As Charlottesville braces for tomorrow’s Ku Klux Klan rally, former KKK Imperial Wizard, anti-Semite, and white supremacist antagonist David Duke is already drawing attention to another white nationalist rally taking place in August.
On August 12, at Emancipation Park an event titled, ‘Unite the Right’ will be hosted by white nationalist, Jason Kessler. According to city officials, the permit indicated that close to 400 people will attend the event, which will take place between 12:00 and 5:00 pm.
Duke’s tweet simply read, “Be there -> the fake news will be” and was accompanied by an image referring to the demonstration location as ‘Lee Park’.
Charlottesville’s City Council unanimously voted to rename the park Emancipation Park on June 5, after a lengthy study by the ‘Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces’ commission. The commission also recommended removing the statues that celebrate Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. This study also found, amongst other things that:
“The Lee and Jackson statues embodied the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War, which romanticized the Confederate past and suppressed the horrors of slavery and slavery’s role as the fundamental cause of the war while affirming the enduring role of white supremacy.”
In recent years, Duke, a former Louisiana State Representative who rose to prominence in the 1980s with an ill-advised run for president has re-emerged as a popular figure in white supremacist political circles. He has remained a staunch holocaust denier, anti-Semite, and purveyor of alt-right ideology that pushes the superiority of western civilization. Internationally, he has also worked to organize extreme right wing political parties by bringing ethno-nationalist groups together to push the values of ‘European Peoples‘.
This ideology has been proudly embraced by the ‘Unite the Right’ organizer, Jason Kessler who also represents a chapter of the Proud Boys in Charlottesville, a white nationalist group established by estranged founder of VICE, Gavin McInnes. Masking their supremacist rhetoric in calls to support western civilization and “refusing to apologize for creating the modern world”, the Proud Boys have become one of the latest incarnation of white nationalist re-emergence.
Read more about the Proud Boys in an RVA Mag story here.
Charlottesville has recently become a flashpoint for white nationalist rallies and alt-right provocateurs. According to the ‘Unite the Right’ Facebook page, their Free Speech Rally next month in Lee Park seeks to “…unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Communist crackdown, to speak out against displacement level immigration policies in the United States and Europe and to affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests just like any other group is able to do, free of persecution.”
This rally on August 12, followed so shortly after tomorrow’s KKK rally, will continue to stress the ability of the sleepy Shenandoah town to deal with the the larger issues of race and politics throughout the Commonwealth.