- Charles Beckham III, a Republican Arkansas State Senate candidate, apologised this week after it was revealed that he dressed up as a KKK member for Halloween in high school.
- Former classmates told the Arkansas Times that Beckham and two of his friends wore the KKK outfits for school-related activities at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science when Beckham was a senior in 2000.
- Beckham was expelled after the incident, and his family filed a lawsuit against the school that was later dismissed.
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A Republican Arkansas State Senate candidate apologised this week after it was revealed he dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit for Halloween when he was in high school 20 years ago.
Charles Beckham III and two of his friends wore white hoods, robes, and KKK patches on their chests as they strode through the halls of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in 2000, former classmates told the Arkansas Times.
Beckham, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bruce Maloch in Arkansas’ District 12 state Senate race, initially denied the allegations but apologised for the incident on Thursday after the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette obtained court documents that showed he had been kicked out of school because of the KKK incident.
“I do sincerely apologise for any angst or grievances that I have caused anyone as a minor, as that is not the man that I am today,” Beckham told the Democrat-Gazette. “I continue to unequivocally denounce the KKK and any like-minded hate groups and the rumours that I am or have ever been part of the KKK are absolutely ridiculous.”
The court documents were part of a lawsuit Beckham’s family filed following his expulsion from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.
According to the Democrat-Gazette, an order produced by the Mississippi State Board of Education that was included in court records shows that Beckham, who was a senior at the time, initially wore camouflage pants and a white T-shirt covered in fake blood to school for Halloween activities at the school, and then changed into the KKK outfit.
“The costumes consisted of white bed sheets that were sewn into the form of robes with a patch on the chest area and pillowcases that were cut into hoods,” court documents said.
Beckham’s classmates told the Democrat Gazette that the costumes looked like “real robes” and many Black students were “terrified.”
The lawsuit from Beckham’s family was dismissed by a judge in 2001, and he finished his senior year at Pascagoula High School, in his hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
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