White Supremacists in Leith, N.D.
Paul Craig Cobb attempts to take over small town
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 16:10
A small North Dakota town is now home to white supremacist Paul Craig Cobb, 61, and his goal is to turn the town into a city of like-minded individuals.
Leith, N.D., is located 70 miles southwest of Bismarck and has 16 inhabitants, as of the 2010 census. Of the town’s 16 residents, only one is black and the rest are white.
This small town could soon be a small city populated by only white supremacists.
That is the goal of Cobb, a notorious white supremacist who has claimed, “Racism is my religion.” Cobb is considered to be a dangerous White Nationalist activist, and is currently wanted in Canada for federal charges of willful promotion of hatred. Canada, however, has no interest in extraditing Cobb on hate crime charges.
In his past, Cobb has been known for actively distributing Project Schoolyard CDs to local children, which contain songs that promote racism and violence. The music is illegal in Europe, and many are attempting to do the same in America. Panzerfaust’s motto, the producer of these CDs, is “We don’t just entertain racist kids...we create them.”
Cobb is also known for accosting mourners at Rosa Parks’s funeral. She was the first woman and second African American to lie in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, and more than 50,000 people waited in line to pay their respects.
Mourners were outraged as Cobb walked around with a video camera recording their shock and anger as he said, “Rosa Parks was a shitskin communist. I’m here to celebrate her death.”
Cobb started buying properties in Leith in April of last year.
“I didn’t have a clue who the guy was until he showed up. All I know is he bought that house sight unseen, $5,000 cash, and had no idea what it looked like, where it was, other than he knew the directions to get to Leith,” the town’s mayor Ryan Schock told Hatewatch blog, operated by the The Southern Poverty Law Center.
Schock is referring to the house in which Cobb is currently living. The two-story house has no running water or sewage and is under threat from Custer District Health Unit to be condemned. Cobb had until Sept. 23 to submit a plan to the county government for sewage and running water to be installed, but failed to do so.
Cobb eventually plans to buy enough property and recruit enough fellow supremacists to take over the town and start anew with an all-white town government and community. Protesters on Sept. 22 were trying to stop just that.
UnityND is “a group that believes direct action and strong opposition are needed to combat those who seek to spread injustice hatred, and divisiveness,” according to their Sept. 23 press release.
Thanks to the group and their protest, an estimated 300 to 400 people showed up to support the citizens of Leith in their struggle to get Cobb out of their town. UnityND purposefully set the date of the protest to coincide with the visit of Jeff Schoep, the Commander of the National Socialist Movement and members of his executive staff.
Schoep made a visit to the town to show his support for Cobb, and called it “a fact finding mission.”
Schoep and his supporters walked through the town and held a town hall meeting that was open to the public. Citizens were encouraged to ask questions and interact with the group. To greet Schoep, Cobb placed flags featuring skulls and swastikas all over his properties.
Kade Ferris, a founding member of UnityND stated at the meeting, “I want you all to note that there’s not a single American flag being flown on their properties. That’s because they don’t stand for what makes this country great: freedom, unity and diversity.”
The protest was aimed at showing Schoep and Cobb that UnityND had pledged their support to the people of Leith and refuse to let anyone impede on their lives.
The protest was meant to be a peaceful one, but just in case, members of the West Dakota SWAT team stood by, waiting to break up any violence that could have occurred. The SWAT team took control of the situation and said they would be in charge of security at the event, not Cobb and his people.
Others vocalized their opinion against the protest on the Facebook group’s event page. Todd Selfie commented, “All of you are so concerned about a peaceful man going into a small town, yet none of you are protesting the thousands of African immigrants that have been brought into the state over the past decade. I guarantee they have committed far more crimes and hurt far more North Dakotans than Cobb and his people ever will.”
The town currently has one black citizen, Bobby Harper, and his house is located right behind Cobb’s. They are an alley away from one other.
“They got to do something very drastic to make it very unsafe and uncomfortable for me. Right now, I don’t see it happening,” Harper told National Public Radio.
North Dakota has a high number of Caucasian citizens. At 88.1 percent of the state, the white population is significantly higher than the nation’s average of 63 percent, according to the 2010 census. Only 1.5 percent of North Dakota identified themselves as black or African American alone, compared to the rest of the country at 13.1 percent.
Fargo was slightly more diverse, with 2.8 percent of the city identifying as black or African American, and just almost one percent more than the rest of the state identified themselves as white, at 89 percent.
Of all undergraduate and graduate students at NDSU, 2.4 percent classified themselves as black or African American, while 80.7 percent said they were white.
Despite the 270 mile distance between Fargo and Leith, some NDSU students have reacted in a similar manner to Leith’s citizens.
NDSU Women’s Activist Organization Activities Director Cydney Berlinger said, “I don’t think we should be reverting back to the 1940s ideology on race and women. Hopefully North Dakotans can ban together to get him ousted.”
Addressing the delicacy of the situation, Berlinger also said, “There is always a fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech.”
Mayor Schock said if it comes to it, he would rather dissolve the town and its government rather than have Cobb and his people take over.