Buffalo, N. Y. (Jan. 15)
– The hopes of a local neo-Nazi group for widespread publicity from a planned anti-Black demonstration here on the commemoration of the 52nd birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., fizzled today when only the neo-Nazi organizer, Karl Hand, showed up for the event. Some 150 spectators came to the rally in Niagara Square, most of them white and most of them out of curiosity.
Gail Kaplan, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, praised the cooperation of city and county police who kept Hand completely surrounded until he was hustled into a police car and taken away from his botched “White Rights Rally.” According to some media reports here, when reporters asked Hand where his supporters were, Hand replied: “They are here. I just can’t find them.”
There was no fighting or any other violence during the brief period of the neo-Nazi rally. Hand, who had been arrested yesterday by federal marshalls on a weapons possession charge, was released on bail. The charge stemmed from an incident last Feb. 16 in Barnegat, N. J. in which two gunshots were fired into a Black man’s home. Several Buffalo Blacks have been killed in assaults in Buffalo in recent weeks.
Hand held a sign, “Whites Have Rights,” and stretched out an arm a couple times in a Nazi-style salute. Most of the spectators, few of them Black, merely watched, but a few jeered the Nazi.
The Federation and the city-wide Black Leadership Forum had issued statements urging Jews and Blacks to boycott the Niagara Square event and, instead, attend a city-wide rally today at Lafayette Square. Several thousand Jews and Blacks come to Lafayette Square rally. Speakers included Mayor James Griffin, Rep. Jack Kemp (R. N. Y.), former Federation president Milton Zeckhauser, and Mrs. Kaplan.
A joint proclamation was read at the Lafayette rally, lauding the career of King. Asked for comment on the Nazi fiasco at Niagara Square, Mrs. Kaplan said that “we are pleased to see the complete cooperation of all segments of our community, Black, Hispanic and white in this united effort to demonstrate our solidarity.”