Remembering the 1987 King Holiday Weekend and Thinking about the Racist Opposition Today

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On Saturday, January 17, 1987, about 100 white-sheeted Klansmen and uniformed Aryan Nations members marched through Pulaski, Tennessee in opposition to the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.  They came to Pulaski because it was the birthplace of the Klan in 1866, after the Civil War.  A different Klan organization gathered its members that same day in opposition to the holiday in Summerville, South Carolina.

That same day, in Forsyth County, Georgia a crowd of about 400 North Georgia whites had gathered under the leadership of two Klan groups, the Invisible Empire KKK and the Southern White Knights.  They aimed to prevent a “Brotherhood March” by a smaller group of local working class whites who had teamed up black civil rights advocates from Atlanta.  As soon as all the would-be marchers got off their bus, the racist mob attacked them with bottles, rocks, racist slurs and other forms of shrapnel and drove them back into the bus, their march uncompleted.

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2012: A Year in Review

The article below ran in the January 2013 edition of Searchlight, an anti-racist, anti-fascist magazine published monthly in London with international distribution.  It analyzes Klan, neo-Nazi and Tea Party activity during 2012, and recounts some of the movement's most violent episodes.  At the end, please note the data that points towards problems in the future.

2012: A Year in Review

By Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart

The year began with whimpers from white nationalists about the decay of their supposed civilization.  And it ended with a bang from gunners screaming about their rights after yet another mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. Election year events dominated the ebb and flow of the far right, the racists and the bigots.  In between, skinheads and assorted Aryan-types were arrested and convicted in multiple instances of horrific violence. 

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Backgrounder: Arizona Mail Bomber Dennis Mahon to be Sentenced

On Tuesday, May 22, Dennis Mahon will be sentenced for sending a mail bomb to the Scottsdale, Arizona, Office of Diversity and Dialogue in February 2004. The bomb injured three people, including Don Logan, an African American who was director of the office. Mahon's twin brother, Daniel Mahon, was indicted in the case, but not convicted. Neither man was convicted of a hate crime, although all the evidence pointed to racial animus as the only motivating cause for the crime.

Dennis Mahon's background is instructive for several reasons: the length of time he stayed active in the white nationalist movement; the multiple number of organizations he was a member of; his international travel on behalf of the nationalist movement; and his life-long tendency to associate himself with the movement's most violent wing.

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Idaho’s Only Black Legislator Receives Ku Klux Klan Mailing

As a reminder that white nationalist activity remains a problem in the Northwest, last week Idaho's only black lawmaker received a hand-addressed application to join the Ku Klux Klan. 

Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb, told the Associated Press that childhood memories of a cross burning on her lawn on Boise's north end were rekindled when she opened the hand-addressed application form to join the Harrison, Arkansas-based Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "It conjured up a lot of things for me that weren't very comfortable – not fear, but sometimes we get to thinking things are settled," she said. Responding to why she may have received the mailing, she added, “My first inclination was someone wants me to know the Klan is still around.”

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About IREHR

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) is a national organization with an international outlook examining racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist, and far-right social movements, analyzing their intersection with civil society and social policy, educating the public, and assisting in the protection and extension of human rights through organization and informed mobilization.

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