They didn’t think he would come.
He was a Ku Klux Klan organizer, after all, and they were local leaders of the NAACP, historic enemies. They spent months negotiating the terms of his visit to Casper. There were ground rules, topics to be discussed and guarantees of a security team.
They wait in a small, low-ceiling conference room in the Parkway Plaza hotel. Four NAACP leaders. Ten mints, striped red and white, sit clustered on the table. The pitchers of ice water on the table drip sweat.
Here is John Abarr, an organizer for the United Klans of America, carrying a brown briefcase, shaking hands, settling into a high-backed swivel chair, leaning in, ready to talk. This could be the first time representatives of the two groups purposely met in peace.
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