Idaho’s Lone Black Lawmaker Receives KKK Mailing

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  • BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s only black lawmaker said she received a direct mailing from the Ku Klux Klan that has bolstered her resolve to fight prejudice.

    Childhood memories of a cross burning on her lawn on Boise’s north end were rekindled for Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, when she opened a hand-addressed application last week to join the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

    “It conjured up a lot of things for me that weren’t very comfortable — not fear, but sometimes we get to thinking things are settled,” she said.

    The mailing solicited a photo, $35 in annual dues and asked for a completed statement proclaiming: “I am a White Christian man or woman,” The Idaho Statesman reported (http://bit.ly/HsN9e0).

    It also included a newsletter introducing the organization’s national director, Thomas Robb, but there was no personal note.

    Still, Buckner-Webb doesn’t think it’s a coincidence the application was delivered to the only black member of the Idaho Legislature.

    The mailing had a return address for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan offices in Harrison, Ark., the Statesman said. No one answered a phone call Tuesday from The Associated Press to the offices of the group.

    “Initially, I wondered what was someone’s thought process in sending that to me. My first inclination was someone wants me to know the Klan is still around,” Buckner-Webb said.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and hate groups, identified 18 such active organizations in Idaho in 2011.

    Buckner-Webb posted a copy of the KKK application and newsletter on her Facebook page to express her surprise and start a dialogue.

    She said legislative battles this past session over gay rights, contraception and restrictions on abortion showed her the fight against prejudice in Idaho isn’t over.

    “I would be a fool not to take note and govern myself accordingly,” she said. “It was a sign for me to remain vigilant, to remain careful and to remain thoughtful.”

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