Sifting through KKK's soil in Eden, North Carolina
One of the largest groups of the Ku Klux Klan is centered around the North Carolina town of Eden. But you'd never know it, at least not according to the Eden NAACP.
"I’m pretty sure I shook their hand, I don’t know their faces," said Malcolm Allen, Eden NAACP President, adding that they hid behind their hoods. "Worse. I don’t know their hearts,"
Those hoods, along with robes and memorabilia, pass through the nearby Pelham Post Office.
There is something you won't see at their incorporated headquarters: The Confederate Flag. But that didn't stop them from driving the three-and-a-half hours to the capital of their southern neighbors.
After South Carolina lawmakers voted to take down the flag, the KKK got a permit to rally on the Capitol steps to protest the removal.
“They want it the old way, where a black man takes orders from a white man,” Allen said.
So who is the 'new' Klan? One leader said they are nothing more than a civil rights group for white people. If that's true, what about the message on the KKK's hotline?
Just days after Dylan Roof killed nine black church members in Charleston, this message was played for anyone who called in:
"We the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan would like to say hail victory to Dylan S. Roof who decided to do what the bible told him. They have spilled our blood too long. It’s time we spilled theirs. An eye for an eye."
"What they’re doing is wrong," Allen said "It’s wrong to hate and hurt anyone.
"Why can’t we come together to address the problems on both sides. And make our people on both sides better and safer?"
That three-and-a-half hour drive we mentioned? Charlie LeDuff rode with the boys from the KKK and asked them that exact question.
"The Jews, the blacks, the Mexicans the orientals, the Catholics, we're supposed to be a white Christian nation," said Bill Hagan, West Coast Grand Dragon Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "Everybody who is not white and Christian I do not like."
On Tuesday in Part II, Charlie and The Americans go carpooling with the KKK.
Editor's note: a previous version of this story said the KKK was based in Eden. This version has been changed for accuracy reasons.