In Gaston County near Charlotte, the imperial wizard of the Mount Holly-based chapter of the Klan says membership is growing faster than he's seen since joining in the 1960s.This type of backward slide into the darkest reaches of U.S. history can be stopped, but not until there is a solid coalition of people willing to recognize the ways anti-immigrant rhetoric has been allowed to flourish and go unchecked by the media and
"People are tired of this mess," said Virgil Griffin, 62. "The illegal immigrants are taking this country over."
Griffin recounted 1960s Klan rallies when dozens, sometimes hundreds, marched through towns such as Mount Holly, Salisbury and Wilmington. "We were strong in the '60s," he said. "We're not that strong now. We're hoping to get there."
The group wants to increase its numbers so it can influence local and national politics. The Klan's goals include military border enforcement and ending taxpayer-funded services to illegal immigrants.
There is real fear out there, but you won't find it in the headlines or within the pages of a report. It is coupled with a growing anger that is building - one that finds its seed in the lack of support for basic human rights by the great population.
Something will have to give eventually.