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KKK Photo Removed from Fair Amid Controversy
XENIA -- The Greene County Fair is getting national attention after awarding a blue ribbon to a photograph of a KKK rally.
Hundreds of photographs and antiques are displayed inside the Mercantile Building at the Greene County Fair. Dozens are adorned with blue ribbons, but if you look hard enough you'll notice one is missing.
Amongst the 'antique person or group photo' entries the first place winner has been pulled from its shiny display case.
The photo in question is a 1924 photograph of a Dayton Klu Klux Klan rally complete with burning crosses in the background.
Fair organizers say they allow the people who are entering photos to use their own judgment on what is appropriate for display, while one person judges each category. But a complaint after the picture was awarded a top prize got the attention of the fair board.
"Some people thought it was offensive and we did remove it and we took the first place from it. It was one person's opinion and he could've been looking at the artistic thing," Fair Director Jeff Barr told us Wednesday.
But does the content overshadow the art?
"The fair is a place for fun and family. It's not a place to have all these discussions and to offend people," Barr explained passionately.
But not everyone agrees with the fair's decision.
The ACLU of Ohio released a statement today regarding the incident.:
"Instead of shielding the photograph from public view, fair officials should have seized this opportunity to spark discussion around the often painful history of racial discrimination in our nation," the ACLU statement reads.
"It is controversial but if it's just a contest on photographs why not submit it?" Kathy Mclees of Xenia said after seeing the photo for the first time.
Dennis Stone of Xenia said it was appropriate to pull the photo from the collection.
"It might minimize controversy," Stone said. "But to have it up there is a sure reminder that things haven't changed."
Fair organizers say they will re-examine the submission process for next year.
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