May 8th, 2009

Klansmen Burn Cross in African American Neighborhood in Alabama

On May 8, 2009, Steven Joshua Dinkle, the former “Exalted Cyclops” of the Ozark, Alabama chapter of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), and one of his KKK recruits, Thomas Windell Smith, burned a cross in an African-American neighborhood in Ozark in order to scare the neighborhood’s residents. The two men built a wooden cross about six feet tall and drove it over to the entrance of a black neighborhood around 8 P.M. They dug a hole in the ground in view of several houses, then stood the cross upright in the hole and lit it on fire before driving away.

Both men were arrested and pled guilty to conspiracy to violate housing rights. At Dinkle’s plea hearing, he admitted that he burned the cross in order to scare the members of the African-American community in Ozark, and that he was motivated to burn the cross because African-Americans were occupying homes in that area.