‘Klanbly Friendly’ Tennessee: State Becomes Hate Tourist Mecca

By James L. Smith, Jr. on December 3, 2014 - 3:08 pm


In early November, around a hundred leaders and supporters of one of the largest Ku Klux Klan groups in the United States held a secretive “summit” in what is called “all White east Tennessee.” The white supremacists ranted about minorities and Jewish conspiracies and raised more than $10,000 in donations and “registration fees” from the event. But they didn’t have to meet in the woods. The Klan gathering was held at a comfortable, taxpayer-funded Tennessee state park resort facility with an armed park ranger on duty to provide security.

This cathedral-paneled pavilion at Norris Dam State Park hosted a “summit” of close to a hundred racists.
On Nov. 8, this cathedral-paneled pavilion at Norris Dam State Park in Lake City, Tenn., hosted a “summit” of close to a hundred high-profile Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white separatists.
After a catered dinner of “organic vegetables and grass-fed beef” the lights were dimmed, as attendees followed the Power Point slideshow and listened to the keynote address, titled “Death to America.”

It seems unlikely that Islamic Jihad or ISIS supporters would have been permitted to hold a “summit” meeting on Tennessee state property to discuss strategy or raise thousands of dollars, though their Power Point would have probably been similar.

Advertised for months on the racist Website, Stormfront, it remains unclear if anyone in Tennessee state government knew about the nature of the event, although it should have been obvious to Norris Dam State Park officials that this was no ordinary “family reunion.”

The summit was organized and attended by some of America’s most notorious professional racists, including David Duke, Thomas Robb and Stephen Don Black, all current or former leaders of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKKK).


On Nov. 8, this cathedral-paneled pavilion at Norris Dam State Park in Lake City, Tenn., hosted a “summit” of close to a hundred high-profile Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white separatists.

According to Tennessee’s official Norris Dam State Park Website, the spacious indoor pavilion where the Klan gathering was held seats 100 and is “a popular venue for weddings ceremonies [sic] and receptions, company dinners and catered events.” The park’s “Tea Room” facility was rented for $878 for the weekend of Nov. 8th, 2014. State Park officials declined to comment on the record about the event and at first refused to disclose the name of the person or organization that rented the facility.

Although the Norris Dam State Park brochure recommends several close-by tourist attractions, no mention is made of the historical significance of the nearby town of Clinton, Tenn., as the first city in the South to allow African-American children to attend an all white school. A monument to the “Clinton 12,” a dozen bronze statues of the first black students to attend Clinton High School in 1956, is at a cultural center downtown.

Mention of the town was made at the Klan meeting, however. Elderly racist chiropractor, Edward Reed Fields, 82, regaled the crowd with his recollections of coming to Clinton in 1956 to organize white supremacist resistance to the desegregation of its schools. His stories about trying to keep Tennessee schools all white earned him a standing ovation.


Ed Fields, 1981

History doesn’t celebrate it the same way. In July 1958, Fields and Jesse “J.B.” Stoner launched a violent, neo-Nazi domestic terrorist group called the National States Rights Party (NSRP) in nearby Knoxville, Tenn. Three months later, on Oct. 5, 1958, Clinton High School was almost destroyed in a dynamite blast. Damage was estimated at more than $300,000. The suspected bombers were never prosecuted.

For more than a decade, Fields’ NSRP engaged in a racist terror campaign, bombing black churches and assassinating civil rights workers, including Willie Brewster, shot and killed in July 1965. Stoner was eventually convicted for a bombing attempt at a Birmingham, Ala., church. Fields went on to produce pro-segregation, deeply racist and anti-Semitic propaganda for the next fifty years. His crude tabloid, The Thunderbolt, was a Klan favorite. It ceased publication in 2008.

“A King without a Throne”

Among the more notable observations by attendees at the secretive gathering, called the “Smoky Mountain Summit,” was the declining health of Stephen Don Black, the aging former Klansman and founder of Stormfront, the largest and most lucrative hate site in the world.


Don Black, seated next to “bodyguard” John Harold Browne, during the 2010 American Renaissance Conference.