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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 04:06 PM   #1
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Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

Elwin Wilson Dead: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

By MARTHA WAGGONER 03/31/13 06:23 PM ET

Racism, Common Ground Award For Reconciliation, Freedom Riders, John Lewis, Ku Klux Klan, Rep. John Lewis, Elwin Wilson, Elwin Wilson Dead, Elwin Wilson Kkk, Kkk, Black Voices News

-- Elwin Wilson, the former Ku Klux Klan supporter who publicly apologized for years of violent racism, including the beating of a black Freedom Rider who went on to become a Georgia congressman, has died. He was 76.

Wilson died Thursday at a hospital in South Carolina after a bout with the flu and years of heart and lung problems, said his wife, Judy Wilson.

She told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Sunday that he was relieved he lived long enough to try to make amends for years of racial hatred. He detailed his deeds at length when he called The Herald of Rock Hill to apologize shortly after President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009.

"He said he had it on his heart for a long time," Judy Wilson said. "He said he wished he could find the ones he mistreated and apologize to them all."

Among his actions were cross burnings; hanging a black doll in a noose at the end of his driveway; flinging cantaloupes at black men walking down Main Street; hurling a jack handle at a black boy jiggling the soda machine in his father's service station; and the brutal beating of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at a Rock Hill bus station in 1961.

"His story is a powerful story; his story must not be forgotten," Lewis told The Herald (http://bit.ly/14w1uWp) in a telephone interview Saturday. "His story and the way he arrived at his position must be understood, must be told."

Wilson also apologized in several other public venues, including during a meeting with Lewis at the congressman's Capitol Hill office.

In an April 2009 interview with the AP, Wilson tried to explain his remorse.

"All I can say is that it has bothered me for years, all the bad stuff I've done," he said. "And I found out there is no way I could be saved and get to heaven and still not like blacks."

This month, Lewis received apologies from the current police chief of Montgomery, Ala., and the governor. But Wilson's apology remains special.

"He was the first private citizen," Lewis said. "He was the very, very first to come and apologize to me ... for a private citizen to come along and say, `I'm the one that attacked you; I'm the one who beat you.' It was very meaningful."

In 2009, Lewis and Wilson accepted the Common Ground Award for Reconciliation at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. Also that year, both were honored in California with awards on Worldwide Forgiveness Day. In Maryland, Wilson presented Lewis with an award. They also told their story to Oprah Winfrey and millions of viewers.

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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 05:19 PM   #2
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykarma View Post
Elwin Wilson Dead: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

By MARTHA WAGGONER 03/31/13 06:23 PM ET

Racism, Common Ground Award For Reconciliation, Freedom Riders, John Lewis, Ku Klux Klan, Rep. John Lewis, Elwin Wilson, Elwin Wilson Dead, Elwin Wilson Kkk, Kkk, Black Voices News

-- Elwin Wilson, the former Ku Klux Klan supporter who publicly apologized for years of violent racism, including the beating of a black Freedom Rider who went on to become a Georgia congressman, has died. He was 76.

Wilson died Thursday at a hospital in South Carolina after a bout with the flu and years of heart and lung problems, said his wife, Judy Wilson.

She told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Sunday that he was relieved he lived long enough to try to make amends for years of racial hatred. He detailed his deeds at length when he called The Herald of Rock Hill to apologize shortly after President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009.

"He said he had it on his heart for a long time," Judy Wilson said. "He said he wished he could find the ones he mistreated and apologize to them all."

Among his actions were cross burnings; hanging a black doll in a noose at the end of his driveway; flinging cantaloupes at black men walking down Main Street; hurling a jack handle at a black boy jiggling the soda machine in his father's service station; and the brutal beating of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at a Rock Hill bus station in 1961.

"His story is a powerful story; his story must not be forgotten," Lewis told The Herald (http://bit.ly/14w1uWp) in a telephone interview Saturday. "His story and the way he arrived at his position must be understood, must be told."

Wilson also apologized in several other public venues, including during a meeting with Lewis at the congressman's Capitol Hill office.

In an April 2009 interview with the AP, Wilson tried to explain his remorse.

"All I can say is that it has bothered me for years, all the bad stuff I've done," he said. "And I found out there is no way I could be saved and get to heaven and still not like blacks."

This month, Lewis received apologies from the current police chief of Montgomery, Ala., and the governor. But Wilson's apology remains special.

"He was the first private citizen," Lewis said. "He was the very, very first to come and apologize to me ... for a private citizen to come along and say, `I'm the one that attacked you; I'm the one who beat you.' It was very meaningful."

In 2009, Lewis and Wilson accepted the Common Ground Award for Reconciliation at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. Also that year, both were honored in California with awards on Worldwide Forgiveness Day. In Maryland, Wilson presented Lewis with an award. They also told their story to Oprah Winfrey and millions of viewers.
What a touching story and at least this man was able to die in peace.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

Stories like this one make you wonder: did he do more harm with his hatred or did he do more good by setting a positive example*?


If it can be called that.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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What a touching story and at least this man was able to die in peace.
We don't know that. We do know that he desperately wanted to go to heaven and was convinced that he wouldn't be able to get there by hating.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

"And I found out there is no way I could be saved and get to heaven and still not like blacks."

He can burn in hell if he thinks his soul and mind are eased with this logic.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 06:32 PM   #6
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

Going to all the trouble of looking up people and personally apologizing makes me think he was sincere.

I guess I just prefer to believe in the good side of human nature.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 06:42 PM   #7
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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Going to all the trouble of looking up people and personally apologizing makes me think he was sincere.

I guess I just prefer to believe in the good side of human nature.
Or afraid.


Or in a 12 step program lol
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 08:40 PM   #8
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

Hey, if there's a 12-step program that cures prejudice, let's sign EVERYONE up for it NOW.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 09:40 PM   #9
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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What a touching story and at least this man was able to die in peace.
I agree!! May he rest in peace!!! God will judge him from here on..
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 11:15 PM   #10
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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Going to all the trouble of looking up people and personally apologizing makes me think he was sincere.

I guess I just prefer to believe in the good side of human nature.
I also agree and especially he meeting with John Lewis one of the people he abused and beat.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 11:32 PM   #11
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

Motives can be tricky, but for whatever reason he did the right thing in the end. I don't know how I feel about him receiving awards for his apologies but I'm glad that Lewis found it in his heart to forgive him. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, such a healing thing and Lewis certainly deserves to be recognised for being so forgiving. I'm sure it was not easy for him but he set a great example, particularly as he's now a public representative.
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 11:54 PM   #12
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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Motives can be tricky, but for whatever reason he did the right thing in the end. I don't know how I feel about him receiving awards for his apologies but I'm glad that Lewis found it in his heart to forgive him. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, such a healing thing and Lewis certainly deserves to be recognised for being so forgiving. I'm sure it was not easy for him but he set a great example, particularly as he's now a public representative.
Very true.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2013, 12:10 AM   #13
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

I should not say because the guy is dead.

But his apology was transactional.

He had to do it in order to get to heaven, it was his ticket to heaven.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2013, 12:18 AM   #14
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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Going to all the trouble of looking up people and personally apologizing makes me think he was sincere.

I guess I just prefer to believe in the good side of human nature.
But the cynic in me think it was transactional for him.

The apology buys him a ticket to heaven.

THis is one aspect of Christianity that can be disturbing when looking at it from the outside.

One can inflict the most gruesome on suffering on others, but as long as they accept Jesus and their on Savior and believes in him as the son of God, they will go to heaven.
On the other hand, if their victims were not christians or did not convert to Christianity before he kill them, they will not get to heaven.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2013, 12:27 AM   #15
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Re: Former KKK Supporter Who Apologized For Racist Past Dies

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But the cynic in me think it was transactional for him.

The apology buys him a ticket to heaven.

THis is one aspect of Christianity that can be disturbing when looking at it from the outside.

One can inflict the most gruesome on suffering on others, but as long as they accept Jesus and their on Savior and believes in him as the son of God, they will go to heaven.
On the other hand, if their victims were not christians or did not convert to Christianity before he kill them, they will not get to heaven.
And quite comforting when looking at it from the inside.
Not including denominations which believe in predestination, of course.
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