About 100 persons, many of them representatives of the news media, attended a Ku Klux Klan rally last night at Rocky Ridge in Frederick County, Md., after NAACP officials earlier in the day withdrew their request that a federal court block the meeting.
"The Ku Klux Klan is not going to go away," Maryland Grand Dragon Sam Royer told the Associated Press before the start of the 7 p.m. rally. But he added that publicity created by the injunction attempt would hurt the group's expected turnout of between 500 and 1,000 people.
A reporter for WDVM-TV (Channel 9), Jocelyn Maminta, was escorted from the meeting by armed klansmen, according to the AP. Royer said Maminta was not allowed to stay because she is not white. Speakers made it clear that the only people welcome at the rally were Caucasian.
The NAACP's decision was made because of the complexity of the issue and the haste involved in assembling the case, according to a federal court official.
The attorney representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had had only two days to prepare the case, the court official said.
However, U.S. District Judge Frank Kaufman set a Nov. 15 date to hear arguments on some of the legal issues raised in the request, including the charge that a rally permit issued by the county endorsed discrimination.
National KKK leaders promoted the rally in Rocky Ridge as their first major recruiting effort in two years. A flier for the event, billed "for white people only," promised a cross-lighting ceremony. It encouraged those attending to "bring the whole family -- something for everyone."
State police and the Frederick County sheriff's department said they had recruited reinforcements to "monitor traffic."
The point of the rally is "to get the truth out to the people," said Jim Blair, the Klan's Imperial Wizard.
Blair said he has not encountered hostility in any of the communities he has visited, except those "where there are a lot of communists. And in Maryland, there are a lot of communists."
Earlier in the day, a group of about 100 black and religious leaders met at a Frederick church to protest the rally in a service titled "Liberty and Justice For All." Beginning in 1980, the services have been held every time the Klan has held a rally in the county.
"It's an attempt to say to these people who are extremely narrow-minded in their thinking that our community is a community of brotherly love, that your kind of propaganda is not welcome here," said the Rev. John Hamm of Trinity United Methodist Church.