In announcing its decision, Transportation Department officials met with lawyers from Georgia’s Attorney General’s office and Gov. Nathan Deal. A statement was released that read, in part:
“Promoting an organization with a history of inciting civil disturbance and social unrest would present a grave concern to the department. Issuing this permit would have the potential to negatively impact the quality of life, commerce and economic development of Union County and all of Georgia.”
The state’s cleanup program recruits local civic groups and volunteers to pick up trash along highways. As a reward, the groups are recognized with a sign along the road they adopt.
Officials also cited the potential safety risk of having a KKK sign on the side of the road, the Huffington Post reported. The group said it was merely looking to preserve the beauty of the area, not promote hate.
KKK member Harley Hanson said, “We can’t change what happened, but we can still work for a better tomorrow. It was not just to warn people, ‘Hey, the KKK lives next door,’ but to do some good for the community.”
State Rap. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta was not buying that.
“They made the point we’ve been making,” he said. “This is not a group that really qualifies as a civic organization, it’s a terrorist organization.”