Fact check: Photo shows Biden with Byrd, who once had ties to KKK but wasn't a grand wizard
The claim: Joe Biden and a great wizard from the KKK were photographed together
A photo that will be distributed on Facebook and Instagram is said to depict former Vice President Joe Biden with a great magician from the KKK.
“Biden with the great magician from KKK. So who plays you again, lies to you, uses you for the voices, creator of the KKK, opposed the civil rights of the blacks. Yes, that's the Democratic Party, ”is the text above the picture.
The picture, which was posted on Facebook on June 27, 2019, but once again attracts attention online, shows Biden, the alleged democratic candidate for the presidency, who is holding hands with former Senator Robert Byrd, DW.Va., who is alleged to be the KKK Circled in red is great magician.
The user who shared the post did not respond to a comment from USA TODAY.
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Byrd was not a great KKK wizard - but he once led a chapter
This picture of Biden and Byrd was taken by the Associated Press in October 2008 at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, when Biden ran for Senate alongside Sen. Barack Obama.
Byrd grew up in West Virginia, where he worked for the KKK.
"Many of the" best "people were members - even senators and other senior officials," he wrote in his autobiography. "With such background impressions, I therefore tried to become a member of the KKK in the early 1940s."
In his autobiography, he said that at that time he was writing a letter to Joel L. Baskin, the great dragon of the clan in his area, asking to join. In order to establish a clan chapter or "claws" in his city, Byrd was commissioned to recruit 150 people for the clan. When he included enough people to set up a cave, the recruits unanimously referred to them as the "sublime Cyclops" of their group. This is the highest position in a chapter.
After the meeting, Byrd said Baskin had encouraged him to pursue politics and referred to his skillful organizational skills.
Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Left, accompanied by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, DW.Va., West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, and Sen. Robert Byrd, DW.Va., Gestures during a campaign rally in the Downtown Charleston, W.Va. Friday October 24, 2008.
Byrd became the second longest US Congressman in the country's history, six years in the House of Representatives and 51 years in the Senate. During his tenure in the Senate, he was both a minority and majority leader and chair of the Senate Committee on Funding.
Related: Rep. John Dingell hands Robert Byrd over to serve longest
When Byrd ran for the US House of Representatives in 1952, he said he had stopped paying fees and had resigned from the KKK after about a year of engagement. But the Washington Post reported in 2005 that Byrd's autobiography "doesn't recognize the full amount of time he spent as a clan organizer and lawyer." In particular, according to the post: "Byrd's book provides a shortened description of his days with the clan, which is not entirely consistent with contemporary newspaper reports and letters showing that he was involved with the clan during much of the 1940s, and not just for two or three years. "
During Byrd's political career, he repeatedly denounced his commitment to the clan.
"The biggest mistake I've ever made was joining the Ku Klux Klan," Byrd said in an interview with CNN's Bernard Shaw in 1993, according to Slate. "And I've said that many times. But you can't erase what he did. He can only change his ways and thoughts. That was an albatross around my neck that I will always wear. You will read in my obituary, that I was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. "
Byrd's record in the race
Nevertheless, his racing record was mixed throughout his career. Byrd filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act with other southern Democrats and spoke in person on the floor for 14 hours. However, he voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
"Senator Byrd reflects this nation's transformative power," former NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a press release after Byrd's death. "Senator Byrd has grown from an active member of the KKK to an unwavering proponent of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and many other pioneering laws that have advanced our country's civil rights and freedoms."
Byrd died in 2010. Biden gave a laudatory speech at his memorial service.
Our verdict: Partly wrong
We rate the claim that Biden was photographed with a great wizard from the KKK as PARTIAL FALSE, as part of it was not supported by our research. Byrd, the supposed great magician, was in fact none. However, he said he was briefly head of a chapter of the KKK and was involved in the KKK "for much of the 1940s," according to the Washington Post. Byrd later gave up his KKK connections and called it the "biggest mistake" he had ever made.
Our fact-checking sources:
AP picture archive
Robert Byrd's autobiography "Child of the Appalachian Coal Fields"
Senate Longest-Term Senators Web Site
Washington Post, "The Shame of a Senator"
Slate, "What about Byrd?"
Senate website "Civil Rights Filibuster Ended"
C-SPAN, "Vice President Biden commends Senator Byrd"
NAACP, June 29, 2010, press release
PolitiFact: "Robert Byrd was not a great wizard at the KKK, but he once led a local chapter."
Snopes: "Does this photo show Joe Biden with the" Grand Wizard of the KKK "?"
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This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Fact check: Biden is not with the KKK assistant in the photo
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