Community Plans to Counter Supremacist on Mission to Create 'White Only' Town

By Gary Tuchman and Chandrika Narayan CNN | 9/22/2013, 9:32 a.m.
A tranquil town in North Dakota could lose its serenity if one man has his way.
Bobby Harper said he had no plans to leave, even if Cobb's supporters came in and started controlling the town.

Harper's wife said she has received messages from hate groups calling for her to leave her husband and join Cobb's movement.

"It made me afraid," Sherill Harper said. "If his goal is to just have only white people here, where do my husband and I go?"

Bobby Harper said he had no plans to leave, even if Cobb's supporters came in and started controlling the town.

The sheriff of Grant County said he is keeping a close eye on the situation.

"I'm a firm believer that everyone has a right to believe what they want, just not the ability to force the issue on someone else," said Steven Bay, also a lifetime resident of Grant County.

He said because Cobb has not broken the law, there is not much he can do.

Bay has talked to Canadian authorities several times, because Cobb is a wanted man in Canada -- where he faces hate speech charges over a blog.

"They're not going to extradite," Bay said. "It's not a crime for which they will extradite someone from the U.S. back to Canada."

Town hall meeting

This Sunday the National Socialist Movement, a white supremacist group, will hold a meeting in Leith.

On its website, the group calls the gesture a show of goodwill "as we plant the seeds of national socialism in North Dakota."

Jeff Schoep, the commander of the movement, who claims to have property in Leith, wrote an open letter to Leith's mayor announcing the group's decision to head to Leith on September 22 and 23 in a show of support for Cobb.

He said Cobb's efforts are a chance to revitalize the community.

Nationalist online message boards such as WhiteNations.com and Stormfront have also applauded Cobb for "doing a great job" and jibing critics as "laughable."

Anti-racist activists are also expected to descend on Leith this weekend.

One of this effort's organizers told the Bismarck Tribune that he and others are hoping people will join them for a peaceful show of solidarity.

Meanwhile, town and county officials said they would consider extreme measures to avoid Leith being taken over by white supremacists.

Mayor Schock said he would consider dissolving the city in order to save the city. But he hopes it doesn't come to that.

Meanwhile, is there anything that would persuade Cobb to depart the town?

If the government decides the "send four dozen Somali families to Leith," Cobb said, that would convince him to leave.

Greg Botelho contributed to this story.

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