Vault: Ku Klux Klan erects cross on Cincinnati's Fountain Square in 1992

WCPOPublished: August 24, 2017
Published: August 24, 2017

It wasn't a statue or a plaque honoring Robert E. Lee that created a firestorm in Cincinnati 35 years ago. It was a cross erected by the Ku Klux Klan on Fountain Square during the December holiday season that led to the same divisiveness and condemnation other American cities have been dealing with in the past few weeks. Despite 24-hour police presence and a barricade around it, protesters knocked down or damaged the KKK's cross six times during the 10 days it cast its dark shadow on the square. Ten people were arrested for attacking it. Thousands came to condemn it, even as a handful of Klansmen dutifully replaced or raised it back up each time it was felled. Fountain Square turned into a ideological battleground - Jews and Christians vs. the KKK - in 1992 after a federal judge struck down the city's attempt to bar a menorah during Hanukkah. The city had imposed new regulations that would have prohibited the menorah on the square between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Rubin blocked that.

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