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Ku Klux Klan Recruitment in Oklahoma

by Erika Stone, Senior Staff Writer
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Kay County, a small area in Northern Oklahoma, is getting outsized attention. On the heels of Newkirk, Oklahoma Mayor Brian Hobbs brags to the New York Times about his attendance at the Capitol riot on January 6, Kay County is also the place where KKK fliers were discovered last weekend.

This is not the first time Kay County or the town of Newkirk has been the site of a Klu Klux Klan visit. An Oklahoma newspaper from 1922 bears the headline “KKK Attends Newkirk Church”, with an article about fully-robed KKK members who publicly blackmailed a local pastor to sermonize about pure White America. 

Today, Reverend Calvin Miller of Newkirk tries to promote unity while acknowledging the reality of the country’s long-lasting and most infamous hate group. “Basically it’s an organization that’s been around for years,” said Reverend Miller, who is president of the Progressive Oklahoma Baptist Convention, a coalition of Baptist leaders who promote Social Justice Action. 

Reverend Miller acknowledged the flyers were recruitment tools and included ads to “Save Our Land, Join the Klan!” The Southern Poverty Law Center notes the KKK is a hate group and confirms the presence of a statewide KKK group in Oklahoma, the Patriot Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

The Southern Poverty Law Center also states there are 9 other hate groups operating in Oklahoma, including Stedfast Baptist Church, Proud Boys, and Patriot Front, a white supremacist hate group. Patriot Front has already staked a claim in Tulsa, flying a banner on Tisdale Parkway, vandalizing Phantasmagoria bookstore twice since 2019, and leaving propaganda on Cherry St in 2017. 

In his inaugural address, President Biden listed white supremacy along with political extremism and domestic terrorist as threats that the United States must acknowledge and defeat. President Biden is the first President to acknowledge white supremacy by name. He also noted that in order to overcome our culture that promotes hate and division, we must do more than talk about it. 

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On January 7, then President-Elect Biden highlighted the delineation between the Capitol insurrectionists versus Black Lives Matter protesters. “If it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday they wouldn’t have been treated very, very different than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true, and it is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable,” said Biden. He did not hesitate to use the words “rioters, domestic terrorists, and insurrectionists” to describe the attempted takeover of the Capitol. 

Among President Biden’s 17 Executive Orders signed immediately after his inauguration was ending the Muslim ban, strengthening DACA, stopping the 1776 Project, restoring federal diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. This requires federal agencies to report on barriers to equity as part of “rooting out systemic racism;” and reinforcing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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