A chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) plans to conduct a rally at South Carolina’s state grounds to protest the removal of the Confederate flag flying atop a flagpole outside the capitol building.
The Loyal White Knights chapter of KKK – the largest Klan in America, according to its website – got permission to get together and launch a rally at the statehouse in Columbia on July 18.
James Spears, who holds the title of Great Titan of the Klan, said that the group was conducting the rally to express their opposition to the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. Spears further said that the step to bring down the flag was being taken “for all the wrong reasons.”
He said, “It’s part of white people’s culture.”
The symbol of the Confederate flag became the subject of a national controversy after a white supremacist opened fire in a historical African-American church in Charleston. Dylann Roof, perpetrator of the crime, killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church.
Soon thereafter, images of Roof waving and posing with the Confederate flag, along with writings about racial groups, surfaced online. The incident is being investigated by the authorities as a hate crime, as reported by CBC News.
While some of the family members of the victims have forgiven Roof, Spears said he feels “sorry for the boy.”
According to The Huffington Post, Spears went on to say, “I think he picked the wrong target. A better target for him would have been these gang-bangers, running around rapping, raping and stealing.”
Some believe the symbol of the Confederate flag represents southern pride, while to others it stands for racial hate and intolerance. The debate prompted several leaders and politicians to address taking down the controversial flag from the South Carolina State House grounds. The issue will be debated on later this summer, the legislature voted.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley expressed her support to remove the flag, declaring that “the Confederate flag will come down.”
KKK said that it will conduct the rally at the South Carolina state grounds on July 18.
Spears said, “We’re standing up for the Confederacy.” The issue of slavery will be addressed after which a cross lighting, or cross burning, ceremony will be conducted on private property.
The group is recognized for its white robes and pointed hats. It is also known for violence and oppression against African-Americans.
According to New York Post, Roof was cited as a “warrior” on the answering machine of the Loyal White Knights chapter.
It further goes on to say that members of the Klan will come together on July 18 to stand up “for our Confederate history.”
“Our government is trying to erase white culture and our heritage right out of the pages of history books. If you’re white and proud, join the crowd,” it says.
On the group’s website is an image of the Confederate flag bearing a headline, “Say no to cultural genocide.”
Governor Haley criticized the idea of the rally. In a statement, she said, “This is our state, and they are not welcome.”
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