KKK tries to recruit members in Ste. Genevieve - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

KKK tries to recruit members in Ste. Genevieve

KKK members handed out flyers in Ste. Genevieve on Sunday. KKK members handed out flyers in Ste. Genevieve on Sunday.

Concerns rise in Heartland communities as the Ku Klux Klan, a group many have only seen on the big or small screen, once again make their presence known.

Leaders of a branch of the KKK say they have plans to recruit new members in several Heartland towns, and nation wide.

Members handed out flyers in Ste. Genevieve Sunday morning. Many citizens encountered the group as they were coming out of church.

"We were very surprised," said Sam Kincaid. "This is our community and it rattled a lot of people."

Kincaid says his partner caught the scene on tape.

"I'm surprised it still happens," said Karen Gooch of the Klan's recruitment and appearance.

In the video, now posted online, several citizens confront the Klan members. They tell the members to leave and express that the group is not welcome.  Watch it on YouTube here.  *Some language may be offensive.

"I'm sure it's nothing this community supports," said Mayor, Dick Greminger. "I'm sure there's no question about that."

Greminger says several people contacted him to let him know their concerns about the KKK in town. While he says he knows the group is entitled to their first amendment rights, he says he'd rather they stay out of his town.

"They upset some people," said Mayor Greminger. "They come to a community like this to create controversy."

Members who showed up Sunday are from a branch of the Ku Klux Klan called the True Invisible Empire Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. They are based in Potosi. Imperial Wizard, Frank Ancona says they are working to recruit members in Ste. Genevieve and other communities.

"Seventy – five percent of the reaction was positive," said Ancona. "We also passed out information on other topics. We are not a hate group. We are a Christian Organization who looks out for the interest of the white race."

Ancona says they left because they ran out of flyers, not because they were asked to leave.

While Ancona says they did not try to provoke anyone, Sam Kincaid says he has a different take.

"They got in my face," said Kincaid. "They were in front of businesses and those businesses did not want them there."

Kincaid also says the group thrust flyers at African Americans and Hispanics.

"When you put flyers into a car with a mixed-race baby in the back that's crossing the line," said Kincaid. "That's not in your rights."

In the meantime, while plenty of people in Ste. Genevieve are talking about the KKK's appearance, few wanted to go on the record with their thoughts. They say all the group wants is publicity. Yet, others say while passing out recruitment flyers may be within their rights, they don't want the KKK in their town.

"This isn't the place for it," said Gooch.

Mayor Greminger says he does not know of any plans for the KKK to return. He says they will go on with business as usual in their town and not give the KKK any more attention they've already gathered.

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