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Gervase Hittle of Hill City looks at a pro-Ku Klux Klan flyer that was dropped onto his lawn on Easter morning. Dozens more were delivered to Hill City residents; Hittle said he was offended by the letter.

Meredith Colias, Journal staff

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."

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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

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