Georgia Race Clash Part
of Larger Klan Strategy
JANUARY 30, 1987 /MONTROSE VOICE 5
News Analysis by Hylah Jacques
Pacific News Service
Special to the Montrose Voice
PULASKI, TENN.-When Ku Klux
Klan leader Tom Robb staged a rally on
the courthouse steps here Jan. 17, he
was greeted with jeers and protests from
a racially mixed crowd of local residents.
But on the same day 200 miles away
in Forsyth County, Ga., the tables were
turned. Taking advantage of deeply
rooted racist feelings in the all white
community, Klan leaders stirred up
what civil rights activists later called "a
1000-strong lynch mob." Their target: a
busload of demonstrators from Atlanta
who had come to join some 30 white
residents for a march in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. With local police
unprepared for the escalating violence,
the march was halted along its route.
News of the confrontation quickly
reached Klansmen in Pulaski as they
prepared to celebrate the post-civil war
rebirth ofthe Klan. Stanley McCollum,
grand wizard of one of the two major
national Klans and the organizer of the
Pulaski demonstrations, said that
under the circumstances he wasn't disappointed that only 50 Klansmen
snowed up for his march: "A lot of the
Georgia people stayed down there. Ijust
heard there was a confrontation and
arrests, but we did stop them from coming in (to Forsyth)."
indeed, Forsyth County has become
an overnight rallying cry for a new kind
of Klan which leaders call the "Fifth
In a telephone message for his followers, Danny Carver, a Georgia great
titan (cell leader) of the Invisible
Empire of Ku Klux Klan and a Forsyth
organizer, hailed the success of the
counterdemonstration there. "I had a
dream, and Saturday in Forsyth
County my dream came true," his message states. "Niggers were not run out
by politics. Black animals will be kept
out with rocks, bottles, fire, guns, and by
the grace of God. The day ofthe rope will
come and the names of all race traitors
will be remembered."
But Forsyth County has also become
a rallying point for civil rights activists.
Hosea Williams, an Atlanta city councilman and former aide to the late Rev.
King, was an early and key supporter of
the Jan. 17 brotherhood march. Williams and local resident Dean Carter, a
white construction worker and karate
devotee, were firmly committed to
march again on Jan. 24. Mrs. Coretta
Scott King, president of the Martin
Luther King, Jr. Center, endorsed the
march and attended,
Organizers say they received calls
from groups and individuals all over the
country who wished to participate.
"Brotherhood is not simply a catchword
with which we recall the 1960s," says
the Rev. C.P. Vivian, chairman of the
board of the Center for Democratic
Renewal, in explaining the marchers'
motives. "Rather, 'brotherhood' is an as
yet unachieved goal in many counties
around the nation such as Forsyth."
What the demonstrators and leaders
confronted was a Ku Klux Klan whose
basic goals and programs remain the
same, but those strategies have
changed to meet the times.
On the one hand, the Nazi tendencies
and paramilitary activities which
began to emerge in the 1970s—during
the Klan's "Fourth Era"—have now
become the hallmark of its "Fifth Era."
Armed auxiliaries, like the Order, as
well as paramilitary training camps,
like ex-White Patriot party leader Glenn
Miller's in North Carolina, all suggest a
gradual "nazification" of the Klan, a
merging of groups sharing common
goals, and a steady swing into terrorist
extremism as a viable program for
achieving those goals.
On the other hand, Klan attempts in
the 1970s to recruit from mainstream
society have become more sophisticated
in this decade. Klan extremists like
Jesse Radford and Tom Metzger have
donned three piece suits and entered
electoral politics, with some success.
Last November, Radford won 36 percent of the vote in a North Carolina
state senatorial race against a Democrat who has been in office for 25 years.
One of the biggest unifying factors
has been the emergence of Identity
Christianity, a racist theology which
appeals to a broad spectrum ofthe Far
Right and provides a religious rationale
for their activities.
Klansmen demonstrating in Pulaski,
though small in number, represented a
composite sketch of the "Fifth Era"
Klan. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Grand Wizard McCollum explains:
"The Fifth Era leadership is out in the
open to take the heat, and the membership 18 out of sight," in secret cells called
The Knights' chaplain, Tom Robb, is
an Identity minister with close ties to
the Aryan Nation. The charismatic
Identity leader and Klan veteran Robert"
Miles led the cross burning ceremony
which took place after the Pulaski rally
on the farm of a local klansman.
Miles is the prime mover ofthe white
separatist movement within the Far
Right which seeks to establish a
"whites only" homeland in the northwest United States.
Significantly, it is with the youth that
the future of both the civil rights movement and the Far Right lies. Here in
Pulaski, several dozen teens, most of
them black, led a high-spirited spontaneous protest against the Klan's presence. Onlookers applauded as one
young black man at Robb's rally
".. .Black animals will
be kept out with
rocks, bottles, fire,
guns, and by the
grace of God. The day
of the rope will come
and the names of all
race traitors will be
Forsyth County (GA.)
Ku Klux Klansman
shouted "America isn't white, America
is black and white together," and
embraced by a white friend.
But the Klan, throwing off the traditional robes in favor of stylish cammies,
are also exploiting their appeal to
youth. In the counterdemonstration in
Forsyth, a majority of Klan sympathizers were in their teens and 20s.
Meanwhile, local Klan leaders in Forsyth vowed that if the protesters
returned there would be "a bloody massacre." Not intimidated, veteran civil
rights activists and their young supporters were determined to demonstrate
their right to walk the streets of Forsyth
County. "We've planted a seed here that
will make people think," said local activist Dean Carter. "And maybe something will grow from it."
PNS reporter Hylah Jacques, a freelance writer based
in Seattle, regularly covers the Far Right.
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