KKK blankets Tallassee with recruiting lettersPublished 3:19pm Wednesday, July 2, 2014
By Griffin Pritchard – Tallassee Tribune
Tallassee residents on both sides of the river found plastic bags containing a recruiting letter from the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan over the weekend, touching off a flood of complaints to local police.
Tallassee Chief of Police Jimmy Rodgers said the department received about 30 complaint calls from residents and he immediately launched an investigation. Rodgers said the fliers were found in mailboxes, attached to cars, doors and in yards and he had his officers canvassing the city and removing the packets. The single sheet KKK recruiting letter was distributed a rock for weight tucked in a plastic bag.
Rodgers said his department has also enlisted the help of other state agencies to see if any major crimes were committed.
“We were made aware [Sunday],” Rodgers said Monday morning. “We’ve had 20-30 complaints … Right now, the only thing I can charge them with is criminal littering.”
While the flier contained no racially charged language, the intent to recruit new members to the organization with a checkered past is clear.
The informational sheet dumped on Tallassee residents reads: “The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is seeking intelligent, awake, aware Christian, White people to stand up for our race, our heritage, and the American way of life.”
Initial information released by the Tallassee Police Department questioned the authenticity and the source of the flier, but the organization itself Monday confirmed its role in reaching out to Tallassee residents.
“Our agency is aware of the fliers being distributed throughout our community,” a statement released on the Tallassee Police Department Facebook page read. “We are currently investigating this incident and are also patrolling neighborhoods to remove any fliers that we observe. At this point we have no information to indicate that these fliers originated from the organization displayed on these fliers. However we are still taking this incident seriously and will prosecute these individuals when they are identified.”
However, in a telephone interview, Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona told The Tallassee Tribune that “the Klan is in Tallassee, Alabama and all over the South,” but said it is not the organization that some would paint it to be.
He did not specifically name the people responsible for the local distribution of a flier. He did say the flier, which contained typographical errors including an incorrect phone number for the national KKK organization, is consistent with the ongoing national effort to recruit new members.
“I know which flier you’re talking about – some of the local guys made the flier up and put an 800 number instead of an 888 number,” Ancona said. “They called afterwards and said ‘Oh, my God, we just put out 300 of these fliers and realized that we had the wrong number on them.” I said well you should have used the fliers from the national website – but they were definitely put out by our organization.
“The Traditionalist American Knights has been growing strong over the past six years, we’re definitely doing well down in that area,” Ancona said. “It’s not the organization that a lot of people want to paint us as. We’re not going out looking to lynch black people and we don’t hate black people, or anybody, for that matter. We look out for the interest of our own race and we are a fraternal order like the Masons or the Elks. The only big secret about the Klan is our rituals and ceremonies and they are exclusive to our membership and are the strings that bind us together in the fraternal bond of brotherhood.”
While Ancona speaks the company line, the website for his organization still sports the KKK letters in flames and images of members in pointed white hoods. It also features a video that plainly states that the organization is “recruiting today.”
The flier tries to purify the KKK’s image for potential new members and reads: “If you have awakened and become aware that our Civil Liberties, Christian religion, our Constitution, and our American way of life are under constant attack from the onslaught of ‘multiculturalism’ and the presence of traitors within the US Government and the media, you belong with us. Please, give us a call today! Confidentiality is guaranteed.”
While Ancona said the KKK is actively recruiting they have no immediate plans for any local public events at this point. He also said the timing of the flier’s distribution has nothing to do with an last weekend’s League of the South rally in Wetumpka.
“We are not related to them at all. No, sir,” said Ancona. “I’ve seen things about the League of the South, but it’s been years ago. They seem like an interesting organization and they seem to share some of our values, but the Klan is not looking to have any states secede from the Union. We’re not just a Southern organization. The Klan stands for the Re-United States.
“We did everything we could for the South during the Reconstruction (after the Civil War) when the government sent in all those carpetbaggers and they kind of took advantage of the South. There was a lot of lawlessness going on at that time and there were actually some blacks that helped the Klan at that time deal with some of the rogue elements.”
While Ancona and the KKK have their mission and their recruiting pitch, local people who had the flier left on their property had different feelings.
“Seeing the letters KKK you think they are bringing hate into our community,” said Tallassee’s Amanda Birtley. “We think it’s a bad thing. The paper did say they were a non-hate group and were Christian, but if you’re a group and your name starts with KKK it’s not going to bring anything good. People are going to be unhappy and want to retaliate over what’s been done in the past.”