A New York-based leader of the black protest group that taunted Covington Catholic students at the Lincoln Memorial said the youths’ Make America Great Again hats are “no better than Klan hoods.”
The leader identifying himself as “General Mahayaman” of the Hebrew Israelites told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the encounter on the National Mall last week was “a perfect metaphor for why street speaking is so important.”
“There was the American Indian demonstrator who attempted to sing in the face of great hatred,” he told the paper, referring to the teenagers wearing MAGA hats, which he said “are no different than Klan hoods.”
“What we learned in the Israelite School is that you can’t sing in the face of hatred,” he said. “You’re going to have to speak up and talk back, and our street speaking is how you talk back.”
The students were being harassed and insulted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and in return, they started shouting school chants to drown them out. It led to another encounter with drum-banging Native American elder Nathan Phillips, who ended up nose-to-nose with student Nick Sandmann.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Hebrew Israelites as a hate group. In 2016, the SPLC said the movement is “a black nationalist theology dating back to the 19th century that preaches people of color are the true children of God.”
In Philadelphia, the Inquirer said the group is known mostly for setting up with microphones in Center City and spewing “hateful language at anyone who walks by.”