ATLANTA, Ga. (Mar. 9)
Anti-Ku Klux Klan legislation must be designed to strike specifically at the anti-democratic activities of the Klan, Alexander F. Miller, Southern regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, declared yesterday. Mr. Miller outlined four types of laws that Southern states could pass to “free themselves of the Klan menace without impairing basic democratic rights.” These are:
1. Secret society registration acts. Klan members associate secretly to conspire against the public order and safety. The secrecy can be stripped from the Klan by a secret society registration act which has been on the law books of one state of many years and which has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court. This act requires the membership list, the officials and the finances of certain secret societies such as the Klan to be registered with the Secretary of State and open to public inspection.
2. Anti-mask laws. Klan violence is usually committed under cover of a mask, hood or robes. This conceals identity and prevents arrest. Obviously an anti-mask law such as has been passed recently by four Southern states will remedy this evil.
3. Anti-cross burning laws. The Klan intimidates its intended victims by terroristic signs and symbols, especially cross burnings. The use of these symbols can be limited and prohibited by appropriate law such as is now on the books in Georgia.
4. Civil service laws. The Klan has sometimes infiltrated the law enforcement machinery. Police officers who are members of the Klan are obviously unqualified either to stop Klan violence or to dispense equal justice. This problem can be solved by legislation providing that each law enforcement officer takes periodic oaths that he is not a member of the Ku Klux Klan or any like organization with similar objectives.
Mr. Miller’s program was offered as “more realistic” than legislation now proposed in North Carolina which would outlaw the Ku Klux Klan in that state. Federal authorities have made 28 arrests of Klansmen in North Carolina in recent weeks.