Should a KKK Leader Get a Commemorative License Plate in Mississippi?

Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour has another race controversy on his hands.

A few months ago, Barbour, who is considering a 2012 run for president, minimized an anti-black group that controlled his town during the Civil Rights era. This time, the NAACP is asking him to step in and stop a license plate commemorating a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Mississippi branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has proposed some new designs that will remember the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. One of the license plates would feature Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford, according to ABC News. The general is not only known for his KKK connections but for leading a massacre against a black Union Army unit. This, for obvious reasons, has black groups outraged.

"I think it’s offensive," Derrick Johnson, state president of the Mississippi NAACP, told ABC News. "We view the Ku Klux Klan as a domestic terrorist organization and they should be treated as such."

But members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said he shouldn’t be banned because of that stain.

"It’s been said he disavowed the Klan later in life and that puts him in the same category as former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black and former West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd," Greg Stewart, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member, told ABC News.

The legislature must approve the proposal by 2013. Barbour has yet to comment on the controversy.


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