In Georgia, Reaction to KKK Banner Is a Sign of the Times

In Racism, Violence and Hate On
- Updated

“Have you seen the sign in the square?” a parent asked her on a cold morning three weeks ago. “There’s a Ku Klux Klan sign in the town square.”

And that was how the banner came down, and the flags came down, and all the rest began.

All over town that first day, people kept saying this was not the Dahlonega they knew.

“Our little pocket of loveliness” is how one resident described the former gold mining town an hour north of Atlanta, known for its redbrick square lined with antique shops and wine tasting rooms. It was the seat of Lumpkin County, which did not have the reputation for racial violence that many other north Georgia counties did, though no one disputed that there were probably Klan members scattered around. It was overwhelmingly white and Republican, though Dahlonega itself was home to a small, deeply rooted, black population, and had in recent years attracted a more liberal crowd who considered themselves part of the progressive South.

Soon, several pickup trucks arrived, revving their engines and circling the square, with Confederate battle flags and Make America Great Again flags flying. When a protester started yelling at one of them, Fambrough yelled at the protester, “Don’t make assumptions!”

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