|Nathan Bedford Forrest|
The Story: Raw Story provides even more details about the pro-White organizations participating. In addition to the Loyal White Knights, two other Klan organizations are identified by name. They include the Northern Mississippi White Knights and International Keystone Knights. Chris Barker, identified as the Imperial Wizard of the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights, said there could be as many as eight different Klan organizations present, and added that the protest will take place on the steps of Memphis’s federal courthouse building from 1.30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Barker did not provide an estimate of how many White activists would show up, but said that he got a permit allowing for 180 people to rally. Barker also said the name changing in the park was an example of trying to erase white history from the history books. After the rally, participants have been invited to travel to Mississippi for a cross-lighting ceremony, although for security reasons, Barker would not reveal the location and said it was for members only.
The Issue: On February 5th, 2013, the Memphis City Council voted 9-0 to rename the Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, giving it the temporary name of “Health Sciences Park” until a permanent one is chosen. They also changed the names of Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park in a move which the council claimed was hastened by a bill in the Tennessee legislature that would have forbidden the renaming of military or war memorial parks. This re-naming is considered a form of cultural imperialism; one of the first signs of an area being conquered is when place names get changed. This happened to Saigon in 1975 after the North Vietnamese conquest, and continues to happen in South Africa today 18 years after former President F.W. deKlerk surrendered the country to black majority rule.
Roadblocks: The Memphis city authorities are already trying to erect roadblocks to the rally. On March 19th, the city council voted 13-0 to ban the wearing of masks “for the purpose of civil rights intimidation”, and the same proposal would require groups from outside Memphis to cover the cost of providing additional police security at public assemblies. Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong also said that rally participants will not be allowed to bring guns. Chris Barker had previously said that most of the Klan members would be in robes, but others will be wearing security uniforms. In addition a former Klan member, Scott Shepherd, who's now an anti-racist activist with this Twitter site and a second blog HERE, is actively trying to stop the rally. Shepherd's excuse is that problems might be caused by the Klan's supporters rather than by the rally participants themselves. Shepherd even went so far as to leave a phone message with the Imperial Wizard in North Carolina; he claims that the voice mail he received in return was very angry, and the language was like bathroom graffiti. Well, no wonder. While we believe in being civil to media reps and will strive to be civil to the general public, we owe no consideration to anti-racist scum. This punk has a video HERE.
Reaction: On Stormfront, Scott Shepherd gets some well-deserved condemnation; former National Alliance Cincinnati Unit Coordinator Robert Ransdell wrote "He has a ways to go to measure up to some of these other "reformed racists" like that skinhead (TJ and I can never remember his last name) who always manages to get on TV to promote his book when a skinhead is connected to a crime, he was all over CNN when that Wisconsin shooting occured at the Sikh temple. He now makes a living off being a "reformed skinhead", and that is what it is about, no way he just forgot or ignores what he learned (though perhaps he didn't learn much other than beating people up and drinking) while in the WN cause, he just didn't have the determination to see things through and saw an opportunity to make a buck and get his ugly mug on TV now and then".
The story has now gone international, with the Daily Mail and the Guardian filing reports.