Klan rallies in Clanton

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2002

Bradley Jenkins’ voice echoed in a mostly empty Ollie Park, in Clanton on Saturday afternoon as members of a Ku Klux Klan group based in Shelby County rallied against illegal immigrants and crime.

About 20 members of the Klan attended the rally, roped into a pavilion by yellow police tape as 30 law enforcement officers &045; city police, county deputies and state troopers &045; surrounded the area.

And about eight spectators, most of them children who had been playing at the park, stayed to hear a message with which they said they disagreed.

Jenkins, grand dragon of the White Knights Coalition Realm of Shelby, told spectators he was &uot;ashamed&uot; of the turnout.

&uot;You asked the Klan to come and now we’re here,&uot; Jenkins said, referring to an email invitation he said had been sent from someone in Chilton County. &uot;You said you had problems. You said you had drug problems and child molesters. You asked us to come, and where are you?&uot; he asked, his voice booming over a sound system throughout the park.

&uot;Where are you to support your community? We stand up. We show our face. We fight for what we believe in, while you sit at home in bed, waiting to watch it on TV. Guess what? I’m going to drop you. Clanton’s going to be on its own.&uot;

Jenkins later said he is trying to change the image of the Klan, which he called &uot;the new community watch group.&uot;

&uot;We’re not here to intimidate anyone,&uot; he said. &uot;The only people who have a right to fear us are the people who are doing something wrong.&uot;

Jenkins said the group is trying to combat drug crimes and child molestation.

&uot;If a drug dealer gets intimidated because he sees people in black robes up here, that’s good,&uot; he said.

But while Jenkins was preaching a message about a new Klan, he and other members were also preaching a new form of separatism, arguing that Hispanics and illegal immigrants are taking over Clanton.

&uot;It seems like Clanton has a problem with Mexican immigration,&uot; said &uot;Brother Gerald&uot; of Tennessee, one of the representatives from five states who joined Jenkins at the rally. None of the Klan members were from Chilton County.

However, Klan members had circulated flyers in both Shelby and Chilton counties inviting local residents to join them.

&uot;The white man’s school system is going to have to be dumbed down again to educate the Mexicans, just like it was when they ended segregation and they started to educate the black savages,&uot; said Brother Gerald, who did not give his last name to the audience.

But Jenkins later told the small audience &045; made of blacks and whites &045; that illegal immigrants are hurting both races.

&uot;I’ll tell you who should be mad,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s the black man. He’s taking your jobs. Affirmative action doesn’t mean anything anymore …

&uot;Clanton’s population increased over the last four years. Guess what? They ain’t black; they ain’t white. They’re Mexican. You know why? They work for nothing.&uot;

Jenkins also blamed the recession on immigration.

&uot;When did the economy start going bad?&uot; he asked. &uot;When they allowed thousands of immigrants to come here and not pay taxes for the first seven years they’re here.&uot;

Although Jenkins told the small crowd he was &uot;ashamed&uot; no one showed up for the rally, he later said he thought the message was getting out.

&uot;It’s never really disappointing if you can get the message out,&uot; he said.

&uot;This is for the children who are out there, whether they be black or white,&uot; Jenkins said, pointing to a circle of black and white children outside the police tape. This is stupid,&uot; said one of those children, Jamal Morrison. &uot;They shouldn’t even be here. They should rally somewhere else.&uot;