Counterdemonstrators Push To Keep Forsyth County White With AM-Brotherhood March Bjt
CUMMING, Ga. (AP) _ Ku Klux Klansmen in robes, teen-agers in blue jeans and businessmen in ties jammed the streets of downtown Cumming on Saturday, waving Confederate and U.S. flags and shouting ″Go back home″ at civil rights demonstrators.
″The niggers going. The white people staying,″ said one person in the crowd as the activists returned to their buses and cars after a march and rally in front of the Forsyth County Courthouse.
The counterdemonstrators pressed against a wall of 1,700 National Guardsmen who lined the 1 1/4 -mile route of the ″anti-intimidation″ march from a shopping center to the courthouse.
Standing among the more than 1,000 counterdemonstrators was former Gov. Lester Maddox, a one-time segregationist.
″I don’t care about Atlanta, just leave Forsyth County alone,″ said Dennis Brock, a young white man who moved from Atlanta 15 years ago. ″Let them stay in their place, we’ll stay in ours.″
Brock, who was waving a Confederate flag, said he attended an Atlanta high school when it was integrated in the 1960s.
Counterdemonstrators dispersed before they could hold a rally after the march as scheduled. Earlier, though, as many as 400 people gathered for an impromptu rally by David Duke of Louisiana, head of the National Association for the Advancement of White People.
″There are white folks from all over the U.S. here with you,″ Duke said. ″This is the beginning of the white civil rights movement. ... We’re here because we want to protect our homes and families from violence.″
Duke urged the group, which included a man and a woman in Klan robes, to obey the law and set a good example. But about an hour later, Duke was arrested on a charge of reckless conduct and blocking a highway.
At least 13 other people were arrested before the march started. It was not immediately clear whether they were affiliated with any group.
Many in the group around Duke waved signs saying, ″Whites have rights,″ ″Black movement is communism on the march″ and ″For God, race and country.″
Virtually no black people have lived in Forsyth County since 1912, when a black man was shot to death in jail and two others were convicted and hanged in the rape and murder of a 19-year-old white woman.
Nearly 40,000 people live in the county today; law enforcement officials say they know of no blacks who live in the rustic county about 30 miles north of Atlanta.
Saturday’s march came one week after a similar march by 75 blacks and whites was disrupted by about 400 Ku Klux Klan members and supporters who pelted the marchers with rocks, bottles and mud.
Some residents tried to disassociate themselves from the counterdemonstrators .
The local chamber of commerce draped a yellow banner saying, ″Welcome to Forsyth County″ across the road where the march started. And several residents greeted marchers as they stepped off the buses saying, ″Welcome to Forsyth County from someone who lives here.″
Luther Samples watched the march from his driveway.
He blamed last weekend’s trouble on ″a bunch of hot heads. ... The majority of the Forsyth County people, they’re not that way. They give us a bad name.″