People in white robes with pointy top hats in a circle outside at night with a flag

Many people hear the name “Ku Klux Klan” and think of the deep South and unreconstructed neo-confederates riding at night with support from the city fathers and some obese caricature of a sheriff. That image is a convenient alibi of denial for those living in the deep North – as Ohio, Indiana and Michigan have always been hotbeds of Klan activity, and Dayton has always been a center of white supremacist activity. This is why the so-called Honorable and self-described Sacred Knights of the KKK have chosen to come to Dayton to recruit at a rally at the old courthouse on May 25, 2019.

The city gentrifiers-in-chief initially feigned shock and horror immediately followed by the usual mumbling about rights and free speech. On March 9, the other shoe fell. Black Lives Matter Dayton requested the use of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton, which is two blocks from the Klan's rally. Their plan was to hold an indoor concert in opposition. Black Lives Matter Dayton’s request was denied.

Lisa Wagner, Executive Director of the Levitt Pavilion, said the decision was made to deny the use of the space for the concert after talking with police and city officials. A different Black Lives Matter group, Black Lives Matter Miami Valley, is working with the city on an “official” anti-hate event sponsored elsewhere by a city-approved coalition. The coalition, called “A Better Dayton Coalition,” is sponsoring a series of town-hall meetings to build support for its police approved government supported anti-Klan protest.

Black Lives Matter Dayton meanwhile has announced that they will occupy the steps of the Levitt Pavilion during the Klan rally to protest their racist treatment by the city.

Neither the city-approved police authorized counter protest nor the concert have permits that are publicly available. The Klan's permit, however, is a public document and was acquired through standard public records request by the Mockingbird. It includes a phone number, post office box and email address of the head racist in charge -- Robert Morgan of Madison, Indiana.

This disparate treatment of the three different groups gives a clear indication as to the true feelings of Dayton's governing and police elite. The Klan has inalienable legal rights. Groups that the city approves of can have rights when and where they police feel like letting them. Groups that the city does not approve of have no free speech rights.

Objectively this gives the appearance that the City of Dayton and the Dayton Police are pro-Klan and anti-black. This may become evident in the police treatment of counter protestors on May 25.