Klan membership in Palmetto State 'small and scattered' - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Klan membership in Palmetto State 'small and scattered'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A man being held in the random murders of three people at Jewish centers near Kansas City has a track record of extremist activities here in the Carolinas.

The suspect, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller is a former Grand Dragon with a North Carolina Ku Klux Klan group.

He and his members held a rally in Lexington County back in 1984 and WIS was there.

So what's happened with Klan organizations in the Palmetto State since then?

In 1984 WIS reported the Klan was essentially defunct in the Midlands based on turnout for that rally. It later became clear there were still active Klan organizations but their numbers appear to have declined since then.

Today the State Law Enforcement Division told us the Klan presence in this state is currently "very small and very scattered."

Certainly it's been a long time since we've seen any chapter of that hate group goes public like one did nearly 30 years ago.

Glenn Miller came to Lexington County in late September 1984 bringing with him other members of the White Patriot Party, a group previously known as the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

It was at least in part, a recruiting trip.

But while they managed to sign up a few new members, a heavy federal, state and county law enforcement presence may have kept others away.

Miller wasn't happy about that.

"You'd think we was in Russia or something," Miller said in 1984. "You know where they stick their foot on your head and they and push you back down when you try to rise up in these communist countries. And it's becoming the same way in our country today. When white people try to rise up to unite and organize."

Miller ran for North Carolina governor that year.

A few years later, federal authorities in Missouri arrested him. He went to prison and the White Patriot Party fell apart.

By then another Klan group was getting media attention in the Midlands.

The Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan led by a Pelion area man named Horace King. King and his group held a series of marches in smaller towns and meetings at King's home.

In the mid-90's a wave of Klan-inspired black church arsons brought national attention to South Carolina including a visit to Greelyville by then-President Bill Clinton.

One church sued King and the Klan winning a $38 million judgment that left the church in possession of King's house.

He died in 2002.

More recently former Lexington County resident August Kreis the third was linked to several extremist groups including the Klan and Aryan Nations.

In February of this year authorities in Richland, Kershaw and Lexington Counties accused Kreis of sexually assaulting a girl and distributing child pornography.

Today the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate groups identifies just three Klan organizations in South Carolina in the Abbeville and Spartanburg areas.

The SPLC says Glenn Miller was involved in a plot to murder the law center's founder Morris Dees.

Miller's history of racial violence also includes his participation in the 1979 killings of five anti-Klan protesters in Greensboro, the event that became known as the Greensboro Massacre.

The murders for which he is now being held in Overland Park Kansas took place at Jewish centers.

But authorities say none of the victims were in fact Jewish.

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