Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 17, 2019 1:00 am

Klan's listed town upsets Indiana mayor

LISA CORNWELL | Associated Press

CINCINNATI – The mayor of an Indiana city is distancing his community from a local Ku Klux Klan group that is planning a rally in Ohio this month, saying the city doesn't “stand for any kind of hate.”

The Facebook page for the Honorable Sacred Knights lists a post office box in Madison, Indiana – population about 12,000 – as contact information.

Madison Mayor Damon Welch said Wednesday that authorities in the Indiana city think there are only three or four members of the Honorable Sacred Knights who live in Jefferson County. He said he doesn't want the public to think there's a large Klan-affiliated group located in the southeast Indiana city, which is the county seat.

“We don't stand for any of what they put out,” he said.

The Honorable Sacred Knights wrote in an email Wednesday that the group now has “closer to 25 members.”

“We don't expect for the city to approve of us,” the email stated.

The Klan group has said previously that its May 25 rally in Dayton, around 120 miles northeast of Madison, is not about hate. This week, the group and Dayton city officials reached an agreement that will bar the group from wearing paramilitary or tactical gear and carrying assault rifles, bats or shields. The group's members also can't carry flame throwers or knives. They can carry certain firearms with permits and cover their faces.

Only those associated with the group will be allowed at the Courthouse Square rally site, and Dayton police will be on hand to control their entrance and exit from the site, Dayton city attorney Barbara Doseck said Monday. Police may shut down the rally if members fail to comply with the terms of the consent decree, she said.

The Klan is a particularly sensitive topic in Indiana, which has struggled to shrug off the group's historical association. The organization often dominated local politics in parts of Indiana in the 1920s, with some estimates indicating that one-quarter of the white men born in Indiana were members.

Welch called Madison “a nice little tourist town” recognized for being a “Stellar Community” in Indiana.