Ku Klux Klan road rage heads to court
The Ku Klux Klan has become embroiled in a legal battle in Georgia after it applied to join the U.S. state’s adopt-a-highway program.
The white supremacist group’s application to participate in the civic program to maintain a highway was rejected by the transport department in a state where, according to the latest census, 31.4 per cent of the population is black.
Now, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Klan is going to court to fight a state appeal against its right to take part.
Adopt- a- highway projects have been commonplace in the United States since the 1980s. Sponsors pay for litter removal and sprucing up stretches of road in return for seeing their names emblazoned on signs at regular intervals. According to Georgia’s own publicity, sponsors can expect to see their names read by more than 100,000 people a day
However, given the sensitive history of race relations in the South, the prospect of having the KKK’s name written large on billboards seemingly horrified Georgia’s transport department. It rejected the group’s initial application to adopt part of Route 515 running through the Appalachian Mountains in 2012, provoking the unresolved legal battle. “Participation in the program should not detract from its worthwhile purpose,” the department said. “Promoting an organization with a history of inciting civil disturbance and social unrest would present a grave concern to the department. 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.”
Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the KKK went to court for the right to post a sign which would have read “IKK Realm of GA, Ku Klux Klan,” referring to the local International Keystone Knights branch. April Chambers, who filed the original application, insisted that the group’s intentions were purely altruistic.
“We are not doing this for political gain, we are not doing this for recruitment,” she said. “We love the white race. Why is that so hard for people to understand? But we don’t hate anybody.”