The power of loving our enemies: Story of a former Ku Klux Klan leader
About Johnny Lee Clary
Reverend Elder Johnny Lee Clary learned to hate at a very young age. He was raised in a family filled with racism, anger, and bigotry. As a young teenager, after his father committed suicide and his mother abandoned him, Johnny found himself alone and looking for someplace to belong. At 14 he was seduced by the teachings of the notorious David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, and he joined the organization. As an impressionable young man, Johnny became so enthralled with the sense of belonging and a need for “family” that he participated in KKK events as a security enforcer and bodyguard to David Duke.
Johnny continued to advance in the organization, reveling in the feeling of finally fitting in. He went on to spend 16 years in the Klan, as State Organizer and Public Relations spokesman for Imperial Wizard Bill Wilkinson of the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; then becoming Grand Dragon of the National Knights of the KKK; then Heartland Director and right-hand man to White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger (by all accounts, one of the most violent men ever to preach hatred); and finally in the 1980’s, becoming one of the most nefarious national Klan leaders in America after being elected to the very top: Imperial Wizard (national head) of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a branch that originated in Mississippi and was considered to be the most dreaded Klan faction in history (and widely acknowledged by law enforcement as the most violent and militant of all the Klan). The White Knights had a history of bombings, murders, and countless other crimes throughout the 1960’s, and to this day, the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are considered the real Ku Klux Klan. During the 1980’s Johnny also gained national publicity as a professional wrestling Arkansas State champion for the NWF, known by the moniker of “Johnny Angel.”
As the Klan’s national leader, it was hoped by the KKK that Johnny could change the image of the Klan, by attracting new members through his many appearances on such television programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Morton Downey, Jr. Show, and others, where Johnny advocated, supported, and defended racism. But then, the destructive mindset and lifestyle he had lived for so many years began to take its toll. Johnny began to struggle with the beliefs of the Klan, such as their praise of the Holocaust where 6 million Jewish people were slaughtered, and the fact that Nazis and Skinheads were now associating with the KKK committing crimes which included all sorts of Civil Rights violations including murder, which Johnny disagreed with. Riddled with torment, angered over a false arrest in Tennessee on a weapons charge, disgusted with internal bickering between the various white supremacist organizations, being totally harassed by the F.B.I. as well as the United States Secret Service, seeing people close to him being hauled off to prison, and the discovery that his girlfriend was an informant for the FBI, Johnny Lee left the Klan.
Over the next year he found himself derailed by personal issues, losing all of his friends, and struggling just to make an honest living. These challenges, combined with his feelings of guilt over the life of violence, prejudice, and hatred he had lived for so long, led Johnny to near depression. On the verge of committing suicide one night, he started reading the Bible and cried out to God to deliver him from his nightmarish existence. God answered Johnny’s plea for help. He received a job the very next day and began attending church the following weekend. Johnny dedicated his life to Christ. Johnny began to study the D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program where former drug addicts are sent to schools to share their stories of how drugs almost destroyed their lives but then how they were able to get drug free and turn their lives of near destruction into victory.
In the early 90’s Johnny developed Operation Colorblind, Inc., using the same tactics as D.A.R.E. From that point on, Johnny Lee has used his life, his experiences, and his near destruction to help others leave the same evil path that he had walked for so long. Every year thousands of school children around the world benefit from Johnny Lee Clary’s highly acclaimed motivational talks that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in racism, drugs, gangs, and violence.
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