A slap in the face

Published 4:49 pm Friday, October 17, 2008

Donalsonville’s annual Harvest Festival and Parade is usually an enjoyable family day of fun and festivities, but this year the celebrated event may be just the opposite for Donalsonville’s African-American residents due to a scheduled Ku Klux Klan rally being held just one block away.

When I initially heard about the KKK’s planned assembly in my hometown, I was immediately flushed with emotions …. anger, betrayal, fear, pride, etc. My first thoughts were to be apathetic to the situation, but I can’t ignore this absurdity toward African-Americans and immigrants because I no longer reside in Donalsonville.

This plight is bigger than I; negative racial demonstration, like such, effect the present and future of my 2-year-old son and all other African-American, Hispanic, Catholic and Jewish children who have to grow up in America and be hated and discriminated against solely because of the color of their skin and/or their ethnicity. I must address this appalling issue in 2008 because if I remain silent, I will feel that my ancestors worked so diligently for the United States of America to revert back to openly accepting discrimination and inequality.

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What I don’t understand is how the Ku Klux Klan, an organization with a long, gruesome history toward African-Americans, can be allowed to congregate on any public property; especially the courthouse, which is supposed to be a facility where justice is served, not violent vigilante groups pardoned.

Donalsonville’s County Administrator Marty Shingler, replied, “The right to assemble is a constitutional right, but I wish they would have picked a different day to do it” (Albany Herald, 2008).

If assembling is a constitutional right, I am quite sure many young African-American residents would beg to differ; African-American youths are frequently ushered away, by police, from parking lots and restaurants after high school sporting events, while their Caucasian counterparts gather, undisturbed, a few blocks away.

When I think of the Ku Klux Klan, the only images that come to mind are lynchings, beatings, burnings and bombings of African-American people. Many African-Americans reside in Donalsonville, so it is evident that a KKK rally is sure to upset the African-American population considering the history of this violent, discriminatory vigilante group.

So my question is how could Donalsonville’s city officials tolerate and condone such an offensive activity?

City officials have known about the KKK’s rally since June 2008 (The Albany Herald). The Albany Herald states that the rally will take place on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. on the steps of Seminole County Courthouse.

Knight Rider Grand Dragon Gregg Wolf, a KKK member, states that they [KKK] will be “robed up,” but will not have on their headpiece due to Georgia Law. Wolf said they are targeting Donalsonville because “there’s a lot of illegal immigrants and sex pedophiles in that area.” (The Albany Herald). Even if there are illegal immigrants and sexual predators in Donalsonville, when did it legally become the KKK’s occupation to deal with these issues? It is not their job …. unless the city officials are affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan as they were in throughout the KKK’s history (The History Channel: The Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History).

In conclusion, this Ku Klux Klan rally is “a slap in the face” to all African-American residents of Donalsonville. African-Americans greatly contribute to the economic stability of Donalsonville, therefore I think African-Americans should not support or participate in these activities, which were both approved by city officials. There are two main reasons not to attend these events: Innocent children will be exposed to the idiocy and racism and spending money at the Harvest Festival would support the city that accepts and welcomes hate groups.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson referred to the Ku Klux Klan as “enemies of justice” and “a hooded society of bigots” (Time Magazine); unfortunately those references still remain true in 2008. It is extremely saddening and sickening to know that the ignorance and hatred still exists in 2008 and is being passed on to innocent children throughout the United States of America by these hypocritical Klansmen—The KKK supposedly follow the Christian faith, which encompasses love and respect to all people, but their biblical text obviously does not display the same message as Bibles that African-Americans possess.

Tyara M. BellDonalsonville, Ga.