Tag Archives: KKK

Hate Literature in Lovettsville

A sample of the hate literature

A sample of the hate literature

The Southern Poverty Law Center has made it clear that “The Ku Klux Klan, with its long history of violence, is the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups. Although black Americans have typically been the Klan’s primary target, it also has attacked Jews, immigrants, gays and lesbians and, until recently, Catholics.”

The KKK has found its voice in Charlottesville, Virginia and has been emboldened to circulate its hateful literature under dark of night in communities to the North, in Lovettsville and also Brunswick, this past weekend.

If Freedom of Speech is the KKK’s defense for its hate literature, the citizen’s response, in social media and public statements, is to speak up freely and warn friends and neighbors of the menace they know the KKK to be.

One comment was as direct as you could imagine: “So this racist crap storm has now hit my little town that begins with LOVE as well as our neighbors in Brunswick, MD. … If you are not outraged and remain silent, you are part of the problem. Gloves off racist cowards!!! Your hate is not welcomed here.”

Another remark spoke to the context of these hateful literature drops – “It’s as if these groups feel empowered by a national figure or something.”

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that KKK Propaganda flyers were reportedly located on various streets of the New Town Meadows community in the Town of Lovettsville, alongside driveways, near mail-boxes and on sidewalks in the community.

All of the flyers were placed in plastic bags containing birdseed.

The baggies circulated

The baggies circulated

There was another drop in the area of the 39000 Block of Catoctin Ridge Street in Paeonian Springs.

Lovettsville Realtor Kris Consaul argued the community should not treat this literature drop lightly just because the KKK has been “leaving their recruitment flyers in sandwich baggies weighted by birdseed.”

“Each one of those KKK Flyers,” Kris said, “contains the weight of the thousands of black bodies hung by a noose from trees and telephone poles. Each one of those flyers carry the weight of enraged whites screaming, no, snarling at black children going to school. Each one of those flyers carries the weight of burning crosses and terror in the night.”

Kris said, “I’m going to join our neighboring towns and communities in the ‘Love Your Neighbor’ Orange Ribbon Campaign. The first amendment covers my right to respond to cowardice and hate with courage and love. I invite you to join me.”

Councilman Nate Fontaine said, “The material does not reflect the values or thoughts of the people of Lovettsville. We are a close knit, caring community who will always support the people of our town and surrounding areas.”

(Anyone with any information regarding these cases or with possible surveillance video, are asked to contact Detective Joseph Hacay at 703-777-0475.)

The conscience of an American

Birmingham_fire_hoses_1963When I was 14, my friends and I were playing at Richard’s tenement apartment in the South Bronx, and Richard’s Mom asked quietly if I would leave and get my friends to go as well.

I must have looked puzzled when I said I would because Richard’s Mom said in a whisper, “You can come back later but don’t bring Stevie.”

Stevie was black.  He was one of my friends.

It was my first encounter with racism.

This is how an individual conscience awakens to bigotry.

In the neighborhood, among us kids, we were from lower middle class families, nobody had gone past High School, not the parents, nor the kids, we were a mixed lot of Irish, Italian, Jewish, Black and Puerto Rican boys mostly.

We played stickball, sewer to sewer, hand ball, swung from the hanging ladders off the fire ‘scapes at street level, ran up and down alleys, through basements and court yards.

We were friends with unnoticed differences, who talked trash, had fist fights, but got along.

Senator Patrick Moynihan might have considered us a species of his “melting pot” but we were hardly homogenous.  We celebrated our differences while remaining companionable.

There’s a lyric in the musical, South Pacific, that “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.”  We neither did hate nor fear. Continue reading

Replace that Confederate statue!

“I may not get there with you,” Martin Luther King.

“I may not get there with you,” Martin Luther King.

In 1908, there was a statue erected of a confederate soldier, rifle drawn, standing vigil before the Loudoun County courthouse, as if an armed sentry demanding that any person approaching the court must first seek permission to proceed any further.

No one asks why this statue was not erected sooner than 40 years after the Civil War.

No one is curious why the citizens didn’t forge a statue of a Union and Confederate soldier standing side by side, at peace, weapons at rest, given that Loudoun County had civil war combatants on both sides of that divisive struggle.

It’s because this statue was never intended to bring us together.

Consider the historical context in Virginia after the Civil War.

In 1868, a Richmond editorial praised the KKK for “not permit[ting] the people of the South to become the victims of negro rule.”

Even the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting Black men the right to vote, did not prove an effective remedy.

Racial segregation appeared and persisted. A white dominated political system established itself throughout Virginia. From 1880 to 1930, mobs in Virginia executed seventy blacks.

In 1890, a local Hamilton contingent of blacks formed the Loudoun County Emancipation Association “to work for the betterment of the race – educationally, morally and materially.”

In 1896, the Supreme Court shored up segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson pronouncing that “separate” was just fine for Blacks.

In 1902, the hateful Klan was summoned back into service. Thomas Dixon, Jr., a fiction writer, favoring white supremacy, told the nation that the Klan was an heroic force. The Virginia Constitution was amended to limit the voting rights of Blacks, by requiring screened interviews in order to vote and imposing a poll tax. The number of black voters in Virginia declined from 147,000 in 1902 to less than 10,000 by 1904. Continue reading

Erin Go Bragh! (Ireland Forever!)

John P. Flannery kissing the Blarney Stone

John P. Flannery kissing the Blarney Stone

Some have jokingly said it was unnecessarily redundant, even dangerous, that I felt it necessary to kiss the Blarney stone, a block of bluestone found at the heights, in the parapet of the Blarney Castle, enchanted by the goddess Cliodhna, for its fabled gift of gab and flattery.

You tip the kind strong rain-garbed guard who holds you from falling as you lean backward.

We were told one soldier did fall, long before, perhaps after a pint, slipping between the walls, sliding to the ground, landing on his head, speeding him on his way to his final heavenly reward.

It was a somewhat rainy day when I underwent this transformation, bending backward, without fear of contracting anything even remotely dangerous to my health – as we are all related who kiss this grand stone, just like every member of a Catholic congregation may drink safely from the same Holy Communion cup

It’s more apt for a lawyer, however, to kiss this Irish stone as, according to the legend, it was this stone that Cliodhna first commended to the builder of the Castle so that he could plead his case in court successfully. Continue reading