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Blacks Bow Out of Parade Because David Duke Joins In

May 7, 1990

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) _ Many blacks stayed away from the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department’s annual parade on Sunday because of the presence of state Rep. David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Parade chairman Robert Fields was told Saturday that all four school bands would pull out.

However, two bands marched, minus their black members.

″I did not see any black students. In fact, we didn’t see any blacks in the parade at all. Normally there’s a mounted group,″ said KTIB-AM news director Marie Bergeron, who broadcast a description of the parade.

Police Sgt. James Hughes said he saw at most 40 blacks among the thousands who lined the parade route. ″Usually they are more supportive,″ he said.

The Lafourche Parish chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and local black ministers had urged blacks to stay away from the parade because of Duke’s presence.

″It’s amazing the NAACP is so intolerant,″ said Duke, who says his years as imperial wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and his ties to neo-Nazi groups were youthful errors. ″I think we need equal rights for all people in America.″

Duke, one of two Republicans in the race to unseat Democratic Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, rode in a white convertible with an entourage of about six, smiling and waving at the crowds.

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