There is an article in this morning’s Washington Post about some of the racial resistance volunteers for Barack Obama have encountered on the campaign trail. It depressing, and somewhat misleading, as out in the field racist responses are few and far in between. But they do happen, and they happen more often in some regions than in others. A big part of the Post article focuses on Kokomo, Indiana, and it’s no big surprise that there is lingering racism there.
On July 4, 1923, Kokomo hosted the largest Klan gathering in history — an estimated 200,000 followers flocked to a local park.
On Election Day in Kokomo, a group of black high school students were holding up Obama signs along U.S. 31, a major thoroughfare. As drivers cruised by, a number of them rolled down their windows and yelled out a common racial slur for African Americans, according to Obama campaign staffers.
Frederick Murrell, a black Kokomo High School senior, was not there but heard what happened. He was more disappointed than surprised. During his own canvassing for Obama, Murrell said, he had “a lot of doors slammed” in his face. But taunting teenagers on a busy commercial strip in broad daylight? “I was very shocked at first,” Murrell said. “Then again, I wasn’t, because we have a lot of racism here.”
Kokomo is the seat of County, which gave Hillary Clinton 58% of the vote. It lies at the extreme southern edge of Indiana’s Second Congressional District, represented by Democratic freshman Joe Donnelly.