David Duke speaks about "white power" conference

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - The former manager of Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch quit after he says he received threats for booking a three-day meeting on white power.

Organizer David Duke says he's not responsible for any backlash.

"You know, it's a public accommodation," Duke said.  "We have a right to civil rights -- the right to rent a room."

Duke agreed to do a phone interview with Action News 5 from his home in Mandeville, LA.  He tells us the hotel always knew with whom it was dealing.

"We were on the contract from the beginning," Duke said.

Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, claims to no longer share all of that group's views.  However, he said his conference will concentrate on preserving the "constitutional rights of whites."

"Anyone is welcome at the conference," Duke said.  "But I would expect them to uphold our views, and I don't think many African-Americans uphold our views."

"I have no desire to go there," Memphis NAACP President Johnnie Turner said.

She believes Duke's group has a right to gather.  But acknowledging their presence is a mistake.

"Whatever they do -- that's their business, their agenda, they have the right to do it," Turner said.  "And I will certainly exercise my right to not be anywhere around."

"We're hoping to come there like any other convention," Duke said.

Duke says the Memphis area was chosen for its central location and because so many of his supporters live here.

There is no word on any organized protests in the works for next weekend.  But according to a statement sent to us from Olive Branch Police, contingency plans are being formulated.

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