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June 18, 2014 0

Honoring The Memory Of Murdered Civil Rights Workers

June 21 marks the 50th anniver­sary of the mur­ders of three young civil rights work­ers who trav­elled to Mis­sis­sippi for “Free­dom Sum­mer,” to help African Amer­i­can res­i­dents under­stand their con­sti­tu­tional rights and reg­is­ter to vote.  Fac­ing deep insti­tu­tional racism, fewer than five per­cent of the 500,000 black adults in Mis­sis­sippi were then reg­is­tered to vote.  Michael “Mickey” Schw­erner, 24, James Chaney, 21, and Andrew Good­man, 20, knew they were risk­ing their lives for their cause. murdered-civil-rights-workers

On June 21, 1964, after they had inves­ti­gated the burn­ing of a black church, the three young men were reported miss­ing.    Forty-four days later, their bod­ies were found buried deep in a dam in Philadel­phia, Mis­sis­sippi.  The nation later learned that on their way back, the men’s car had been stopped for a pre­text traf­fic vio­la­tion and the three had been arrested and held for sev­eral hours.  On their release, they were fol­lowed and mur­dered by mem­bers of the Neshoba Coun­try Sheriff’s Depart­ment, Philadel­phia Police, and mem­bers of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

When Mis­sis­sippi pros­e­cu­tors refused to press mur­der charges, fed­eral author­i­ties, led by Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral for Civil Rights John Doar, brought fed­eral crim­i­nal civil rights charges – with mixed results:  seven of the 18 defen­dants were con­victed, with sen­tences between three and ten years.  At the sen­tenc­ing in Decem­ber 1967, fed­eral judge William Harold Cox crudely explained, “They killed one nig­ger, one Jew, and a white man. I gave them all what I thought they deserved.”  In 1999, a new gen­er­a­tion of Mis­sis­sippi law enforce­ment offi­cials reopened pro­ceed­ings, and in 2005 the State of Mis­sis­sippi indicted the Klan leader who had led the group.  ADL wel­comed his conviction.

The mur­ders in Mis­sis­sippi in 1964 out­raged the nation, pro­vid­ing addi­tional momen­tum to pro­pel pas­sage of the com­pre­hen­sive Civil Rights Act later that sum­mer – and the Vot­ing Rights Act (VRA), one of the most impor­tant, effec­tive civil rights laws – the fol­low­ing year.

We have come a long way as a nation since 1964, but vig­i­lance is nec­es­sary to retain that hard-earned progress.  In 2013, unfor­tu­nately, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a crit­i­cal VRA pro­vi­sion in Shelby County v. Holder.  The League had urged the Court to uphold the Act in an ami­cus brief.  Instead, a nar­row Court major­ity elim­i­nated the for­mula to deter­mine which states must seek prior gov­ern­ment approval for vot­ing changes. The very day the deci­sion was handed down, a num­ber of states began enact­ing previously-blocked voter ID laws and redis­trict­ing mea­sures.

Now, fifty years later, the League is help­ing to lead a very large coali­tion work­ing to fight dis­crim­i­na­tion, pro­mote equal­ity, and pro­tect the same vot­ing rights for which Schw­er­mer, Good­man, and Chaney gave their lives. ADL is urg­ing broad sup­port  for the Vot­ing Rights Amend­ment Act of 2014 (VRAA) which would cre­ate a new for­mula for pre-clearing vot­ing rights changes.

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March 28, 2013 1

White Supremacists To Stage Protest Over Memphis Parks

This Sat­ur­day, March 30, mem­bers of a North Carolina-based Ku Klux Klan group and other white suprema­cists will stage a protest at a cour­t­house in down­town Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, to protest that city’s deci­sion to rename three local parks bear­ing names related to the Con­fed­er­acy. In ral­ly­ing sup­port for the protest, Chris Barker, the “Impe­r­ial Wiz­ard” of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (LWK), told fol­low­ers that the gov­ern­ment was attempt­ing to “erase all that our Anglo Saxon Race has to be proud of.” Fol­low­ing the protest, the LWK plans to host a cross-burning on pri­vate prop­erty at an undis­closed location.

A num­ber of Klan groups reacted with anger in Feb­ru­ary 2013, after the Mem­phis City Coun­cil voted 9–0 to rename Nathan Bed­ford For­rest Park, Con­fed­er­ate Park and Jef­fer­son Davis Park with less offen­sive titles. Of the three, the park named after For­rest had been the most con­tro­ver­sial, as prior to the Civil War, For­rest had been a slave trader, and dur­ing the War was a gen­eral who had been asso­ci­ated with the mas­sacre of African-American sol­diers. After the war he became the first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan. 

Klan reac­tion fol­low­ing the vote was pre­dictable. James Moore, the LWK’s Grand Dragon for the Realm of Vir­ginia, posted a YouTube video of him­self attempt­ing to describe the City Council’s unan­i­mous vote as a “con­tin­u­ing cul­tural geno­cide [against] white Amer­i­cans.” Frank Ancona, the Missouri-based leader of another Klan group, the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Amer­i­can Knights, claimed that “nig­gardly politi­cians” had “declared WAR on our White Con­fed­er­ate Heroes and History.”

Barker launched a cam­paign ask­ing his mem­bers and those of other Klan groups to call Mem­phis city coun­cil mem­bers to protest the deci­sion, even pro­vid­ing Klans­men with their phone num­bers and e-mail addresses. Frank Ancona urged his own mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in “call­ing these degen­er­ate scum ASAP and let’s make them sorry they ever made this ridicu­lous deci­sion.” Some city coun­cil mem­bers have reported receiv­ing such communications.

On Feb­ru­ary 14, Tamra Crow­der sub­mit­ted a per­mit on behalf of the LWK for  the group’s pub­lic protest.  Other white suprema­cists soon joined in.  On March 10, the National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM), a neo-Nazi group based in Detroit, Michi­gan, announced that NSM leader Jeff Schoep would speak at the Mem­phis event.  NSM mem­bers from Texas, South Car­olina and Geor­gia also plan to attend. The North­ern Mis­sis­sippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Arkansas-based Inter­na­tional Key­stone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Louisiana-based neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations have all also claimed that mem­bers would attend.

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June 21, 2012 0

David Duke Endorses Congressional Candidate Due to Shared Anti-Zionist Views

In a video posted to his Web site on June 20, for­mer Klan leader David Duke endorses Charles Bar­ron, an African-American Con­gres­sional can­di­date from New York. Duke says that he shares Barron’s anti-Zionist and anti-Israel views. Duke also calls Barron’s oppo­nent, Hakeem Jef­fries, a “bought and paid for Zion­ist Uncle Tom.” In the same video, Duke tries to paint him­self as a cham­pion of equal rights for blacks and whites while point­ing to Jews as the com­mon enemy of both.
Duke’s endorse­ment of Bar­ron gives Duke the oppor­tu­nity to expound on his own anti-Semitic views. Duke repeat­edly asserts that Jews con­trol the media, gov­ern­ment and bank­ing in the United States and calls Israel “the worst rogue ter­ror­ist state on earth.”
Duke, a long-time racist and anti-Semite, sug­gests that Barron’s anti-white views were foisted upon him by Jews who allegedly con­trol Hol­ly­wood and release movies with “vicious anti-white pro­pa­ganda.” In the video clip below, Duke argues that black lead­ers like Bar­ron “should work to lessen the enmity between blacks and whites and real­ize that the Jew­ish extrem­ists in Amer­ica keep whites and blacks from mutu­ally solv­ing our inter­ests and differences.”
                           

                       

While Duke crit­i­cizes Bar­ron for sup­port­ing affir­ma­tive action and for espous­ing “extreme racist, even vio­lently anti-white rhetoric,” he tells African-Americans that they have a lot in com­mon with European-Americans. He claims that they both want to have con­trol over their com­mu­ni­ties, schools and the peo­ple with whom they asso­ciate. Duke argues that African-Americans need to real­ize that Jews and “Zion­ist glob­al­ism” are the “ulti­mate real ene­mies of both our peoples.”
As a 501©(3) non-profit char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tion, ADL does not endorse or oppose any can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

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