Last week, under the cover of darkness, someone distributed flyers in a Rhome subdivision attempting to recruit members for the Ku Klux Klan.
The flyer was distributed in the Shale Creek neighborhood off Texas 114 by a group calling themselves the Loyal White Knights of the KKK. It references data blaming illegal immigration as a burden on Texas taxpayers due to prison and health care costs. The flyer pictures a drawing of a Klansman in full regalia with the words “The KKK Wants You!” around it.
It offers a phone number and a website for potential recruits to contact.
Mark Potok, senior fellow with Southern Poverty Law Center, said the Loyal White Knights of the KKK have been using this type of pamphleteering to dramatically grow their numbers in the past two years. The SPLC is a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, Ala., that supports civil rights and tracks “hate groups” such as the KKK, neo-Nazis, New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam.
The number of hate groups in the U.S. dropped last year for the second year in a row, after peaking at 1,018 in 2011. It fell to 1,007 in 2012 and 939 last year. But the numbers of the Loyal White Knights continued to grow over that time frame.
Texas has the third-largest hate group contingent with 57, while California and Florida continue to lead the nation.
“This is the fastest-growing Klan group in the United States,” Potok said. “In 2012 they had 16 chapters. By 2013 they had 52. They’ve been very rampant with pamphleteering like this. And it looks like it’s helped increase their numbers.”
The Loyal White Knights of the KKK are headquartered in the small town of Edem, N.C. The group’s imperial wizard is Chris Barker. Potok said they have a chapter in North Texas and now have the highest membership of any Klan group in the nation.
He agreed with Fogarty, adding that as long as the activity has been nothing more than distributing literature, there’s probably not much to worry about.
The Loyal White Knights were contacted, but did not respond by press time. The group’s voicemail signs off with the phrase “if it ain’t white, it ain’t right.”
Ironically, the cover photo for the most recent SPLC publication featured a photo of Evan Ebel, member of a white supremacist prison gang in Colorado who shot a Montague County sheriff’s deputy and engaged in a rolling gun battle with law enforcement in Wise County before dying in a shoot-out in Decatur.
For information on hate groups based in the U.S. and where they are located, go to www.splcenter.org.