DAHLONEGA, Ga. - Hundreds crowd downtown Dahlonega, holding signs, singing, and even marching, after word from city officials the owner of a historic building wants to hang a KKK sign back on their property.
City officials said the owner of the old Piazza building sent an associate to pick up a permit application to start the process of allowing a “Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Hall” sign to appear on the front of the building.
The uproar started Thursday, when a KKK sign mysteriously appeared above the building, and was abruptly taken down by city officials, who said the sign was illegal due to the lack of a permit. Thursday, the city manager and the Sheriff of Lumpkin County said they were not certain who was behind the stunt.
Friday, the sheriff confirmed the owner approved the sign being placed on the building, and the city manager confirmed an associate picked up a permit, and even possibly dropped off an incomplete application.
Hundreds of people waved signs in downtown Dahlonega Friday evening, sending a message that a KKK sign or the organization's message is not welcome there.
“Our town is not what that sign said,” said one protester. Many want to communicate that all people are welcome in Dahlonega.
“Hate in any form is intolerable,” said Reverend Charlotte Arsenault of the Georgia Mountains Unitarian Universalist Church, who helped organize the protest.
“Whatever the purpose would be for hanging such a thing, it doesn't matter. It's what happened, and how it makes people feel,” she said.
City officials said, though they could not control what is placed on the sign due to freedom of speech, the purpose of the building's use must be approved before a sign is even placed.