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RFK Likens Black Muslims to Klan

July 2, 1963 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (pictured with Sen. Warren Magnuson), in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee today, likened the Black Muslim separatist group to the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Kennedy made the comparison in answer to a question by Senator Strom Thurmond (D-S.C.) on the second day of hearings by the committee on the Administration’s civil rights bill. Mr. Kennedy argued that the bill to ban discrimination in restaurants, stores, and other facilities is necessary to root out the causes of racial demonstrations. Mr. Thurmond is the bill’s leading opponent on the committee. Senator Thurmond asked Mr. Kennedy if he felt the Black Muslims were “similar to the American Nazis” because, he said, they go in for target and judo practice and other “preparations for combat.” The Attorney General replied: “In principles and motivations, they are perhaps closer to the Ku Klux Klan.” Mr. Kennedy said the Justice Department was aware of the activities of the Black Muslims, and any threats of law violations will be investigated.


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