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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Says Klan Picnic OK

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Missouri parks officials cannot bar the Ku Klux Klan from holding a picnic at a Civil War historical site this weekend, a federal judge ruled. A Klan officer sued the state on Wednesday after the Department of Natural Resource refused to rent it a pavilion at the Fort Davidson State Historic Site.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel said the state cannot refuse to rent the pavilion to the Klan. The Klan official, Frank Ancona, said the state objected to "historical inaccuracies" that the Klan might spread in the park.

Ancona told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's not sure if the event, scheduled for Saturday, will be held due to financial considerations. Judge Sippel required the Klan to post a $1,800 bond and obtain $300,000 in liability insurance.

Ancona says the Klan chose the site, 85 miles southwest of St. Louis, because 1,000 Confederate soldiers lost their lives there during a raid in the Civil War. Ancona said the Klan wanted to hold a barbeque and games, such as a bean bag toss and a duck pond. Children who won would be given Confederate flags.

The Klan also planned to hang its banner, a U.S. flag, a Confederate battle flag and a Klan insignia. Some attendees would be in robes and hoods, he said.

Anthony Rothert of the ACLU represented Ancona.

The Klan was created after the Civil War and achieved notoriety by its widespread murders, lynchings and burning of black people. It was suppressed by force, then reorganized and emerged again during World War I. The Klan also targeted Jews, Catholics and pretty much anyone who was not white and Protestant.

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