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Ku Klux Klan


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 10:24 AM

At the end of the American Civil War radical members of Congress attempted to destroy the white power structure of the Rebel states. The Freeman's Bureau was established by Congress on 3rd March, 1865. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In the year that followed the bureau spent $17,000,000 establishing 4,000 schools, 100 hospitals and providing homes and food for former slaves.

Attempts by Congress to extend the powers of the Freemen's Bureau was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson in February, 1866. In April 1866, Johnson also vetoed the Civil Rights Bill that was designed to protect freed slaves from Southern Black Codes (laws that placed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working in certain occupations).

The election of 1866 increased the number of Radical Republicans in Congress. The following year Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act. The South was now divided into five military districts, each under a major general. New elections were to be held in each state with freed male slaves being allowed to vote. The act also included an amendment that offered readmission to the Southern states after they had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and guaranteed adult male suffrage. Johnson immediately vetoed the bill but Congress re-passed the bill the same day.

The first branch of the Ku Klux Klan was established in Pulaski, Tennessee, in May, 1866. A year later a general organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in April, 1867. Most of the leaders were former members of the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard was Nathan Forrest, an outstanding general during the American Civil War. During the next two years Klansmen wearing masks, white cardboard hats and draped in white sheets, tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites. Immigrants, who they blamed for the election of Radical Republicans, were also targets of their hatred. Between 1868 and 1870 the Ku Klux Klan played an important role in restoring white rule in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

At first the main objective of white supremacy organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Brotherhood, the Men of Justice, the Constitutional Union Guards and the Knights of the White Camelia was to stop black people from voting. After white governments had been established in the South the Ku Klux Klan continued to undermine the power of blacks. Successful black businessmen were attacked and any attempt to form black protection groups such as trade unions was quickly dealt with.

Radical Republicans in Congress such as Benjamin Butler urged President Ulysses S. Grant to take action against the Ku Klux Klan. In 1870 he instigated an investigation into the organization and the following year a Grand Jury reported that: "There has existed since 1868, in many counties of the state, an organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire of the South, which embraces in its membership a large proportion of the white population of every profession and class. The Klan has a constitution and bylaws, which provides, among other things, that each member shall furnish himself with a pistol, a Ku Klux gown and a signal instrument. The operations of the Klan are executed in the night and are invariably directed against members of the Republican Party. The Klan is inflicting summary vengeance on the colored citizens of these citizens by breaking into their houses at the dead of night, dragging them from their beds, torturing them in the most inhuman manner, and in many instances murdering."

Congress passed the Ku Klux Act and it became law on 20th April, 1871. This gave the president the power to intervene in troubled states with the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in countries where disturbances occurred. However, because its objective of white supremacy in the South had been achieved, the organization practically disappeared.

The Ku Klux Klan was reformed in 1915 by William J. Simmons, a preacher influenced by Thomas Dixon's book, The Ku Klux Klan (1905) and the film of the book, Birth of a Nation, directed by D.W. Griffith.

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) became the main opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. To show that the members of the organization would not be intimidated, it held its 1920 annual conference in Atlanta, considered at the time to be one of the most active Ku Klux Klan areas in America.

After the First World War the Ku Klux Klan also became extremely hostile to Jews, Roman Catholics, socialists, communists and anybody they identified as foreigners.

In November 1922 Hiram W. Evans became the Klan's Imperial Wizard. Under his leadership the organization grew rapidly and in the 1920s Klansmen were elected to positions of political power. This included state officials in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Oregon and Maine. By 1925 membership reached 4,000,000. Even on the rare occasions they were arrested for serious crimes, Klansmen were unlikely to be convicted by local Southern juries.

After the conviction of the Klan leader, David C. Stephenson, for second-degree murder, and evidence of corruption by other members such as the governor of Indiana and the mayor of Indianapolis, membership fell to around 30,000. This trend continued during the Great Depression and the Second World War and in 1944 the organization. was disbanded.

In the 1950s the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement resulted in a revival in Ku Klux Klan organizations. The most of important of these was the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan led by Robert Shelton. In the Deep South considerable pressure was put on blacks by klansmen not to vote. An example of this was the state of Mississippi. By 1960, 42% of the population were black but only 2% were registered to vote. Lynching was still employed as a method of terrorizing the local black population.

On Sunday, 15th September, 1963, a white man was seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car and placing a box under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Soon afterwards, at 10.22 a.m., the bomb exploded killing Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14). The four girls had been attending Sunday school classes at the church. Twenty-three other people were also hurt by the blast.

A witness identified Robert Chambliss, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, as the man who placed the bomb under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. He was arrested and charged with murder and possessing a box of 122 sticks of dynamite without a permit. On 8th October, 1963, Chambliss was found not guilty of murder and received a hundred-dollar fine and a six-month jail sentence for having the dynamite.

In 1964 the NAACP, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized its Freedom Summer campaign. Its main objective was to try an end the political disenfranchisement of African Americans in the Deep South. Volunteers from the three organizations decided to concentrate its efforts in Mississippi. The three organizations established 30 Freedom Schools in towns throughout Mississippi. Volunteers taught in the schools and the curriculum now included black history, the philosophy of the civil rights movement. During the summer of 1964 over 3,000 students attended these schools and the experiment provided a model for future educational programs such as Head Start.

Freedom Schools were often targets of white mobs. So also were the homes of local African Americans involved in the campaign. That summer 30 black homes and 37 black churches were firebombed. Over 80 volunteers were beaten by white mobs or racist police officers and three men, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan on 21st June, 1964. These deaths created nation-wide publicity for the campaign.

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing was unsolved until Bill Baxley was elected attorney general of Alabama. He requested the original Federal Bureau of Investigation files on the case and discovered that the organization had accumulated a great deal of evidence against Chambliss that had not been used in the original trial. In November, 1977 Chambliss was tried once again for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. Now aged 73, Chambliss was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1981 the trial of Josephus Andersonan, an African American charged with the murder of a white policeman, took place in Mobile. At the end of the case the jury was unable to reach a verdict. This upset members of the local Ku Klux Klan who believed that the reason for this was that some members of the jury were African Americans. At a meeting held after the trial, Bennie Hays, the second-highest ranking official in the Klan in Alabama said: "If a black man can get away with killing a white man, we ought to be able to get away with killing a black man."

On Saturday 21st March, 1981, Bennie Hays's son, Henry Hays, and James Knowles, decided they would get revenge for the failure of the courts to convict the man for killing a policeman. They travelled around Mobile in their car until they found nineteen year old Michael Donald walking home. After forcing him into the car Donald was taken into the next county where he was lynched.

A brief investigation took place and eventually the local police claimed that Donald had been murdered as a result of a disagreement over a drugs deal. Donald's mother, Beulah Mae Donald, who knew that her son was not involved with drugs, was determined to obtain justice. She contacted Jessie Jackson who came to Mobile and led a protest march about the failed police investigation.

Thomas Figures, the assistant United States attorney in Mobile, managed to persuade the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to look into the case. James Bodman was sent to Mobile and it did not take him long to persuade James Knowles to confess to the killing of Michael Donald.

In June 1983, Knowles was found guilty of violating Donald's civil rights and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Six months later, when Henry Hays was tried for murder, Knowles appeared as chief prosecution witness. Hays was found guilty and sentenced to death.

With the support of Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin at the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), Beulah Mae Donald decided that she would use this case to try and destroy the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. Her civil suit against the United Klans of America took place in February 1987. The all-white jury found the Klan responsible for the lynching of Michael Donald and ordered it to pay 7 million dollars. This resulted the Klan having to hand over all its assets including its national headquarters in Tuscaloosa.

After a long-drawn out legal struggle, Henry Hayes was executed on 6th June, 1997. It was the first time a white man had been executed for a crime against an African American since 1913.

On 17th May, 2000, the FBI announced that the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing had been carried out by the Ku Klux Klan splinter group, the Cahaba Boys. It was claimed that four men, Robert Chambliss, Herman Cash, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Cherry had been responsible for the crime. Cash was dead but Blanton and Cherry were arrested. In May 2002 the 71 year old Bobby Cherry was convicted of the murder of Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley and was sentenced to life in prison.

http://www.spartacus...o.uk/USAkkk.htm

#2 John Dolva

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 04:02 AM

There was an element of 'prankishness' in the formation of the KKK. However, they were and proved themselves to be quite serious.

The trigger for the second coming of the KKK in 1915 was the screening of 'Birth of a Nation' held by the President in the White House.

The fall of that era, (after which of course they did not disband, but merely does what it does in the 'off period') was the 'second degree' murder by the leader. Interestingly, the Klan which rode high on righteousness in supperessing the inferior races was led by this murderer who was convicted of a crime which included the rape and torture of a single young woman during a trainride.

The murder of Emmett Till (in early 1950's, sparking a series of events that in conjunction with others set the stage for the modern civil rights movement.) showed the nation that it was Business as Usual.

The murder of civil rights workers, black and white, the brutal treatment of prisoners and demonstrators, black and white, the assassination of Medgar Evers, Ole Miss, the freedom riders, etc etc etc etc etc.... showed that in the early sixties there was no letup. This was war.

The assassination of Kennedy and the aftermath of the rise of the 'no nonsense FU' african american both in arming themselves and in speaking out, heavily clamped the White Supremacists.

Today the KKK continues to terrorise and kill, now the more moderate elements rely on 'flooding', where they identify 'problem areas' and do a heavy presence thing with leafleting and meetings. Other elements pull uppitty blacks chained behind piuckup trucks up and down the road.

Business as usual.

#3 John Dolva

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 09:54 AM

A start of a list of links of varying degrees of importance/ significance to KKK reearchers

http://www.press.uil...tucker/ch4.html
http://www.nationali...law/action.html
http://www.skinheadz...002/sep/88.html

#4 Len Colby

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for that Dan!

I haven't finished reading through it but much of it jibes with Larry's research.


The Ku Klux Klan was reformed in 1915 by William J. Simmons, a preacher influenced by Thomas Dixon's book, The Ku Klux Klan (1905) and the film of the book, Birth of a Nation, directed by D.W. Griffith.


John Dolva post #2

The trigger for the second coming of the KKK in 1915 was the screening of 'Birth of a Nation' held by the President in the White House.


The president of the time was Woodrow Wilson who though a progressive on most issues was diehard racist. Until he was president there was limited integration in federal civil service but he brought an end to that forcing many blacks out of their jobs and pushing the rest into segregated workplaces.

#5 Larry Hancock

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:54 PM

And I need to point out that Dan was very likely into this topic long before Stu and I arrived to study it in the context of the plots against MLK.

As a side note to this article, its worth noting that the intensive Mississippi Burning FBI initiative i(an initiative Hoover was literally forced into by the President) was effective and eventually did fully root out the people behind the Neshoba country murders and neutered much of the network behind them. However, another brutal murder of a black military officer in Georgia was never solved nor was the network there "busted". The effectiveness of the full court FBI press in Mississippi testifies to a huge amount of manpower and effort, including some local law enforcement who jumped in after they themselves were targeted for murder by the White Knights. I'd recommend Don Whitehead's Attack on Terror for anyone who would really like to study the subject.

-- Larry

#6 John Dolva

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:34 PM

I don't think it M3 (diitto Evers, Till) was 'fully rooted out' nor successfully prosecuted nor the various body parts found during the search fully explored.

re cointelpro

Attached File  COINTELPRO.jpg   28.71KB   3 downloads

#7 Larry Hancock

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 07:12 PM

John, as to the "fully rooted out", that was indeed an overstatement but I would say the details of the MIBIURN files I've seen and especially other details of the extensive informant files developed by the MIBURN initiative do identify a great number of members of the network involved in those crimes- although only a portion of them were successfully prosecuted. But the tremendous escalation in number of informants certainly did handicap them. In AGOG we note information about secret burial sites Alabama and Mississippi and networks of people like parts truck drivers who shuffled weapons and explosives around a mufti-state area while doing their "day jobs"..

I certainly don't want to make it sound like a total success as even some of the White Knight inner circle members stayed operational to a certain extent but Bowers successor was nothing like Bowers and the organization as a whole was never the same again.

Which of course doesn't mean that their beliefs changed or their cause went away - after some of the key Swift people founded Aryan Nations - and it goes on and on...

#8 Len Colby

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 02:04 PM


I haven't finished reading through it but much of it jibes with Larry's research.

You've read Larry's research?

Tell us about it.


Don’t be dickish Danny Dunn, Larry has be more than willing to share his findings with us.

http://educationforu...showtopic=19118

#9 John Dolva

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:56 PM

John, as to the "fully rooted out", that was indeed an overstatement but I would say the details of the MIBIURN files I've seen and especially other details of the extensive informant files developed by the MIBURN initiative do identify a great number of members of the network involved in those crimes- although only a portion of them were successfully prosecuted. But the tremendous escalation in number of informants certainly did handicap them. In AGOG we note information about secret burial sites Alabama and Mississippi and networks of people like parts truck drivers who shuffled weapons and explosives around a mufti-state area while doing their "day jobs"..

I certainly don't want to make it sound like a total success as even some of the White Knight inner circle members stayed operational to a certain extent but Bowers successor was nothing like Bowers and the organization as a whole was never the same again.

Which of course doesn't mean that their beliefs changed or their cause went away - after some of the key Swift people founded Aryan Nations - and it goes on and on...


Thanks for that Larry. I'd like to know more about this AGOG. Caan you tell more or link to where the best source of info to it is. please?

The second part of the post is a bar graph I put together some years ago out of the info I could find. The point being to see clearly what the focus of COINTELPRO in toto was. I find the disparities being the context in which to evaluate the weight of FBI efforts.

People like Government officials and Gen Walker publibly offereing support to Beckwith and the likelyhood of the MSC keeping tabs on the M3 and feeding that info to their killers who included law officers is just one example of the wideranging systemic nature of the expression of racism. Imo it is absolutely correct ''...and so it goes on and on.''.

Have you looked in to Allen Dulles role in this?

#10 Larry Hancock

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:53 PM

John, as to your first question, AGOG is the result of Stu and I revisiting the MLK assassination - it begins with our inquiry into a host of documents, many not collected into the MURKIN headquarters file, about a series of plots and planned attacks against Dr. King. It goes on to examine the people and network behind that and the possibility that elements of it were connected to the murder in Memphis. You can see the details at the book web site:

http://www.theawfulgraceofgod.com/

We do explore the broader scope of Cointelpro in the book although its certainly not the focus; we also detail the dramatic escalation of domestic military intelligence activities during the period as well as CHAOS. I would certainly agree that Cointelpro White Hate was only a part of the picture and not nearly as pervasive as the complex of government activities spanning the gamut from white hate through black hate to the anti war movement. There are some very good books on the subject, but I doubt a great many people have read them - one of the most revealing for me was James Davis's Spying on America / The FBI's Domestic Intelligence Program.

As to Dulles's role, the answer would be not that much, on the other hand I've taken more of a look at Angleton's role and covered some of that in Nexus; of course at times it gets really hard to separate Angleton's official role from all his vest pocket agenda's and activities.

-- Larry

#11 John Dolva

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:09 AM

Thank you, Larry.

I find the MilInt angle an interesting one. I note there have been a number of posts on this re JFK lately. I look forward to reading more.

Interesting comment on Angleton.

-------------

re Dulles. His role in ccivil rights is a bit obscure. It seems to me he had a prior relationship with segregationists (MSC Files) and was sent by Johnson to oversee matters in Mississippi re M#.

In the MSC files there are a number of documents about distrust of the FBI while various ex FBI members (incl. Zack Van Landringham, ex Hoover assistant) were MSC investigators.

------------

Do you know what happened to Mississippi Highway Patrol Col. Birdsong?

#12 Larry Hancock

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:58 AM

John, we do include an appendix in AGOG where we write about the military intelligence context at some length, especially about the role of the 114th MIG group. That stuff was quite mysterious for a long time but there have been some very good historical studies about the growth of the domestic mil intel program, not only in response to antiwar activities but also given the tasking of the military in response to the major urban riots and protests starting in the middle of the decade. Like the FBI domestic programs, its strong stuff - and having lived through it, I can say virtually nobody had the least comprehension of the weight of resources that were brought into play.

As to Dulles, its fascinating but as I recall, actually RFK requested that he do some survey work in the south in regard to the civil rights situation and he did prepare a report. Quite amazing that RFK would call on him, at least to me.

On a side note, in regard to the FBI, the FBI eventually generated an actual report for the State of Mississippi showing how many state and local law enforcement officers were active Klan members....a very long and scary list.

As to Birdsong, the name is familiar but I can't bring up any recollection of what happened with him eventually.

-- Larry

#13 John Dolva

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:01 PM

Just on Birdsong. (Lots of interesting stuff in your post to ponder) for now:

bird9
bird8
bird7
bird6
bird5
bird4
bird3
bird2
birdsong1

#14 Larry Hancock

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:30 PM

John, some very interesting links - anyone doing serious reading on this subject will find that Birdsong and his Highway Patrol units were actually functioning more as a state Army than anything else, they could be brought in essentially as a special action force independent of local law enforcement and in several instances were used in just that way. I imagine it is surprising for many readers today to find a highway patrol force being used as they were.....and Birdsong did indeed act much more like a military commander.

Apart from essentially paramilitary deployment of the highway patrol, the following from one of your links is even more surprising:

"An example: Some collegians and two of their teachers got off a bus on July 5, 1961, in the semitropical antebellum river town of Natchez, which is in the southwestern corner of Mississippi, sitting on great bluffs, at a bend in the river. Billy had been sheriff of Adams County a year and a half then. The students and their two faculty chaperones were from Adelphi College in New York, and they were traveling on an interstate carrier out of New Orleans. From nearly the moment they stepped into the Trailways bus terminal at 5 p.m., they were watched. Even though Natchez was a tourist town, famous for its plantation "pilgrimages," site of the South's oldest slave-owning cotton aristocracy, they would have been watched: They were suspiciously young, traveling in a group, northern accents. But even more so in this case, since right away they'd begun asking impertinent questions about the terminal's segregated waiting rooms. That evening, Sheriff Billy Ferrell sent a Teletype under his special teletypewriter number, NTZ-44. He sent it to General T. B. Birdsong, commander of the Mississippi Highway Patrol (he used to be a colonel, but now he was a general), and also to the director of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which was a state-sponsored and tax-supported agency whose charter was to spy on the civil rights movement. The Sov-Com was based in Jackson, the capital city, two and a half hours away. this afternoon on a bus from new orleans la seven white males and females combined entered this city and county. . . . these subjects have been constantly under surveillance since their arrival by officers this department. they have mailed two letters since their arrival. It was clear from the wire and from typed reports written in subsequent days by investigators of the Sov-Com that the desk clerk at the Eola Hotel had listened in on the group's phone calls and had reported to the sheriff. It was clear the postmaster was in on it, and so, too, the editor of the local newspaper, with whom the travelers naively thought they might arrange an appointment. subjects told desk clerk at local hotel that they was exchange students touring the country to find out all local customs prior to their shipment to overseas countries, the wire said. The authorities in Jackson wired back to Billy: ok will advise all consern. The collegians and their teachers left town on a bus the next morning. They were headed toward Little Rock, Arkansas, via Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was known they intended to stay at either the Albert Pike or the Marion Hotel in Little Rock. The constabularies up there would be alerted that a Barbara Wexler (w/f, address 14 grange lane, levittown, new york) and a Gail Yenkinson (w/fm, same add) and an Emilio Rivera (same add and supposed to be a proffessor at this college), along with the others, were on their nosy way."

Stu and I ran across highway patrol intelligence activities all over the place - and the extent to which they had networked not only local law enforcement but others as described in the above excerpt is frightening. We live in a time when there is a lot of fear of federal intelligence collection but I can tell you that state and even local community intelligence networks can be equally invasive and when they do it there is nobody to turn to and absolutely no oversight. As a further example, one related to Memphis, in AGOG we explore an incident where a Mississippi Democratic Freedom party meeting was penetrated by intelligence informants from the Highway Patrol, the FBI, and from a Congressional committee. It became clear that the highway patrol had informants in a number of black political organizations (but didn't care about the Klan), that could be said for the Congressional committee as well. What could be said at least was that the FBI had informants in both the black groups and the Klan.

And of those three groups, it was the Congressional committee head who again and again proved to be putting a massive, sensational spin on the informant information - in some cases far worse than Director Hoover, whose agents had to investigate and deconstruct the Congressional statements. When you have that sort of thing going on it shows you are really in big trouble.

-- Larry

#15 Len Colby

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:43 PM

Larry (or Stu),

Can you tell us more about the congressional committee, name, chairman, members etc.?



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