliban, Al Qaeda and Aryan Nation."

The group, the International Keystone Knights of the KKK, denied Brooks' comments.

"What we're trying to do is something positive and this Tyrone Brooks is trying to raise a stink about it. We just want to do something good for the community," a representative of the KKK group, who would only agree to be identified as the "Imperial Wizard," told ABC News.

The man was adamant that his real name not be used, in order to protect his job and family, he said.

"[Brooks is] coming out and calling the Klan a terrorist organization. Prove it in black and white that the U.S. government has labeled us a terrorist organization," the Imperial Wizard said. "Prove it. He needs to prove it. I challenge him."

The Imperial Wizard insisted that the Klan does not commit criminal acts and that "everybody has a past they want to forget about."

When asked if he maintained the beliefs of the KKK, notorious for violently condemning minorities and religious beliefs that conflict with their own, the Imperial Wizard said, "I'm a separatist. I'm not a racist. I believe in the separation of the races. It was originally printed in the Bible."

The Georgia Department of Transportation states on its website that, "Any civic-minded organization, business, individual, family, city, county, state, or federal agency is welcome to volunteer in the Georgia Adopt-A-Highway program."

If a group's application to adopt the one-mile stretch is approved, they get a sign on the side of the road saying they have adopted that stretch of highway and are required to do a litter collection at least once a year, according to the GDOT.

"The state of Georgia should absolutely reject this application from the KKK because the KKK does not fall into the category of a civil-minded organization," said Brooks, who is black. "They're not a garden club, Kiwanis or the League of Women Voters. They're a racist, terrorist, hate group."

The Imperial Wizard said that the KKK group had the "blessings" of the GDOT before controversy began to arise from the application.

When asked if the GDOT had in fact given the group their blessing, GDOT spokeswoman Jill Goldberg told ABC News, "No, it's not approved."

Goldberg said that a meeting to discuss the issue was held earlier today, but, "We don't have a decision on the resolution. It's still open at this time."

The case is similar to one in Missouri that resulted in a lengthy legal battle. When a KKK group tried to adopt a Missouri road, the state tried to ban the effort. The state eventually lost when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that membership into the "Adopt-a-Highway" program cannot be denied because of a group's political beliefs.

Brooks wants Georgia's story to end differently.

"I think the state of Georgia should send a loud, clear message that we are not going to allow the KKK to adopt our highways and byways," he said. "Say that firmly and then let the chips fall where they fall."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep282011

Florida Ice Cream Shop Mascot Mistaken for KKK Member

Photodisc/Thinkstock(OCALA, Flas.) -- A Florida ice cream shop was forced to rethink its marketing campaign when its ice cream-costumed mascot kept getting mistaken for a guy in KKK robes, reports the Ocala Star-Banner.

Apparently, drivers breezing by the costumed man couldn't see the sprinkles on the faux vanilla dollop crowning his head, and thought his headgear was a white hood, the newspaper says.

It took some time to figure out why business wasn't picking up, but the owners of Ice Cream Family Corner and Sandwiches now say they have retired the unintentionally controversial costume.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Group Wants KKK Founder Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on License Plate

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- The Mississippi division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans had its first specialty license plate approved in 2002. The plate has remained the same for eight years, but this year the group proposed five new designs to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

One of those designs features Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a heralded cavalry leader who also is known for commanding a massacre of black Union Army soldiers at the Battle of Fort Pillow and for being a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is the latter distinction that has some in the state calling for the plate to be denied issuance.

"I think it's offensive," said Derrick Johnson, state president of the Mississippi NAACP. "We view the Ku Klux Klan as a domestic terrorist organization and they should be treated as such," he said.

The NAACP is planning to send a letter to Gov. Haley Barbour asking that he publicly denounce the license plate and use his office to prevent it from being issued. Johnson said the plate is offensive to nearly 40 percent of the population, which is the percentage of African-Americans in the state. But supporters of the plate believe Forrest should not be dismissed because of that one time in history.

"It's been said he disavowed the Klan later in life and that puts him in the same category as former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black and former West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd," said Greg Stewart, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member.

Both Black and Byrd had early ties to the KKK but managed to not have their careers overshadowed by them.

"If you don't like him, you certainly don't have to buy it," Stewart said. According to Stewart, money from the purchase of the specialty tags will be used to restore crumbling Confederate flags that are housed in the Department of Archives and History. He hopes the attention being brought to the proposed Forrest design will raise awareness about the group's mission and the history of the Confederacy. But Johnson and the NAACP believe a state license plate is no place to honor a man with Forrest's background.

"Our position is that any heritage of hate should not be tolerated in the state of Mississippi nor in any other state in this country," Johnson said.

The design featuring Forrest is being proposed for release in 2014. A vote by the Mississippi legislature would take place in 2013.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







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