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Theater drops production about KKK rally

Published: Thu, August 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) -- A theater in this Atlanta suburb scrapped plans for a play about an incendiary 1940 Ku Klux Klan rally, calling the production in bad taste.
The play, called "Shermantown -- Baseball, Apple Pie and the Klan," depicted a particularly hate-filled Klan rally in Stone Mountain's black Shermantown neighborhood.
David Thomas, director of the Art Station theater, said he first agreed to stage the play but backed down after reading the opening monologue.
"The language in the monologue is not only racy, it's inciting, and slanderous about Jews and Catholics," Thomas said.
The Klan once held rallies in Shermantown that drew thousands. The gatherings ended in the mid-1980s, but the community remains sensitive about the events.
Playwright Calvin Ramsey, who has written before about the struggles of black people, said he's searching for another venue for his play.
"This is not shocking language to (residents) because they heard the same language coming over loudspeakers" during the rallies, he said.
The Rev. William Morris, who has lived in Shermantown 77 years, said he is perplexed by the theater's decision.
"There's nothing offensive about it," he said. "It's the way it was."

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