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Friday, January 27, 2023

KKK Propaganda ‘Night Run’ Targets D.C. Suburb

Dozens of KKK recruitment flyers have been left in front of homes in Loudoun County, Va., including one suburb of Washington, D.C., over the past two nights.

HSToday received an image of a KKK flyer left Sunday in the Cardinal Glen neighborhood of Sterling, Va., 15 minutes from Dulles International Airport and about half an hour’s drive to the edge of D.C. At the intersection leading into the community is the Northern Virginia Baha’i Center.

The neighborhood is located just off of Virginia State Route 7, also known as the Harry Flood Byrd Highway, named for the late segregationist governor and senator. An 11-year-old girl has been leading a local petition drive to rename the road Freedom Highway.

Blaming “intolerent [sp], hateful white liberals,” the KKK flyer targeting residents along the route implored people to “just say no” to the proposed name change and “leave our history and heroes alone,” “preserve our culture.” Similar to previous propaganda drops in the state, it was packaged in a baggie with birdseed and included contact information for the Loyal White Knights in Pelham, N.C.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office told HSToday that between Sterling and Round Hill, a town in rural western Loudoun County past Leesburg, at least 55 flyers had been placed in front of homes. Deputies were able to snatch many of them off driveways before residents saw them, and some flyers were left on a deputy’s cruiser with a note explaining that they had been found in the area.

Round Hill is next to Purcellville, where during the week of MLK Day this past January someone plastered downtown light poles with adhesive signs bearing the message, “It’s OK to be white.” In the same time period, flyers attacking Martin Luther King Jr. and tennis star Serena Williams were distributed in front of homes, weighed down with a bag of birdseed.

There were no known witnesses to the latest propaganda distributions, which happened at night, the sheriff’s office said. “There’s no rhyme or reason as to why they’ve picked any of these neighborhoods,” said Detective Joe Hacay.

Carla Hill, a senior investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said these drive-by flyer drops are known as night runs, in which Klan members look for a handy drop zone with “lots of houses close together to get [flyers] out as fast as they can” akin to newspaper delivery.

Half of the Loyal White Knights’ flyer distribution activity this year has focused on Virginia. On July 6, about a dozen members held a recruitment rally outside the courthouse in Hanover, Va.

Hill said the group has been doing the flyer drops for about six years, outpacing other Klan groups in such activity despite “struggling” in comparison to younger white supremacist movements. Loyal White Knights leader Christopher Barker lives outside Pelham, N.C.

Law enforcement noted that flyers could be downloaded online and edited to conform to local issues, thus KKK associates or inspired individuals residing in the area could be conducting the propaganda runs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center told HSToday that “while we can’t say whether the person who spread these flyers is a member of the LWKs for sure, they likely are,” noting that “throughout 2018 and 2019 there has a been a high concentration of LWK flyers dropped in Loudoun County and the surrounding area in Virginia and Maryland.” The culprit(s) is “likely a member living in the area, not someone traveling.”

The Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, in the southwestern part of the state, announced on Facebook last week that “recently a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) distributed literature throughout our wonderful county,” including a business card, a flyer inside of a sandwich bag containing birdseed, and a DVD.

“You’re the majority – minorities rule! You’re a Christian nation – Jews rule!” said the flyer in part, furthering the “white genocide” mantra of white supremacists by claiming “tolerence [sp] = extinction.” The DVD shown was titled “The White Man’s Last Stand: Must watch for any American patriot.”

KKK flyers also packaged in clear plastic bags with birdseed to weigh them down, including materials bearing the phrase “Make America White Again,” were distributed this spring in Northampton County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Those included contact information for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Pelham, N.C., as well.

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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