A recently formed branch of the Ku Klux Klan, The Empire Knights, held a massive rally this past weekend in Abbeville, South Carolina. In a sickening attempt to appeal to the younger generation, they called their little shindig “Klan Jam”.
Abbeville, which The Empire Knights claim is their national headquarters, has a large African American population. For the most part, the Klan and the black community stay separated, but word has been spreading that there will soon be a Klan march right through the center of town. Community and religious leaders are distraught over the effect that witnessing the event could have on the young black children in the community.
In recent weeks, the Klan has been beefing up their recruitment efforts, at one point, even handing out bags of candy with pamphlets reading, “Save Our Land, Join the Klan.” Watchdog groups have attributed this push in recruitment efforts to dwindling numbers within the white supremacist organization. However, those reports have not been confirmed, and it appears as though the Klan is still very much alive. Many of their activities are done at undisclosed locations, so some of their more heinous practices happen out of the public eye.
Charles Murray was elected Imperial Wizard when The Empire Knights were formed in 2013. He reported that 116 Klan members from 15 different states were in attendance at the Klan Jam, which included activities such as speeches and a cross burning. Murray ominously commented of his organization, which includes prominent members of the community such as teachers and doctors, “I have fewer members than I want and more than you probably think.”
Lecia Brooks is the outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and extremists in the U.S. She says that the Klan’s membership numbers have slowly been decreasing ever since the 1960’s. While the KKK was once 40,000 members strong, they now only have around 4,000-6,000 supporters.
Brooks told Al Jazeera America:
“The Klan group in Abbeville is tiny and the Klan in general is not the threat we think they are. Klan and hate groups in general continue to be more attractive to people who are less educated, people who are poor, the sort of white people who are feeling particularly marginalized and who are feeling the realities of the shifting demographics. They’re constantly recruiting because their membership rolls are dwindling. They are becoming more and more irrelevant every day. The Klan, those flyers, the notion that the Klan still exists is enough to spark fear in people and that’s a very real emotion. It wasn’t that long ago that they were wreaking terror.”
What do you think of this report? Does it surprise you that the KKK is still so active in 2014? Sound off in the comments section!
(Read More: New KKK Recruiting Tool: Kool Klan Kandy)