May 8, 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.

From the Equal Justice Initiative’s A History of Racial Injustice – 2018 Calendar.

“The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is proud to present A History of Racial Injustice – 2018 Calendar.  America’s history of racial inequality continues to undermine fair treatment, equal justice, and opportunity for many Americans.  The genocide of Native people, the legacy of slavery and racial terror, and the legally supported abuse of racial minorities are not well understood.  EJI believes that a deeper engagement with our nation’s history of racial injustice is important to addressing present-day questions of social justice and equality.


About William Eric Waters, aka Easy Waters

Award-winning poet, playwright and writer. Author of three books of poetry, "Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass: Remembrance of Things Past and Present"; "Sometimes Blue Knights Wear Black Hats"; "The Black Feminine Mystique," and a novel, "Streets of Rage." All four books are available on
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