In what can only be described as an embarrassment waiting to happen, a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in northern Georgia recently applied to "adopt" a highway near the North Carolina border.
A North Georgia chapter of the Ku Klux Klan has applied to "adopt" a stretch of highway in Union County, Georgia, according to paperwork obtained by CNN on Monday.Here's what makes it even more obscene--the Georgia DOT may not have a legally defensible reason to turn the application down. Back in 1994, a Missouri KKK chapter tried to "adopt" a stretch of I-55 south of St. Louis, but the Missouri DOT balked. A federal appeals court ruled that the state could not deny applications just because it disagreed with a group's particular viewpoint, and SCOTUS refused to hear the case. However, the state eventually threw the KKK chapter out of the program when the Klansmen didn't clean up the road as agreed. And in a bit of poetic justice, that stretch of highway is now named after Rosa Parks.
The application, which would allow the white supremacy group to receive state recognition for cleaning up a one-mile portion of a highway, was filed by the International Keystone Knights of the KKK on May 21.
If the Georgia Department of Transportation accepts the application, the KKK would be responsible for cleaning litter on a part of Georgia State Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains near the North Carolina border.
"All we want to do is adopt a highway," said April Chambers, the chapter's secretary. "We're not doing it for publicity. We're doing it to keep the mountains beautiful. People throwing trash out on the side of the road ... that ain't right."
Needless to say, the state's black elected officials are up in arms.
But state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, head of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials called on state officials to reject the application from a “domestic terrorist group” even if it means a costly legal fight.Georgia DOT officials are meeting with the state attorney general's office to find a way forward. However, from the looks of it, legally their hands are tied. So putting sunshine on this may be the only way to derail it.
“This is about membership building and rebranding their name in a public way,” the Atlanta Democrat said of the KKK. “If the state approves [their application] then they are complicit.”