KKK and the Republicans try to stop Confederate parks renaming
The GOP legislature is pushing a bill to prevent re-naming of parks named after Confederate heroes. It’s a fine line to be on the same side of an issue as the KKK but the GOP walks that line.
March 20, 2013, 11:40 a.m. ET
Klan Plans to Protest Park Names in Memphis
By CAMERON MCWHIRTER
Officials in Memphis, Tenn., are girding for a rally called by a faction of the Ku Klux Klan at the end of the month, to protest the City Council’s decision earlier this year to change the name of three Confederate-themed city parks.
The council voted Feb. 5 to change the names of Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, named for the Confederacy’s president, and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, named for a Confederate lieutenant general who was also the KKK’s first grand wizard. The new names are Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park, respectively, though the council may change those names later.
The council’s move came in response to a bill moving through the Tennessee Legislature this year that would forbid local governments from changing names of any parks or monuments named for wars or war heroes, including those involving the Civil War.
Since the vote, council members have been inundated with email messages opposing the decision from people outside Memphis, said Lee Harris, a councilman who pushed to change the park names. But the council won’t go back to the old names, he said: “We’ve got to move Memphis forward.”
The group organizing the rally wants the city to reverse the vote. “Every time we turn around, they are trying to take the white people out of the history books,” Chris Barker, the imperial wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said in an interview.
The Eden, N.C.-based group’s website contains a flier with an image of Gen. Forrest and states that all group members must attend the rally. According to the website, the group supports “white separatism” and opposes homosexuality and “race-mixing.” The group states it is nonviolent and Christian, but Mr. Barker said that if any counter-protesters “want to attack, we will attack back just as fast as they do.”The size of Mr. Barker’s group is unclear, but he said he has invited KKK groups across the Southeast to attend. “We don’t know the number until we actually get there,” Mr. Barker said.
I bet the KKK rally signs will be no different than Tea Party rally signs.