For the past 16 years, he has worked on a project that documents the beliefs and growth of the Ku Klux Klan during the 21st century. The project is called "Passing the Torch" and is named after a picture from the collection that shows a father holding his son and giving him a lit cross. I was shocked by images and audio clips depicting the practices of the KKK. One of the main focuses of the slide show was the children, who were actually watching or even taking part in some of the KKK ceremonies.
To me, the most impressive fact about the slide show was that the pictures shown were of Bates's own research; he actually had to go in and talk to white supremacists and KKK leaders. What most shocked me about the presentation was that the KKK were even still around. I'd assumed that, since the civil rights movement succeeded, they had accepted defeat and just died out. There were still active members of those communities, and they have the exact same mindset that they did 50 years ago, believing in killing African Americans under the pretense that it was for a greater cause. However, this does not apply to all members; some developed a different belief and left the group, which I found relieving because it restored some of my faith in humanity. I still remain optimistic that one day racism will be a thing of the past, and we, as African Americans, can truly be free.