Interview with The Ku Klux Klan: Jeff Berry
Imperial Wizard of The American Knights
by Mark Liberator (e-mail: email@example.com) [Revised July 30th, 2005]
PrefaceThe Ku Klux Klan almost rallied in Cicero, Illinois on March 14th, 1998 1. The media attention concerning this event was heavy and stirred up mixed emotions covering many issues: The Klan, racism, and local Cicero politics. National politics, the Internet, "hate" groups and issues of crime have been leading stories ever since. It would be foolish to assume that this near rally sparked a national fuse, but it closely coincided with news that followed some months later on.
All of these issues became interwoven as I explored chatrooms on the Internet. I stumbled upon a chatroom that contained a controversial character that led me to electronic areas roped off by The Ku Klux Klan. At least one of these channels was not advertised and required some investigation through clicks of the mouse, simple knowledge that savvy teens use with ease.
From that moment on, I began investigating one group within The KKK, The Church of The American Knights. I found their website 2 and discovered a considerable amount of eye-opening documentation. I found information on their goals, ideology, upcoming rallies, and the phone number and address of their Indiana headquarters.
More important, I started probing the people in the chatroom for specific Klan information. It wasn't easy. My initial debate must have labeled me as "KKK hostile" because I had to pull teeth to get further information. Once I indicated my sincere desire to personally learn about The Klan and possibly do an interview with someone of Klan authority for purposes of reporting it on The Liberator, the conversation took a turn.
I found American Knights leader, Jeff Berry through his wife who happened to be in the chatroom. Without hesitation, they gave me a phone number to reach them to do an interview. After some preparation, I called Jeff Berry on October 13th, 1999 at approximately 6 p.m. and the following interview resulted.
InterviewLiberator: I'm going to be asking you questions that most people would like to hear answered. Don't take any of these questions personally.
Berry: I never take anything personally, unless someone puts their hands on me.
Liberator: I want to make sure this is clear so I can properly frame this discussion. If you don't like a question, tell me and we'll move on. Tell me about The American Knights and how it relates to the entire Ku Klux Klan. What is the hierarchy of The Klan?
Berry: The Klan began in 1865, started by six people in Pulaski, Tennessee. They were called The Jolly Six. It was a fraternal organization that helped widows and children after The Confederate War. The Klan settled disputes concerning personal property, like getting back land, clothing, and gold. It had nothing to do with Blacks 3.
Eventually it became a social organization and political force. Both The Democratic and Republican Parties wanted to maintain a two-party system and positioned themselves against The Klan. When the Jews came over and started controlling The United States, they too positioned themselves against The Klan.
The only method of lethal punishment back then was death by hanging. Many of the people who were hanged were black. To destroy the Klan, the political forces that existed turned these deaths into something they were not: the result of racist southerners. This negative publicity hurt the credibility of The Klan. To this day, a two-party political system remains 4.
Liberator: I personally believe that our political system could benefit by having more than two parties. People want to feel that they have a voice in government.
Berry: There are deals made under the table that don't allow other parties to gain large amounts of power. The two-party system will not allow it to happen.
Liberator: Do you have a title?
Berry: I am the National Imperial Wizard.
Liberator: Was this title decreed by someone or is this a role you assume?
Berry: I was voted in. Let's get back to the history of The Klan. I want to finish on the history of The Klan...
The Klan split up at the state level. The American Knights, The Knights of The Ku Klux Klan, and other smaller Klan groups.
Now there are many Klan groups with four or five members each. They exist on the Internet. Some of the people claiming to be Grand Dragons are just 14, 15, and 16-year-old kids. They use these titles and assume these roles to get attention.
The reason The Klan is in existence is for equal rights. We're not against Blacks. We're against niggers. My definition of a nigger, and I always say this, is no matter what color you are ... and takes away from society and doesn't give anything back. We are not a Hitler group. We are not a White supremicist group. We are Christian, White separatists.
I don't have a problem with a Black living next door to me. If he goes about his business, goes to work, doesn't mix with drug dealers, doesn't beat on his kids or wife, and he's a good neighbor then I have no problem with him. But if one comes in that I can put in the category of a nigger -- that does not work, has wild parties all the time, his kids are out stealing stuff, he's out stealing and destroying the neighborhood -- then he is a nigger to me and I have a problem with him living next to me whether he's Black or White.
Liberator: I think the problem that people may have with the term nigger is that it has a racial connotation. Why choose that word and not another?
Berry: If you look it up in a dictionary it means a person of Black descent 5. So if they are ashamed of being Black, then they will be offended by the term nigger. I would rather be called that then a White honky, White dog or cracker or any other name they come up with.
Liberator: So you're saying that if someone is offended, they should look it up in the dictionary to find that it's not an uncomplimentary term.
Berry: No it's not. It's like you calling me Caucasian. Is that supposed to offend me?
Liberator: I see your point but minorities are offended by it because it has become an insult. It's like calling a Hispanic person a spic. That's what the name has become.
Berry: We're not the ones who made it. Their own people call them it.
Liberator: It probably has to do with Nigeria.
Liberator: You made it pretty clear that you don't call yourself a racist. It's just a matter of being a provider in society. I can agree with your view on respecting providers in society. But I hear you use the term White all the time. You said that you are White separatists. What does it mean to be White?
Berry: It's the most proud thing there is. I'm proud of my heritage. I'm proud of what my forefathers have accomplished and have taught other races. I'm proud of who I am. So what's the difference with that and a Black man who says "Black power?" If he's proud of his race, great; I'm glad for 'em. But don't degrade me or call me a racist because I'm proud of my race. I'm proud of being White.
Liberator: Just to get it clear in my head, what races would constitute being White? I know that the Census categorizes a lot of races in the term White, even some Hispanics.
Berry: Let's put it a different way. I'm proud to be Caucasian.
Liberator: I hear "White pride" but it's confusing because it's not specific.
Berry: It's the stories that I hear, of people saying "it's not right being White" or "it's bad to be White" or "I wish I wasn't White" that's sickening. We are not the ones who are promoting racism. Look at all the hate crime laws. It's all designed to make money for minorities. Our teachers are brainwashing our kids because teachers are forced to be politically correct and allow popular opinion to tell them what to teach.
Liberator: A lot of teachers go by the textbooks.
Berry: ...and who writes the textbooks.
Liberator: I know what you're saying. Those in power write the textbooks. What troubles me -- on a larger scale -- is that errors get passed editors and get printed and used in classrooms across our country.
But you definitely distance yourself from Nazism and anything from World War II, right?
Berry: Let me tell you something. Hitler was a scumbag. Hitler killed innocent people, whether they were Jewish, Polish, Americans or Germans. Anybody who does that is a piece of crap. It's the skinheads that say "Zig Heil" and "Heil Hitler." We don't do that. Our salute is different from Nazis.
To prove a point, I went to go hold a rally as a concerned citizen. "Sure, c'mon up" was the response. I turned around four months later and asked to hold a rally and identified myself as a member of The American Knights of The Ku Klux Klan. It got media attention because of the myth of The Ku Klux Klan. It sells newspapers just like over in Cicero.
Liberator: I definitely want to get to that but the whole First Amendment issue is an important one -- having the freedom to speak.
Berry: We're going to New York for our next rally. We had it all straightened out but they have a mask law and don't want to give us our right to speak. But that's our religious attire. And I beat it in courts across the United States. Mayor Guliani likes to take people to Federal Court.
Liberator: I believe he was a Federal prosecutor so he might feel that he's on his hometurf in the court system.
Berry: Look at the history. Two weeks ago there was a march. He took them to Federal Court and lost. They marched. Another group got taken to court a month before that. The group won and marched. Farrakhan's group got taken to court and won. Every group wins. He's just wasting taxpayer money.
Liberator: What is The Klan's goal?
Berry: Equal rights for all people. Get rid of affirmative action. If this is America and we're all supposed to be equal, then let's be completely equal. We don't need these hatecrime laws. If I take a bat to someone whether they're Black or White, there's no love in that is there? And if I attack and kill a Black man they're going to tack on five years to my sentence? What's that? The government collects money to pay for hatecrime watch-groups so they can get paid $80,000 to pass out pamphlets. It's not right 6.
Liberator: To what extent are you willing to go to achieve equal rights?
Berry: [answers quickly] My life. My forefathers gave their live for the flag and the constitution and I'm no better than they are.
Liberator: When you say you're willing to give your life, do you mean that you are going to dedicate your life to the cause, or are you saying that you're going to jump in the trenches, ... It's a blanket statement and I want to make sure we're clear on it. What do you mean you're going to give your life? Someone can interpret that as violence, unless that's what you mean.
Berry: No...violence is the last thing. Take a look at history. Aren't all problems solved by violence? Basically, yes. I got you thinking now. My house has been shot up 17 times, bombed 14 times, burned down once. I have not moved, I have rebuilt and I'm still in The Klan. I have been falsely charged. A lot of people in The Klan have been arrested.
Every time a White shoots a Black, he's a White supremacist. In Texas, when three White guys dragged a Black guy from the back of their truck -- which was wrong, they never reported how the Black guy was in jail with the others, got out of jail early and raped one of the men's wife and raped a sister-in-law. It never came out at the trial because it was a closed court case. It made headline news. The same day in New York City, there was a White landlord who was shot and killed. He was found with $3000 on his body. On the same day in South Carolina, a White girl got raped and murdered by three teenaged Blacks. Why weren't these other stories headline news?
Liberator: While we're on that, obviously you don't feel that the media doesn't give you a fair shake.
Berry: The media doesn't give anyone but themselves a fair shake. Bad news sells newspapers. You take any newspaper, even in Cicero, the newspaper circulations double. It sells newspapers. They create good guys and bad guys to make a story.
Liberator: Controversy sells especially if a certain spin is put on things. The media has been known to do that. I personally would respect the media more if they came right out and said, "We don't just report the news, we make the news."
On the issue of the Second Amendment, we all know that the media has a certain slant on guns. What is The Ku Klux Klan's view on guns?
Berry: Have you ever heard of the Patriot's Prayer? This is The Ku Klux Klan's version: Give me the sense to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the weapon to make the difference. Never surrender your firearms. Without the Second Amendment, we would not have the First Amendment.
Liberator: You're not the only group that feels that way. You're not alone. It has become one of The Liberator's goals: to protect the rights defined by The Constitution and supporting Supreme Court cases/rulings.
Berry: What are they doing in California?
Liberator: ...and Chicago and ...
Berry: Everyone in California was forced to send in $20 to register their AKs and SKs. Well, the money was sent back but they were told to turn in their weapons on January 1st.
Liberator: The registration was a ploy to get to know where the guns are and then the registration led to confiscation. I've heard that argument before and it has happened in England and Australia.
Berry: Speaking of England, I have some members coming over in November.
Liberator: ...and they're American Knights?
Berry: We're in seven other countries. We're in England, France, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Ireland and Scotland.
Liberator: Every so often you meet and plan?
Berry: Every Fourth of July, we have a Klan Congress. We meet in different places. The government tries to find out where we have it. Nothing illegal goes on. We have a picnic and celebrate the Constitution. I am the leader of The Klan. I am the face. We have judges, doctors, lawyers, senators, firemen, policemen, and everything else. That's why we know what's going on. If I was ever given truth serum, I couldn't give up any names because of all the different committees. We have it planned that way.
Liberator: How do you raise money? How is it that you get money to do the things you do: make and deliver pamphlets, hold rallies and marches, ... I'm sure there has to be some money aspect to this. How does it work?
Berry: We have a donation of $6/month, which is less than a twelve-pack of beer.
Liberator: So your organization is a church.
Berry: I'm a reverend and we have churches. We have three in Indiana [one in Butler], one in Illinois, two in South Carolina, one in North Carolina, one in Kentucky, two in Pennsylvania, one in California, and one in Arkansas.
Liberator: Can you tell me the names of the towns?
Berry: I can't tell you that because some people would want to destroy our churches, thinking that we burn churches so let's burn theirs. We never vandalize places where people worship.
Liberator: Do you have any churches in Cicero?
Berry: No but we know people who live there.
Liberator: Do you believe in segregation? Should people be handled differently based on race?
Berry: No. But I believe people should breed within their own tribe. People should be able to live wherever they want without fear. I would be the first person to defend another person regardless of race or age. I've done it before.
Liberator: Before the thought escapes me, you said that your house has been burned down. Have you ever been personally injured?
Berry: My wife had her head split open at a rally. I got numerous bruises and had my head busted. Wounds heal but the heart doesn't.
Liberator: How does Christianity fit into all of this?
Berry: According to The Bible, God hated. Some priests accept homosexuals in their church. They're hypocrites. It says in the Bible that hypocrites will have a harder time entering into the kingdom of God.
As far as the economy is concerned, it is reported as being good. When I was young, I was able to support my family while my wife stayed home with the kids. How is it great now? The average job is $6-7/hour where I live.
Liberator: The unemployment rate is very low and that's an indicator.
Berry: But it takes TWO people to work in order to support the family and be good providers. So when the parents are out working, who's watching the kids? ...MTV and the microwave. When I was young, dinner was a nice time. We talked about school and the events that happened during the day. Now, families pay babysitters or the kids are on their own.
Liberator: Does The KKK have a plan to change our working arrangements so that one parent need only work?
Berry: It's too late for that? The government has already taken over control. It's up to teachers to educate these kids. But the government only lets you teach them so much. There are things that you can't educate them on otherwise they'll try to get rid of you like they did to one teacher by me over in Indiana. This teacher taught about Martin Luther King and The Klan but they tried to get rid of her. We supported her even though she wasn't a member of The Klan and she even hated The Klan. We want people to know that censorship is a reality.
Liberator: Part of that -- getting out your message -- must be about recruiting. How do you recruit new members?
Berry: We don't have to recruit. We're one of the largest hate groups in existence, as it has been said, but all I do is speak. I use my mouth but that isn't a crime. I have a constitutional right to do that. Our message is getting out through the media and pamphlets. We're against abortion.
People call me and threaten to kill me. I tell them that if they want to know what I am about, they need to talk to me like a human being and I'll treat them like a human being. Don't disrespect me and I won't disrespect you. If you want to act like a savage idiot, then our conversation is over.
Liberator: Is there any amount of education that is necessary to be a Klan member? What is the typical Klansman profile?
Berry: What is your picture of a Klansman? Society thinks that Klansmen are uneducated, dumb, trailerpark, tabacco-chewing, pot-bellied, beer drinking, truck driving hillbillies.
Liberator: [laughs] That seems to be the image many people first conjure up.
Berry: What would you say if I told you that it was possible that three policemen in your area are members? WHAT IF I told you that the president had a relationship with a member? Would you still have the same view?
Liberator: Are you saying that you know for sure?
Berry: [noticeable change in voice, possible smile] I'm not saying anything. Don't put words in my mouth. I'm just saying, would it change your view about the image of a Klansman?
Liberator: Absolutely. If we knew there were key individuals in society who were Klanmembers or knowingly associated...
Berry: There are a lot of Klan members in key positions in society. That's why there's so much secrecy. Klan members all take an oath not to reveal the identity of other Klan members. If they want you to know, they'll tell you. It's okay for a police officer to belong to the NAACP or the Black Badge Police Society or any other Black organization and Hispanics can have a Hispanic Police Association but my God...a White Police Association? Awww...that's racism. We can't have that. Why?
Liberator: I guess it's the difference between a majority and a minority group.
Berry: We're all supposed to be equal.
Liberator: This fits in with your view on affirmative action.
Berry: Cutoff scores for police officers are different for minorities. Whatever score White officers have to make, Black officers are allowed to score lower to meet the same level of requirement. Where's the equality in that? I don't care what color they are; give it to the highest scoring person. Give it to the most qualified person. That's the only way our country is going to get any better.
Liberator: Your view is that two wrongs don't make a right.
Berry: Remember Marion Barry?
Liberator: ...the Washington D.C. mayor who was caught smoking crack...
Berry: He was convicted but he came right out of jail and became mayor again. I thought the law states that you can't do that after being a convicted criminal. Forgot to read the fine print..."unless you're Black." If there are going to be laws, make laws that are equal for everybody. The White race is being singled out because people feel sorry for Blacks, partly due to slavery.
I don't believe in slavery but slaves didn't have it so bad. They didn't have to worry about food, clothing, warmth, and finding shelter. They had to worry about breaking the law but there are punishments today for breaking the law. Today we are all slaves of society too.
Liberator: I have another issue to talk to you about. Since you brought up politics, next November we have a presidential election coming up. Does The Klan align itself with any particular party or candidate at the moment?
Berry: Who do you think The Klan would support?
Liberator: Quite some time age, David Duke was into politics. But I haven't heard The Klan rally behind a party or endorse a candidate since.
Berry: Say The Klan liked George W. Bush. If we came out and supported him, don't you think that would hurt him?
Liberator: Yea...it may be perceived as the kiss of death.
Berry: If we wanted George W. Bush to win, we would make an announcement that we support his opponent because people hate the Klan so much. Just because we support a candidate, the media is going to find something racist about him and make him loose the election. That's how much control the news media has.
Liberator: You would use the media as a tool?
Berry: We always do that to get our candidate in. Don't all politicians use the media as a tool? Before the Internet, that was the only tool there was. That's why they're cracking down on the Internet, with possible taxation and censorship.
Society is using kids as a tool to attack the Internet. Look at what happened in Columbine. You tell me how two students could bring in 30-pound bombs, blow up a car and everything else while they're inside the school. You'll probably think I'm a sicko for saying this but you go back and check every state where concealed weapon permits -- right-to-carry laws -- were just about to be passed and you'll find a school shooting. Check it out and see if I'm telling the truth.
It's a shame that I have to think that the person who is running our country is a killer and he'll go by any means necessary to take firearms away from American citizens and turn our army on American citizens. New army enlistees have to sign a paper that says they will fire upon American citizens, IF NECESSARY. What the Hell kind of document is that? Check into it.
The military is also a part of The New World Order. There are foreign soldiers who are being trained in The United States. Why? Well, if a team of American soldiers was asked to raid an American house with orders to shoot and kill if necessary, there might be some hesitation. However, foreign soldiers wouldn't have that hesitation because they are disconnected from American events and people. Likewise, American troops are being used on foreign soil for the same reason. We have a tendency to believe our government and accept what it says as truth. It's a powerful tool to use on domestic groups, like The Klan, that don't see eye-to-eye with their own government.
When Clinton declares martial law, he can start kicking down doors to confiscate our weapons. So for the people who don't like Hitler, we have a Nazi uniform with Clinton's face on it that says, "All in favor of gun control, raise your right hand." He wants to control the world. He's getting the money from the Jews to do it. We're concerned about the future of our country and our children.
Liberator: That's why we have a constitution and I hate to see it get eroded too. It seems that people today don't have the same feelings for the Constitution as people did years ago, right or wrong. There's no patriotism or sense of freedom like there appeared to be years ago.
Berry: People are too tired. They come home from work and don't want to be bothered with the news. Instead, they put on the television, watch wrestling and crack open a beer. Everybody is in a routine. As long as the economy is good, there isn't a problem. If it goes bad, you'll see millions of people joining The Klan.
Right now people are happy with their $7-8/jobs, homes with low interest rates and are all comfortable. Now they want to register the guns; they want to control the guns; they want to know who is going to fight them if something goes bad -- mainly the people who are unemployed. So if you get those people happy, which they are doing for the Blacks, they get them jobs and get them under control. Next, they go after the White terrorist groups. That's exactly what's going on. They're brainwashing society.
Liberator: How many American Knights of The Klan are there?
Berry: You're probably the 50,000th person to ask me that. And I'm going to give you the same answer. We don't reveal that. We're up in the millions and that's all I'm going to say. We're a secret society.
Liberator: Wouldn't it better serve your cause if Klansmen were more vocal?
Berry: It's not against the law to be a Klansman, Catholic or member of the NAACP but they'll find ways to get rid of you if you're a Klansman. They know how powerful The Klan was back in the 20's. We'll never have a third party unless The Klan comes back in the picture. We have to get some people in the right places and some laws changed before it can happen.
Liberator: Since you strongly believe that people need to be productive members of society, how would you feel if minorities took on more positions of leadership so they can help pull some of their people up by their bootstraps and teach them the ways of American society?
Berry: As I have been saying all along through our conversation, if they are the most qualified for the position, give it to them.
Liberator: That's a clear across-the-board statement. I read you loud and clear. I'd also like to hear more about Cicero since we have been hinting around it.
Berry: I can only tell you certain stuff...
Liberator: Why did you pick Cicero?
Berry: Is this recording right now?
Liberator: Yes it is.
Berry: Shut your recorder off for a second.
Liberator: Okay...you'll here the click... [on-the-record interview momentarily pauses]
Liberator: [interview resumes on-the-record] Is there any particular reason why you chose Cicero?
Berry: We chose Cicero because we have members around that area. The fear is that the Hispanics are taking over everything. They're running up and down the streets drunk, destroying stuff. Police officers are afraid of doing something about it out of fear of being accused as racists and possibly sued.
Every time we have a rally in a town -- and you can check this out -- all these church groups get together and have a united rally of their own. So if it takes The Klan to come to a neighborhood to get a community back on track, then we're doing something good for that community.
Liberator: You're painting the picture that the Klan is a charitable organization helping neighborhoods.
Berry: Those weren't my words.
Liberator: Some people are going to laugh when they hear that.
Berry: Is it not true? Why does it take the KKK to come to these towns to get people to come together, Black and White, to talk about their problems and unite? Why don't the leaders of towns provide a forum for people to discuss their problems? It costs them a lot of money; that's why. It also costs them a lot of money to have The Klan rally in a town. It cost Cleveland about a half million dollars. The corruption in these towns is so large that they rather have the money so it can be given away, under the table as gifts, kickbacks, or favors.
Liberator: How were you personally involved with the event in Cicero? Is there someone who brought you in?
Berry: One of our members... I'm the one who went to court in Chicago, before Judge Reeve, a Black judge that I respect dearly. The man said something in court to me that gave me shivers. He said, "When I was in the Navy, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution and the People, but when I became a judge, I swore an oath to protect people's constitutional rights. And I'll be damned if I let you cities violate this man's rights." That was a Black judge.
Liberator: ...someone who understands the First Amendment. Regardless of positions on political beliefs, or whatever, people have the right to speak up and it's an important one. It's the basis of our country.
Berry: My constitutional rights have been violated more times in a year than you can possibly imagine over religious beliefs and my ability to share them. Without the Second Amendment, we wouldn't have the First Amendment. My beliefs are The American Knights of The Ku Klux Klan.
Liberator: There is an alleged $10,000 figure that has been thrown out there regarding the Cicero KKK rally. A number of Ciceronians feel that the town was somehow blackmailed. Instead of paying for money that could have resulted due to damage from the rally, this was hush money. Hey, here's $10,000 and now you don't need to rally here. As a result, the town saves money but yet they feel Cicero was blackmailed. What would you say to those Ciceronians who feel that this could have been a possibility?
Berry: Cicero was not blackmailed. There was no money. There were a few concerns about the rally: 1) it might hasten White Flight, 2) teachers were going to bring their classes down to the rally as a learning experience and possibly get hurt, 3) gangs may have used the rally as an opportunity to cause serious harm. So I decided not to go to the town. I want to see towns get help; I don't want to see them get destroyed.
Liberator: You wanted to avoid trouble and violence and called it off.
Berry: I held a rally in Chicago without a problem. But Cicero had so much hype, like the hype in Cleveland.
Liberator: Was there any violence in Cleveland?
Berry: No because they had 840 police officers, 5 helicopters, the National Guard on standby and a tank right in front of us.
Liberator: Let's imagine the worse case scenario. If The American Knights were to rip on people, and I'm not saying that you do and would rather that your rallies speak for themselves, ... If people were to believe that The American Knights was the a truly horrible organization, I would hope those same people would still honor your right to speak. Why is it that people get violent? Why is it that there is a threat of violence? This country has a problem when we can't approach controversy.
One last thing about Cicero... Did the town ever pass out American Knight pamphlets as a result of you not rallying?
Berry: I'll say "no" but some pamphlets did get passed out.
Liberator: That wasn't by Town Hall it was by a private party?
Berry: Right. There was an anonymous donator who would give up to $10,000 to cover the cost of the printing of the pamphlets. There was no money given to us by Town Hall. The media blew that one way out of proportion. I was at that meeting and I have it recorded.
Liberator: Are you recording this conversation?
Berry: Yes. I told you that the other night. If you say I said something that I didn't say, I'll have a tape for proof.
Liberator: Your going to be shocked how closely I'll stick to the tapes.
Berry: I'm not worried about it. I'm looking forward to reading more articles about freedom of speech and gun rights on The Liberator. Do you hear all the times people are beeping in [from call waiting]?
Liberator: Yes, you're a very popular man.
Berry: I have two other phones and we're on the Internet. I'm a little leery about the Internet because a met a guy claiming to be an Imperial Wizard of a Klan organization. But I checked him out. He's a government agent trying to get Klan organizations to fight one another. They're trying to separate and split us. It's not going to happen.
Liberator: Divide and conquer is a common tactic.
What about welfare...? When we talk about people not being responsible citizens, you know there are more Whites on welfare than Blacks?
Berry: Welfare is there for people who need it. They should get it. But the mamma should be checked to see if she's going to Bingo halls and using the money on drugs. If tax money is being spent to support her drug habit instead of taking care of her kids, then she doesn't need it. A good thing shouldn't be abused.
I believe that a person over the age of 55 shouldn't have to pay taxes. They paid taxes for over 30 years of their life. It would make this a better world.
Liberator: In the year 2050, the Census Bureau is forecasting that Whites will be a minority.
Berry: I think it's going to happen before then.
Liberator: People should be proud of their race. People should make sure that their race is taken care of. Luis Farrakhan, he's the Black equivalent of a Ku Klux Klan member. He wants to get his people off of welfare, educated and working. No free rides from the government. Therefore that man loves his race, is proud of his race, and is trying to do something for it.
I'm aware that certain college administrators have been told to set up grants so that Blacks and Hispanics receive twice as many grants as Whites. If they refuse, the NAACP can cause trouble and get the grants taken away.
Liberator: Some of these students must not be getting these grants based on need but based on the color of their skin: affirmative action.
Berry: It's not right. If you had a son or daughter who was going to college and was looking forward to some type of grant, I'm sure it would piss you off if you knew someone else, more fortunate, got the money. Let's make everything equal.
Liberator: I'm going to toss out a few names; give me some thoughts...
Jessie Jackson: Idiot. He stole money from his own organization: PUSH. Instead of going to jail, he threatened a riot. He got off, went to another state and started the Rainbow Coalition.
Liberator: Al Sharpton...
Berry: That's the idiot that I'm dealing with right now. He's a modern-day Don King with his hair combed. I'm dealing with him over the upcoming New York rally.
Liberator: Rodney King...
Berry: "Can't we all get along." That's the best thing he ever said.
Liberator: Michael Jordan...
Berry: He's a Hell of an athlete. He's not a racist and he accepts people not based on the color of their skin.
Liberator: O. J. Simpson...
Berry: He is a savage wife-beater.
SynopsisThis personal investigation of The American Knights of The Ku Klux Klan was enlightening. There is something to be said about hunting down a story in search of truth. One can listen to others and build a worldview based on second, third, and fourth-hand knowledge but accuracy and a dull vision will be the sacrifices that result. Firsthand knowledge along with the time to reflect can be powerful learning tools.
The only drawback from conducting personal investigations is the required time element. This investigation consisted of a few key, but lengthy, components: the initial contact, preparation, interview, and final summary of the event.
Curiosity led me to The American Knights' chatroom. Normally I would not have access to people claiming to be Klan members, partly due to the secrecy surrounding this group and my own anti-racist views. The anonymity of the Internet allowed me to break through those barriers, demonstrating the true power of the Internet. Once I made contact, I was not drawn into a slew of personal attacks or threats when my differing opinions became apparent. It did not inhibit their leader, Jeff Berry from granting me an interview.
What do people want to know about The Klan? I brainstormed through six pages of notes answering that same question, over and over again. Jumping in and out of many roles was helpful as I was forced to see The Klan from different perspectives.
When I finally was able to get our schedules in synch, the conversation flowed nicely. It was the easiest part of the process, despite few critical points in the conversation that intelligent people would find to be blatantly wrong and upsetting. Keeping absolutely neutral was nearly impossible, but it was my goal as it should be for every investigater.
I decided that the interview alone was insufficient. There needed to be some supplementary information so that the viewers who read the interview will feel compelled to continue this investigation, whether they are in agreement with The Klan or not. I also decided that my own thoughts on The Klan would be of some relevance.
There were aspects of The Klan's message that I did not find to be palatable. I can say without reservation that the antiquated racial facets of The Klan that still persist today were distasteful and disturbing. Using terms like "nigger" may serve the intended goal of bringing attention to The Klan but the net effect damages our society as a whole. Dismissing the true intensity of slavery and comparing slavery to life in our modern society was grossly inaccurate.
Yet, I found myself strongly agreeing to two parts of Jeff's message. His views on equal rights were sound, even though the racial terms he used were contradictory. In fact, how can an advanced society have different rules for different peoples and still claim to be unbiased with regard to race? The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction from the days of slavery that it overcompensated. Affirmative action should be an insult to those who demand equal treatment and fairplay.
Jeff's message on The United States Constitution was also sound. Our First Amendment -- freedom of speech and religion -- allows us to form our own opinions. It is paramount for having a democratic, educated, involved, fruitful society. The Second Amendment -- right to bear arms -- is equally important, as it does not allow others to infringe on our ability to protect ourselves. The view that the Second Amendment guarantees the First is not as farfetched as it may first appear, to those who study history.
If I had to force myself to summarize this experience for readers who will not investigate this further, I would indicate to them that no single group, organization, or religion can ever represent all of its members. Existing outside of these groups has value. One's views are easier to keep intact while being an outsider. However, the lack of involvement is equally dangerous, especially when it manifests itself through indecision or inaction. Government demands our collective voice as well as our plural voices. Finding the balance within and without these groups is the tightrope we all must walk.
Footnotes1 Read our article, The KKK rally in Cicero.
2 The American Knights of The Ku Klux Klan has a website at www.AmericanKnights.com.
3 The KKK was formed as a social club by a group of Confederate Army veterans in Pulaski, Tenn., in 1865 or 1866. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate general, was the Klan's first leader, called the Grand Wizard. The group took its name from the Greek word kyklos, meaning circle, and the English word clan.
Klan members, who believed in the superiority of whites, soon began to terrorize blacks to keep them from voting or exercising the other rights they had gained during Reconstruction, the period following the end of the American Civil War in 1865. The Klan threatened, beat, and murdered many blacks and their white sympathizers in the South. To hide their identity, Klan terrorists wore robes and hoods, draped sheets over their horses, and rode at night. The KKK spread rapidly throughout the Southern United States and became known as the Invisible Empire. Its attacks helped drive blacks out of Southern political life. In 1871, Congress passed the Force Bill, which gave the President the authority to use federal troops against the Klan. The KKK soon disappeared.
In 1915, William J. Simmons, a former Methodist clergyman, organized a new Klan in Atlanta, Ga., as a patriotic, Protestant fraternal society. The Klan directed its activities against groups it considered un-American, including blacks, immigrants, Jews, and particularly Roman Catholics.
The KKK grew rapidly and by the mid-1920's had more than 2 million members throughout the country. Some Klan members burned crosses and whipped, tortured, and murdered people whose activities angered them, but most relied on peaceful means. By electing public officials, the Klan became a powerful political force throughout the South and also in many Northern and Western states, including Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, and Oregon. However, public criticism of Klan violence and quarrels among Klan leaders weakened the organization. By the 1930's, only local Klan groups in the South remained strong. The organization died out again in 1944.
Samuel Green, an Atlanta physician, revived the Klan in 1946. Green died in 1949, and the Klan then split into many competing groups. However, all of the groups opposed racial integration.
Increased civil rights activities during the 1960's brought a new wave of Klan violence. Klan members were involved in many terrorist attacks, including the killing of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, and the bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., church in which four black girls were killed. President Lyndon B. Johnson used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe the Klan. Some Klan members were sent to prison, and membership fell to about 5,000 by the early 1970's.
Beginning in the mid-1970's, new leaders tried to give a more respectable image to competing Klan groups. Some accepted women as members and set up youth groups. The KKK especially appealed to whites who resented both special programs designed to help blacks and job competition from blacks and recent immigrants. Also in the 1970's, it largely abandoned its opposition to Roman Catholics.
Klan membership rose to about 10,000 by 1980. The KKK still attracted people with extreme views who often used violence. In 1979, Klan members and their supporters killed five anti-Klan demonstrators in Greensboro, N.C. Klan members murdered a black youth in Mobile, Ala., in 1981. Since then, declining interest in the Klan and some prosecutions for illegal activities have reduced KKK membership to about 6,000. Most of these members live in the South.
[Obtained from http://www.worldbook.com/fun/aajourny/html/bh057.html.]
4 See our article, In Defense of Change.
5 Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (Copyright 1981, p. 768) states: nigger 1: NEGRO usu. taken to be offensive, 2: a member of any dark-skinned race usu. taken to be offensive.
6 Go to a Yahoo! directory on Hate Crime: click here.
ResourcesYahoo Directory: Society and Culture: Cultures and Groups: White Pride and Racialism
The Liberator: KKK Rally in Cicero: A Test of Our First Amendment Rights
Anti-Defamation League: Extremism in America: Ku Klux Klan
The Rick A. Ross Institute: Ku Klux Klan
Click here to return to our Articles: liberator.net.