Ku Klux Klan fliers dis­trib­uted in west­ern county

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Res­i­dents of at least two com­mu­ni­ties awoke Sun­day morn­ing to find an in­vi­ta­tion at their door to join the Ku Klux Klan.

Callers to the Ce­cil Whig — who wished to re­main anony­mous for fear for ret­ri­bu­tion — re­ported re­ac­tions to the pho­to­copied mis­sive that ranged from shock to sad­ness to anger.

“This is not what I want for my com­mu­nity,” said a Port De­posit mother of six. “It’s re­ally, re­ally up­set­ting.”

“My 4-year-old was very up­set,” the woman said, adding her youngest doesn’t un­der­stand “why any­one would want to hurt some­one else based on the color of their skin.”

Her 6-year-old called it a bad dream.

The sin­gle sheet of pa­per, which ap­pears to have been dis­trib­uted by the East Coast Knights of the True In­vis­i­ble Em­pire, an­nounces that “White pride doesn’t mean hate.”

The flier asks the reader nu­mer­ous ques­tions in­clud­ing:

“Why is it OK for other races to be proud?”

“Why are we not al­lowed to cel­e­brate our cul­ture?”

“Why are other races in this coun­try al­lowed these rights, as they should, but not the folk of Euro­pean ances­try?”

A woman who iden­ti­fied her­self only as “Danielle” said the Gi­rardville, Pa., group dis­trib­uted 500 fliers

CONOWINGO

all over Ce­cil County on Satur­day evening as part of a na­tion­wide cam­paign by like-minded groups called a “fire run.”

“We were leav­ing them for peo­ple to pick up at their leisure,” she said Mon­day. “We let them make their own de­ci­sion.”

Wayne Tome, mayor of Port De­posit, wasn’t pleased with the covert de­liv­ery.

“They’re cowards and I am ap­palled,” he said Mon­day.

A Conowingo woman said it was her 14-year-old grand­son that found the flier in a plas­tic bag held down by rocks at the end of her drive­way.

“I was sur­prised be­cause it’s been so long since I have heard any­thing like this around here,” the life­long Ce­cil County res­i­dent said Mon­day. “The last time I re­mem­ber the KKK was back in 1999 stand­ing on the streets of Ris­ing Sun in their hoods hand­ing out in­for­ma­tion.”

Klan-af­fil­i­ated groups from Penn­syl­va­nia and Bal­ti­more were rep­re­sented at a De­cem­ber 2013 meet­ing held at the Ce­cil County Ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing, which county of­fi­cials al­lowed on a First Amend­ment right to free speech ba­sis only. The Con­fed­er­ate White Knights led by Richard Pre­ston hosted the meet­ing, an­nounc­ing that their new agenda fo­cused on pol­i­tics rather than ha­tred. The East Coast Knights were the other or­ga­ni­za­tion of record.

“I don’t agree with its mes­sage,” the Conowingo woman said. “I do feel we all have a right of free­dom of speech and re­li­gion, how­ever, not at oth­ers’ ex­pense.”

She added that her grand­son went back out and col­lected the fliers ly­ing at the end of other nearby drives.

“He was re­ally sur­prised. He’s never seen any­thing like that be­fore,” the woman said.

The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter, a non­profit that has long tracked hate groups in Amer­ica, places the KKK on a list of hate groups in Mary­land that also in­cludes black sep­a­ratists, Neo-Nazis, Sk­in­heads, white na­tion­al­ists and Neo-Con­fed­er­ates. All the groups are head­quar­tered from Bal­ti­more to points south.

Ac­cord­ing to Danielle, the East Coast Knights is not a white su­prem­a­cist group.

“That’s not the mes­sage we are try­ing to re­lay,” she said. “Our goal is not to scare any­one. We have zero tol­er­ance for vi­o­lence.”

“We are white sep­a­ratists,” she said. “We don’t want white peo­ple to feel ashamed for be­ing white.”

Danielle said that since the fliers have been dis­cov­ered there have been calls to the Penn­syl­va­nia phone num­ber in­cluded in the mes­sage. She said some of the calls were pos­i­tive while oth­ers were not.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Tom Lar­son, im­pe­rial wiz­ard of the East Coast Knights of the True In­vis­i­ble Em­pire from Penn­syl­va­nia, gets help dress­ing in the Klan’s tra­di­tional robe and hood inside the Elk Room of the county of­fice build­ing in Elk­ton when the group hosted a meet­ing there in 2013. Over the week­end, that same group left fliers at the end of drive­ways in Conowingo and Port De­posit.

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