Some residents in West Ashley’s racially diverse Pierpont neighborhood received fliers asking them to join the Ku Klux Klan.
A school-age black girl numbered among the people who turned over solicitations claiming to come from the white supremacist group. The girl told Charleston County sheriff’s deputies that she found a flier in her yard with information about the KKK.
The girl said she found more solicitations scattered around her neighborhood as she walked to her bus stop on March 16. Another resident, a white man, found a plastic sandwich bag containing a KKK flier in his driveway the evening before.
The man saw similar bags in neighbors’ yards, so he collected them and called authorities. A sheriff’s deputy found a solicitation near every driveway in Pierpont, according to a report, and learned from another resident that a passenger in a pickup truck driving through the area had thrown objects from the window.
The fliers were from the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The faction’s literature also has been seen recently in other tri-county cities.
Frank Ancona, the imperial wizard of the group, confirmed late Friday that the fliers were from his organization.
The group’s members often hand the fliers out, he said, but they are readily available to others who want to distribute them.
“There’s a lot of people who support us but won’t join,” he said, “but agree with the message.”
Ancona said unlike some groups affiliated with the KKK, his group promotes the traditional values and rituals of the Klan. “We keep the traditions alive,” he said.
Local NAACP president Dot Scott said the people sharing fliers likely mistook the neighborhood as a solely white community and incorrectly assumed that they would find an endorsement there.
“Less educated people are the most vulnerable to fall prey to that and to find this to be acceptable behavior,” Scott said. “We are fortunate that they are in the minority and not the majority.”
Scott said the fliers arrived at a particularly sensitive time, as the nation’s first black president seeks re-election and as the country seeks answers after a man shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Florida.
“The tone of the country right now — with all that’s going on — I’m not surprised,” Scott said. She said nobody reported the Pierpont fliers to her office but acknowledged that such solicitations are perfectly legal.
Reached in Harrison, Ark., KKK national director Thomas Arthur Robb said members frequently take the initiative to recruit.
Asked about the girl who found the fliers, Robb said, “If a black person got it, it’s just an accident. ... We’re not trying to recruit blacks.”
Robb said some residents get upset when they receive KKK fliers but others act upon the solicitations and join.
Robb noted that distributing literature is not only legal but also constitutionally protected.
“I always find it interesting when it becomes a news item,” he said.
Charleston County sheriff’s Maj. Jim Brady said investigators logged the fliers they collected into evidence and documented the incident.
Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or on Twitter at @allysonjbird.