In what is being billed as the first meeting between the two groups, leaders from the NAACP and an organizer from the Ku Klux Klan gathered in Wyoming last Saturday (August 31). Although the meeting was filled with tension, it appears that the groups aim to meet again.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported on the meeting between KKK organizer John Abarr of Great Falls, Mont., and local NAACP leaders led by chapter president Jimmy Simmons in the small town of Casper. The meeting had been in planning for months, with Simmons facing some opposition from his fellow NAACP members. Although the conversation was meant to serve as a bridge-building exercise, it largely remained one-sided as Abarr fielded most of the questions.
From the Star-Tribune:
Abarr makes a point of proving he’s a member of anti-racism groups. Membership: American Civil Liberties Union, the hate-group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, and oh, yes — also the United Klans of America, an organization with a website image gallery that includes a target with an Obama campaign symbol bull’s-eye.
Then there’s the desire to secede from the United States of America. The northwest U.S. — Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon — should secede and form a territory. Blacks can stay there, he supposes, but no more should be allowed in, to keep the region white. States such as Georgia, which are primarily black, should secede from the union and become a black state.
A question from the NAACP: How do you plan to secede from the union?
“Legally, hopefully,” Abarr says.
Other tidbits was the revelation that Abarr delights in being seen as an “outlaw” as a Klan member and that he gets to wear the menacing white robes and burn crosses. Abarr’s pro-white stances were unwavering, and throughout the talk, he is grilled by Simmons and his colleagues on what the Klan’s true purpose is.
Rosemary Lytle, president of the NAACP Colorado Montana Wyoming State Conference said the meeting was not approved by the organization and didn’t learn of the situation until the Star-Tribune reported on it Tuesday (September 2).
Check out some photos, including some serious side-eyes, on the following pages.
Photos: Casper Star-Tribune