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Historic 1993 Protest Got Cheeky with The Klan

In 1993, the Great Mass Mooning of the KKK helped mark the last Klan rally at the Texas State Capitol. (Hank Sinatra/ACTV/Youtube)
In 1993, the Great Mass Mooning of the KKK helped mark the last Klan rally at the Texas State Capitol. (Hank Sinatra/ACTV/Youtube)
August 21, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. — Most Americans will be gazing up at the sky today for a view of the total solar eclipse - when the moon slips between the Earth and sun. But almost 25 years ago, a "moon" of a different sort caught people's attention.

Some folks in Austin, Texas, were tired of annual Ku Klux Klan rallies at the State Capitol, and staged the Great Mass Mooning of the KKK in January 1993. Some participants in the huge counter-protest dropped their pants on cue to show the klansmen they were the real butt of the joke.

Richard Boland was one of the hundred or so to bare his... opinion.

"I remember it because it was such a good time. I enjoyed it,” Boland said. "It ended up being a lot bigger counter-protest than I expected. Naked disrespect, by all means."

He said he isn't sure if that form of counter-protest was any more effective than the others, but he did hear of a few other so-called mass moonings in the years that followed. And the Klan never did come back to the Texas State Capitol.

Contemporary white supremacist rallies and counter-protests have taken on a much more serious tone. Police and authorities say they're concerned about the presence of assault rifles and other weapons.

But documentary filmmaker John Spottswood Moore has been researching the mooning for his movie, "When We Were Live." He said it worked to confront the Klan's self-importance.

"I think that it's a great tactic,” Moore said. "We can be comical, we can be creative. They want you to yell and scream, and fight and give them reasons why they can say, 'Look, these people are just as bad as us.' We don't have to stoop to their level."

Moore said there was even a theme song for the mooning - a reworking of, "If You're Happy and You Know It." He recalled it included the lines, "If you're happy and you know it, bare your butt to show it - if you're happy and you know, it moon the Klan."

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA