Believe it or not, white supremacy and hate groups were a national threat prior to 9/11, when the national government began to shift their attention toward radical Islamic terrorism. Hate groups still exist today, and continue to terrorize American towns and people.
An incredible, documented account of one such account of terror is shown in Welcome to Leith, part of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Documentary series.
Leith, North Dakota is 3 square miles big. The 2010 census reported its population as 16 peoples, but that number has since fluctuated up and down a few numbers. The town looks like absolute nothing: a few homes, rotting abandoned buildings, and a single business. People weren’t even aware of its existence until known radical white supremacist Craig Cobb moved to town.
What a perfect situation for a neo-Nazi: rural America, off the map, practically untraceable. But, that didn’t stop Cobb from posting to online hate group forums urging people to come to Leith and start a white revolution.
Naturally, the 20-some habitants of Leith, some of whom have children and have built their lives around the oil industry in North Dakota, are furious. They do everything in their power to drive Cobb and his fellow National Socialist Movement out of Leith.
While gripping you from start to finish, filmmakers Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker, manage to paint a fascinating portrait of rural America, and First and Second Amendment rights. Throughout the absurdity of Cobb and his NSM friends’ claims, the townspeople crack a few jokes, livening the spirit.
One towns person, a photographer, mentions that he doesn’t hate white/black/blue/red/brown/or yellow people, but does “hate stupid people”. Cobb eventually gets a DNA test done to show his Aryan heritage, and when revealed on national television, he finds out that he’s only 80-something percent European and the rest of African descent. Cobb is black in blood, yet continues to terrorize Leith. It got the audience at The Oriental chuckling quite a bit.
I recommend seeing this stellar documentary as it plays again at The Union Cinema on Nov 5.