A 40-year-old Black man said he’s “not intimidated” after he found white supremacist literature left on his car in South Philadelphia.
“It’s just something I never thought I’d experience,” said Malik Upshur, who found a Ku Klux Klan business card placed on the windshield of his car parked on the 1600 block of Kater Street this week.
Upshur, who works for the city’s Water Department, discovered the business card for The Knights Party — referencing the national Ku Klux Klan organization based in Arkansas — underneath a parking ticket he received on his vehicle.
On Thursday, Upshur stood alongside Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, NAACP Philadelphia Chapter President Rodney Muhammad and city Commission on Human Relations Executive Director Rue Landau on Katner Street to denounce what they characterized as an act of hate.
Johnson, who represents the 2nd District where the hate literature was found, said the press conference served as a message that the community was united against such actions.
“For me,” the councilman said, “it was totally upsetting and disgusting to discover that there are hate groups in this particular beautiful neighborhood. … This will not be tolerated.”
Muhammad said there were institutions and forces today that were seeking to make these sorts of incidents the new norm, so people must remain vigilant against them.
“Every time it raises its head, we will raise up to come out to speak out against it,” he said.
Upshur said his vehicle was the sole car parked on Kater Street, where he lives with his 94-year-old grandmother. The pair make up the only Black household on the block located in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.
“We’re here to stay, so we’re not going anywhere,” he said.
The Knights Party business card left on Upshur’s car appeared to be recruitment literature, and included the slogan “For Our People and Heritage,” and listed a KKK website, an Arkansas P.O. Box and phone number, and email address.
Written on the back of the card was, “Western Christian civilization is under attack,” and “White People are a World Wide minority and there are programs of Genocide against white children.” The organization’s slogan on its website reads: “THE PREMIER VOICE OF AMERICA’S WHITE RESISTANCE.”
Thomas Robb, the national director of The Knights Party, answered the phone number listed on the card.
The organization has “a lot of members in Pennsylvania and some in Philadelphia,” Robb said, but cautioned the specific literature left on Upshur’s car could not be directly related to the group or its members.
Robb said his group cautions members to provide literature only to those who request it “because we recognize that could be twisted into some act of intimidation and so on, and plus we’re not looking to recruit them anyway.”
Since November 2016, the city has logged 192 separate incidents of hate and bias reported to the Human Rights Commission, 107 of which have been confirmed, Landau said. Hate groups have been known to recruit and intimidate people throughout the city, particularly in Northeast Philadelphia and Roxborough.
An incident involving the same KKK group occurred in Northwest Philadelphia, Landau said, but this marked the first time the group acted in South Philadelphia.
Tracking down the person or people who left the KKK business card on Upshur’s car can be very difficult, Landau said, “but it does not mean there’s not pain that happens to the victim as well as a ripple effect that happens to the entire community.”
“Acts of hate and bias send fear throughout communities,” she added.
Anyone who see a hate crime, racist graffiti, recruitment fliers or similar material should report it to the police and the commission, Landau said. People can provide information anonymously by calling (215) 686-2856.