Possible Klan rally could hurt Memphis economy - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Possible Klan rally could hurt Memphis economy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A request for a March 30 rally by at least 180 members of the Ku Klux Klan was submitted by a 24-year-old Memphis woman, according to city documents obtained by FOX13 News.

Tamra Crowder submitted the application for the Klan rally on March 30 between 2-4 p.m., which might take place the day before Easter in Downtown Memphis. She submitted the permit request after city council decided to rename three Conference parks.

The permit request has yet to be approved or denied.

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The city hasn't approved or denied Crowder's permit request, but the possibility of trouble could keep some at bay. The problem is the Church of Christ, which has its youth leadership training program the same weekend in Memphis, is worried their event could be in jeopardy.

The Church of Christ is one of several groups expected to host events during the same weekend of the possible Klan rally. Word of the controversy has spiraled into worries.

"Puts a little kink in the planning and causing some concern," said Roy Johnson, who  works with  the Church of Christ leadership training program called Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes. "I've been on the phone most of the day today with church leaders and others asking will it be safe, should they come or not come."

The church's leadership program has reserved the Downtown Marriott, but Johnson says his church is worried attendees will back out.

"Families are paying a very small fee that simply covers cost of wards and trophies but we have contractual obligations with the Marriott there in town, so we would have serious issues if families, churches decide not to attend," Johnson told FOX13 News.

Their three-day youth leadership program draws 2,000, mostly third to 12th graders. Johnson notes security is paramount.

"We have discussed it already with the convention center and hotel," he said, "Both assure us they will take extra measures. But that being said, perception is one issue we're having to deal with is - will these people actually show up now?"

According to the permit request, the event is called "Loyal White Knights Speak Out First Amendment Rights." The requested rally location is at 140 Adams Ave., which is four-tenths of a mile from the Cook Convention Center and the Marriott.

Johnson said Memphis has been the church's location for the past few years for the city's safety and proper accommodations for their awards ceremony.

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