Florida Protesters Rally to Keep “Not Racist” KKK Mural
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by Deborah Caldwell
The KKK in this country has for years stood for race hatred and subjugation of black people. By all accounts, the group has acted as a home grown terror cell in this country. Still, a group of Floridians came out over the weekend to insist that a mural of hooded Klansmen not be removed from the Baker County Courthouse because it was “not a racist thing.”
To make matters worse, this mural wasn’t painted in the early 1900’s, but in 2001. Painter Gene Barber once declared in a statement that anger directed at the mural was totally without merit. According to Barber, we all owe the KKK our gratitude:
Lawlessness among ex-slaves and troublesome whites was the rule of the day. No relief was given by the carpetbag and scalawag government or by the Union troops. The result was the emergence of secret societies claiming to bring law and order to the county. One of these groups was the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that sometimes took vigilante justice to extremes but was sometimes the only control the county knew over those outside the law. The Klan faded from view at the end of Reconstruction. It had minor come-backs in the 1920’s and mid 1950’s. Since then it has become the subject of legend rather than a cause of fear.
Barber has since passed away.
Over 2,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the county remove the mural. Protesters who showed up to save the mural say it’s not racist and, to the contrary, is an important part of their heritage.
“They got everything all wrong on that,” one man told WJXT. “It’s not a racist thing.”
“I love it, I do,” he added. “It’s awesome.”
“This means history, this is not nothing to do with slavery,” said another man.