KKK re-enactments at two schools show generational divide

The sight was bewildering. Four white students dressed like Ku Klux Klansmen walked through the cafeteria last week at Lumpkin County High School, heading to a class project on racism and walking straight into news reports around the world.

But when a similar scene unfolded in a Gwinnett County middle school last week, when the students wearing the Klan outfits were African-American, as was their teacher, the story changed.

What seismic sociological shift has occurred in the Southern schoolhouse? In classrooms that were segregated 50 years ago, children today are putting on Klan robes to re-enact what is, for many of them, history in a book. In a city so closely related to the civil rights movement these surprises serve to remind people of what change the last half-century has brought.

"The fact that the teachers were talking about it is probably healthy," former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said. "At the same time I do think there is a kind of resurgence of frustration and unfortunately, it always focuses on the problems."

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