Locals unfazed by KKK



Jun 3, 2003
Apathy Marks Klan Gathering In Santa Fe

Nearby Resident: 'They Are Idiots'

SANTA FE, Texas -- The Ku Klux Klan may no longer have a sympathetic audience in this small community with a long history of racial strife.

A group of 10 Klansmen -- a few dressed in the traditional white robes and hoods -- were in Santa Fe Saturday to promote their group. But while nearly 2,000 people, mostly protestors, came out when the group visited last year, this time around they were pretty much left alone.

Santa Fe police officers were under orders to ignore the Klan with the hope the group would eventually pack up and leave, the Texas City Sun reported Sunday.

"We got a really good turn out for that last year, that's why we are back to see what type of support we will have," said Charles Lee, the head of the White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in nearby Cleveland.

But many Santa Fe residents only wanted the group to leave. The town is located about 40 miles south of Houston.

"They are idiots, in their white sheets and acting all big and powerful. They act like they are trying to fight for something, but they aren't fighting for anything but stupidity," said Felix Rogers, who lives in Algoa.

Other residents echoed Rogers' statements, but very few, however, were willing to give their names or have their comments printed in the newspaper.

"It's not that people don't support us, it's because they don't want to be seen with us because the police will be watching them," Lee said.

His group did receive honking horns and yells from passing motorists indicating support.

In recent years, Santa Fe has garnered a reputation of intolerance.

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2000 ruled the Santa Fe school district's policy of allowing student-led prayers at campus events violated the constitutionally required separation of church and state.

Following the prayer debate, a then 13-year-old Jewish middle school student received a series of threats.

After a visit by the Anti-Defamation League, Santa Fe leaders began an anti-hate campaign dubbed "Santa Fe is No Place for Hate."

Last year a black student received threatening letters complete with a drawing of a hang man's noose and a misspelled racial slur.
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