CASPER, Wyo., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- A Ku Klux Klan organizer and a NAACP leader purposely met in peace -- maybe for the first time in history -- in Casper, Wyo., the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
John Abarr, an organizer for the United Klans of America, and Jimmy Simmons, the president of the NAACP branch in Casper, met Saturday night in a conference room in the Parkway Plaza hotel, the newspaper reported Monday.
Simmons said he organized the meeting -- not expecting Abarr to agree or show up -- to discuss a recent slew of reports of black men getting beat up in Gillette and the increased appearance of Klan literature showing up around town.
Abarr agreed the beatings in Gillette were a hate crime and that police should get involved. He said there are many splintered Klan groups, the members of which may have more violent methods than others like himself.
"What I like to do is recruit really radical kids, then calm them down after they join," Abarr said, of his less violent approach, adding that he'd like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon to secede from the United States and limit more black people from entering the region.
The meeting ended with Abarr filling out an application and paying a $30 fee -- and $20 donation -- to join the NAACP, the Star-Tribune said.
"It's obvious you don't know the history of your organization," NAACP representative Mel Hamilton said at the conclusion of the meeting. "It's obvious to me that you're not going out and talking about the good -- you're not talking about inclusion, you're talking about exclusion. And it's obvious to me you don't know what you are."
"So I don't know what good this dialogue has done tonight."