Commentary: Hate-filled actions of racism linger

This editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer. Virgil Griffin died this month. We had hoped he took with him to the grave the last vestiges of the hate-filled rhetoric and violence that once was as American as apple pie for many in this country.

Griffin was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic terrorist group. He even was once the imperial wizard of the Cleveland County Knights of the KKK. He gained national fame in 1979 when five members of a communist group were killed in a clash with the Klan in Greensboro. He and several other Klan members were tried and acquitted in the deaths.

In 2005, a Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission invited Griffin and others involved in the shootings to testify at hearings. Some former Klansmen had remorse. Not Griffin. He said his group was incited and responded appropriately. He said “maybe God guided the bullets” of the Klansmen.

Surely, Griffin was a relic of bygone days, his views anachronistic. Right?

Consider earlier this month in Asheville. A federal jury awarded $50,000 to a black construction worker whose white coworkers mentally and physically tormented him for months, then put a rope around his neck, threatening to lynch him.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Charlotte Observer.