THE KU KLUX KLAN (KKK) and their relationship to the Black Panthers
Pulaski in Tennessee was the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan in 1865. Since then the KKK has seen significant rise and falls in its membership, reaching as high as 4 million in the early 20th century dropping to as few as four thousand today. Throughout this period the KKK history is littered with sporadic outbursts of violence and terrorist activities, carried out in the name of its extremest white supremacy beliefs.
The Black Panther Party was a black power African-American revolutionary leftist organisation active in the United States from 1966 for a period of 16 years. At it’s peak the Blank Panthers numbered approximately 10,000, dwindling to less than 30 In the 1980′s.
Even today these two groups continue to clash and make headlines. Early in April 2010 in reaction to the firing of a black man from a hospital, members of the New Black Panther Party planned a demonstration in front of the building. Members of the New Black Panther Party made it known they were coming to the demonstration armed, raising fears that a violent outcome was likely. Hearing of the dispute, members of the KKK announced they would also hold a demonstration at the same place, and same day. The potential flare up was avoided however when hospital officials agreed to meet with members of the New Black Panther Party and discuss the situation with a view to reaching an amicable outcome.
Earlier, in 1998 it was the Ku Klux Klan who had a march planned in Jasper Texas shortly after the murder of a black resident who was viscously beaten then dragged to his death while tied to a pickup truck. Although downplayed, Texas had a number of Klan groups at the time. Although the three local men arrested for the murder were alleged members of the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan had planned the march to dispute the link between the Klan and the murder. It was subsequently uncovered that two of the men were in fact members of white supremacist outfit the Confederate Knights of America. Additionally a cigarette lighter with a Klan emblem belonging to one of the men was found at the scene.
Some estimates had Klu Klux Klan membership running as high as 5,000 in Texas during the late 1980′s and news of a rally spread quickly throughout their membership thanks to the Ku Klux Klan website and word of mouth, raising fears of a mass rally.
Hearing of the planned KKK march, members of the new Black Panthers also stated their intentions to march on Jasper. As the Panthers had previously attended the funeral of the victim while brandishing weapons, fears soared that the potential for violence was high and plans for a large police operation were set in motion to keep the two factions apart and maintain order.
The weekend rally was pre-fixed by a meeting of the towns black population at the local stadium. However the meeting was not well attended and support for a black demonstration seemed to dwindle.
The KKK rally went ahead without incident as members of the Blank Panthers found little support from the towns black population.
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