by Paul Blest
Warning: some of the links in this post redirect to stories with images of racist material.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s map of active hate groups in the United States, there are eight separate organizations operating under the Ku Klux Klan name in North Carolina. One of them dropped flyers in the Raleigh neighborhood of Oakwood on Sunday, as part of a seemingly coordinated literature campaign throughout the United States.
Oakwood resident Jesse Jones, a lawyer in Harnett County who filed the police report, says that his recording system caught a car stopping in the middle of the rainstorm, a man in a raincoat getting out, and throwing bags filled with rocks and racist flyers onto his and his neighbors' properties. The next morning, Jones says he found about ten on his property.
"An RPD officer was on patrol about 10:15 yesterday morning when he was flagged down concerning KKK pamphlets that had been found in the 500 block of Oakwood Avenue," Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a statement. "The pamphlets were collected as evidence and appropriate notifications were made within the department."
The flyers are attributed to the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which calls itself "the most active and biggest Klan in America." That group's leader, Chris Barker, told the AP in a recent story that his group has around 3,800 members; the Jewish Anti-Defamation League puts that number closer to 200.
According to the group's website, the phone number listed on the flier is its "national hotline," and is registered in the Rockingham County town of Reidsville, about a half an hour north of Greensboro. When we called the number, it went to a full voicemail. On whitepages.com, user reviews for the number dating back to 2014 list it as a KKK number. There have been five reviews of the number since Saturday.
Jones tells the INDY that he wasn't sure if the drop was targeting him, because of his involvement in a News & Observer series on problems with policing in Harnett County, but ABC 11 reported that flyers were also dropped in the Massey Hill neighborhood of Fayetteville.
Raleigh and Fayetteville aren't the only places where these flyers have been dropped over the past week, however. The flyers also showed up in Jacksonville, Florida; First Coast News in Jacksonville reported today that flyers listing the same contact showed up over the weekend, with the same group and number listed. And in both San Fransisco, California and Mayfield, Kentucky, similar flyers have been found over the past week.
Jones says he doesn't remember anything like this happening in Raleigh since Jesse Helms, the late Senator and noted racist, was active in politics. "When it happened, I just started crying," Jones says. "I couldn’t believe it."