NAACP meeting with KKK in Wyoming believed a first

By the Associated Press | September 3, 2013 | 7:35 PM EDT

Jimmy Simmons, left, president of the NAACP Casper branch, listens to John Abarr, a kleagle of the United Klans of America out of Great Falls, Mont., on Saturday night, Aug. 31, 2013 during a meeting at the Parkway Plaza hotel in Casper, Wyo. Simmons spent several months attempting to organize the meeting due to concerns about reports of violence against black men and Ku Klux Klan pamphleting in Gillette, Wyo. The gathering, which took place in private under heavy security, was the first formal meeting between Klan and NAACP representatives that either side was aware of. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A meeting between a Wyoming chapter of the NAACP and an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan is believed to be the first of its kind.

The Casper Star-Tribune ( ) reports that the meeting between Casper NAACP President Jimmy Simmons and John Abarr, a KKK organizer from Great Falls, Mont., took place at a Casper hotel over the weekend.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the United Klans of America said Tuesday that the meeting is a first.

Simmons asked for the meeting following reports that KKK literature was being distributed in Gillette, about 130 miles north of Casper.

Abarr said he knows nothing about the literature or any beatings.

After the meeting, Abarr applied for membership to the Casper NAACP. But Abarr says nobody from the NAACP was asked to join the KKK because members have to be white.