On a day meant to celebrate and honor the impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made on America, one Alabama neighborhood searched for answers after their town was targeted by a Ku Klux Klan organization.
More than 50 ziplock bags were littered across residential lawns in Midtown, Alabama, containing sand, a couple cards and a flyer sarcastically wishing King a happy birthday. One local resident told Local 15 the flyers were “like a recruitment call… that people could join this order of the Ku Klux Klan.”
The flyers featured one of King’s most famous lines, reading, “We Also Have a Dream.” It went on to claim that “blacks have NAACP, the Mexicans have La Raza, the Jews have JDL and white people have KKK fighting for God, race and our nation since 1866.” The flyers listed a hotline for a North Carolina-based group called Loyal White Knights and a logo that read, “The KKK wants you.” If called, the hotline played recorded messages slamming King’s efforts during the Civil Rights Movement.
While stunned and understandably upset to find the flyers on their streets, one neighbor — who asked his identity remain anonymous — told Local 15 that he “took it as a learning experience, that we still have a long way to go in our race relations.” Luckily, once discovered, the flyers were immediately removed and as of now, no one has been targeted by the group directly. According to the Daily News, similar flyers were also found on cars parked in Long Island, New York.
This isn’t the first time a KKK group has distributed recruitment flyers in family neighborhoods. It happened several times throughout 2015, including last March when thousands of fliers were left at Selma homes on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. According to Police officials, if caught, distributors could be charged with criminal littering.
While the hate that still infiltrates our societies is distressing, today and every day we should make time to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings and look to his words for encouragement and guidance. Love is a choice, and just as King said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”