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This Day (Learn the Truth Edition)

July 8th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1966, a Ku Klux Klan rally was held in Concord. The Library of Virginia explains the above poster:

Marshal Robert Kornegay (1928–1975), a North Carolina native, was the United Klans of America Grand Dragon of Virginia from 1965 to 1968. During his tenure the small and mostly inactive Klan of Virginia revitalized and greatly increased membership mostly in the Southside, in a large part as a backlash to the desegregation of schools and other civil rights struggles.

Meanwhile, we have been hard at work on our own entry on the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s a bit that helps provide more context:

In spring 1965, the United Klans of America sent North Carolinian Marshall Kornegay to organize Virginia. Virginia had only an estimated 2,000 active Klan members in 1966 and much less Klan activity than in states to the south, but enough for the Richmond and Norfolk offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to keep a close watch. In the fall of 1966, unidentified individuals bombed an African American church in Richmond. Because the incident “smacked of ‘Klan-like’ activity,” civil rights groups such as the Virginia chapter of the NAACP pressured governor Mills E. Godwin to officially condemn the Klan. In December he finally did, singling out cross burning as a “reprehensible” act “long associated with the record of bigotry compiled by the Ku Klux Klan” that “must be stamped out.”

In the weeks that followed, the Klan tested Godwin’s mettle by holding rallies. But the weight of the political establishment was against them. With desegregation imminent and Virginia’s political leadership committed to finding and rooting out the Klan rather than ignoring them, Virginia became inhospitable ground for the Klan to flourish.

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