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It’s important to understand, however, that violent prejudice is not limited to the Ku Klux Klan or any other white supremacist organization.Every year, murders, arsons, bombings and assaults are committed by people who have no ties to an organized group, but who share their extreme hatred.Now, of course, I turn on my television set and see people in Klan robes or military uniforms again handing out hate literature on the town square. This report was produced by the Southern Poverty Law center’s Klanwatch Project.I read in my newspaper of crosses again burned in folks’ yards, and it seems as if we are back in the Sixties. The SPLC is a private, nonprofit, public interest organization located in Montgomery, Alabama.
Together, SPLC attorneys and Klanwatch investigators have won a number of major legal battles against Klan members for crimes they committed.I learned the importance of history at an early age — my father, the late Horace Mann Bond, taught at several black colleges and universities.He showed me that knowing the past is critical to making sense of the present.Today, while the traditional Klan has declined, there are many other groups which go by a variety of names and symbols and are at least as dangerous as the KKK.Some of them are teenagers who shave their heads and wear swastika tattoos and call themselves Skinheads; some of them are young men who wear camouflage fatigues and practice guerrilla warfare tactics; some of them are conservatively dressed professionals who publish journals filled with their bizarre beliefs — ideas which range from denying that the Nazi Holocaust ever happened to the contention that the U. federal government is an illegal body and that all governing power should rest with county sheriffs.The Ku Klux Klan was an instrument of fear, and black people, Jews and even white civil rights workers knew that the fear was intended to control us, to keep things as they had been in the South through slavery, and after that ended, through Jim Crow. As we prepare for the 21st century, we need to prepare for the continued presence of the Klan.This fear of the Klan was very real because, for a long time, the Klan had the power of Southern society on its side. It is a tribute to our laws that the Klan gradually was unmasked and its illegal activities checked. Unfortunately, malice and bigotry aren’t limited by dates on a calendar.The Klan had resurgence again in the 1970s, but did not reach its past level of influence.Since then, the Klan has become just one element in a much broader spectrum of white supremacist activity.Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others, I saw the Ku Klux Klan as an all-too visible power in many of the places we went to organize voter registration and protest segregation.We knew what the Klan was, and often we had a pretty good idea of who its members were.