This Montana City Has Been Named the Most Racist City in the State

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team

 

 

 

 

Montana, renowned for its natural beauty, national parks, and wildlife, bears the weight of a troubling history, particularly in the city of Superior, acknowledged as the most racist city in the state.

Superior’s History of KKK Activity

Superior, a small town of approximately 800 people in Mineral County, Montana, was established in 1869 as a mining camp, evolving into a railroad town. However, in the early 20th century, it gained notoriety as a hub for the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization that instilled fear in black individuals, immigrants, Jews, Catholics, and other minorities.

Research by Virginia Commonwealth University reveals that from 1915 to 1940, Superior boasted one of the highest per capita numbers of KKK klaverns (local chapters) in the nation. The KKK actively recruited members, organized rallies, burned crosses, and perpetrated intimidation and attacks. In 1923, a violent clash between the KKK and anti-Klan activists in Superior resulted in numerous injuries and arrests.

Superior’s Current Reputation and Challenges

Although the KKK’s influence in Superior has waned since the 1940s, the town grapples with the enduring stigma and legacy of racism. In 2017, a white supremacist website labeled Superior as the most racist city in Montana, citing the prevalence of hate groups, hate crimes, and racial demographics. Despite denunciations from the town’s mayor and residents, asserting Superior’s welcoming and diverse nature, some locals concede the existence of lingering racist attitudes and incidents, highlighting the need for further efforts to address these issues.

Superior confronts various challenges as a rural and isolated town, including poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, and a dearth of services and opportunities. Experts suggest that these factors may contribute to the emergence of extremism and resentment among certain white residents, who may feel threatened by the evolving demographics and culture of the country.

Superior’s Future and Hope

Despite its historical and contemporary challenges, Superior exhibits glimpses of hope and progress. The town boasts a rich history and culture, featuring numerous historic buildings, museums, festivals, and events. Its pristine natural environment, encompassing the Clark Fork River, the Lolo National Forest, and the Coeur d’Alene Mountains, attracts tourists, visitors, and newcomers seeking solace in its scenic and tranquil surroundings.

Superior also embraces diversity and inclusion, exemplified by the Mineral County Performing Arts Council, which organizes multicultural and educational programs. The town is home to a Native American population, primarily from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, fostering a complex relationship with the community. Native American leaders and activists actively work towards improving dialogue and understanding among different groups in the town, advocating for the recognition and respect of their culture and rights.

Though labeled the most racist city in the state, Superior is a town poised to surmount its history and challenges, striving for a future characterized by tolerance and harmony.

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