PHOTOS: 'White Unity Rally' in Topeka, this week in history 15 years ago

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A Nazi supporter salutes the Nazi leadership atop the south steps of the Kansas Statehouse during Saturday's rally. PHOTO BY ANTHONY S BUSH

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Under a banner touting ethnic diversity, members of the National Socialist Movement flashed Nazi salutes during Saturday's rally on the south steps of the Kansas statehouse. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER

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NAACP supporters yell "Go home" to the National Socialist Movement at the State House Saturday during the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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NAACP supporters Andrew Reynolds, Hannah Cowger and Laura Burton send a mesage of peace to the National Socialist Movement at the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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A National Socialist Movement supporter yells at the Black media in the media area Saturday at the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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The Phelps group sat up at the corner of 10th and Harrison Saturday during the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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National Socialist Movement supporters gathered at the State House. (Anthony S. Bush)

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National Socialist Movement supporter Brian Deal of Bellville Kan holds a hate sign during the NSM gathering at the State House. (Anthony S. Bush)

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Major Tim Bishop of the National Socialist movement addresses the people gathered at the State House Saturday during the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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An anti National Socialist Movement protestor carries a pair of steel-toed boots, which he was asked to remove upon enterring a security checkpoint Saturday afternoon at the National Socialist Movement rally in the Statehouse lawn. Such boots are a trademark of strongly anti-racist skinheads and punks. PHOTO BY NICK KRUG

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Public Relations Director of the National Socialist Movement gives a salute to the croud gathered at the State House Saturday For the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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A crowd gathers to hear speakers supporting the NAACP, which provided a counter protest to the racist sentiments of the National Socialist Movement rally on the Statehouse lawn. PHOTO BY NICK KRUG

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Members and supporters of the National Socialist Movement, Jim Ludacka, left, Warren Gebhard, Jason Fritz and Brian Deal gather in a parking lot across from the Statehouse to dress their NSM uniforms with swastikas before their rally from the Statehouse steps. PHOTO BY NICK KRUG

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Topeka resident Stacey Cooper holding her son, Bryce, screams "Liar" to statements of racial and religious inferiority made by members of the National Socialist Movement, Saturday afternoon from the Statehouse steps. Hundreds of counter protestors filled the Statehouse lawn to show their opposition to racism. PHOTO BY NICK KRUG

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Topeka police officers check the identification of an unidentified man who was entering the NAACP protest area through an exit gate. Security was tight for the NSM rally Saturday, with nearly as many law enforcement officers as protestors and spectators. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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KHP troopers Mark Engholm, left, and Jeff Norling, right, talk during the NAACP rally Saturday at the Charles Curtis office building. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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Hannah Cowger, 14, of Topeka stretches the American flag wide in opposition to Neo Socialist speakers Saturday afternoon in the Statehouse lawn. Hundreds of protestors crowded Capital Plaza to provide a counter protest to the racist sentiments of the Neo Socialists. PHOTO BY NICK KRUG

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Public Relations Director of the National Socialist Movement gives a salute to the croud gathered at the State House Saturday For the NSM State House Rally. (Anthony S. Bush)

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With protestors in the background, Tonya VanSickle explains the Nazi symbol to her 7-year-old daughter Ashley Wells at the NSM rally Saturday at the Statehouse. "It's a symbol of hate and anger," VanSickle said. "This is America and they have the right to say what they want, but we have that right, too, and that's why we're here." Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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The NAACP counter-protest started with the reciting of the singing of the National Anthem. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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Opponents of the National Socialist Movement yell and chant at the Minnesota-based NSM group during their rally Saturday at the Statehouse. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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Kansas Highway Patrol troopers stand on a sidewalk along Jackson Street at the conclusion of the National Socialist Movement rally Saturday. There were nearly as many law enforcement officers present as demonstrators and spectators. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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Topeka High freshman Hannah Cowger, 14, holds her sign and an American flag as she chants "Go home" to the National Socialist Movement group that rallied on the Statehouse steps in Topeka Saturday. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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NAACP officials Robert Milan Sr., left, and Dr. Jesse Milan, right, go over their group's program prior to the National Socialist Movement counter-protest Saturday at the Statehouse. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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Washburn freshmen Savannah Meyer, Trisha Gordon and Megan O'Dell watch the NAACP counter-protest through barriers at the Charles Curtis office building Saturday afternoon. Buffer zones were created with the barriers to seperate the opposing groups. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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Members of the National Socialist Movement rally on the souht steps of the statehouse Saturday. PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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Members of the National Socialist Movement rally on the souht steps of the statehouse Saturday. PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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NSM Sergeant William Carey of Belleville smirks at protestors signs while holding his own during the National Socialists Movement rally Saturday afternoon at the Statehouse. Photo by MIKE SHEPHERD

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A crowd gathers at the Curtis State Office building for the Rally Around the Flag rally sponsored by the NAACP in response to the National Socialist Movements rally taking place at the same time on the south steps of the statehouse.PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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Statehouse police keep a watchful eye on those gathered on the southside of the statehouse Saturday afternoon as the members of the National Socialist Movement hold their rally on the south steps of the statehouse. PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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Members of the National Socialist Movement rally on the souht steps of the statehouse Saturday. PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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Statehouse police keep a watchful eye on those gathered on the southside of the statehouse Saturday afternoon as the members of the National Socialist Movement hold their rally on the south steps of the statehouse. PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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Statehouse police keep a watchful eye on those gathered on the southside of the statehouse Saturday afternoon as the members of the National Socialist Movement hold their rally on the south steps of the statehouse. PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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A crowd gathers at the Curtis State Office building for the Rally Around the Flag rally sponsored by the NAACP in response to the National Socialist Movements rally taking place at the same time on the south steps of the statehouse.PHOTO BY THAD ALLTON

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National Socialist Movement leader Jeff Schoep brandishes a noose as he flashes a Nazi salute on the south steps of the Kansas Statehouse during Saturday afetrnoon's rally. PHOTO BY ANTHONY S. BUSH

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Description

If Charlottesville was just the beginning, as white nationalists have said, some Topekans may be wondering: Could it happen here?

It already has, 15 years ago.

On Aug. 24, 2002, a “White Unity Rally,” organized by the National Socialist Movement, was held on the steps of the Kansas Statehouse. According to the NSM website, the group is “the political party for every patriotic white American,” that doesn’t “buy into the big lie that all people and races are equal.” The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes NSM as a neo-Nazi hate group.

The event drew counter-protesters from organizations including the Topeka chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Here are photos from that day from The Capital-Journal archives, with original captions in photos where they were available.

Read more coverage from the rally: 

Organizers laud rally turnout

'White unity' rally costs top $60,400

 

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