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article imageOp-Ed: KKK leader disappears and is found living among blacks in Belize

By Scott Tuttle     Mar 19, 2015 in Odd News
Three decades after vanishing without a trace, former Imperial Wizard Bill Wilkinson of the infamous Ku Klux Klan, was found living the high life among Belize's predominantly black population.
“Life is real good, I love the island, it’s full of very friendly people,” said Wilkinson, who is now running a multi-million dollar vacation resort in San Pedro.
Wilkinson was Imperial Wizard for what was considered the most dangerous and powerful sector of the KKK from 1975 to 1984, when he ultimately jettisoned everything and fell off the radar for 30 years.
Under Wilkinson's tutelage, factions of the Klan even prepared for a “race war,” for which mercenaries he called the Klan Guard trained in “hidden commando camps.” Some have also credited him with planning the events that led up to a 1979 shoot-out between the Klan and the Southern Christian Leadership Council.
“If the fact that I say we're going to defend ourselves by any means is violent, then I'm violent,” said Wilkinson in a 1980 interview with the Associated Press. “If the fact that I say we're facing a race war in this country is violent, then I'm violent.”
He even survived a 1977 assassination attempt during a KKK rally in which a man drove a Jaguar into the 250-person crowd, injuring 32, while trying to make his way to Wilkinson and run him over.
The Daily Mail caught up with Wilkinson, and correspondent Ryan Parry took a tour with him around his neighborhood where he witnessed the former chief of one of the world's most powerful racial hate groups hugging, fist-bumping, and even joking around with people of all races.
“People here know about my past but they don't care, they accept me for who I am,” said Wilkinson. “Blacks, Rastafarians, Hispanics, you should see me with them.”
So what happened to Mr. Wilkinson? Did he get struck by lightning and see the error of his ways?
Denying he was ever a racist, Wilkinson claims he is still the same as he was before.
“Even when I was Imperial Wizard, I was a contractor and I had black sub-contractors that I hired routinely.”
According to Wilkinson, it was his objection to integration policy that took off during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s that gave him the mandate to take the reigns of the Klan's leadership.
“I am a segregationist. By segregation I believe no intermingling in the schools and churches, things of that nature. ...I wouldn't let one [a black person] marry my children or my grandchildren.”
“The majority of the problems was with the blacks, they were not scholastically achieving as the whites did, so they [the establishment] started promoting them up. Eventually what they started doing was promoting everybody, and I was catching on that they were lowering the standards of teaching. ...that was the trigger for me and that's why I joined the Klan and I did the best I could to find a solution to improve the schools.”
To hear Wilkinson's words and to see his actions really baffles the mind as his behaviors suggest that he has found some kind of inner peace with the idea of coexisting alongside other races. His long-held views on white supremacy, on the other hand, leave the observer to conclude that the former Imperial Wizard is paradoxical at best or, at worst, a hypocrite.
It would indeed appear that those who know about his past still treat him as a friend and neighbor when they encounter him on the streets, which speaks volumes of how tolerant of a society San Pedro is. Perhaps the rest of the world should watch and take notes.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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