There was a KKK billboard up outside the county seat.
It had a Klansman in his hooded outfit on a horse holding a flaming cross and messages proclaiming, “Welcome to Smithfield,” “This Is Klan Country,” “Join & Support The United Klans of America, Inc.,” and “Help Fight Communism & Integration!”
I’d just attended Aikahi Elementary School in Kailua with children of all races, including Marine dependants whose fathers were off fighting communism in Southeast Asia, and I found the sign rather confusing. I asked my grandmother about it and she told me that it was a shameful, ugly thing, that black people had a hard enough lot in life without folks in hoods making it any worse.
I met a lot of kids in my segregated school that year who felt like my grandmother. There were more than a few tuned into the Klan frequency though, picked up on it from their families. I dismissed them as backward, ignorant hicks who’d get winnowed out along the march of time.
A quarter of a century later, the year after the war to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and restore the monarchy in Kuwait, I was a Marine Corps reserve captain and lived in another small town in eastern North Carolina with my wife and three daughters.
I spent that summer out in the California desert as a controller for combined arms training exercises. When I returned, I was surprised to hear that the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were going to march in a nearby town. I’d hoped that kind of thing was part of the past, not part of my children’s present.
The police had the march area secured and we had to park several blocks from it. On the walk there, a city police car screeched to a halt next to us and a deputy jumped out with his hand on his pistol. His eyes were as big as a second lieutenant’s about to rappel out of a helicopter for the first time as he shouted, “Stand right there! What’s in the bag? What’s in the bag?”
He exhaled slowly and said, “Okay. Go on now.” Keeping his hand on his pistol, he returned to his vehicle.
We both laughed.
The march route was taped off so the hundred and fifty or so spectators couldn’t get close to the few dozen marchers.
It seemed like there were more cops there than anyone else, lining the crime scene tape, massed in reaction teams, on the rooftops and surrounding the KKK people.
When the little parade ended and Klansmen started giving speeches, they were so far away that I couldn’t hear anything other than periodic whooping. The crowd behind the tape mostly gawked in silence. A few jeered.
I suppose it’s a shallow, superficial, male chauvinist thing, but whenever I see a woman, some relexive, lower brain stem function spits out a potential mate rating and the most significant lasting impression I have from that day was how unattractive the Klan women were.
Not that any of the hooded dudes looked like candidates for People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, but I can’t recall ever seeing a less sperm worthy group of females in my life.
But, no matter what they look like,
all God’s children,
yellow, brown, black or white,
get that craving in the night.
with the Bible as their guide,
the flag as their protection,
and the Cross as their inspiration,
the Christian Knights continue to breed
purer than snow, whiter than milk
Still around in the 21st Century, you can see them six days a week, Monday through Saturday, nine to five, at The World’s Famous Klan Museum and Redneck Shop in Laurens, South Carolina.
I suppose they’re in church On Sundays.