page has errors
The date, title, or page description is wrong
This page has harmful content
This page contains sensitive or offensive material
Click "Submit" to request a review of this page.
0 / 75
4Klan with a tie?'
steeped in Old South
By ALLEN G BREED ,-7^
THE ASSOCIATED ?RESS
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Behind a wooden partition in a back room
of the Lizard's Thicket restaurant, about 30 members of the Coun
cil of Conservative Citizens - many wearing Confederate battle flag
pins and belt buckles - hovered over plates of fried catfish and
chocolate cream pie as Dennis Wheeler laid out the struggle before
them. . . _ ?. ..
Wheeler, a freelance writer from Atlanta, opened last week's
meeting with a reading from Revelation about the beast that
"opened his mouth in blasphemies against God." Among those blas
phemies, he told the group, is a "Yankee radicalism" known as.
"It is exactly this philosophy that our Confederate forefathers
fought against in the War Between the States," said Wheeler, head of
a council chapter in Georgia. "The current mark of the beast is the
equalitarian religion which names"as sins racism, sexism. anti-Semi
tism and homophobia, among others, rather than the Ten Com
The only blacks within earshot were the waitresses and busboys,
working the tables on the other side of the partition. -
Just what is the Council of Conservative Citizens? It was formed
13 years ago and it claims 15,000 members. Lately it's been in the
news since Sen. Trent Lott and Rep. Bob Barr landed in hot water
after it was revealed they had addressed the group.
Winston-Salem mayor Jack Cavanagh has also spoken at a CCC
But what else? Is it a reincarnation of the old White Citizens
Councils, as some suggest? Is it a white supremacist group?
"We are not racists," insists South Carolina director Frances Bell,
citing her American Indian background and noting the group has
some Jewish members. . - , ,?
Is the council merely an organization so devoted to free speech,
and assembly that it refuses to silence racist or bigoted views?
The questions have sent Lott, R-Miss., and Barr, R-Ga., scurry
, ing for cover. The chairman of the Republican National Committee
has called on GOP members, including national committee member
Buddy Witherspoon of Columbia, to quit the organization that calls
itself the "active advocate for the no longer silent conservative
majority." . ,
uaraon. baum. the st. Louis attorney who runs the group, says
attacks on the council especially by people like law professor Alan
Dershowitz - ate liberal diversions to take the heat off President Bill
Clinton. "It all has to do with protecting Billy's butt," he said.
"Why are they so afraid of U's?" Baum said in a telephone inter
view last week, noting that the council is best known for opposing
'affirmative action and quotas and defending the Confederate battle
flag against those who would remove it from public display.\
He answered his own question: "Because these are all politically
incorrect (stances), and they would prefer that we would not have a
voice. 1 mean, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will touch
these issues, and they're afraid of the people out here's growing dis
content with the parties." *
But to the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who founded the Southern Chris
tian^Leadership Conference along with the Rev. Martin Luther King
Jr., the group is "the Ku Klux Klan with a coat and tie."
, "What they stand for sounds like just a recycled White Citizens
Council," the Atlanta preacher said. "A cocklebur by any other
name is just as thorny."
In fact, some of the group's original members came from the old
Citizens Councils of America, a pro-segregation group formed as a
response to the 1954 Supreme Couft decision integrating public
Baum was its Midwest field organizer and Robert "Tut" Patter
son its founder. Patterson now writes a column for The Citizen
Informer newsletter for Baum's group.
Mark Potok, a researcher for the Southern Poverty Law Center
in Montgomery, Ala., said the Council of Conservative Citizens is
more dangerous, than the ^KK or neo-Nazis becatise it has been
"successfully jtiasquerading as a mainstream conservative organiza
tion." V * *
"TheyVe not going to produce a Timothy McVeigh; they are
much more interested in genuine political;power than in any kind of
violence or terrorism." Potok said. "1 mean, Timothy McVeigh can
kill 168 people, but he is never going to be elected your senator or
president or congressman. So, yeah, on a political level they're much
. more dangerous."
Indeed, the group claims as, dues-paying members dozens of
elected officials, from local school boards to state legislatures. It
does not, however, claim ex-Klan leader and sometime GOF*candi
date David Duke, who caused Baum considerable discomfort in
November by showing up at a national board meeting in Jackson.
The group's Web site welcomes visitors to "join the vast right
wing conspiracy!" an ironic reference to Hillary Clinton's com
ment about who was behind the impeachment effort and offers
such publications as a pamphlet revealing "the ugly truth about
Martin Luther King."
The South Carolina chapters have fought to keep the Confeder
ate battle flag flying over the state capital and criticized The Citadel
for not playing "Dixie" often enough during functions at the mili
' tary college
i "Being pro-white is not equal to being anti-black." said Rebekah
Sutherland, an executive committee member from Aiken who ran for
state school superintendent last year. "It's OK to be white, isn't it?
That's what this group is about. It's OK to be white." Don MacDer
mott, a Birmingham. Ala., city councilman and Council of Conser
vative Citizens member, campaigned with his chapter last year
agaifist a proposed 1-cent sales tax that he felt would go to fund
"just a bunch of wish lists for some local bureaucrats." He said he
wouldn't belong to the organization if he felt it was racist.
"The chapter I belong to is definitely not." he said "They're just
some well-grounded beliefs in conservative values. Most of the |
group I'm involved with were Ronald Reagan supporters in 1976." I
A.J. Parker, a siding contractor who is director of the group's
North Carolina chapter, doesn't like being condemned for the views
of a few members.
"Why should I pay for deeds that took place 100 years ago. or
even 50 years ago?" he said during a break from burning brush in
See Klon on A5
. ? ; "
[King's church makes historic move
Ebenzer to move to million
dollar sanctuary' in Sweet
By E N. SMITH
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ATLANTA - The pews are filled
long before the start of the morning
service, and despite a heavy rain,
worshipers spill onto the sidewalk
outside the historic church.
It's a typical Sunday morning at
Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once
But the 76-year-old building is
showing its age: the ceilings are
cracked, the carpet is worn, the
floors are creaky.
So next month, the congregation
will pick up and move across the
street - to a new S8 million facility
designed to accommodate twice as
"Some members are naturally
nostalgic," said the Rev. Joseph
Roberts Jr. "But now that we're get
ting ready to move, they see it is sen
sible. Others are very excited about
the opportunity to expand."
The National Park Service -
which already runs the visitors cen
ter at the Martin Luther King Jr.
National Historic Site in the neigh
borhood where King grew up,
preached and is buried - will assume
responsibility for the preservation of
the historic church on March 7. >
"There will be a lot of activities
to keep the church alive," said Park
Service superintendent Frank Cat
roppa. "We want the people who
visit to experience something \yhen
they're in there."
The congregations decision to
move, he said, was a dream come
true for the Park Service. Despite its
modest brick facade, worn red car
peting and tattered hymn books,
Ebenezer is revered.
"People all over the world want
to see where Dr. King preached,"
said Park Service historian Dean
Long before King introduced the
world to his gospel of social and eco
nomic justice, his father and grand
father had been teaching the same
message from Ebenezer s pulpit. It's
also the place his mother, Alberta
King, was gunned down while play
ing the organ in 1974.
The congregation s new church is
an architectural marvel paid for by
"Not only is it beautiful, but is
ethnically sensitive with no sense of
being exclusivistic," Roberts said.
"We are still going to welcome peo
ple from all races and all nations."
The new building, which will fea
ture eight towering stained-glass
windows that depict the struggle for
human rights, can accommodate
both a 150-member choir and 1,600
in its oak pews - more than doubling
the number currently able to attend
Howard King, who joined
Ebenezer in 1966. said he and others
in the congregation are excited about
the move and believe Martin Luther
King Jr. would be pleased.
"Too many churches, I'm sad to
say, are like Sunday morning social
clubs," said King, who is not related
to the civil rights leader. "Churches
have all sorts of opportunities to
affect change outside their walls, and
The first Sunday in March,
Roberts plans to hold a 30-minute
service in the current sanctuary
immediately before the children in
the congregation lead them over.
"The children - the children -
shall lead us in," Roberts said from
the pulpit, alluding to the words of
The Rev. Joseph Roberts Jr. poses in front of the new Horizon Sanctuary of the Cbenexer Baptist Church
in Atlanta last week as a crane raises a huge cress to the top of the church tower. The original historic
church building, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, will be called the Heritage Sanc
Blacks 'suplexed' by Minnesota governor
By BRANDT WILLIAMS
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Black
Minnesotans are already ques
tioning the state's new governor,
former wrestling champion Jesse
"The Body" Ventura.
The Rev. Randolph Staten,
speaking for the Coalition of
Black Churches, expressed the
disgust, disagreemtht and out
rage" that Ventura has yet to
app&int any African Americans
to his cabinet. ?
At a press conference held in
the Capitol Rotunda, Rev. Stat
en responded to Ventura's stance
that race doesn't matter when it
comes to making cabinet
"ftis explanation that he
doesn't see race. - or even more
ludicrous - race is irrelevant, is
the same excuse that govern
ment, business and industry
used 50 years ago to avoid an
integrated workforce or to avqid
hiring black people," Staten
Reading from a prepared
statement, Staten said, "Mr.
Ventura's appointments and
established budgetary and leg
islative priorities, at a time when
we have a billion dollar plus sur
plus and six billion dollar settle
ment from the tobacco industry,
reveals that he does not appear
to have the best interest of the
African-American and other
communities of color at heart."
John Wodele, director of
communications for the gover
nor, said he was "outraged at the
suggestion that Governor Ventu
ra is insensitive to the problems
of the people in Minnesota, no
matter what race or walk of
"If there wasn't one single
woman in one of those 20 posi: _
tions, wouldn't somebody say
something," Staten asked. "Why
are we the only ones saying
something? Everyone should
take issue with this."
Before the press conference,
Ventura was asked on Minneso
ta Public Radio's "Midmorning"
program to respond to his crit
ics. Ventura said the whole thing
was "much ado about nothing."
The governor restated his earlier
statements about race and hir
"I'm colorblind," he said. "I
take my colorblindness into
what I do."
Staten concluded his remarks
with "a quote from Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr.
"The problem of race ;is
indeed America's greatest moral
dilemma. Those who profess -to
be colorblind use their so-called
loss of sight to perpetuate big
Tara Parrish of Insight News
also contributed to this report.
Clara J. Pinkney, CPA
THE OPENING Of A
1 . v .
. located at
1551 Westbrook Plaza Drive, Suite 101
I located off Stratford Road on the
Street behind Home Depot)
i (till h.v aiitl wt up on opfMiintment
ihirun; your lunch hour Or after work)
Corporate Tax Returns
Accounting & Payroll Ser
Our Speciality is Church Law
and Compliance Reporting
8:00-5:00 ? Monday-Friday
Telephone <336) 765-6788
| Fax (336) 765-2446
"I am the
9 - ,
My roots are grounded deep
in the soil of Africa.
Centuries ago, I arrived on ,
the shores of America,
bringing with me my
culture and the voices
of my people.
Since that time I have r
played a major role in every
I speak one language,
transcending race, age ?
As we celebrate Black
History Month, BellSouth
takes this time to salute the
history influenced by
African-Americans in afl
our communities, every day.
J.' ? ,
Nobody knows o neighbor like a neighbor.?