Idaho’s lone black lawmaker receives KKK mailing

Apr 10, 2012, 6:31 PM

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.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Idaho’s lone black lawmaker receives KKK mailing