The question most often asked about the Ku Klux Klan is, “Are they still around?” The answer is, yes, but just barely.
That’s despite the attention drawn to the group recently when, following the election of Donald Trump as president, the KKK made no secret of its celebratory mood and now a North Carolina group has announced a rally for Dec. 3 in Pelham, a small community in Caswell County near the Virginia border. No location is listed for the “parade.”
The Klan, it’s true, has had a few terrible heydays in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South, periods when members engaged in violent, even deadly activity that brought shame to a region and the state. But it at least says something good about North Carolina that one of the Klan’s most notable setbacks occurred in Maxton in Robeson County in 1958. A Klan rally was disrupted when, just as it began, a group of Lumbee Indians surrounded the rally and began firing shotguns into the air. The Klansmen, some pulling their robes off, quickly ran for cover. That humiliation was nationwide, showing the hooded members of the Klan to be what they were — cowards.
Yes, it’s disturbing that Trump’s election — after a campaign fueled by rage against the political establishment — has stirred the Klan. But Republicans have rightly blasted the group’s intentions, and one can hope the rally, as the Klan itself, will simply fizzle.