Dr. King and the Exalted Cyclops

KKK preparing a cross to be burned in Jackson County, in SE Ohio, in the fall of 1987. Photo/Paul M. Walsh

A Story for Martin Luther King Day

On the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, CP Ellis got on the phone and quickly organized a meeting. His friends showed up at his Durham, North Carolina, gas station, and sat on Coca-Cola crates CP had arranged in a circle. At CP’s direction, the men stood, and each one opened a bottle of beer and, in unison, they drank a toast to the unknown gunman who had killed Dr. King.

CP Ellis was the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan in Durham, North Carolina.

Thirty years later, CP retired as steward of a union with a membership that was 80-90% African-American.

His journey, from leading the KKK to embracing the philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., is a quintessentially American tale. And a perfect story for celebrating Martin Luther King Day.

Read it here, at True/Slant.

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