Gervase Hittle walked outside his Hill City home at 5 a.m. on Easter Sunday and found a plastic bag with a note lying in his yard.

He opened the bag and found something he never expected, and certainly didn't welcome: a sheet of paper titled "What is a Klansman?" that promoted membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

"I'm really offended by it," Hittle said. "I'm so much anti-Klan, it's incredible."

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office estimates that between 100 and 200 pro-KKK flyers were distributed sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning throughout Hill City and to the west of Highway 385 leading to Custer.

A sheriff's official said it's not unusual to see the Klan — which believes there is a race war against white people — try to market itself from time to time in the Black Hills. "They come through it seems like every couple of years and pass out their literature," said Capt. Jay Evenson.

The KKK has made sporadic attempts to get its word out in the area in recent years. In 2011, employees at Walmart and Best Buy found pro-Klan cards slipped into store merchandise.

As more neighbors were getting ready for church on Sunday, Hittle said he saw volunteers with the Hill City Fire Department taking the flyers off lawns.

"A couple of us were picking them up off our own neighborhoods," said Ben McKee, a Hill City emergency technician. "It was kind of disturbing that they put them on people's yards on Easter."

The recruitment letter comes courtesy of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan based in Missouri. The message did not have overt racist messages.

"We are trying to get the message out about what the Klan actually stands for," said imperial wizard Frank Ancona of the Missouri chapter. "We hope that people will take a look at what the Klan really stands for, and we’re not the evil bogeyman that the media and government has made us out to be."

Part of that message is "looking out for the interests of our race," he said. "We don’t want to live under Sharia law. We don’t want to pay for people who don’t belong here to sit on their butts and watch Direct TV on our dime."

Ancona was defiant when pressed if the Klan marketing effort could actually backfire among unsympathetic residents. He said some people appear to have a problem with an organization that looks out for the white race.

"I guess we are going to hide under a rock and not been seen, but that is not going to happen," he said. "We really don’t care what people think about our organization. If they don’t want to hear our message or see our message they can take it out and throw it in the trash can."

Who passed out the flyers in Hill City remains unknown.

"We only assume there are some people here that are in the KKK, but it is pretty sporadic on what they are trying to accomplish," said Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler. "We really haven’t associated anyone with it."

Contact Meredith Colias as 394-8417 or meredith.colias@rapidcityjournal.com

(26) comments

rdftheonlyone
rdftheonlyone

I've never weighed the amount of garbage that has been put into my mailbox, on my front porch or hanging from the door. I have glanced at it and decided that it, (whatever it may be,) is not for me and consigned it to my recycling bin. I'd have to say that I am pretty much an equal opportunity disposer. That is what I would've done with that. I am perfectly able to decide that, and perform that action myself. I don't need the State, (be they the fire department or ANYONE,) to do that for me.

Spot200
Spot200

The Klan meets in this area, has a number of members and it is likely both the Hill City Sheriff and Custer Sheriff know this. If they are so on the up and up, and "looking out for the white race" as they say, I think they ought to fess up to that and announce their meeting place and time like other groups do. Instead they slink around in the middle of the night. These aren't outsiders who drove in and dropped off leaflets. Some members are your neighbors.

DirtyEvoVIII
DirtyEvoVIII

Yep, so lets just go ahead and do a story on it and give them even more publicity. 100-200 pamphlets passed out vs. 1000+ views on this story with the message attached. Somebody dropped the ball.

Ducati Guy
Ducati Guy

Once again, Mormons and Jehovah's work in the daylight. They give you the opportunity to say " Have a nice day". They do not preach hate, genocide and ethnic cleansing. They do not leave garbage on your lawn, in the middle of the night. Savvy?

Smoke
Smoke

Calvin, the Busy Bodies as you call them, were picking up trash in their own yards , including some of their neighbors.

B-Rock
B-Rock

What makes this Klan information different from a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet? Would you encourage volunteers with the fire department to trespass on private property to remove Jehovah's Witness information that gets left behind for the property's occupants?

Posey
Posey

I do agree with the point you and Calvin make, folks can toss their own trash just like I toss the garbage left by porch preachers of any of the many factions of the only true religion.

BTW--Have you ever heard of NAACP doing this type of thing?

BTW-- What makes the klan garbage different from the common porch preacher garbage?
The klan would agree with you, they would say they are the same, the klan bases their philosophy on the bible their leader holds while the cross burns.

I'm happy we agree Mr. B, there's no difference between the two.

Ronniibee
Ronniibee

What a pathetic bunch of hogwash, what a pathetic bunch of idiots, the very people they are willing to rid their country of, are the very people who stand up for and are loyal to their country as well as their community, they are mainly very religious, spiritual people, who do not deserve the disgusting feelings and beliefs of these backward yokels, let alone the violence and the bigotry thrown in their way. disgusting white trash, is all the KKK is.

Posey
Posey

Ancona--""We only assume there are some people here that are in the KKK,"

"Due to a rash of break-ins, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (AAKKK) (headquartered in Park Hills, Mo.) has granted a local Pennsylvania chapter approval for forming a neighborhood watch group similar to the one run by Ancona in Park Hills that caused a small stir last July.

The AAKKK fliers appeared on the front stoops of homes up and down Ridge Road in Fairview Township April 18 declaring:

You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake!

The flier sports the name of the organization and includes an image of a hooded figure. Another line reads:

Are there troubles in your neighborhood? Contact the… Klan today"--huff post.

Calvin
Calvin

While I do not support the KKK or their methods I also find it disturbing that busy-bodies would take it upon themselves to trespass on other's private property to remove the fliers.
People are not so ignorant that they are unable to make up their own minds, and throw away the trash themselves. IMO.

B-Rock
B-Rock

It makes you wonder what else these volunteers with the fire department have stolen off their neighbors' doorsteps. What if Sunday's paper has a story they object to? Will they make the rounds to steal the newspaper off your lawn too?

Also not a Klan sympathizer. KKK or NAACP or any other race-based organization, I don't care, they're all racists. But I think the reaction would have been different if the Black Panthers had distributed the flyers.

Roger Cornelius
Roger Cornelius

B-Rock

The Black Panthers didn't distribute the pamphlets, the KKK did

B-Rock
B-Rock

Oh thanks. I nearly missed that point in the title of the story. That doesn't change my opinion that the reaction would have been different had the flyers been distributed by the Black Panthers.

Posey
Posey

Mr. B----"different if the Black Panthers had distributed the flyers"-- How? Why?

" Are you referring to the "black Panthers" or The New Black Panthers whose racism and antisemitism have been rejected by members of the old group.

What are your comparisons between the NAACP and the klan?
", I don't care, they're all racists"--What's your point, do you think this story is not news worthy? I don't get your point.....Please explain.

Roger Cornelius
Roger Cornelius

Interestingly, the NAACP has many non-black members, including some on their staff, they always have.

I wonder how many black members there are in Ku Klux Klan?

"I don't care, they're all racist" seems like an illogical comment.

Roger Cornelius
Roger Cornelius

If the Black Panthers delivered such flyers, which they did not, Daugaard would probably call out the National Guard

Roger Cornelius
Roger Cornelius

Volunteers stealing newspapers? Really?

renevatio
renevatio

Not defending the Klan but.... The klan has every legal right to promote their cause as much as the Mormons do... I see no difference between the two.

Calvin
Calvin

You are of course correct. Even though you will not be viewed as PC.

Ducati Guy
Ducati Guy

Really? No difference? The Mormons come and knock on your door, look you in the eye, and have a conversation. How is that the same as a bunch of cowards leaving drivel on good peoples lawn in the middle of the night?

The Mormons work for a living, and contribute to society. The Klan does what? These clowns are lost in another century, not even the last one.

Ducati Guy
Ducati Guy

Now that I will agree with.

theoldman
theoldman

You see no difference? Seriously? Maybe you should look more closely at the respective histories of the two entities.

B-Rock
B-Rock

Yeah, the two organizations have different histories. However, regarding each group's legal right to distribute information, there is no difference. Just like there is no difference between trespassing and stealing whether the target of the theft is a Klan pamphlet or the Book of Mormon.

Native Thoughts101
Native Thoughts101

Crazy how they the KKK think they have the god giving right to tell anyone who belongs here or not. Like they didn't come across the big pond also. Native people of the Americas should not be treated as if we came across the ponds on boats. We have been here since the beginning of time. But I feel the same way about the lazy person who feel they don't need to work hard like everyone else and feel that everything be handed to them. Should really think about moving to a country who tolerates the laziness. But who can ever get ignorant to realize their it's wrong?

snowflake
snowflake

no the Indians came across the land bridge, they weren't here since the beginning of time.

rgpadg
rgpadg

We recevied this garbage in Edgemont as well. Some have said they had white ropes hanging in their yards as well. I saved the note in the bag in case of a incident that need fingerprints.

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