Several groups say they will hold protests to condemn a Ku Klux Klan group that plans to hold a rally and cross burning May 6 in Asheboro.
The rally, announced in March by the Pelham-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is open to group members only, organizers say.
Two events have been announced by Asheboro groups hoping to counter the Knights, who are called “the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
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“As a community it is time to come together and stand against the hate and divide that is polluting our city and our country,” the Unity Walk’s Facebook page says.
Chris Barker, a Pelham resident and the Loyal White Knights’ imperial wizard, defended his group’s event, saying it will be held on private land for members only and will be for induction of new members.
“It’s on private property on a farm out there,” he said in an interview. “We don’t give out the locations.”
Barker declined to say how many members the group has, but he said there were never plans to march through Asheboro or conduct a public cross burning.
The Pelham group, which he said doesn’t hate anyone, holds several events each year, and not all are open to the public. Pelham is an unincorporated community about 45 minutes north of Burlington, near the Virginia line.
Barker, who operates a lawn care business, was arrested in North Carolina in December along with an Orange County, Calif., man, William Hagen, who leads KKK groups on the West Coast, Barker said.
Hagen and Barker were accused of stabbing a third Klan member, according to a New York Times story. Barker, who said he wasn’t directly involved in the fight, was released on a $75,000 bond. The case is pending.
The Pelham group has held other events, including a parade through Roxboro in December to celebrate Donald Trump’s presidential election victory. It drew more than 100 participants. Trump was embraced by the KKK’s official newspaper, The Crusader, and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke in last year’s presidential campaign.
U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and the city of Asheboro also have denounced the KKK event. The city posted a statement on its Facebook page saying it denounced “in the strongest terms possible the message of hate and division advocated by the Ku Klux Klan and its affiliates.”
Barker said that after the Asheboro rally, members of the group will head to Buffalo, N.Y., for another gathering. Similar to last year’s event, Barker said, the group will hold a public rally in North Carolina this winter.