Leith, N.D., with a population of only 16, has been in sharp decline for years. While the economy of much of North Dakota has grown because of the recent oil boom, Leith has not experienced the same positive effects as the rest of the state. So why is one man purchasing loads of land throughout the town? It sounds crazy, but it’s all part of a plot to create a white supremacist enclave there.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a tracker of hate groups both on- and offline, self-described white supremacist and neo-Nazi Paul Craig Cobb has been purchasing land in the town, hoping to establish a white supremacist enclave in the area. Connecting with other neo-Nazis through the Internet, Cobb, 61, has encouraged like-minded white supremacists to hop on the bandwagon.
“Been waiting quite a few months to spring this. Now is the time,” Cobb wrote on the Vanguard News Network. Encouraging other white supremacists to settle in the town, Cobb touted Leith’s benefits to potential neo-Nazi neighbors. “There is water, electricity, satellite internet via Hughes at $50 per month, satellite TV from at least 3 companies, trailers, 5th wheels, campers legal, car [insurance] as little as $141 for 6 months and most importantly -- a surfeit of very good paying jobs in two different cities within normal commutable distances,” he wrote.
Grant County, encompassing Leith, is already 97 percent white (while North Dakota is 90 percent white), making it appear to be an ideal place for such a colony to spring up. Cobb doesn’t just want to live around fellow white supremacists, however. He wants them to control the local government, as well.
However, longtime residents of Leith have no desire to see their small town fall under the control of white supremacists. “We need people from across the state to come alongside of us and show support that they don’t believe in what this guy is doing,” Lee Cook, a Leith City Council member, told the Bismarck Tribune last week. “There are a lot of people who could speak up. It’s not tricky. Silence, to me, means that whatever he’s doing is OK.”