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"We had the NAACP. They had the Klan."

January 10, 2015 in History

January 10, 2015 1:08 p.m.

Bunny Sanders is the Mayor of Roper, North Carolina. Her father, E.V. Wilkins was a prominent black leader in Eastern North Carolina and was Roper’s first black mayor in 1967. In her interview for the film, Klansville U.S.A., Mayor Sanders states, “We had the NAACP. They had the Klan.” We asked her to elaborate on this and explain how the two very different groups found their own outlets to ensure they were heard in North Carolina during the 1960s. Her response is below:

The NAACP allowed Negroes — [that was] at least a public perception of an equalizer, if not a protector from the more violent arm of the Klan, which, by the ‘60s was on its way underground. [Klan members'] covered faces were a signal of cowardice and lack of pride in the barbaric organization to which they belonged. On the other hand, by the mid ‘60s the law of the land had begun to respond positively to the more civil non-violent strategy of the NAACP, the organization in which many Negroes boasted pride of membership.