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Ku Klux Klan March Draws Counterprotesters

July 27, 1986 GMT

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ White-robed members of the Ku Klux Klan marched on a downtown street Saturday, as townspeople shouted at them to get out of town.

The 16 Klan marchers carried U.S. and Confederate flags and a silver coffin they said symbolized the ″death of the pure races.″ The marchers had received a permit and were escorted by police.

An opposition march was led down the sidewalk by residents Nancy and Larry Clark, who carried signs that read ″Help End Racism″ and ″Equality For All Races.″

Ken Taylor, who said he was the Klan’s Grand Dragon in Indiana, said the parade and subsequent rally were held ″to educate people to what’s going on.″ He pointed to a KKK sign that read: ″If race mixing is not stopped we will burn the pure races then the communists will make slaves of the mulattoes.″

In Mansfield, about 50 people townspeople gathered for the Saturday night rally, but the crowd grew to about 200-250 after dark for the burning of a cross, said State Police investigator Jerry Stateler.

Imperial Wizard Jim Blair urged an increase in Klan membership, telling the crowd that the Klan had to grow to 5 percent of the national population in order for whites to regain control of the government.

He and other Klansman urged support for bringing prayers back into classrooms, told mothers to fight drug abuse in schools and said children should join the Klan’s youth corps so they can organize school protests.

Meanwhile, at the Mansfield Bible Church, Brother Thomas A. Trotter told a capacity audience that he hoped to build unity among all people.

″It’s time to quit fighting one another and to love one another,″ Trotter said.