SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group
plans to demonstrate in support of Augusta National Golf Club's
all-male membership during the Masters, whether the club likes it
"This equal rights stuff has gotten out of hand,'' Joseph J.
Harper, imperial wizard of the American Knights of the Ku Klux
Klan, said Friday. "We're not concerned with whether they want us
there or not. We're concerned with their right to choose who they
want to choose'' as members.
Harper wrote the Richmond County Sheriff's Department on
Thursday, requesting a permit to protest during the Masters in
Augusta National, a private club that hosts the Masters each
year, issued a statement disavowing any group that seeks to use the
tournament as a political soapbox.
"Anyone who knows anything about Augusta National Golf Club or
its members knows this is not something that the club would welcome
or encourage,'' club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said.
Martha Burk, the lead advocate in pressing Augusta National to
admit women members, said the club and the Klan deserve one
"It is not a surprise that the KKK supports Augusta National
Golf Club, since the club embraces and flaunts discrimination,''
said Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations.
"It must expect support of a like-minded group.''
Told about the KKK's plans, Tiger Woods shook his head.
"If it's not one thing, it's another,'' he said.
Some say Harper's Klan group is nothing but a one-man show.
Harper says he formed his own Klan offshoot after a falling out
with national Klan organizers in January. The Southern Poverty Law
Center, which monitors hate groups, says Harper appears to be the
"He's the only member we're aware of,'' said Joe Roy,
intelligence director for the law center. "He's a very small fish
in a big sea of hatred.''
Harper declined to discuss how many members his group has,
though his request to the sheriff for a protest application said he
plans to bring up to 25 people for the Masters.
But Harper said people expecting his Klansmen to wear white
hoods and robes have the wrong idea.
"We'll probably be in either blue jeans or suits,'' Harper
said. "We're tired of poor, white trash calling themselves the Ku
Klux Klan and the negative image the Ku Klux Klan is getting.''
Col. Gary Powell of the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's
Department said five groups have requested demonstration permits
for Masters week, beginning April 7. They include the Rev. Jesse
Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Burk said her group plans to seek
its permit application soon.