Admitting Martin Luther King, Jr. “wasn’t a perfect person,” a former KKK leader says he’ll still go forward with his plans to celebrate the three-day weekend this year.
Noted racist John Abarr has been touting his reformed politics since at least last year, when he started a new KKK group called the Rocky Mountain Knights which purportedly discriminates only against those who discriminate. This year, he’s going even further—he’s reportedly one of the lead organizers of this year’s MLK celebration in Great Falls, Montana. (Other hosts include the NAACP and the First United Methodist Church.)
It’s a long way from his 2002 and 2011 political campaigns which he reportedly ran on a “pure white race” platform. Still, local reactions appear to be... mixed.
“He said he’s doing this for the kids. I was really nervous about hosting this,” Pastor Nancy Slabaugh Hart tells the Great Falls Tribune. “But there does seem to be some kind of change in him.”
On the other hand, Rev. Philip Caldwell tells the paper, “I don’t believe his motives are sound. I’m not sure he’s on the up and up. I don’t trust him.”
Abarr clarifies: “I think (King) fought for justice. He wasn’t a perfect person, but overall, he was a good man.”
Abarr, who says he’s no longer a racist, blames his father for his apparently formerly held white supremacist views. It’s still unclear who he blames for his ongoing support of Donald Trump.