Fueling the Ire

Despite downpours and dwindling diesel, the Klan tries to mount a soggy comeback

An hour into the rally, the drizzle turns to monsoon, and the Klan packs up before the solemn rally can turn into a wet-robe contest.

As cops and spectators depart, a police helicopter buzzes overhead, indicating how seriously the law took this rally. All this effort for 12 people and a megaphone that whistles "Dixie."

The "softer, kinder" KKK lights up a cross.
Troy Fields
The "softer, kinder" KKK lights up a cross.
The Invisible Empire tries to recruit members in a Montgomery park.
Troy Fields
The Invisible Empire tries to recruit members in a Montgomery park.

While the klavern claims to have recruited eight members from the rally, there are no new faces at the following cross-lighting.

The members finally get the burlap soaked, don their robes and follow flashlight beams into the muddy woods. Ken and a teenage couple who aren't members follow in a Jeep.

At the crosses, klavernists grab unlit torches and try to form a circle. Some knights have stepped too far away. A nighthawk gives directions ("closer, closer…no, wait, back up") for a minute or so before the wavering oval transforms into a true circle.

Green pulls a torch from the bucket, holds it up for Waterhead to light and ignites the others' torches. "Do you accept the light?" she asks them.

Waterhead holds Green's torch so she can read a short speech about the ceremony. It turns out that cross-lighting is all about stamping out ignorance and superstition. That, and warning about the dangers of interracial marriage.

The brief speech ends; they drop their torches at the crosses, which blaze up instantly, releasing the suffocating stench of diesel and burlap. They stand in silence, staring at the crackling flames and thick plumes of smoke. Ken snaps pictures from the Jeep.

Breaking the silence, Green yells, "White power!" The others respond in kind.

Because the burlap didn't soak long, the fires dim after a few minutes.

Then the rain starts to pour down on them. With nothing else to do, the Conroe Klavern of the Texas-Oklahoma Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan trudges back home for leftover weenies.

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