Klan rally results in convention changes - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Klan rally results in convention changes

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The Memphis Cook Convention Center is filled with Church of Christ youth and their families for an event called "Lads to Leaders." The Memphis Cook Convention Center is filled with Church of Christ youth and their families for an event called "Lads to Leaders."
Convention director Blake McAnally talks about the KKK rally which prompted organizers to consider alternative plans. Convention director Blake McAnally talks about the KKK rally which prompted organizers to consider alternative plans.
McAnally suggested the city deny the klan's permit request because he was fearful of potential problems like the ones that surfaced during a 1998 rally. McAnally suggested the city deny the klan's permit request because he was fearful of potential problems like the ones that surfaced during a 1998 rally.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – The Memphis Cook Convention Center is filled with Church of Christ youth and their families for an event called "Lads to Leaders."

"We have over a thousand children here and we're just a few blocks away from it," said convention director Blake McAnally.

He was talking about the KKK rally which prompted organizers to consider alternative plans when they first heard the hate group would gather in Memphis on the same weekend.

"In fact, our director Roy Johnson wrote a letter to the mayor," said McAnally.

He suggested the city deny the klan's permit request because he was fearful of potential problems like the ones that surfaced during a 1998 rally.

"We have received great assistance from the police department and mayors office," said McAnally.  "They have gone over and above assuring us we're going to be safe and have no problems," he added.

Other visitors we interviewed along Main Street were stunned such a rally would take place in 2013.

"I think it's moronic," said Linda Tilley of Britain.

She and her husband will now plan their Saturday accordingly.

"I wouldn't agree with it," said Tilley.  "Don't want to be anywhere near it," she added.

Convention officials made arrangements to keep everyone away as well.

"There's a few hours when some of our attendees would probably do downtown and eat lunch," said McAnally.  "They won't be able to do that," he added.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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