KKK demands equal time, fee in response to Sister Souljah

By on December 9, 2003

By Josh Abner

Two members of the Ku Klux Klan marched into Vice President for Diversity and Equal Opportunity Mordean Taylor-Archer’s office on Wednesday, Dec. 3 demanding the same stage and speaking fee that Sister Souljah received on Oct. 28 for their Imperial Wizard to speak to the campus community as part of Bank One’s Diversity Lecture Series. Acting Provost Shirley Willihnganz said the university will not grant the request.

Two Klansmen delivered the letter to Diane Whitlock, Taylor-Archer’s assistant, and demanded an $11,000 speaking fee, equal to Souljah’s. Whitlock said the men also said, “Dr. Taylor-Archer has five days to respond or we will bring federal charges.”

In the letter dated Dec. 1, James D. Kennedy, Kentucky State Spokesman for the Invisible Empire, Knights of Ku Klux Klan, wrote, “Such statements as blacks are at war with whites onley (sic) promotes racism in the black communitys (sic).” Kennedy went on to write, “Sister Soldier (sic) had also stated that blacks are being killed in alarming rates, so we need a ‘Kill Whitey Week.'” These remarks onley (sic) instigate rage & encourage the black populous (sic) to commit violent acts against European-Americans based on thier (sic) ethnicity.”

Willihnganz explained the university’s reasoning for not granting the KKK’s request. “We are not granting that request because it’s based on faulty information. The university sees no reason to grant them time to respond to things that were never said.”

Souljah was quoted in a May 13, 1992 Washington Post article in reference to riots in Los Angeles at the time as saying, “I mean, if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people? You understand what I’m saying? In other words, white people, this government and that mayor were well aware of the fact that black people were dying every day in Los Angeles under gang violence. So if you’re a gang member and you would normally be killing someone, why not kill a white person? Do you think that somebody thinks that white people are better, or above dying, when they would kill they’re own kind.” Similar comments were not echoed during Souljah’s Oct. 28 visit at U of L. No recording of Souljah’s visit exists.

“It was part of the contract with Sister Souljah,” said Whitlock. “This is a fairly standard clause [not recording devices allowed] with speakers and concerts we bring in, due to intellectual property concerns.”

“When we contracted with her, rightly or wrongly, we did not push for that,” said Taylor-Archer.

Taylor-Archer said she was shaken by the incident. “I was absolutely shocked. The intimidation was appalling, and I must say, unacceptable.” Department of Public Safety officials were contacted following the incident.

On Dec. 4, the U of L Debate Society sponsored “The Black Side of the Issue: A Public Response to the Critics of the Sister Souljah Speech.” U of L Debate Society student Elizabeth Jones spoke, as well as Dr. Ede Warner, Debate Society coach, and Dr. Ricky Jones, head of the Pan African Studies Dept. All three spoke in an attempt to raise awareness of the lack of racial equality in America. Jones spoke to the KKK’s demand saying, “The KKK has a history of lynching, terrorizing and killing African Americans. Has Sister Souljah ever burned a cross in your front yard.”

Negotiations are in the initial stages to bring in a speaker for the spring semester as part of Bank One’s Diversity Lecture Series. Princeton professor Cornell West and NPR radio personality Tavis Smiley have been mentioned as possible speakers.

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