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Monday, March 28, 2011

Former KKK Leader Wants To Be Democratic Mayor Of Lake Wales, Florida

One of those "are you kidding me" moments.

Video below (H/T Gateway Pundit)

Democrat John Paul Rogers, 70, was not only a member of United Klans of America. According to Retired University of South Florida Professor Darryl Paulson, an expert on the Klan, Rogers was the was the head of the organization in Florida that was part of one of the largest and one of the most violent branches of the KKK.

WTSP, 10News, reports that "Rogers isn't apologizing or renouncing his time with the Klan."

They then quote him:

He says, "Well I resigned years ago, about 30 years ago. Jesus said, 'He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone,' and so far no one's hit me with a rock. I don't know of any act of any violence that was sanctioned by our organization, either national or in Florida."

But Darryl Paulson, a USF professor, who is an expert in the Klan, points to a case in which two Klansman with the United Klans of America were convicted of attacking 19-year-old Michael Donald in 1981 in Mobile, Alabama. Donald was beaten up and his throat was cut.

Paulson says, "They hung him from a tree and they were sued in court and the civil judgment was launched against the United Klans of America. The jury awarded a six million dollar settlement to the mother of the slain child."

He adds, "When Rogers says he resigned. He had no other choice. The United Klans couldn't pay off the six million dollar settlement but they lost their headquarters. Their headquarters was sold as part of the judgement so in essence they were forced out of business. They were financially bankrupt."

Paulson says, "I think that they were the most violent of the Klan organizations. I think their fingerprints are on a lot of different things that happened - most of them negative with respect to racial incidents during the 1950's and 1960's. Rogers had to know there was no way he couldn't know it."

In the above linked article it says the courts awarded the family of the slain victim $6 million, but according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the actual award handed down in 1987 was $7 million.

The case was filed on 06/14/1984, by Beulah Mae Donald, mother of Michael Donald, a black teenager lynched by Klan members. The Defendants are listed as United Klans of America, Inc., Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Bennie Jack Hays and other members of the United and other Klan groups.

From the SPL Center website:

Shutting down the notorious United Klans
Nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was on his way to the store in 1981 when two members of the United Klans of America abducted him, beat him, cut his throat and hung his body from a tree on a residential street in Mobile, Ala.

Angry that an interracial jury had failed to convict another black man for killing a white police officer in Birmingham, the Klansmen selected Michael Donald at random and lynched him to intimidate and threaten other blacks. On the same evening, other Klan members burned a cross on the Mobile County courthouse lawn.

The two Klansmen who carried out the ritualistic killing were eventually arrested and convicted. Convinced that the Klan itself should be held responsible for the lynching, Center attorneys filed a civil suit on behalf of Donald's mother, Beulah Mae Donald vs. United Klans. In 1987, the Center won an historic $7 million verdict against the men involved in the lynching.

The verdict marked the end of the United Klans, the same group that had beaten the Freedom Riders in 1961, murdered civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo in 1965, and bombed Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963.

The group was forced to turn over its headquarters to Beulah Mae Donald, and two additional Klansmen were convicted of criminal charges.

Rogers was not specifically named in the suit (judgment here- PDF) but the United Klans of America was and with him refusing to denounce the group, I cannot see how the beautiful town of Lake Wales (yes I have been there) could imagine voting for such an ugly, hatefilled individual.