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Fourth of July float of Obama irks some parade goers

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A controversial July 4th parade float in Nebraska is raising eyebrows. (Source: Viewer photo/KMTV/CNN) A controversial July 4th parade float in Nebraska is raising eyebrows. (Source: Viewer photo/KMTV/CNN)

NORFOLK, NE (KMTV/CNN) – Hundreds of people crowded the streets of downtown Norfolk, NE for the annual Odd Fellows Lodge parade on the Fourth of July.

Nearly 70 floats crowded the streets, but one float is causing a major controversy.

“It’s definitely a personal issue for me,” parade goer Glory Kathurima said.

On the Fourth of July, Glory Kathurima brought her 9-year-old daughter to watch the annual Independence Day parade.

Both enjoyed their morning until a float passed by.

“This image and the words stamped across an outhouse were trying to equate the president, a black president, with what you do in an outhouse,” Kathurima said.

Parade goers describe it as a zombie-like dummy standing in the front of an outhouse. A sign on the float read, “Obama’s Presidential Library.”

Glory stood sickened by the float and the audience support of the float.

“The fear for me came seeing the people laughing at it and pointing at it, and basically giving the stamp of approval when they had that kind of reaction to it,” Kathurima said.

Her confused 9-year-old daughter, Malaika, asked her mother why so many people were cheering.

“Why are you clapping, it's not very nice to do,” Malaika said.

The mother and daughter both felt targeted.

“We try to navigate our way in a white community with people who aren't open to discussing the racial tensions in America, and especially in such a small community like this,” Kathurima said.

Norfolk, NE Mayor Sue Fuchtman said the city had no role in the annual parade.

“I think the concern here is truly what the reaction was,” Fuchtman said.

The Odd Fellows Lodge hosts the parade, and they requested to use the city streets for the event, just as they’ve done in years’ past.

“I don't believe that there has ever been a question by the Odd Fellows as to who should be allowed to be in the parade, never before and again, I believe this has become very controversial because of a lot of different opinions,” Fuchtman said.

A lodge member said the float was registered as political satire. He says it gained the most amount of audience support and even won an honorable mention.

He said it was never meant to be racist, instead the owner of the float was practicing Freedom of Speech.

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