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Friday, March 31, 2023

Virginia Counties Are Latest Recruitment, Harassment Grounds of N.C. KKK

A county in southwestern Virginia said the Ku Klux Klan has been distributing propaganda there in a combined campaign of recruitment and harassment.

The Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office 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.

“This was done as an attempt to recruit new members as well as intimidate or harass citizens of Tazewell County,” the attorney’s office continued. “The incidents we know about have been reported to the Virginia State Police for follow-up investigation. This type of behavior is not something our office will tolerate and if any crimes have occurred resulting from these recent incidents, we will prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Also, if anyone has been assaulted, threatened, intimidated, harassed or had your property vandalized or destroyed based on your race, religious conviction, color or national origin, please report this to our office immediately. We want all the citizens of Tazewell County to live happily and not in fear, be treated equally and with the utmost respect.”

A photo of a flyer released by the county attorney gave redacted information to “kontact the experts” including a post office box address, a “24/7 hotline” with a North Carolina area code (336), a website and radio show call-in.

“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.

Abingdon, Gate City and Weber City were among the southwest Virginia towns that reported KKK recruitment flyers left at the ends of driveways or next to mailboxes at the beginning of the year. Abingdon Police Chief Tony Sullivan said they had no legal way to stop the recruitment drive but they forwarded information on the flyers to the FBI because “events like this are helpful in tracking hate groups and hate crimes nationally.”

The Anti-Defamation League said that the LWK in Pelham are “the largest and the most active Klan group in the country with approximately 100 members.” More than three-quarters of KKK propaganda in 2018 was attributed to the LWK; their flyers have appeared in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia, but most of their 2018 activity was centered in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

UPDATE 11 p.m. EST: After this article was published, HSToday received a copy of a KKK flyer left today in a neighborhood in Sterling, Va., 15 minutes from Dulles International Airport. 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 the other propaganda drops, it was packaged in a baggie with birdseed and included contact information for the Loyal White Knights in Pelham, N.C.

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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