A white supremacist group marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by passing out disparaging fliers in towns around the country.
The fliers claimed the federal holiday celebrated “a communist pervert” and usually included a mugshot taken of King after his arrest during the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott and inflammatory information lifted from a mostly debunked chain email.
Among other false claims, the fliers allege that King’s “aids” used tax-exempt donations to his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to hire white prostitutes and engage in group sex.
King’s successor as SCLC president, Ralph David Abernathy, disclosed that the civil rights leader had engaged in extramarital affairs, but he had no sexual involvement with prostitutes or white women and did not use church donations for sexual encounters.
Residents who awoke to the fliers, which sometimes were placed inside baggies and weighted down with small rocks, said they were disturbed by the message and its timing.
"I've lived here my whole life and haven't seen this," said Tina Whittington, of Longview, Texas. "I was scared to death; I mean, this is pure hatred.”
The fliers often directed recipients to a website address, phone number and a North Carolina mailing address for more information about joining the group.
KLTV confirmed with KKK leader William J. Spears that the fliers had been distributed by the white supremacist group and was part of a national campaign.
"Martin Luther King is a bad example of an honorable leader," Spears said, arguing that the message was not intended to be violent but simply educational.
One Virginia resident who found her flier after waking up Sunday morning said she found the group’s methods cowardly.
“Show your faces,” said Kathy Thomas, of Chester. “Let the neighbors know who you are.”
Watch this video report posted online by WTHV-TV: