Casper meeting with KKK didn't have approval of NAACP higher-ups

2013-09-03T15:30:00Z 2013-09-14T17:17:46Z Casper meeting with KKK didn't have approval of NAACP higher-upsBy JEREMY FUGLEBERG Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

A Saturday meeting between leaders of the Casper branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a Ku Klux Klan organizer didn’t have the approval of higher-ups in the civil rights organization.

Rosemary Lytle, president of the NAACP Colorado Montana Wyoming State Conference, said she first knew about the meeting when reading the Star-Tribune’s coverage of it Tuesday morning.

On Saturday evening at the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Centre, under heavy security, KKK organizer

John Abarr met with leaders of the local NAACP branch — Jimmy Simmons, Keisha Simmons, Dale Leatham and Mel Hamilton — to discuss race relations, interracial marriage and segregation.

At the end of the meeting, and to the apparent surprise of the NAACP leaders who were present, Abarr signed an NAACP membership form and wrote a check for the $30 membership fee plus a $20 donation.

Lytle said she earlier told NAACP Casper Branch President Jimmy Simmons to not arrange the meeting.

“In fact, I did not give it it a green light when it was proposed,” she said when contacted by telephone Tuesday.

“The appropriate chain of command would have started with my approval,” she added.

Simmons indicated to the Star-Tribune on Saturday that he had faced some opposition from within his organization regarding the meeting, but had gotten something of an OK as long as long he hosted the meeting in Casper.

On Tuesday, Simmons was even more adamant that he had the right to arrange the meeting and didn’t have to get permission.

“That’s not how it works. I’ve been a branch president for 13 years; I have never asked for permission to give an event,” he said.

Simmons said he notified Lytle in June of his intent to meet with the KKK.

“I gave her a heads-up the meeting was going to happen,” he said. “If she thinks I was asking for permission, I wasn’t.”

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Lytle and Simmons hadn’t talked since Lytle heard about the meeting.

Eric Wingerter, spokesman for the NAACP national headquarters, said local leaders aren’t required to get permission from the national office before arranging meetings. He said as far as he knew, Simmons didn’t request permission for the meeting from the national office.

“I just don’t think that communication happened nationally, but I don’t know for sure,” he said. “Trust me, I’ve made some calls.”

Wingerter declined to comment on whether the NAACP would accept Abarr’s membership and donation, referring to the situation as a “local issue.” Lytle also declined to comment on the membership application until she spoke with Simmons.

Reach Jeremy Fugleberg at 307-266-0623 or jeremy.fugleberg@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jerenergy.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. Pops
    Report Abuse
    Pops - September 10, 2013 1:29 pm
    Both organizations promote the exclusive division of race purity. Exclusivism is a ridiculous concept as natural selection is controlled by climate and geography. The human condition has been adapting since the first cell division. In reality all races on the planet are brothers and sisters of the family of man. Embrace your kin. Our history is irrefutable.
  2. billy
    Report Abuse
    billy - September 07, 2013 7:52 am
    And we care because? Oh ya, don't...
  3. crobo
    Report Abuse
    crobo - September 04, 2013 11:13 am
    I have a 1/2 black daughter and I am very white....
  4. crobo
    Report Abuse
    crobo - September 04, 2013 11:12 am
    are you a KKK?
  5. strool35
    Report Abuse
    strool35 - September 04, 2013 9:24 am
    Crobo, it is people like you that call everyone a racist and not doubt are a racist yourself.
  6. crobo
    Report Abuse
    crobo - September 04, 2013 8:19 am
    KKK???? Really there are still racist pigs? Better yet willing to have their picture taken? WOW!!! I guess the KKK is not know to be full of brilliant people.
  7. dd ric
    Report Abuse
    dd ric - September 04, 2013 7:47 am
    NAACP and KKK talking.....why not? One Nation,under God,....indivisible?,.....with Liberty and Jusyice for all? ddric
  8. sundown
    Report Abuse
    sundown - September 03, 2013 11:24 pm
    Many will not remember John Abarr when he ran the Aryan Brotherhood in Casper. This was back when the Jewish Radio talk show host from Denver was killed by his group. we worked for the same grocery store in Casper. He would brag about how Bergs killer looked like him and how in Wheatland the killer while on the run was given a Wyoming Drivers license that had a picture that looked just like John. He also had as some may remember a KKK rally at Washington post where he feared for his life and locked him and his group behind the gates of the bandstand. He reported in the KKK magazine a month later how one of the black protesters wanted to help him and his group pack up their gear. It was all lies as the black gal worked with us as well. I was there to witness it myself. Now in this magazine it had one of those warnings similar to a surgeon generals about how your health could be in jeopardy if you dissed them. Great group John. Oh I live in Gillette now and have never seen anything like what was described here.
  9. IrishRaider
    Report Abuse
    IrishRaider - September 03, 2013 10:00 pm
    The naacp is the most racist group in the USA
  10. bjd
    Report Abuse
    bjd - September 03, 2013 9:37 pm
    I think everybody needs to leave that s*** alone rap the black stay with the blacks and let the white stay with the whites and everybody staying with her own if you don't if you don't like black stay away from them and if you don't like white stay away from now everybody needs to just go on to the own business but if you have something to say and do do it the right way
  11. 99Savage
    Report Abuse
    99Savage - September 03, 2013 2:31 pm
    Two radically racist organizations the world would be better off without. The KKK's last gasp of political influence died with Exalted Cyclops and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). The NAACP, a once proud civil rights organization, has decayed into a bottom-feeding race-baiting hate group. Neither are worth the ink in the CST.
  12. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - September 03, 2013 2:20 pm
    Did Jimmie sign a membership form and give the KKK a donation---???
  13. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - September 03, 2013 2:00 pm
    So Jimmie didnt have the green light from the area President...go figure
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