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The FBI, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and the Decline of Ku Klux Klan Organizations in Mississippi, 1964-1971

Mississippi Historical Review, (forthcoming, 2004)

www.geocities.com/drabbs/Mississippishosho.doc

Introduction

In September 1964, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a highly secretive and extralegal counterintelligence program, known as "COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE." This covert action program sought to "expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize" Ku Klux Klan groups, whose violent vigilante activities had begun to alarm the nation, and with it, the national government.[1] This article will assess that program's effect on Klan groups in Mississippi, between 1964 and 1971, when the program was exposed. [2] In doing so, it will add an entirely new dimension to the question of how and why an important change in race relations came to one state in the American South during this period.

A number of scholars have dealt with the question of how and why black demands for civil rights succeeded during this period. Historian Michael J. Klarman, for one, has described how the Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education school desegregation decision spurred elected officials in the American South to defy federal authority and sanction suppression of civil rights demonstrations by police. He argued that televised images of police brutality created a "wave of indignation" among "northern whites," and that this northern constituency spurred Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to push through civil rights legislation, thereby bringing changes to race relations to the region.[3]

Klarman's thesis is provocative, but since he limited his explication to conflicts in Birmingham and Selma Alabama, its applicability to other civil rights issues, in other states, is open to question. To explain change in Mississippi, for example, his thesis is not enough. For here, national indignation focused less on desegregation marchers and police brutality, than Ku Klux Klan attacks against voting registration activists and black residents who sought to exercise the right to vote. A comprehensive account of changed race relations in the American South, then, must also explain how and why vigilante violence abated during the 1960s.

Michal Belknap has provided one answer to this question. A legal scholar, Belknap argued that white southern officials and local citizens, not federal legislators, were primarily responsible for suppressing vigilante violence in the region. As Klansmen targeted civil rights activists with bombs, arson, assault, and murder during the early 1960s, he argued, Southern public officials began to view vigilantism as a serious problem. By the middle of the decade, Belknap concluded, Southern juries began to prosecute and convict the Klan vigilantes whom, only a few years previously, had helped to maintain the white supremacist social order.[4]

Belknap also pointed out, however, that the Justice Department provided evidence to state and federal prosecutors, for use in southern courtrooms. This evidence, moreover, came from FBI intelligence operations. Indeed, FBI agents and informants often provided crucial testimony on the witness stand.[5] COINTELPRO White-Hate worked in tandem with FBI intelligence-gathering and prosecutions in the courts, but Belknap, who was primarily interested in explaining the legal and constitutional aspects of change, did not probe deeply into the actual effects of extralegal tactics.

The only historian to address COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE was Kenneth O'Reilly. The thrust of his work, however, sought to answer the question of how and why the FBI refused to protect civil rights activists from police brutality and vigilante violence.[6] O'Reilly compared COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE with the FBI's other covert action programs that targeted civil rights and Black Nationalist organizations. He characterized the former as a "limited war," a "sideshow" to the real war against black aspirations.[7] O'Reilly, policy analyst William Keller, and historian Richard Gid Powers, have discussed the origin of COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE, and described its orientation.[8] Other observers have provided anecdotal accounts of operational tactics.[9] Sociologist Evelyn Rich has provided the most concrete, if brief assessment, highlighting a few important COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE accomplishments in one chapter of her Ph.D. dissertation.[10] The FBI's official history of its "War on the Klan" in Mississippi and a number of informant memoirs, while illuminating, tell only part of the story. They focus on the aggressive efforts of FBI agents and informants to solve Klan crimes, and bring the culprits to justice.[11] Journalist Jack Nelson's book, on the suppression of Anti-Semitic violence in Jackson Mississippi, during 1967-1968, also ignores COINTELPRO.[12]

Of those scholars who address the question of COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE's effect, David Chalmers, in history of the KKK, called the operations "successful."[13] Klan observers John George and Laird Wilcox judged COINTELPRO to be "probably the most significant factor" in the decline of Klan groups during the late 1960s.[14] William Keller concluded that "the FBI worked against the Klan after 1964 with devastating efficiency," and that "there is no doubt as to the effectiveness of the [COINTELPRO] program in disrupting and disintegrating the Klan."[15] None of these scholars, however, try to prove their assertions through a comprehensive analysis of COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE operation documents.

To begin this process, I have chosen to trace systematically each documented covert operation used by the FBI against Klan groups and Klansmen in Mississippi, to assess their effects. My research is based primarily upon the COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE file.[16] I also use documents from the MIBURN file, an investigation of the murder of three civil rights activists in Neshoba County in June 1964, as well as FBI intelligence files I obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.[17] Additional conclusions are drawn from white supremacist publications I acquired from a number of archival collections.[18]

The COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE operation endeavored to expose and disrupt Klan activities, cause disillusionment, and create factional splits within Klan organizations. It aimed to increase animosity and factional activities among Klansmen, and cause expulsions and defections from the Klans.[19] A careful reading of these sources indicates that COINTELPRO-White Hate operations aggravated factionalism in Mississippi, contributing to the splintering of Mississippi's Klan organizations. They discredited high-ranking Klan officers, many of whom were purged or quit. They brought about resignation, frustration and fear among rank and file Klan members, which, in turn, brought about drastic reductions in the membership rolls and the concurrent disbanding of most of the local Klan units in the state. In combination with criminal prosecutions, this article concludes, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE vitiated all of the KKK organizations that operated in Mississippi.

COINTELPRO-White Hate, then, met its goal. This success, however, also had an unintended consequence. Once the remaining hard core Klansmen realized that they had failed to preserve white supremacy, they began to infuse Klan ideology with the revolutionary discourses of vociferous anti-Semitism and Christian Identity theology.[20] Due to the success of the FBI's anti-Klan effort, the racist right in Mississippi came to see the Federal Bureau of Investigation as one of their primary enemies. During the 1970s, some Mississippi Klansmen would embrace neo-Nazism, Christian Identity, paramilitarization and anti-Federal government rhetoric. They made alliances with racists of different ideological stripes, and joined the revolutionary "white power" movement.[21]

The FBI versus Ku Klux Klan groups in Mississippi, 1964-1968.

Although Ku Klux Klan vigilantes had played an important role in thwarting Reconstruction, the Second KKK never prospered in Mississippi. Indeed, between 1915 and 1944, Mississippi had the smallest Klan membership of any southern State.[22] After World War II, and even after Brown, there remained little need for organized Klan activity in Mississippi, because the State government and the White Citizens' Councils were able to prevent integration.[23] According to Neil McMillan the Councils were "instrumental in creating" what James W. Silver called a 'hyperorthodox social order'" during this period.[24] Indeed, Mississippi managed to delay the integration of public schools until September 1964, when some public officials and the last remaining Councilors began to acquiesce in the face of threats to business development and the withdrawal of federal aid.[25] Even after the Civil Rights Act and the creation of "freedom of choice" plans, the system merely changed from dejure to defacto segregation. In 1968, Mississippi remained the most segregated of all Southern states.[26] By the time that the Supreme Court ordered thirty Mississippi school districts to eliminate separate schools in October 1969, Klan violence had already declined significantly.[27]

The school desegregation issue, moreover, was not the only issue that fostered a solid front of massive resistance and an increase in vigilante violence during the 1950s and early 1960s. In Yazoo City, Vicksburg, Columbus, Natchez, Jackson and Amite County, Mississippi, during 1954, black activists who attempted to register blacks to vote received death threats. In Belonzi, Mississippi, NAACP president Gus Courts was nearly killed by a shotgun blast, and NAACP activist Rev. George W. Lee was shot and killed. Lamar Smith, a voting rights activist from Brookhaven, was shot and killed in front of the courthouse.[28]

The most brutal type of violence, however, was reserved for blacks who violated the sexual code of white supremacist society. Two men kidnapped 14 year old Emmett Till in August 1955, after he made a suggestive comment to a white woman. They beat him beyond recognition before shooting him in the head, killing him.[29] An all white jury acquitted them. In 1959, a mob lynched Mack Charles Parker, accused of raping a white woman, in Poplarville Mississippi. Concerned about the State's image, moderate Governor James Coleman called in the FBI. An aggressive FBI investigation ensured that State authorities would prevent mob-style lynching from occurring ever again. Yet because FBI agents harassed and threatened suspected participants to wrest confessions, Mississippi press reports of "iron curtain tactics" became a useful electoral issue for Ross Barnett.[30] To supplement Klarman's backlash thesis, then, moderation became a lost cause in Mississippi because of an aggressive FBI lynching investigation as well as outrage at the Supreme Court's desegregation ruling.

Until the mid-1960s, many Mississippi residents condoned or encouraged police brutality, as well as extra-legal vigilante violence, when employed against black activists. Moreover, since all branches of the federal government were reluctant to assume responsibility for protecting civil rights workers, such violence accelerated even as massive resistance crumbled.[31] Sixty-two incidents of racist violence took place in Mississippi between summer 1961 and the end of 1963. In April 1960, Biloxi a white mob rioted in response to efforts to desegregate beaches in Biloxi. After police withdrew, shootings, a firebombing and the murder of two black teenagers were perpetrated.[32] Most outrageous, were the 1961 killing of voting rights activist Herbert Lee and a witness to that murder named Louis Allen, as well as the 1963 ambush-murder of NAACP field representative Medgar Evers. Despite the fact that the FBI developed ballistic and fingerprint evidence in the Evers murder, Citizen Council activist Byron De La Beckwith's trials resulted in hung juries.[33] According to contemporary newspaper accounts, Beckwith's jailers "treated him like a hero." [34] Leading businessmen and professionals covered his trial expenses, and State Governor Ross Barnett gave him moral support.[35]

With the integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962, however, the power of the Citizens' Councils "deflated overnight."[36] Shortly afterward, Louisiana Klan leader J. D. Swenson organized an Original Knights unit in Natchez Mississippi. Together with Louisiana Grand Dragon Royal V. Young, he appointed Douglas A. Byrd to the position of Grand Dragon of Mississippi. One hundred fifty to three hundred Mississippi residents joined the Swenson-Young Klan group, but in December 1963, dissension over profits earned from the sale of Klan robes culminated in a factional split, and Swenson expelled Mississippi officers Douglas Byrd and E. L. McDaniel.[37] That same month, Congress of Federated Organizations (COFO) organizer John Lewis declared that a coalition of civil rights groups intended to create a crisis the following summer, to register black voters, and force the federal government to respond to vigilante violence in Mississippi. Politicians and journalists reacted furiously, raising the specter of Communist agitators and subversives. As the state legislature introduced bills outlawing picketing, leaflet distribution, freedom schools, and other anti-Summer Project legislation, civil rights organizations, prominent academicians and law professors urged the President to provide protection. The FBI investigated civil rights groups, finding no evidence of communist infiltration. Justice Department reacted quietly, persuading influential journalists to write stories about the impending crisis, contacting state politicians, and borrowing agents from the Organized Crime Unit to collect intelligence.[38]

Two months later, two hundred former members of the Original Knights met at Brookhaven Mississippi, and formed the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi.[39] In the context of Beckwith's trial, growing support for a Civil Rights Bill in Washington, as well as the imminent probability that the federal courts would force Mississippi to desegregate its publics, more than 5000 Mississippi residents signed up with the organization over the next four months. Frustrated at the inability of the Citizens Councils to drive COFO out of Mississippi, some of the more militant segregationists embraced vigilantism as the only remaining bulwark that might preserve white supremacy.[40]

On January 31, 1964 someone shot Louis Allen, an independent black logger in Amite County, who had endured economic harassment and police violence after talking to Justice Department authorities about the murder of Herbert Lee, killing him almost instantly. No one was ever charged with his murder. In Pike County, whites fired into two black businesses and two homes earlier that month, wounding a teenaged boy. In the spring Klansmen bombed a barbershop owned by McComb Mississippi NAACP activist C. C. Bryant. In the Adams County seat of Natchez (pop 25,000), an industrializing city with a 42 percent black population, Klan recruiter E. L. McDaniel organized a Klavern composed of white factory workers. Members of this Klan unit flogged Alfred Whitley, a janitor at the Armstrong Rubber Company, as well as Archie Curtis, chairman of the Natchez Business and Civic League's voter registration drive. Klansmen also bombed the home of Leonard Russell, active in the Negro Pulp and Sulfite Worker's local. As with the murder of Clinton Walker, an International Paper Company worker shot in the back on the night of February 28, no arrests ensued.[41]

By April, Samuel Holloway Bowers, of Laurel Mississippi, had consolidated leadership over the 750 member strong White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi. Bowers, who had argued for the use of violence at the Brookhaven meeting, was a persuasive talker with exceptional organizing ability. Helped by Grand Dragon Julius Harper of Crystal Springs, Klan Bureau of Investigation chief and Brookhaven unit leader Ernest Gilbert, Klan recruiter Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen and Lauderdale unit leader Frank Herndon, Bowers established Klaverns in Neshoba and Lauderdale counties.[42] KBI Province investigators Jack Williams of Pelahatchie, H.L. Holmes of Jackson, Woody Mathews of Utica, and Gordon Lackey of Greenwood, also helped the White Knights to expand in Mississippi. Amid cross burnings, and mass rallies, the Knights established fifty-two Klaverns, across half of Mississippi's counties. According to information provided by Klan officers at a meeting of Hinds County Klaverns on June 24, the White Knights had established 70 Klaverns in 81 counties. As the schools desegregated in fall, according to FBI estimates, they had recruited from 5000 to 6000 members.[43]

Sam Bowers organized Klan violence through a secretive, hierarchical chain of command. Before the decade was out, he would authorize 300 acts of vigilante violence and terrorism. To prepare what he called his "elitist priesthood" for the "enemy" attack against "Christian civilization," Bowers instructed his Klansmen to prepare for guerilla war.[44] They were to bury weapons in readiness for an impending race war against the Communist conspiracy, which, he declared, was an "agency of Satan."[45] "Massive street demonstrations and agitation by blacks," Bowers forewarned, will be coupled with "a decree from the Communist authorities in charge of the national Government," declaring "martial law."[46]

At a secret meeting of White Knights officers held on June 7 near Raleigh, nearly 300 White Knights listened to speeches by State officers, who told them that they had organized 62 Whites Knights Klaverns, in 82 Mississippi counties.[47] In addition to discussing various harassment techniques the officers advised Klansmen to buy firearms. Sam Bowers urged them to assist law enforcement and catch civil rights activists breaking the law, so that they would "have the right to kill them."[48] Klan members were to join "local home guard units" to assist police. The enemy, he promised, would be countered by these "legally deputized" law enforcement auxiliaries in the daytime, and by an independent, "extremely violent Hit and Run group" by night.[49] Klan infiltration into law enforcement, and auxiliary police forces, occurred in Natchez, as well as smaller communities, such as Philadelphia and Laurel Mississippi.[50] Klan officers explained that Province leaders would begin selecting Klan units to undertake acts of arson and vandalism against COFO meeting places, and that unit leaders would then select individual Klansmen to undertake each job.[51]

Waveland Mississippi-based Klan recruiter Louis Anthony DiSalvo, according to investigators of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Unit of the Treasury Department, purchased at least 74 rifles, some of which wound up in the hands of White Knights officers. According to information acquired by HUAC investigators, DiSalvo had discussed plans to form a Klan firing squad, at a Poplarville Mississippi Klavern meeting. Klavern members became fearful that such a squad might be used against suspected informants, and began discussing the possibility of affiliating with the UKA. By October 1965, DiSalvo had also joined the UKA, and four of the rifles he had bought, were found in the possession of a United Klans of America Exalted Cyclops who was later arrested and pled guilty in McComb Mississippi bombings.[52]

Parts of the American South were pushed "to the edge of anarchy" in spring 1964.[53] Between January and May, nearly forty incidents of Klan-type vigilantism occurred. In Southwest Mississippi, five blacks were killed in six months. In McComb, Mississippi's most violent city, Klansmen associated with the Alabama based United Klans of America launched a five-month long bombing campaign on June 22.[54] At the same time, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a well-funded state investigation agency, infiltrated civil rights organizations, funded private resistance groups, and employed economic intimidation against civil rights activists.[55]

In the first week of June, Attorney General Robert Kennedy forwarded Civil Rights Division attorney Burke Marshall's proposal, that the FBI identify Klansmen and investigate their relations with law enforcement, to the President. Marshall presented Ku Klux Klan "terrorism" as a matter of internal security, noting that:

The techniques followed in the use of specially trained, special assignment agents in the infiltration of Communist groups should be of value. If you approve, I recommend taking up with the Bureau the possibility of developing a similar effort to meet this new problem.[56]

After three voting rights activists (two of them white), disappeared in Neshoba County on June 21, the President directed the FBI to accelerate its infiltration of Klan groups.

The Bureau identified all Mississippi Klan officers, escalated investigations of Klan infiltration into Mississippi law enforcement agencies, and began to provide detailed accounts of Klan violence to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover flew to Jackson to open a new FBI office. He met with Governor Paul Johnson, and provided him with the names of highway patrolmen who had joined the Klan. Johnson had the men fired, and ordered the patrol to interrogate rural Klansmen.[57] In October 1964, Mississippi Highway Patrol officers arrested Adams County Klansmen James Greer, Ernest Avants, and Myron Wayne "Jack" Seale. A bench warrant charged them with assault and battery with the intent to kill and murder, for an attack on two civil rights workers that had occurred in October 1963.[58]

The Meridian Star carried a paid advertisement, reproduced from the October 5 issue of The Southern Review, a newspaper edited by Jackson Klan officer Elmore Douglas Greaves.[59] The advertisement warned "white people" about FBI "harassment" and advised them how to keep silent.[60] In the Review, Greaves declared that "a police state exists in South Mississippi."[61] In Adams County, where a number of bombings had recently occurred, the local White Knights Klavern also protested "unlawful searches and seizures," alleging that communist pressure on the government had created a "Police State."[62]

Burke Marshall later characterized Klan vigilantism in Mississippi as a "criminal conspiracy" that required a "drastic" response.[63] Two hundred FBI agents worked on the Neshoba case. They interviewed more than 1000 Mississippi residents, including four hundred eighty members of the White Knights. They also subjected Klansmen to intense surveillance and aggressive interviews. Informant penetration was also accelerated.[64] After the murder of U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant Lemuel Penn near Atlanta Georgia on July 10, the FBI instituted aggressive internal-security investigations of Klan groups throughout the South.[65] FBI administrators transferred Klan investigations from the Criminal Division to the Internal Security Division, stepped up infiltration and surveillance, and instructed field office agents to compile reports on the membership, leadership and plans of Klan groups.[66]

In Philadelphia Mississippi, Bureau agents berated unresponsive police, provided protection in the black community, and even guarded the local COFO office against Klan attack. They took affidavits from local blacks who had been assaulted and brutalized by Neshoba County police. Speculation remains to this day, about whether the FBI paid $30,000 to an informant to divulge the location of the bodies of the missing voting rights activists. The bodies were located on August 3, encouraging Greenville's Democrat-Times, as well as some Neshoba County whites to recognize that Klan vigilantism was a very real problem in Mississippi.[67]

On Independence Day, White Knights Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers had declared that anyone who read J. Edgar Hoover's Masters of Deceit, could see that the Neshoba investigation was a "hoax," created by "domestic communists."[68] In August, the Knights distributed pamphlets that called President Johnson a "Communist sympathizer," and likened the FBI to the "Gestapo."[69] At a Hines County Klavern meeting, Grand Dragon Julius Harper reported that that he would attempt to identify FBI informants in the Klan, and that those exposed would be severely punished, betraying the fact that the FBI investigation was effecting Klan operations.[70] In public, however, the White Knights declared COFO's campaign a "failure," and declared victory in the early autumn edition of the Klan Ledger.[71]

The immediate effect of FBI investigations was limited, however, because in 1964 Mississippi juries were still acquitting white supremacist vigilantes.[72] During the search for the missing civil rights workers, for example, a fisherman found the bodies of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, two Meadville Mississippi residents who had been missing since May. After conducting an extensive investigation, the FBI arrested James Ford Searle and Charles Marcus Edwards, two Klansmen who worked for the International Paper Company. Edwards signed a confession. The FBI passed on the confession and other evidence to Mississippi prosecutors, but the State chose not to indict.[73] Indeed, the first conviction for a racially motivated murder in a Southern state came in Alabama, in December 1965. The first federal civil rights conviction also came in Alabama, on the next day.[74]

Before this, FBI informants surfaced to testify in vain, and aggressive FBI investigations were not enough to suppress vigilante violence. Thirty-five shootings, thirty bombings, thirty-five church burnings, eighty beatings, and at least six racially motivated murders took place in Mississippi during the first eight months of 1964. Fourteen died in civil rights related killings. Four more were perpetrated in 1965. In Jones County Mississippi, more than forty acts of assault, bombing or arson took place, including the bombing of two newspapers.[75] This violence constituted a "deliberate pattern of Klan terror," according to the FBI.[76]

Therefore, on September 2 1964, senior FBI executives implemented COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE, a covert action to neutralize Klan leaders and their organizations.[77] "If you can curb the organization," FBI executives reasoned, "you can curb action or violence within the organization."[78] If they could reduce Klan membership, violence would decline, thereby reducing further recruiting.[79] As William Keller has explained, in the summer of 1964 liberals in the Johnson administration forced the FBI to penetrate Klan groups. They intended that the Bureau should acquire evidence for conspiracy prosecutions, and thereby suppress vigilante violence and terrorism. To accomplish this goal however, the FBI also created a covert action program to expose, disrupt and neutralize Klan organizations.[80]

Once a week, during the fall of 1964, FBI agents interrogated all known members of the White Knights. During questioning, agents would blame other Klansmen for having provided the subject's name to the Bureau. Agents planted electronic surveillance devices in Klan meeting places. They contacted the news media to publicize arrests and identify Klan leaders. Local law enforcement also applied pressure. Some rank and file White Knights dropped out as a result.[81] By late September, two suspects in the Neshoba case had become extremely nervous. They were speculating about who was providing information to the Bureau.[82]

The FBI recruited its first important informants, KBI chief Ernest Gilbert, and Sgt. Wallace Miller of the Meridian Police Department, in mid-summer. Recently apprised of the Moore-Dee murders, Gilbert had become disenchanted with the Klan. Importantly for the FBI, Gilbert had also refused an order by Klansman Ray 'Preacher' Killen to kill Wilmer Faye Jones, a black student accused of asking a white woman for a date. Like the three civil rights workers a few weeks later, Jones had been arrested by Neshoba County Sheriff Lawrence Rainey and Deputy Cecil Price, who released him to a group of Klansmen.[83] Klansmen involved in the Neshoba murders, meanwhile, had confided in Wallace Miller, the White Knights' first organizer in Lauderdale County. Miller provided the most important information about the Neshoba County murders, but other informants, developed during September and October also provided important leads. They fingered two Klansmen involved in the Neshoba murders, leading to two important confessions in that case. Klan informants also provided information that allowed the FBI and Meridian police to thwart a bomb plot against COFO headquarters. The arrest of Meridian Klansman James C. Rutledge for dynamite possession provoked fear about informants among the White Knights, as well as a proposal to kill the prisoner, lest he provide more information.[84] Nevertheless, civil rights workers tabulated at least fifty incidents of harassment and violence between October 8 and November 2.[85]

In November, Meridian resident Delmar Dennis, who would soon become Bowers' Province Titan (administrative officer for a Congressional District), also began providing FBI agents with useful information on the Meridian murders, as well as information about communications from Bowers to his Klan units.[86] At this point, he would also have been able to inform FBI agents about the brawling between Meridian and Neshoba County White Knights, which had taken place five days before the Neshoba County murders. The Meridian group was angry, because Neshoba Klansmen had failed to participate in their assaults against a group of blacks emerging from a civil rights meeting.[87]

Dennis's John Birch Society, segregationist, and conservative-Protestant credentials would also provide vital credibility during subsequent prosecutions in Southern courtrooms.[88] At this stage in the operation, Jackson field office agents used Dennis and Miller to elevate Klan member Billy Birdsong into the White Knights hierarchy. A volatile Klansman who advocated violence, Birdsong had boasted about the assaults and church bombings he had committed. He was also a leading critic of the Neshoba County Klavern's performance at the civil rights meeting.[89] According to official FBI historian Don Whitehead, the agents reasoned that "a compulsive talker in a place of authority would be a useful tool" for their intelligence operations.[90] They succeeded on December 1, 1964, when Bowers gave Birdsong responsibility for finding informers and communicating his orders to local Klan units.[91] FBI agents now told their informants to plant suspicion and spread the idea that other Klansmen were informing on their brethren.[92]

Infighting and suspicion led to expulsions and internecine violence. Due to rumors that Wallace Miller had allowed the FBI to bug a Klan meeting after which all attendees had received visits from Bureau agents, for example, Bowers ordered Dennis to banish the policeman from the Knights in December. Miller, threatened by other Klansmen, now decided to provide more information to the FBI. Later, Dennis also prevented the killing of another FBI witness, James Jordan. Miller had alerted the FBI to Jordan's participation in the conspiracy. Jordan began providing information after FBI agent John Proctor demonstrated knowledge of his secret Klan number, and offered him $3500. During the first two weeks of December, Bureau agents arrested twenty-one suspects in the Neshoba case.[93]

Their prosecutive summary report included the statements of informants who had witnessed the murders. Another break came on January 6, when a letter that Bowers had mailed to Dennis at Billy Birdsong's hotel, was delivered to Dennis's rural post box instead. The letter, which Dennis handed over to the FBI, was to become valuable to the prosecution of the case. Moreover, Bowers blamed Birdsong for the letter's disappearance. Given their falling out, Birdsong also began providing information to the Bureau. [94] A Federal Grand Jury handed down seventeen indictments on January 15. Judge William Howard Cox, however, delivered a setback to Federal prosecutors on February 24, when he threw out the government's indictments. The Justice Department was forced to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which did not overturn the decision until March 1966.[95] Vigilante violence continued as well. In Warren County, a number of assaults and shootings into homes, as well as two firebombings took place between September 1964 and June 1965. In March, to cite one example, Warren County Klansmen assaulted a 77 year-old black man and caused extensive damage to a café that had served him, by throwing a Molotov cocktail through its window.[96]

In fall 1964 Bowers had assured his Klansmen that funds would be raised should anyone be indicted for Klan activity. Between January and March 1965, the Klan collected $2500 in funds. Through spring and summer 1965, however, FBI informants were able to plant distrust among the White Knights, by questioning Bowers' accounting practices as well as his failure to provide financial support for the defendants in the Neshoba case. Bowers attempted to rally his Klansmen by haranguing them with tales of African troops training in Cuba for an invasion of Mississippi. Yet factionalism over Bowers' leadership continued to fester. Conflict between Neshoba County and Laurel Klansmen was especially bitter.[97] Conflict over financial matters also broke out between Bowers, and members of the Forrest County Klavern. In late 1964 or early 1965, according to HUAC investigators, Exalted Cyclops Mordaunt Hamilton pulled a gun on Samuel Bowers and Travis Ainsworth at a Forrest County Klavern meeting. He told them that they could to leave the meeting until they had repaid some money that had been collected for the purchase of Klan robes.[98]

In summer 1965, Bowers also began to lose large numbers of Klansmen to Robert Shelton's Alabama based United Klans of America (UKA). The rival group was engaged in a major organizing drive in Mississippi, having held it's State convention in Natchez on May 16-17, where a new set of UKA State officers were elected. On July 10, a UKA rally in Meridian, featuring a short speech by Neshoba County case defendant Sheriff Rainey, drew 1000 people. During late July, two other rallies at Crossroads Mississippi each drew between 5000 and 8000 people. A rally at Greenville, where Rainey and co-defendant Deputy Cecil Price were introduced, drew 1000 people.[99]

As discussed below, E. L. McDaniel, Bowers' recruiter in Natchez, had defected to Shelton's group sometime in late spring 1964. Robert Shelton advised McDaniel to contact White Knights Province Titan Delmar Dennis, and in November, FBI agents authorized Dennis to cooperate with McDaniel, both to gain information about the growing UKA and to spur defections from the White Knights to a less violent Klan group. In February 1965, to increase tension between the two Klan groups, Dennis provided McDaniel with a list of White Knights who had become critical of Bowers. Alton Wayne Roberts and Billy Birdsong were especially upset, because Bowers had failed to provide financial help to the Lauderdale and Meridian Klansmen who had been indicted in the Neshoba County case. Bowers and Roberts eventually came to terms, but Birdsong, who remained one of Bowers' most vocal critics, began recruiting for the UKA. Presumably in retaliation for this disloyalty, Birdsong was pistol whipped by three masked men in early 1965. Bowers eventually lost most of his Meridian Klansmen, including Roberts, to the UKA, and, over time, Bowers gradually lost all support among Klansmen living outside Jones County.[100]

Bowers also attempted, but failed, to prevent his Klansmen from informing to the FBI. At a meeting of Klan organizers on July 18, Devours Nix, the newly elected Klan security chief, searched everyone for recording devices.[101] In mid-August, Earl Hodges, an ex-Klansman whom other White Knights believed to be an informant, was brutally beaten to death near Meadville, in Franklin County.[102] To throw off FBI investigators, Bowers instructed his Province Titans to undertake acts of violence throughout the state, in an attempt to spread the investigators thin. In late summer, Bowers lifted a moratorium on violence that he had implemented the previous November, due to fear of infiltration, as well as the increasing financial drain of legal fees, which had left the Knights $5000 in debt. Nightriders perpetrated five shootings into occupied dwellings, sixteen arsons, and nine attempted arsons in the Laurel-Hattiesburg area, provoking condemnation from segregationist Mayor Henry Bucklew. The Laurel Leader-Call published a statement signed by five hundred community leaders that condemned the violence. FBI agents warned Bowers that they were aware of his policy change, that his members were under surveillance, and that he would be subjected to 24-hour surveillance if he did not rescind his recent orders to resume violence. They targeted one of his more active Klansmen for harassment, and made contact with another Klansman who had argued against the effectiveness of vigilante violence.[103] In general, those Klansmen, who renounced violence and quit the Klan, were left alone. Those who did not were investigated, threatened with prosecution and pressured to provide information.[104]

In response to FBI threats, Bowers ordered another 90-day moratorium on violence. Some of the more frustrated Klansmen in Mississippi however, continued to terrorize on their own initiative. On August 27, Natchez NAACP activist George Metcalf was crippled by a car bomb, provoking angry demonstrations by local blacks. After a series of demonstrations and boycotts, blacks achieved agreements from the city, to hire blacks, improve housing and desegregate schools, but prosecution of Metcalf's killer never occurred.[105]

During late 1965, the Internal Revenue Service and the House Committee on Un-American Activities also began to play a significant role in the FBI-coordinated anti-Klan effort. In October the FBI distributed its reports on White Knights finances to the IRS, which had provided Sam Bowers' tax returns to the Bureau earlier in the year.[106] That same month, the House Committee on Un-American Activities began to expose the structure, size and internal documents of Klan groups across the South.[107] In January and February 1966, the Committee interrogated officers of the White Knights, exposing them and the activities of their Klansmen to public scrutiny.[108] Klansmen responded by burning at least one hundred crosses across the State.[109] HUAC mapped and listed the locations of all White Knights Klaverns and described the Klan's organizational structure.[110] They published detailed accounts of internal Klan elections, listing the names of numerous state officers, Klan organizers, and local Klavern leaders.[111] Committee members discussed statements made at Klavern meetings, including authorizations for acts of arson and vandalism, making it abundantly clear that the Knights had never operated in secret.[112] They published Klan literature and discussed organizational finances.[113] The State legislature applauded Governor Johnson when he called for the suppression of nightriding activity.[114]

The information publicized through the hearings, while highly disruptive to the Knights, also threatened to expose FBI informants. Delmar Dennis, for example, was called before the committee. FBI agents, however, helped their informant to fake an automobile accident and he was able to avoid testifying.[115] By 1966, the FBI had developed 488 informants in the 1500 strong Knights.[116] On January 4, the FBI arrested seven Meridian Klansmen after FBI agents were fired upon while monitoring preparations for a cross burning.[117] A few days later, allies of the FBI who also opposed the Klan, published and distributed pamphlets that identified the highly secretive Sam Bowers as Imperial Wizard of the White Knights. Upset, Bowers offered $1000 to anyone who could identify the source of the leaflet.[118] Bowers made plans to re-organize the Knights and thereby frustrate FBI infiltration, and Klan violence continued to plague Mississippi. [119]

On January 10, while the HUAC was interrogating Mississippi Klansmen and exposing their activities, Hattiesburg Mississippi voting rights activist Vernon Dahmer was murdered in a firebomb attack upon his home, shifting the focus of FBI investigations to Jones County. The killing aroused unprecedented outrage among white residents of Laurel-Hattiesburg, convincing the Laurel District Attorney and the city's Mayor to publicly denounce the Knights. Law enforcement authorities in Jones and Forrest Counties now began to work more closely with the FBI, which launched a relentless investigation.[120] In March, Jackson field office agents composed a letter that contained information known to only a few members of the Knights. The letter indicated that a suspect had told the FBI everything. In December, Bowers and his White Knights would convict this Klansman of informing in a Klan trial. There was talk about killing him.[121]

Dahmer's attackers had left a good deal of physical evidence at the scene of their crime. Delmar Dennis and other FBI informants helped to finger a number of Laurel Klavern members in the murder. Interviews led Klansmen Lawrence Byrd, Billy Moss and Cecil Sessum to admit knowledge about the killing. Sessum later renounced his confession, claiming in a widely circulated affidavit that a US Marshall had beaten the confession out of him in front of FBI agent Roy Moore. According to an informant who attended a subsequent Klan meeting in Laurel, Sessum had called upon his Klan brothers to kill Byrd and Moss. In late March the FBI seized an arsenal and bomb diagrams from Bowers' home, and filed charges against 14 Klansmen, including Bowers, Sessum, Byrd, and Deavours Nix.[122] The White Knights disseminated leaflets that alleged that FBI agents had killed Dahmer in the hospital, and accused them of "kidnapping, whipping, threatening and torturing white Christian Citizens' of Mississippi."[123] Bowers' attorney also circulated charges that the FBI had knowingly fingered innocent people, but on April 19, a Jones County grand jury issued an extraordinary statement in support of the FBI investigation.[124] A transition was taking place: even as some civil rights activists began to abandon tactical non-violence in favor of self-defense, local whites began to view Klan murders as acts of terrorism, rather than as acts of zealous vigilantism.[125]

The arrests and subsequent indictments severely damaged the prestige of the White Knights in Jones County. Many Klansmen quit, concerned that the FBI's informants would land them in prison.[126] Indeed, the testimony of T. Webber Rogers, who quit the Knights after the murder of Dahmer, would prove important to prosecutors.[127] On the other hand, more than two thousand people attended an April 11 rally in Laurel, hosted by Sam Bowers, to raise funds for the Neshoba County defendants.[128] Bowers, who declared FBI agents to be "representatives of the anti-Christ," collected $1000 for the defense fund.[129] FBI agents secretly filmed the proceedings and even managed to cut the power for a few minutes.[130]

So as not to jeopardize prosecution, Jackson Mississippi field office FBI agents suspended counterintelligence operations against the defendants in April 1966. They did, however, mail 351 cartoon postcards to other members of the White Knights, as well as members of the United Klans, over the next three months. The cards depicted a Klansman peering over a sheet, with the caption, "KLANSMAN! Trying to hide your identity behind your sheet? You received this-Someone KNOWS Who You Are!"[131] Some of the recipients re-produced the postcards and mailed them to other addresses in Hattiesburg.[132] Given the arrests, however, others became convinced that the FBI had "penetrated entirely the veil of secrecy surrounding their activity," and many Klan units simply folded.[133] As early as May, the number of hard core Klansmen in Lauderdale County had been reduced to between seven and ten.[134]

Internecine violence also began to plague the Knights in 1966. When Bowers endorsed the candidacy of James O. Eastland at a public rally in Byram, declaring that the Republican Party was "ruled by the Jews," for example, some attendees who endorsed the Republican challenger became upset. Returning to their automobiles to get their guns, they forced Bowers to terminate his speech. [135] One Klansman threatened that he would shoot Bowers if he ever dare to return to the area. In late December, one hundred Klansmen broke away from the White Knights to form a new unit.[136]

On the other hand, Klansmen continued to perpetrate racial murders and other acts of terror. On June 10, 1966 members of an Adams County White Knights cell known as the Cottonmouth Moccasin gang kidnapped a black farmer and murdered him. Hoping to lure Martin Luther King to Mississippi, they shot Deacon Ben Chester White, whom they had selected at random, sixteen times. Four days later, FBI agents arrested Ernest Fuller, Ernest Avants and James Jones. FBI documents indicate that O'Dell Adams, the Adams Sheriff who led the local investigation of the White murder, was also a Klansmen. Jones expressed remorse at his April 1967 State trial, and obtained a hung jury. Eight months later, a State jury acquitted Ernest Avants, whose lawyer argued that White was already dead when Avants blew off his head with a shotgun. Five former jurors later agreed that two jurors had made up their minds before trial even began. King did appear in Mississippi a few weeks later, to participate in a march commemorating the second anniversary of the Neshoba killings. Although 300 white counter-protesters threw bottles, stones and firecrackers, punching black marchers and firing guns, King escaped unharmed.[137]

In July, someone shot into the home of a black minister in Laurel. When desegregated schools opened two months later, black children in Grenada were attacked by white mobs. In December, two people shot a black youth attempting to obtain service at the Chow House Cafe in Laurel. Two months later, a similar incident occurred in Carrollton Mississippi.[138] Also in February 1967, Natchez NAACP treasurer Wharlest Jackson was killed after he accepted a job formerly held by a white man at the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company. His murderers used a car bomb similar to the one that had crippled George Metcalf in 1965.[139] On March 13, a bomb destroyed the office of the Southwestern Mississippi Child Development Council in Liberty, Mississippi.[140] The Laurel Leader-Call was bombed in April.[141] In June, the Civil Rights Division compiled a report on the progress of Federal Civil Rights cases involving racial violence. Of the nine cases filed in Mississippi since January 1965, six had resulted in acquittals and the charges had been dismissed in another. Three were awaiting trial.[142]

Thirteen days after White was murdered, however, a federal grand jury had also indicted sixteen Klansmen, including Sam Bowers, on civil rights charges related to the Dahmer murder. Although efforts to convict Bowers in this crime, amid jury tampering, would result in three mistrials, the trials themselves drove Klansmen out of the White Knights. In November, two Klansmen, Travis Buckley and Billy Roy Pitts, were jailed for abducting and attempting to intimidate Jack Watkins, a prosecution witness in that case. Pitts and Bowers had a falling out after Bowers failed to support Pitts on the kidnapping charge. Pitts went to the FBI and implicated Sessum, Nix and Bowers in the kidnapping, which precipitated their arrests. He also implicated Sessum, Nix and a Klansman named Charles Wilson in the Dahmer murder.[143]

In February 1967, moreover, a federal grand jury indicted a new group of 19 defendants in the Neshoba case.[144] The trial finally began on October 9. Despite Klan efforts to influence and threaten jury members, on October 20, after an eleven-day trial highlighted by the testimony of FBI informants Sgt. Wallace Miller, James Jordan and Delmar Dennis, a Mississippi jury returned seven guilty verdicts. Samuel Bowers and Alton Wayne Roberts were sentenced to ten years in jail.[145] Delmar Dennis, who surfaced to testify in this trial, was harassed by Klansmen and subjected to spurious criminal proceedings by a Justice of the Peace in sympathy with the Klan. Shortly after the trial, a window next to his bed was shot out while he slept.[146] Klansmen burned Wallace Miller's grocery as well.[147]

FBI agents, however, were not opposed to using strong-arm tactics either. They had solved the case, according to Burke Marshall,

. . . by bribery, by payments to informers, by whatever eavesdropping was then permitted under the Bureau's rules, by the sowing of suspicion among Klan members so that none knew who was an informer and who not, by infiltration and deception . . .[148]

As FBI Special Agent Paul Cummings put it, "We were at war and we used some muscle."[149] Cummings shot out the windows of a favorite Klan hangout in Natchez, for example, after Klansmen threatened FBI agents.[150]

According to former FBI agent Neil Welch,

A number of men previously involved in Klan violence around the State seemed, by remarkable coincidence, to experience misfortune. Some disappeared from the area. Some were forced to leave Mississippi for health reasons. A few took unplanned trips to places like Mexico and seemed to lose all interest in the Klan upon their return." [151]

Uncooperative local sheriffs, he said, were subjected to corruption investigations connected to the bootleg whisky trade.[152]

According to Delmar Dennis, FBI agents also used helicopters to buzz low over paramilitary training sessions near Byram, where Bowers instructed Klansmen in the use of explosives.[153] Journalists have even claimed that Mississippi FBI agents enlisted a Mafia hit-man, Gregory Scarpa, who kidnapped, assaulted and threatened to kill Lawrence Byrd to obtain a lead in the Dahmer murder investigation.[154] This combination of covert action and strong-arm tactics was effective. By January 1966, White Knights membership had declined from 5000-6000 members down to 1500. By early 1967, the number of Knights had dropped to 400, and by October, that number was down to 250.[155]

On the other hand, many ex-Knights had simply defected to Robert Shelton's Alabama based United Klans of America. The UKA had set up its first Mississippi Klavern in McComb during spring 1964. Former Klansman Billy Wilson estimated that as of October, the UKA had signed up about 350 members in the area. A rally featuring Shelton drew about eight hundred people to the town in May. Due to disputes over Klan dues, a number of Adams County Klansmen broke off from the White Knights and joined the UKA in June. By October, this Klavern was composed of around 100 members. After spending a few months with recruiter Douglas A. Byrd in early 1964, E. L. McDaniel left the White Knights amid accusations of embezzlement. In fact, McDaniel had also been secretly recruiting for Shelton's group at the time. According to FBI figures for spring 1964, McDaniel had organized seventy-six Mississippi Klaverns with approximately 750 Klansmen.[156] Appointed Grand Dragon for Mississippi in July, McDaniel drew away more White Knights from Natchez and Morgentown during August. By that time, the McComb Klavern had grown so large that became necessary to split it in two and create a second Klavern in the city.[157]

As COINTELPRO got underway during September, CBS News broadcast a critical documentary on the Ku Klux Klan. The national broadcast featured Grand Dragon E. L. McDaniel's introduction of Sheriff Rainey at the July UKA rally in Meridian, making it clear to the American public that the UKA sided with the defendants in the Neshoba case.[158] The FBI's first priority vis-a-vis the UKA, however, was to find the perpetrators of more than twenty-five bombings, which had occurred in and around McComb since April. Pike County officials joined this investigation after local blacks engaged in retaliatory violence. President Johnson threatened to send in troops. After columnist Drew Pearson wrote a critical piece for the Washington Post, which alleged that local oilman J. E. Thornhill had been financing McComb area Klan activity, Thornhill decided to quit the UKA.

The FBI's bombing investigation led members of one McComb Klavern to discuss FBI operations at their meetings. Nevertheless, McComb area Klansmen undertook a new series of bombings, in Adams County, that month. The Bureau finally solved the case through the use of informants. In a joint operation during October, the FBI and the Mississippi Highway Patrol arrested 11 members of McComb's two UKA Klaverns, seizing guns, hypodermic syringes and homemade bombs.[159]

More than 650 Whites published a paid advertisement in the McComb Enterprise-Journal, calling for an end to racial violence and equal treatment for black citizens. Undaunted, one of the arrested Klansmen wrote a letter to the editor of the Jackson Daily News, in which he declared that he was proud of having made the bombs. He protested that "We have a police state here now and a white man gets treated like an animal if doesn't go along with COFO and NAACP . . ."[160] Prosecutors obtained nine federal indictments and all the Klansmen pled guilty or no contest. Mississippi Judge William Watkins, citing "undue provocations" by blacks, however, soon handed down probation terms to all the defendants. J. Edgar Hoover denounced him.[161]

The bombers had been broken up, and blacks were served in McComb restaurants for the first time without interference, but violence continued in Pike County. A union official named Otis Mathews, for example, was kidnapped and whipped by masked men in mid-November, apparently by Laurel Klan members who worked at the Masonite plant.[162] The FBI and State Highway patrol officials investigating an assault on two civil rights workers near Port Gibson, also arrested five Klansmen on charges of assault with intent to kill that October. They seized an arsenal of weapons from M. W. Seale, a member of the Adams County UKA security guard.[163]

Despite the fact that arrests and trials did not always result in conviction, they nevertheless managed to serve a counterintelligence function, because they created a financial drain on the UKA. This, in turn, created internal problems between Grand Dragon E. L. McDaniel and the UKA leadership. In January 1965, McDaniel criticized other State units, as well as the Imperial Office, for not sending financial support to defend the Klansmen arrested in Mississippi.[164]

Evidently, Shelton and McDaniel temporarily resolved this conflict, at least for a time, since they jointly launched a successful UKA recruitment drive in Mississippi during spring.[165] As mentioned above, McDaniel, helped by FBI informants Delmar Dennis and Billy Birdsong, managed to convince significant numbers of White Knights to defect to the UKA during spring and summer 1965. High ranking recruits included White Knights security chief and FBI informant Ernest Gilbert, who had coordinated acts of intimidation and violence for the White Knights, as well as Klan chaplain John Paul Foster, Province administrator C. J. Seal and Waveland-based Klan organizer Louis DiSalvo.[166] Aside from recruiting, however, UKA kept a relatively low profile until Christmas Eve, 1965, when E. L. McDaniel signed an affidavit for the arrest of Natchez Police Chief J. T. Robinson. McDaniel charged Robinson with failing to arrest civil rights leaders under a state anti-Boycott law. Robinson was arrested by Sheriff Odell Anders, leading the House Un-American Activities Committee to inquire whether McDaniel's real object, had been to replace the anti-Klan Police Department Chief, so that a UKA member in the police force could be promoted to replace him.[167]

Less than two weeks later, the UKA dramatized its presence in Mississippi. Klansmen burned over a hundred crosses throughout the state, in protest against the HUAC's resumption of hearings on the Klan. Meridian police, who had staked out the UKA operation, fired upon a group of men who tossed a flaming cross into the yard of attorney William Ready. Although the perpetrators managed to escape, the police arrested five men on conspiracy charges after seizing a kerosene-soaked cross from their pickup truck. At least one other man was arrested in Pontotoc. In Benton County, Highway Patrol officers arrested Bobby and Allen Byrd. They were charged with assault, for having opened fire on FBI agents who had tailed them after they burned a cross in front of a civil rights group's headquarters.[168]

At the hearings, HUAC committee members identified UKA Klansmen, Klavern names, and Klavern locations. [169] They published information on Mississippi UKA finances. [170] The HUAC, with the help of the IRS and the FBI, was also able to expose embezzlement and false accounting by UKA's national leadership.[171] To demonstrate that the UKA was a violent Klan group, Billy Earl Wilson, a former UKA member, was called. He provided detailed testimony on his participation in the McComb bombings, as well as a number of church burnings.[172] Unlike other UKA members who appeared before HUAC who were provided council by the Klan, all of the McComb area Klansmen appeared without council. This led Congressman Weltner to speculate that the UKA leadership had not supported these Klansmen, because it was trying to maintain the fiction that the UKA summarily discharged anyone convicted of an act of violence.[173]

In January 1966 the Titan of UKA Province 2 contacted Charles Snodgrass, a high-ranking officer of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. The high-ranking Klan officer, who was also a Sharkey County Supervisor, was having second thoughts about having recruited for the group. His northern Mississippi Klansmen were becoming disgruntled over Imperial Wizard Robert Shelton's expectation that they raise $6000 to cover expenses arising from subpoenas issued by the House Committee on un-American Activities. Tired of not being told where their contributions were going, he and three other Klan leaders were thinking of pulling out of the UKA.[174] At the other end of the state, two Klaverns in Pascagoula disaffiliated with the UKA and joined the White Knights.[175]

COINTELPRO operations against the Mississippi UKA now began in earnest. As part of a nationwide effort, FBI agents mailed letters to Mississippi Klansmen, inviting them to join a notional patriotic organization, which they had created. Appealing to evangelical Protestantism and patriotic feelings, these communications tried to convince recipients that Klan leaders were merely using the Klan to line their own pockets, and that the best way to fight Communism was to support the troops in Vietnam. National UKA leaders became very concerned about these letters, as well as the postcards mentioned earlier in this article. Robert Shelton denounced the NCDT in a special imperial newsletter, as well as the Fiery Cross newspaper. Agents composed various types of postcards and letters, which questioned Shelton's attacks and supported the NCDT. They signed these communications using the names of prominent UKA Klansmen in Mississippi, and sent them to UKA headquarters. In Mississippi and a number of states, as Klansmen fell under suspicion of informing on their brethren, infighting and resignations mounted.[176]

In March, agents began exploiting allegations that Grand Dragon E. L. McDaniel was frequenting a former prostitute. Informants also raised the issue of financial irregularities in the UKA State office, causing seven dissident units to walk out of a State board meeting. To quell the rebellion, Imperial Wizard Robert Shelton ousted McDaniel in August. Shelton dissolved all the Mississippi State offices in September, and placed the Mississippi UKA under direct administrative control of UKA Headquarters. Dissension wracked the Mississippi UKA. Most of the Klaverns in the state became inactive. By November, the Jackson Daily News reported that the Mississippi UKA was floundering. By January 1967, state membership had declined back down to 750, spread across 30 Klaverns.[177]

In January, a former UKA officer from northern Mississippi denounced the Klan in a newspaper exposé. Declaring that the Klan was a "racket," designed to "take in poor, innocent people" for their money, the officer called Klan leaders "booze heads and dope heads," and declared that some of them belonged in a "mental institution."[178] He claimed that once an individual joined the Klan, it was difficult to get out, and described the fear and social ostracism that Klansmen experienced, because of Klan violence, FBI infiltration job loss and public scorn.[179] In February, FBI agents composed resignation letters purporting to come from a group of UKA officers and mailed them to rank and file members. The letters also received nationwide press coverage. The Bogue Chitto Unit # 713 unit nearly fell apart. One Jackson Daily News article, distributed nationwide through the Associated Press that February, described the Mississippi UKA as "crumbling." During spring 1967, as McDaniel attempted to retain leadership over Mississippi Klansmen and disrupt Shelton's reorganization efforts, disunity increased. The UKA elected three Titans to run Mississippi, but the State had no other representatives on the National UKA governing board.[180]

In the meantime, Dale Walton, one of the officers who had resigned, formed a small but militant splinter group in the northeastern Mississippi community of Tulepo, called the Knights of the Green Forest (KGF).[181] When Walton "changed his attitude toward the Bureau," however, FBI agents created and mailed 20 copies of a purported UKA proclamation that implied that KGF leader Dale Walton was an informant. The proclamation ordered UKA members not to associate with Walton, and urged them to inflict "whatever harassment is deemed necessary to stop [KGF members] from calling themselves Klansmen."[182] COINTELPRO operations, then, had aggravated tensions, produced a breakaway faction, and effectively reduced UKA activity.[183] By November 1967, the UKA would retain only 500 members in Mississippi.[184]

In February 1968, FBI agents managed to raise suspicions amongst UKA members that a particularly effective Province Titan, who had retained the largest number of Klansmen in Mississippi, had been informing to the FBI. Since this Klansman had "boasted of violence and furnished only miscellaneous information to the FBI," agents instructed their informants to spread rumors that he "must be receiving outside income." Once suspicious Klansmen set up a surveillance operation, one agent simply walked up to the officer in question and "exhibited a friendly gesture." Convinced that their leader was informing to the FBI, his associates made plans to "dispose" of him. As early as 1967, almost half of the units in this officer's Province had joined other Klan organizations or gone dormant, but now suspicion and dissention reached such a point that Klansmen began planning "revengeful acts."[185]

COINTELPRO after 1968: The Vitiation of Klans and Ideological Shifts among ex-Klansmen.

Between March and October 1967, a number of trials related to the Dahmer and Neshoba murders broke up the White Knights. Never again, would it function as an effective, statewide organization.[186] In October, state and local authorities arrested two striking woodworkers, charging them with the August shotgun slaying of a security guard at the labor-troubled Masonite Plant in Laurel.[187] In November, the Memphis Commercial Appeal estimated that due to infighting, the White Knights had lost forty percent of its membership over the last six months. Only 700 Klansmen remained in Mississippi. Two hundred of these belonged to the White Knights.[188] By 1968, a total of less than 500 Klansmen remained in Mississippi, about fifty of them hard-core members.[189] By early 1968 then, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE was well on the way toward destroying Mississippi's Klan organizations. The FBI informant network threatened to paralyze Klan operations.

Nevertheless, terrorism had not ceased. In Meridian, five black churches and a parsonage had been burned during 1967, and there had been a shooting attack on the home of a Head Start program teacher. Members of the militantly anti-Semitic National States Rights Party were prime suspects in the FBI investigation. In March, someone had bombed a real estate company that had been selling houses to blacks in previously all white neighborhoods. In August, an all white jury acquitted White Knights Klansmen Danny Joe Hawkins. Charges were dropped against J. L. Harper in a trial arising from that case. Six bombings were committed in Mississippi that Fall. In November, someone bombed a Laurel parsonage whose minister was a leader in the NAACP.

Moreover, despite the October convictions, Bowers and the six other defendants in the Neshoba case remained free on appeal. Already enamored of Nazi iconography and racialist theories of Jewish-Communist conspiracy, Bowers now delved further into the eschatology of Christian Identity theology.[190] Identity hermeneutics, which demonize Jews as satanic offspring, and in some variations, mobilize the elect to battle them, were providing inspiration to a growing number of racist-right activists at this time.[191] An offshoot of British Israelism, Identity was brought into racist-right politics by Gerald L. K. Smith in the 1940s, and popularized by his California based associate Wesley Swift. Swift's protégés included Conrad Lynch, who along with National States Rights Party activist J. B. Stoner made a career out of racial agitation during the desegregation crises of the 1960s.[192]

Unbeknownst to the FBI, Bowers had teamed up with a militant racist named Thomas Tarrants during summer 1967. Tarrants had led violent demonstrations against integration at his Mobile High school in 1963. Responsible also, for a series of shootings into black-owned homes back in 1964, Tarrants was another Swift protégé. Mobile Alabama National States Rights Party director Robert M. Smith and veteran anti-Semitic politician John Crommelin also influenced him. In teaming up with Tarrants, then, Bowers was also embracing Christian Identity.[193] The National States Rights Party, correspondingly, began publishing articles on FBI "persecution" of the White Knights.[194]

Evidently financing himself through a series of armed robberies, Tommy Tarrants joined a small terrorist cell, and proceeded to carry out a series of bombings with Danny Joe Hawkins. The bombing of Jackson's Beth Israel synagogue in September 1967 resulted in a full-scale investigation involving the FBI and State and City police. Bureau agents suspected Hawkins, as well as his father, with whom they soon had an armed confrontation, resulting in their arrest on charges of assaulting federal officers. FBI informants in the Knights, however, could provide no intelligence about the secretive cell. To harass and unnerve all known White Knights, the FBI placed them under tight surveillance and interviewed them at their places of employment. Agents threatened Klansmen that they were investigating their personal and business affairs. On October 6, Tarrants bombed the house of a Dean at Tougaloo College. In November, members of the cell bombed the houses of two civil rights leaders and a local Rabbi. On December 21, eight days before his sentencing in the Neshoba case, Bowers was charged with possession of an illegal machine gun. A Collins Mississippi night marshal had pulled Tarrants and Bowers over while en route to shooting up the home of a black man who had fired on a police officer some days earlier.

Bowers was acquitted, having testified that he did not know the weapon was in the car. Tarrants, however, skipped the trial for machine gun possession and went underground, finding refuge among followers of Wesley Swift. From a Franklin North Carolina hideaway, provided by a local Identity group, Tarrants made forays into Mississippi for meetings with Bowers and, focusing on Meridian, more attacks. On May 29, Tarrants and Hawkins blew up the Beth Israel synagogue in Meridian. The Anti Defamation League and local Jews raised $30,000, after FBI Special Agent Roy Moore suggested that large payments to informants might help to solve the bombings. Informant payments from the fund, in combination with strong-arming by local police, finally allowed the investigators to penetrate the cell. Chief Gunn's anti-Klan 'black squad,' set off small explosions near Klansmen's houses and shot into their homes. Alton Wayne Roberts, free on bail for the 1964 Neshoba murders, and his brother Raymond, Chair of the local National States Rights Party chapter, turned informant after Meridian police fired into Raymond's house.[195]

Meridian Police Chief C. L. Gunn called the perpetrators "animals" and threatened "if we catch them in the act we will apprehend them and shoot to kill if required."[196]

One police detective later stated:

One of the informants believed we were going to kill him. We helped him believe it. We acted like we were going to do it. . . we harass 'em all, that's our job. . . They're in constant fear we got somebody set up now. We keep 'em scared to death.[197]

On June 29, 1968, police captured Thomas Tarrants in an operation that Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Nelson called an "ambush."[198] Police severely wounded Tarrants and killed cell member Kathy Ainsworth, an Identity activist who had replaced Danny Joe Hawkins at the last minute.[199] Raymond Roberts urged Hawkins to avenge the killing, but Hawkins' arrest on a bank robbery charge, along with the Meridian police operation, had broken the cell, and Bowers halted the violence for a time.[200]

The National States Rights Party's Thunderbolt denounced the Meridian operation as one in a series of FBI "frame-ups."[201] Party activists elevated Kathy Ainsworth to martyrdom.[202] In the late 1970s, former National Socialist campus activist David Duke, who would create the largest Nazi-Klan of the period, would also eulogize her.[203] These expressions of support were significant, because they illustrate coalitions that were developing among racist rights activists of various ideological stripes at the time. The NSRP, along with members of National Socialist groups such as David Duke, represented a vanguard. They formulated much of the ideological cross-pollination that would characterize the white power movement during the 1970s, fusing Christian Patriot ideology and KKK iconography with conspiratorial anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, anti-Federal law enforcement rhetoric and Christian Identity theology.

In November 1968, the family of Ben Chester White, killed by members of the White Knights in June 1966, won a one million-dollar civil damage suit against three Klansmen and the White Knights organization.[204] Thomas Tarrants was sentenced to thirty years in State Prison that same month. Six more convictions were obtained in the Dahmer case that year.[205] The NSRP denounced "pimps" who testified at the trials and accused the FBI of jury tampering.[206] Even the UKA decried the "frame-up" activities of "FBI pimp" Delmar Dennis.[207] The White Knights went into rapid decline during 1969-1970, as did the UKA. The NSRP sent speakers into Mississippi to try and recruit new members. Hosted by a well-known local Klan member, the speakers managed to draw 70 people to a February 1, 1970 meeting in Jackson. The FBI alerted the Jackson police, who arranged to have the city building inspector search for code violations at the meeting site. Agents also wrote and sent a letter from "one of the silent majority" to the Jackson Daily News, protesting violations of the building code by "radicals" and "rabble-rousers." Public NSRP meetings ceased, and NSRP activity was restricted to meetings of 4-6 former Klansmen, in private homes.[208]

When Sam Bowers entered prison for the Neshoba civil-rights conviction in April 1970, die hard White Knights went underground. Although 26 Mississippi school districts desegregated for the first time that September, there was no Klan left to engage in violence. The White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were vitiated. FBI informants even ceased reporting on the activities of Klansmen such as Byron De La Beckwith, who continued to elude conviction for the killing of Medgar Evers.[209] In the 1970s, according to Klan experts Michael and Judy Ann Newton, no large KKK groups were revived in Mississippi, although Bowers did revive a "small hard core unit" of the Knights upon his parole in 1976.[210] The other members of the cell, Thomas Tarrants and Danny Joe Hawkins traveled very different paths after 1968. Their subsequent biographies illustrate the two opposite directions that Mississippi's white supremacists would take after the destruction of the Knights. After his July 23, 1969 escape from prison and a recapture facilitated by a FBI informant, Tarrants underwent a religious conversion, renounced racism and wrote an account of his bombing campaign in which he personally absolved the FBI of entrapment.[211] Danny Joe Hawkins, who had been indicted for the bombing along with Tarrants in 1968, merged his publishing enterprises with those of the NSRP in 1970.[212] Aside from a thirty month incarceration for a firearms violation that was handed down in 1974, Hawkins stayed out of trouble until 1981, when he was arrested along with David Duke's successor, Stephen Black and eight Nazi associates, for plotting to invade the Caribbean island of Dominica.[213]

Byron De La Beckwith also associated with the NSRP, appearing as a featured speaker at the group's 1973 national convention.[214] The Party had just begun publishing increasing numbers of Identity tracts in its Thunderbolt newspaper.[215] In October, New Orleans police, acting on a FBI tip, arrested Beckwith on federal firearm and explosive charges. Beckwith was intercepted while en-route to bomb the home of ADL director Adolph Botnick, the Jewish activist who had helped to fund and plan the capture of Thomas Tarrants in Meridian five years earlier. Former White Knights member Gordon Clark had informed Jackson field office FBI special agent Thompson Webb about the plot.[216] Lauded as a "penniless victim of government illegality and crime" by David Duke, Beckwith was acquitted after his attorney convinced jurors that he had been framed.[217] Other supporters included NSRP officer J. B. Stoner and Christian Identity preacher Richard Butler, leader of a Nazi group called the Aryan Nations. Even the Mississippi UKA contributed $5000 to his defense. Beckwith was finally convicted on state charges in 1977. Two months before entering prison, he was ordained as a Christian Identity minister.[218]

Between 1964 and 1971 then, a combination of successful prosecutions, combined with a disruptive campaign of covert action had both reduced vigilante violence and vitiated Mississippi's Klan organizations. Jackson FBI field office files had logged 175 acts of civil rights connected shootings, beatings, bombings and arsons in the last 7 months of 1964 and 274 acts in 1966. By 1970, the numbers were down to 70.[219] Hard core Klansmen who remained active, however, became more and more alienated. The increased influence of Christian Identity theology and Nazi ideology in KKK circles, provided contact with other racist ideologies.[220] In particular, the NSRP, which had consistently vilified the FBI as a tool of the Jews ever since an informant surfaced to testify during a 1958 bombing trial, had gained the ear of Mississippi's hard core.[221] Other Mississippi Klansmen joined a Louisiana based Klan leader who attempted to organize a Minutemen-type paramilitary group.[222] In late 1980, a Klan group known for its advocacy of paramilitary training attracted 500 to a march in Jackson, Mississippi. [223] The FBI, whom UKA Imperial Wizard Robert Shelton had seen as an ally, had become a primary enemy for white racists.[224]

Questions regarding the relationship between Southern justice and vigilantism continue to haunt the history of the Deep South. During the 1990's, Mississippi began to look back at a number of unresolved vigilante killings from the civil rights era. In 1994, Citizens'' Council activist Byron De La Beckwith was finally convicted of the June 1963 murder of NAACP field representative Medgar Evers.[225] Yet again, the testimony of former FBI informant Delmar Dennis was central to the prosecution's case.[226] In January 1998, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that Billy Roy Pitts had never served a day of his life sentence for the killing of Vernon Dahmer. Dahmer surrendered and helped Mississippi to convict Sam Bowers of ordering the 1966 firebomb attack that killed the NAACP activist. Another former Klansman who had provided information to the FBI also turned State's evidence in this case.[227]

Adams County prosecutors reopened the 1964 Moore-Dee double murder case in 1999, and the FBI opened the case in 2000, but prosecution seems doubtful unless more evidence emerges.[228] In November 1999, a Humphries County jury convicted four white men of manslaughter in the racially motivated killing of sharecropper Rainey Pool in April 1970.[229] Federal prosecutors reopened the 1966 Ben Chester White murder case against Ernest Avants in late 1999, after ABC News reported the fact that killing took place in a National Forest. Citing jurisdiction on federal property, the FBI arrested Avants on June 7, 2001.[230] He was tried and, on the basis of James Jones' 1967 confession, as well as the testimony of former FBI agent Allan Kornblum found guilty in March 2003. Since he showed no remorse, District Court Judge William Babour sentenced Avants a life without parole.[231] Natchez police reopened the 1967 Wharlest Jackson car-bomb murder case in 2000, but authorities came to believe that all suspects in the case are now dead. At this writing, federal and state investigators have re-opened 18 civil rights era murder cases, including the Neshoba county murder case that had galvanized the Federal effort against the Klan in 1964.[232]

The fact that some of these cases took so long to prosecute, whereas others have yet to be resolved, raises questions about the extent to which Michal Belknap's thesis applies throughout Mississippi. Journalist Jack Nelson, for one, has taken the view that as late as 1968, Klan violence aroused little action from local whites in Meridian.[233] Violence may have been reduced, in part, because Mississippi prosecuted and convicted Klansmen in other cases. COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE, however, was also instrumental in suppressing vigilantism, because it destroyed organized Klan groups.[234] Kenneth O'Reilly may well be correct in asserting that in comparison, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE was pursued with less vigor and was less devastating to its targets than COINTELPRO operations against the Black Panther Party, but this need not imply that the anti-Klan effort was a failure.

Historians have just begun to write the history of the rise and fall of the KKK in the late twentieth century.[235] A complete rendering will include not only an account of the role of KKK vigilantes in the southern white backlash against civil rights, but also an account of the FBI's suppression of the Klans during the 1960s. This article relates part of this story. Inspired by the Michal Klarman's provocative thesis, this article supplements his dialectic of backlash and response, by focusing on the issue of vigilante violence in Mississippi and the FBI's response to it. It expands upon Michal Belknap's seemingly minor point that FBI intelligence and counterintelligence operations supplemented Southern efforts to suppress Ku Klux Klan activity. It examines the anti-Klan operations from a different perspective than the comparative one that Kenneth O'Reilly introduced, placing it within the history of Klan organizing and vigilante violence in the American South. It explains why Mississippi's Klan organizations went into steep decline during the late 1960s. It also raises questions about COINTELPRO's influence on the subsequent development of racist-right ideology in the United States. In so doing, it indicates that vigilante violence, as well as COINTELPRO's role in repressing it, must be taken into account before historians can fully assess relationships between racial backlash, federal response, and social change in the American South during the 1960s.

Finally, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and other FBI covert operations are worth studying because they provide case studies for evaluating the efficacy of extralegal covert action techniques, undertaken in the interest of domestic security. In Mississippi, such techniques, if somewhat controversial, proved very successful. These questions are particularly important now, because the United States government is currently unshackling the intelligence community, so that it can engage in preventive operations against transnational terrorist cells. At a time when the American people are re-evaluating how to preserve the delicate balance between the preservation of their liberties and their need for collective security, we ignore such questions at our own peril.

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[1] Director to Atlanta et. al., 9/2/64, (Section 1), in Athan Theoharis ed., COINTELPRO: The Counterintelligence Program of the FBI (Wilmington DE, 1978) Microfilm.

[2] The program lasted until April 1971, when antiwar activists broke into a FBI field office in Media Pennsylvania, stole FBI intelligence and counterintelligence documents from these and other operations, and published them.

[3] Michael J. Klarman, "How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis," Journal of American History 81:1, (June 1994).

[4] Michal R. Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order: Racial Violence and Constitutional Conflict in the Post-Brown South, (Athens, 1987), xi, 181-182, 229, 236; idem, "The Legal Legacy of Lemuel Penn," Howard Law Journal, 25, (1982).

[5] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 168, 191-192, 199-200.

[6] Kenneth O'Reilly, Racial Matters: The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972, (New York, 1989).

[7] Ibid., 224.

[8] Ibid., Chapter 6; William Keller, The Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, Rise and Fall of a Domestic Intelligence State, (Princeton, 1989), Chapter 3; Richard Gid Powers, Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover, (New York, 1987), 407-411.

[9] Frank Donner, The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America's Political Intelligence System, (New York, 1981), 204-211; James K. Davis, Spying on America: The FBI's Domestic Counterintelligence Program, (Westport CT, 1992), Chapter 4.

[10] Evelyn Rich, "Ku Klux Klan Ideology, 1954-1988" (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1988), Chapter 5.

[11] The official FBI account is Don Whitehead, Attack on Terror: The FBI Against the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, (New York, 1970). Informant accounts include William H. McIlhany, Klandestine: Untold Story of Delmar Dennis and his Role in the FBI's War Against the KKK, (New York, 1975) and Delmar Dennis, To Stand Alone: Inside the KKK for the FBI, (Sevierville, 1991).

[12] Jack Nelson, Terror in the Night: The Klan's Campaign Against the Jews, (New York, 1993).

[13] David Chalmers, Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, (Durham, 1987), 398-99.

[14] John George and Laird Wilcox eds., Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America (Buffalo, 1992), 401.

[15] Keller, Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, 92, 84.

[16] The entire COINTELPRO file that was released by the FBI, is available as: Athan Theoharis ed., COINTELPRO: The Counterintelligence Program of the FBI [Microfilm] (Wilmington DE, 1978). The White Hate Files (FBI File 157-9) comprise microfilm reels 18-20. All FBI documents cited in this article, unless otherwise indicated, are from this collection. Communications between FBI executives are contained in section one. Most communications between FBI headquarters are in the field office files that follow.

[17] The MIBURN or "Mississippi Burning" file (FBI File 44-25706), is available at http://foia.fbi.gov/miburn.htm. FBI File 105-1057, is the New Orleans FBI field office file on the Louisiana UKA. The author acquired it through the Freedom of Information Act and it remains in his possession.

[18] The archives include the Wilcox Collection of Social Protest Movement Materials at the University of Kansas, the Special Collection at Duke University, and the North Carolina State Archives, as well as the microfilmed collection of The Right Wing Collection of the University of Iowa Libraries.

[19] Baumgardner to Sullivan, 1/6/66 (Section 1).

[20] Rich, "KKK Ideology."

[21] This last argument is developed more thoroughly in John Drabble, "From White Supremacy to White Power: The FBI, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and the Nazification of the Ku Klux Klan," (working paper in possession of the author).

[22] Shawn Lay ed., The Invisible Empire in the West: Towards a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, (Urbana, 1992), 9; Kenneth T. Jackson, The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930, (Chicago, 1992), 237.

[23] A few Klaverns, with a small membership were formed in 1956. Wyn Craig Wade, The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. (New York, 1987), 333; Michael and Judy Ann Newton, The Ku Klux Klan, An Encyclopedia, (New York, 1991), 397; Neil McMillen, The Citizens' Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction 1954-1964, (Urbana, 1994), 9-10, 15, 236-24.

[24] McMillen, Citizens' Council, 236. For a description of the intimidation and harassment that the Councils engage in, see Elizabeth Geyer, "The "New" Ku Klux Klan, Crisis, March 1956, 139-148. Federal pressure, however, did lead the state to launch an accelerated program to equalize school facilities for the races. Mark Lowry, "Schools in Transition," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 63:2, (June 1973), 168.

[25] Klarman, "How Brown Changed Race Relations," 104; Rich, "Ku Klux Klan Ideology," 26; McMillen, Citizens' Council, 10, 262-266; David Alan Horowitz, "White Southerners' Alienation and Civil Rights: The Response to Corporate Liberalism," Journal of Southern History, 54:2, May 1988, 194.

[26] Residential patterns, the opening of all white private schools, and economic pressure, all served to insure that only token desegregation was achieved. Lowry, "Schools in Transition," 169-180.

[27] James T. Patterson, Brown vs. Board of Education: a Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy, (New York, 2001), 153-159.

[28] Courts was shot on November 25, 1955. Lee was killed on May 7, and Smith on August 13. Elizabeth Geyer, "'New' Ku Klux Klan," 142-143. The Humphries County sheriff claimed that Lee's death was a traffic accident and refused to investigate. When asked about the lead pellets taken from Lee's head, the sheriff replied that they were probably dental fillings. No one was ever arrested. Three white men were arrested in the Smith case, but all went free when witnesses refused to testify as to what they had seen. Both cases were never reexamined and remain closed. "Biographies of slain civil rights figures," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 24 February 2003

[29] Marcia A Smith The Murder of Emmet Till,

Stanley Nelson prod. and dir, PBS Home Video, American Experience Series, 2002.

[30] Mississippi's failure to indict resulted in swift enactment of the 1960 Civil Rights Act. Edwin Howard Smead, Jr., The Lynching of Mack Charles Parker in Poplarville Mississippi, April 25, 1959, (Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland, 1979), Abstract, 148-149, 172, 232-244, 261-275, 280-285.

[31] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, x, 24-33, 44-52.

[32] James Patterson Smith, "Local Leadership, the Biloxi Beach Riot, and the Origins of the Civil Rights Movement on Mississippi's Gulf Coast, 1959-1964," in Samuel C. Hyde Jr. ed., Sunbelt Revolution: The Historical Progression of the Civil Rights Struggle in the Gulf South, 1866-2000, (Gainesville, 2003), 143.

[33] Seth Cagin and Philip Dray, We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi, (New York, 1988), 152-155, 227-229; Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 109-110, 123-124.

[34] Newton, Ku Klux Klan Encyclopedia, 43-44.

[35] Ibid.; Ronald Smothers, "30 Years Later, 3rd Trial Begins in Evers Killing," New York Times, 27 January 1993.

[36] Wade, Fiery Cross, 333.

[37] Ibid.; US Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. Report: The Present-Day Ku Klux Klan Movement. 90th Congress, 1st Session, 1967, 44, 48; US Congress; House. Committee on Un-American Activities. Activities of Ku Klux Klan Organizations. 89th Congress, 1st Session, 1965, 2359, 3870-3874; Newton, Ku Klux Klan Encyclopedia, 397, 443.

[38] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 135-137; Michal Belknap ed., Civil Rights, The White House, and the Justice Department, 1945-1968, Volume 10: "Racial Violence and Law Enforcement in the South," (New York, 1991), 256-257; O'Reilly, Racial Matters, 157-159; John R. Rachal, "'The Long, Hot Summer': The Mississippi Response To Freedom Summer, 1964," Journal of Negro History, 84:4, (Autumn 1999), 316-320.

[39] HUAC, Present Day KKK, 44.

[40] John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle For Civil Rights in Mississippi, (Urbana, 1994), 216-217; John Herbers, "Klansmen Rally Around Beckwith," New York Times, 12 April 1964, 42. The White Knights threatened ot kill the parents of black children who integrated Chaickasaw County Schools. White Knights Pamphlet, Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.

[41] Ibid., 215-216. See also David Chalmers, Backfire: Louisiana Klansmen helped McDaniel to distribute flyers deriding city and county law enforcement authorities. New Orleans Report, 8/7/65, UKA-Louisiana, (FBI File 105-1057), Section 23, p 28. (File in possession of the author).

[42] Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 263-266; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2943, 2815-2821; Jerry Mitchell, "Informant shares story," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 10 September 2000.

[43] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 26-27; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 44-48, 163; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 1584, 2415-2437, 2450-2609, 2625, 2783, 2935.

[44] Charles Marsh, God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights, (Princeton, 1997), 78, 65-66. See also ibid., Chapter 2; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 5-6. See also, Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 245-247.

[45] Executive Lecture of March 1 1964, and Instructions on Secrecy and Harassment, reprinted in McIlhany, Klandestine, 123.

[46] Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 6.

[47] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2694-2695

[48] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2935-2936.

[49] Ibid., 7. For more on the White Knights organization and its rhetoric, see HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 44-50, 69-70; Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 174-175, 212-221; W. Glenn Watts, The Soveregnty Files: The Real Story, (Jackson,1999), 241-265; White Knights pamphlet quoted in Dennis, To Stand Alone, 24; Sam Bowers, Executive Lecture, March 1 1964 and "Instructions on Secrecy and Harassment," reprinted in McIlhany, Klandestine, 121-137; Sam Bowers Imperial Executive Order, May 3, 1964 reprinted in Wade, Fiery Cross, 434-437; Samuel Bowers speech, June 7, 1964 reprinted in Patsy Sims, The Klan, (New York, 1978), 242-244; Klan Ledger "Special Gulf Coast edition, pre-4th of July" (1964) reprinted in HUAC, Hearings, 2754-2755. See also Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.

[50] Florence Mars, Witness in Philadelphia, (Baton Rouge, 1977), 102-103; Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 361; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2784-2791, 2801.

[51] Ibid., 2936-2937.

[52] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2713-2719.

[53] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 128. See also, Belknap ed., " Racial Violence," 380-421.

[54] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 137-138; O'Reilly, Racial Matters, 160-161; Marsh, God's Long Summer, 57-58; Congress of Federated Organizations, Mississippi Black Paper, (New York, 1965). For a list of incidents, see John Doar, First Assistant, Civil Rights Division, to Burke Marshall, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, May 19, 1964, reprinted in Belknap ed., "Racial Violence," 228-233.

[55] Rachal, "'Long, Hot Summer'," 321.

[56] Robert Kennedy, Attorney General to the President, June 5, 1964, reprinted in Belknap ed., "Racial Violence," 244-246. On the implications of treating public disorder problems as an internal security matter, and an explanation of differences between internal security investigations and criminal investigations, see Keller, The Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, 9-10, 56-57.

[57] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 152-153, 232-251; Belknap, "Racial Violence," 344-351; O'Reilly, Racial Matters, 162-169, 172; Powers, Secrecy and Power, 407-411; Yasuhiro Katagiri, The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission: Civil Rights and States' Rights, (Jackson, 2001), 167, 179, 190-191. The FBI believed at least 30 policemen, sheriffs and highway patrolmen belonged to the Klan before Governor Johnson and some cities took steps to purge them. John Herbers, "The Klan: Its Growing Influence," New York Times, 20 April 1965, 1.

[58] Charges were dismissed, however, when the victims failed to return to Mississippi for the trial. HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2799.

[59] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2768-2776, 2828, 2831.

[60] "On Being Investigated by the FBI," Meridian Star, 8 November 1964, reprinted in idem, 2777.

[61] "A Police State Exists in South Mississippi," The Southern Review, Jackson Miss, 15 November 1964, reprinted in idem, 2778.

[62] "In This Area-Protest Action Highway Patrol," Natchez Democrat, 1 November, 1964, and Adams County Civic and Betterment Association, "Resolution and Petition," reprinted in HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2999-3000. See also idem, 3017-3019; "Bomb Wrecks Jackson paper Published By Pulitzer Winner," New York Times, 29 August, 1964, 9.

[63] Burke Marshall, "The Issues on Trial," in John C. Raines, ed., Conspiracy, (New York, 1977), 157-158. See also Jim Devine, Deputy Attorney General to Ramsey Clark, "Working paper for Conference on Legislative Proposals to Curtail Activities of the K.K.K.," April 8, 1965, in Belknap ed., Civil Rights, Volume 14, 57-61. On the legal and political implications of treating the Ku Klux Klan as a criminal conspiracy, see Keller, Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, 87-92.

[64] O'Reilly, Racial Matters, 173; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 91, 104-108; William Sullivan with Bill Brown, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (New York, 1979), 127-128; Nelson, Terror in the Night, 90-91. On surveillance, interviews and informants, see for example, Gale to Tolson 11/30/64, 3 (Section 1); Jackson to Director, 10/15/64, 1/28/65 (Section 1); 4/22/65, 8/6/65, 6/18/69, 5/7/69, 6/18/69; 5/7/69; Director to Jackson, 8/9/65, 8/19/65, 8/29/67, 5/13/69.

[65] Report, Director, to Attorney General, December 19, 1967, KU KLUX KLAN INVESTIGATIONS FBI ACCOMPLISHMENTS, reprinted in U. S. Congress, Senate. Hearings before the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence, Activities of the United States Senate, 94th Cong., 1st Sess. [Church Committee] Vol. 6, 516-527. Atlanta agents harassed UKA Klansman Herbert Guest, a suspect in this case. In July 1966, however, Guest was acquitted in a federal trial. Bill Shipp, Murder at Broad River Bridge, The Slaying of Lemuel Penn by Members of the Ku Klux Klan, (Atlanta, 1981), 45-46. For more details on this harassment, see Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire: America In The King Years, 1963-65, (New York, 1998), 429-430; Wade, Fiery Cross, 361.

[66] Gale to Tolson 7/30/64 (Section 1); Baumgardner to Sullivan, 8/27/64 (Section 1).

[67] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 156-157; O'Reilly, Racial Matters, 174-175; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 112-124, 149-156, 141-142; Jerry Mitchell, "Reward: Whether FBI ever paid money remains matter of speculation among many," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 8 January 2001; idem, "Who's the 'hero' with no name," "Was 'Mr. X' Maynard King?" "Was 'Mr. X' Wallace Miller?" and "Was 'Mr. X' Earle Poe?" Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 7 May 2001; Rachal, "'Long, Hot Summer," 328. Rachal described Greenville as the most moderate town in the Delta.

[68] Klan Ledger, July 4, 1964, reprinted in Wade, Fiery Cross, 437-439.

[69] Klan Ledger, circa August 1964, quoted in Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 144; Pamphlet, "The Informer," circa 1964, White Knights Folder, Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.

[70] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2820-2821.

[71] Of the 17,000 blacks who attempted to register, only 1600 succeeded, yet the fact that so many had attempted to register, despite the terror, revealed that a major a crack was opening in the regime of white supremacy. Rachal, "'Long, Hot Summer," 331-332.

[72] Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 128-204; Belknap, "Legal Legacy of Lemuel Penn," 475-476.

[73] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 157; Dittmer, Local People, 251-252; "Ex Agent: Klan Case Dropped by Prosecutors in 1964," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 14 June 2000. See also, HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2804-2812, 3006-3007, 3013.

[74] These cases involved the murders of Willie Lee Brewster and Viola Liuzzo, in Alabama. Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order, 183, 187-204, 235; Newton KKK Encyclopedia, 71, 352-353.

[75] Belknap, "The Legal Legacy of Lemuel Penn," 475; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 114; Gene Roberts, "Racial Violence Kills 20 In Year," New York Times, 31 January 1966, 18. No one was ever convicted for the church burnings, and victims of beatings often found themselves arrested for breach of the peace. Rachal, "' Long, Hot Summer," 322, 327.

[76] Belknap, "The Legal Legacy of Lemuel Penn," 475.

[77] Director to Atlanta et. al., 9/2/64, Section 1. For background, see also Gale to Tolson 7/30/64, Section 1; Baumgardner to Sullivan 8/27/64, Section 1.

[78] Unit chief deposition, 54 cited in US Congress. Senate. Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence ["Church Committee"], Final Report. Book III. 94th Congress, 1st and 2d Sessions, 1975, 6. As another executive put it, "The idea was you will "prevent violence if you have smaller groups." Black Nationalist Supervisor deposition, 10/17/75, 24, cited in ibid. See also Testimony of Deputy Associate Director James B. Adams, in idem, 144-148. These executives were referring to the Black Nationalist Hate Group COINTELPRO in their testimony, but this author's close reading of the White Hate file left him with the impression that the anti-Klan effort was influenced by the same logic.

[79] Charlotte to Director, 12/28/66; Director to Charlotte, 2/3/67. Thus, the FBI did not target the Mississippi Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, an ineffectual, one-man organization in Biloxi. Jackson to Director, 6/30/65; US Congress, House. Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, Activities of Ku Klux Klan Organizations. 89th Congress, 1st Session, 1965, 1545, 1597.

[80] Keller, Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, Chapter 3.

[81] Jackson to Director, FBI 10/15/64, 1/21/65, 1/28/65 (Section 1), 4/14/65, 4/22/65, 1/31/66; Director to Jackson, 1/28/65 (Section 1), 2/8/65, 3/9/65; Dennis, To Stand Alone, 57-59.

[82] Director to Jackson, 9/24/64, MIBURN.

[83] This information did not surface at Price and Rainey's 1967 trial, as Gilbert was still acting as an undercover informant. Jerry Mitchell, "Informant Shares Story," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 10 September 2000, idem, "Was 'Mr. X,' Wallace Miller?" Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 7 January 2001.

[84] Statement of Carlton Wallace Miller, 9/13/64, attached to Director to Jackson, 9/19/64, MIBURN; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 30, 124-125, 160-165, 175-186. A grand jury failed to indict Rutlege.

[85] Rachal, "'Long, Hot Summer," 332.

[86] Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 186-187; McIlhany, Klandestine, 32-41. Dennis's Titan duties covered Lauderdale, Clarke, Newton, Leake, Neshoba and Kemper Counties. McIlhany, Klandestine, 36-37.

[87] McIlhany, Klandestine, 25; Dennis, To Stand Alone, 57-58; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 188.

[88] McIlhany, Klandestine, 8-9. See for example, Dennis's testimony in the Neshoba County trials, at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...ers/Dennis.html

[89] Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 176-177, 191; Dennis, To Stand Alone, 57-59.

[90] Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 177.

[91] Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 191; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 51.

[92] Jackson to Director 10/20/65, 1/4/66, 1/21/66, 2/28/66, 2/10/66; Director to Jackson 2/28/66, 2/16/66. Director to Jackson, 9/19/64, MIBURN.

[93] US Commissioner Esther Carter dismissed the charges, because Horace Doyle Barnette, who confessed, wasn't present to testify. The FBI re-arrested 17 of the men, dropping four and adding one defendant. All were charged with violations of 18 U.S.C. Sections 241, 242 and 371. For details, see Administrative History, Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, in Belknap 17:1, 95-93; "Civil Rights Trio Killings: A Timeline of Events," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 7 May 2000.

[94] Birdsong was assaulted, presumably by Klansmen loyal to Bowers. The sources conflict, however, on the question of whether Birdsong began providing information before or after the beating. McIlhany, Klandestine, 42-49, 52; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 195-197, 201, 207-210; Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 430-431; Jerry Mitchell, "People would call and threaten to kill Wallace," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 8 January 2000. Arrests of law enforcement officers for civil rights violations "under color of law" had already been made in early October. FBI Prosecutive Summary report, 12/19/64, MIBURN. Biographies of John Proctor and James Jordan, at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...rice&bowers

[95] Arguing that the right of a person not to be deprived of life or liberty without due process of the law existed prior to the Federal Constitution, Cox ruled that murder was not a Federal crime and that the Justice Department could only prosecute the three defendants who, as policemen, acted "under color of law."

[96] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2740-2742.

[97] Jackson to Director 8/6/65, Director to Jackson 8/19/65; Baumgardner to Sullivan 8/19/65; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2762-2768, 2773-2775, 2799, 2828, 2937-2939.

[98] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2703-2704.

[99] Dennis, To Stand Alone, 28-33; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 220-221, 230-231; Mars, Witness in Philadelphia, 185-187; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2588, 2590, 2987, 3048-3049, 3052; Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 443-444; Informant report, UKA-Louisiana (FBI File 105-1057), Section 22, p24; Chalmers, Backfire, 80.

[100] Newton, Ku Klux Klan Encyclopedia, 161; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 221-225, 231, 150-155, 257; Jack Nelson, "White Knights Charge on Toward Extinction," Atlanta Journal, July 30, 1968., 7B; McIlhany, Klandestine, 49-50; Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 444; Jackson to Director, 8/6/65.

[101] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2939-2940, 2823.

[102] HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 102-103. Law enforcement authorities implicated Franklin County #2 EC and Province Giant Clyde Wayne Seale, along with his son James Seale and Charles Marcus Edwards in the brutal beating. HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2807-2815.

[103] Jackson to Director, 8/6/65, 8/12/65, 10/20/65; Director to Jackson, 10/26/65; Gene Roberts, "A Southern city Fights the Klan," New York Times, 22 October, 1965, 32; Chalmers, Backfire, 80, 90; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2690, 2925-2926, 2937-2938; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 188-191. For the Knights' response ot Bucklew, see Klan Ledger, 21 October 1965 in "White Knights" Folder, Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.On White Knights arson, bombing and murder projects during 1964-1965 see Dennis, To Stand Alone, 86-87.

[104] Ibid.; Jackson to Director 1/4/66, 1/21/66, 2/10/66, 2/28/66; Director to Jackson 2/16/66, 2/28/66. The moratorium had been announced at a 'Klonvocation' held in a Simpson County forest and attended by more than 300 Klansmen. Herbers, "The Klan: Its Growing Influence."

[105] The FBI traced the crime to the Silver Dollar Group, a small cell of about twenty Adams County Mississippi, and Concordia Parish Louisiana Klansmen who were disgruntled by the lack of vigilantism being undertaken by their respective Klans during the Neshoba County murder investigation. FBI investigators also held them responsible for the December 1964 arson-murder of Frank Morris in Ferriday Louisiana. Martin Waldron, "Natchez Boycott Ends as Negroes Gain Objectives," New York Times, 4 December 1965, 2; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 387, 518-519; Dittmer, Local People, 354-355; Adam Fairclough, Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, (Athens, 1995), 399; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 225-230.

[106] Baumgardner to Sullivan 5/10/65, 6/28/65 (Section 1); Jackson to Director, 10/20/65; 1/31/66.

[107] HUAC, Activities of KKK, Part I.

[108] HUAC, Activities of KKK, Part III, IV.

[109] Gene Roberts, "Violence and Rights in South," New York Times, 9 January 1966, 4.

[110] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 76, 1582, 1584.

[111] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2929-2932.

[112] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2903, 2906, 2935-2940, 2946-2947.

[113] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2916-2919, 2930, 2936, 2938, 2941.

[114] "Declining Power of the Nightriders," London Times, 1 February 1966, 8.

[115] McIlhany, Klandestine, 60-61.

[116] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 608.

[117] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 86.

[118] The identities of the FBI "sources" who undertook this operation were censored. Jackson to Director, 1/31/66.

[119] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2940.

[120] Marsh, God's Long Summer, 71-72; Nelson, Terror in the Night, 28-29; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 233-238.

[121] Jackson to Director, 1/20/67.

[122] Roy Reed, "F.B.I. Pushes Hunt For Klan Leader," New York Times, 30 March, 1966, 27; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 238-250; Chalmers, Backfire, 81-82; McIlhany, Klandestine, 81.

[123] Leaflet, "The Forrest Crusader," reprinted in McIlhany, Klandestine, 180-181.

[124] Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 250-251.

[125] Gene Roberts, "Marchers Upset By Negro Apathy, New York Times, 14 June, 1966, 19; Neil maxwell, "Militancy on the march," Wall Street Journal, 24 June 1966, 8.

[126] Jackson to Director, 7/15/66.

[127] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 28.

[128] McIlhany, Klandestine, 66-67.

[129] Jackson to Director, 4/21/66.

[130] McIlhany, Klandestine, 66-67.

[131] Reprint of postcard, attachment to FBI Laboratory Work Sheet, 6/1/66 (Section 1).

[132] Some of these postcards went to UKA members. Jackson to Director 4/21/66, 5/27/66, 6/3/66, 6/24/66, 7/11/66, 7/15/66, 8/16/66, 1/20/67; Director to Jackson, 5/5/66, 6/9/66, 7/11/66; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 148.

[133] Jackson to Director, 4/21/66. See also, Jackson to Director, 7/11/66, 7/15/66.

[134] Jackson to Director, 5/4/66.

[135] Jackson to Director, 1/20/67.

[136] Ibid.

[137] Fuller was never tried. Anders denied that he was a Klan member but said he had attended some Klan meetings and admitted to serving on the board of governors of Americans for the preservation of the White Race, a White Knights front. Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 602-603, 16; Southern Poverty Law Center, "Remembering Reality," Hate in the News, article #136, 9 (Tolerance.org, September 2001); Jerry Mitchell, "The last days of Ben Chester White," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 23 February 2003; idem, "'66 Klan murder raising questions," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 18 January 2000. The FBI did not conduct an independent investigation at the time, according to a Justice Department Civil Rights Division report, because of "severe jurisdictional problems." Memorandum, Gene Livingston, Southwestern Section, to James L. Kelley, Appeals and Research Section, Civil Rights Division, "Racial Violence in Mississippi," 16 June 1967, reprinted in Belknap ed., "Racial Violence," 510. See also, Jerry Mitchell, "Suspect held in '66 Killing," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 8 June 2000.

[138] Livingston to Kelley, "Racial Violence in Mississippi," in Belknap, "Racial Violence," 511-512.

[139] The FBI also linked this murder to the Silver Dollar Group. Metcalf had also been an employee of the corporation. Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 295; Fairclough, Race and Democracy, 399.

[140] Livingston to Kelley, "Racial Violence in Mississippi," in Belknap ed., "Racial Violence," 512.

[141] Watts, Sovereignty Files, 256; "The Citizen Patriot, Laurel Mississippi in Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.

[142] Summary of 241-242 Cases Fiscal 1966 To Present (June 1967), reprinted in Belknap ed., "Racial Violence," 513-516.

[143] Watkins claimed that Buckley and Pitts had blamed him for beating up Lawrence Byrd, to extract a confession in the Dahmer case. "Civil Rights Timeline," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 24 February 2003; "Three Mississippi Klansmen Held on Charge of Kidnapping," New York Times, 11 November, 1967, 20; Nelson, Terror in the Night, 29; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 149; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 251-257.

[144] The original indictments had been dismissed, after the defendants contended that the jury panel contained insufficient names of racial minorities and women. After the jury box was reconstituted, a new Grand Jury reconsidered the matter, indicting nineteen.

[145] Bowers would serve six years of the sentence. Cecil Price and Billy Ray Posey were sentenced to six years. Jimmy Snowden, Jimmy Arledge and Horace Doyle Barnette each received three. Chalmers, Backfire, 81-82; Jerry Mitchell, "Jurors recall holdout vote that let 'Preacher' walk away free," and "Jurors faced death threats, ostracism," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 7 May 2000; Newton KKK Encyclopedia, 506; Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid, 445-452; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 264-271, 276; "Minister-Turned Informer Offers His Story in Court, Meridian Star, 12 October 1967; Jack Nelson, "Witness Identifies Nine suspects in Civil Rights Deaths, Los Angeles Times, 13 October, 1967; Michael A. Fletcher, "Unresolved Killings, Unresolved Pain, Washington Post, 26 September 2000; McIlhany, Klandestine, 91. Excerpts from the trail testimony are available at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...transcript.html

[146] Through the 1970s, unknown persons occasionally threatened Dennis by telephone and vandalized his property, and he was followed and threatened by Klansmen. In 1985, Dennis won a total of $32,000 in damages when a court found that Meridian law enforcement officers had arrested and imprisoned him on false charges in 1982. Dennis believes that Klansmen had influenced the police. Dennis, To Stand Alone, 37-44; McIlhany, Klandestine, 93-97; UPI, "Informer in Rights Slayings Escapes Mississippi Blast," 12 December 1967, 51.

[147] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 106.

[148] Marshall, "The Issues on Trial," 157-158. See also Jackson to Director 10/15/64; Dennis, To Stand Alone, 55-63, 34; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 91, 124-125, 136-137, 157-163, 175-178, 186-188, 207-217, 264-276.

[149] Neil J. Welch, and David W. Marston, Inside Hoover's FBI: The Top Field Chief Reports. (Garden City, NY, 1984), 106.

[150] Ibid.; O'Reilly, Racial Matters, 202.

[151] Welch, and Marston, Inside Hoover's FBI, 106. See also, Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 104-109.

[152] Ibid.

[153] McIlhany, Klandestine, 38.

[154] There may be some connection between these allegations and the kidnapping of Jack Watkins, mentioned above. Frederick Dannen "The G-Man and the Hit Man: Gregory Scarpa Sr., was a Mafioso with a penchant for brutality, extortion, and murder. So what was he doing on the F.B.I.'s payroll?" Atlantic Monthly, 16 December, 1996. Another account claims that Scarpa extracted a confession in the Neshoba County case. Tom Robbins and Jerry Capeci "FBI USED WISEGUY TO CRACK KKK MAN: J. Edgar Hoover Used Mob Snitch To Solve Civil Rights Slays," New York Daily News 21 June, 1994. Yet another, links Scarpa to the case against Byron de la Beckwith in the murder of Medgar Evers. Anthony Villano and Gerald Astor, Brick Agent: Inside the Mafia and the (New York, 1977), 90-93. See also, Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 151.

[155] Newton, Ku Klux Klan Encyclopedia, 397, 608; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 46-47, 62; "The Klan's Battle Orders," London Times, 31 October 1967, 1.

[156] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 397; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 30; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2800-2801, 2861; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 166.

[157] McDaniel was officially recognized as United Klans of America Grand Dragon for Mississippi in September. HUAC, Activities of KKK, 1596, 2963-2964, 2979-2980, 3002, 3008, 3033; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 29-31, 65, 153-154.

[158] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 3052; David Lowe, "KKK, The Invisible Empire" CBS Reports, 22 September 1965.

[159] John Berbers, "Tension Persists In McComb, Miss.," New York Times, 27 September 1964, 41; Lee C. White to the President, September 30, 1964, McComb Mississippi Situation, and Nicholas Katzenbach, Acting Attorney General, to the President, September 28, 1964, McComb Mississippi, reprinted in Belknap, ed., "Racial Violence, 244-245, 247-251; idem, 372-389; Dittmer, Local People, 266-270, 303-313; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 166-171; Belmont to Tolson, 8/31/65 (Section 1); Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 369-370; HUAC, Present-Day KKK 103-104, 106, 111-114; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 3021-3042, 3047; Branch, Pillar of Fire, 504-505.

[160] Reprinted in HUAC, Activities of KKK, 3041.

[161] Branch, Pillar of Fire, 505. "Such blindness and indifference to outrageous acts of violence encourage others to defy the law," Hoover declared. Douglas Robinson, "Hoover Asks Vigil Over Extremists," New York Times, 13 December, 1964, 79.

[162] The union took out a paid advertisement in the Laurel Union-Call, urging union members to arm themselves and threatening would be vigilantes with death. "Progress in McComb," New York Times, 20 November 1964, 36; HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2734-2735, 3024; AP, "Mississippi Union Defies Klan in Ad," New York Times, 20 November 1964, 9.

[163] Ibid., 3012-3014; HUAC, Present Day KKK, 109.

[164] Ibid., 3048, 3050-3051.

[165] Alabama Klan leaders sent $125 for the fund in March. Georgia Grand Dragon Calvin Craig did not collect funds, but merely invited his Klansmen to donate money to McDaniel. Ibid., 3049, 3283-3286.

[166] Ibid., 2710, 2713-2715, 2800-2801, 2929-2930, 2943-2944, 2946-2947.

[167] "Klan Charge Brings Arrest of Police Chief, Grand Dragon Says Natchez Official Failed in Duty," UPI, 24 December 1965 reprinted in Ibid., 3054.

[168] John Hall, "Over 100 Crosses Burned in State," unidentified Mississippi newspaper article, 5 January 1966, reprinted in Ibid., 3053. A copy of FBI agent Jim Ingram's affadavit accusing Nix of assault is available in See also Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.

[169] Ibid., 68-69, 1581, 1583, 2833-2864, , 2945, 2951-2953, 2979-2980, 2963, 2987, 2994, 2996, 2999, 3003-30004, 3008, 3010-3011, 3032-3033, 3044,; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 153-154.

[170] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2987-2981, 3032, 3043; John Drabble, "To Ensure Domestic Tranquillity: The FBI, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and Political Discourse, 1964-1971," Journal of American Studies, (forthcoming). http://home.ku.edu.tr/~jdrabble

[171] John Drabble, "The FBI, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and the Decline of Ku Klux Klan Organizations in Alabama, 1964-1971," currently under review with the Alabama Review. http://home.ku.edu.tr/~jdrabble

[172] Wilson joined Ray Smith's McComb UKA Klavern #700, in July 1964, and quit in October, after his bombing conviction was suspended. He received a sentence of probation instead. HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2833-2864.

[173] Ibid., 3042. See also, 3050-3051.

[174] James Dickerson, Dixie's Dirty Secret: The True Story of How the Government, the Media and the Mob Conspired to Combat Integration and the Vietnam Antiwar Movement, (Armonk NY, 1998), 117.

[175] HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2728.

[176] Jackson to Director, 7/28/66, 8/16/66; Director to Jackson, 8/10/66; Drabble, "To Ensure Domestic Tranquillity."

[177] Jackson to Director, 2/17/67; Director to Jackson, 1/20/67; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 371, 397; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 30-31; "Newspaper Says Klan Realm Has Been Abolished," mentioned in Director to New Orleans, 11/25/66.

[178] Harry Rutherford, "A Klan Official Talks: Family Never Ceases Suffering From Klansman Brand; Officials Rake In Money From Members," (Tupelo Miss.) Daily Press, 20 January 1967, 1; Harry Rutherford, "Klan Promises Phony: Sound Great But Never Fulfilled; High Caliber Citizens Avoid Hooded Society," (Tupelo Miss.) Daily Journals, 23 January 1967, 1.

[179] Ibid.; idem, "Destroyer of Freedom: Many Join Klan Because It's Easy, Then Are Too Terrified To Sever Membership," (Tupelo Miss.) Daily Journals, 24 January, 1967; James Skewes ed., "'The Klan Is A Violent Organization-Once A Klansman, You Carry Name…'," Meridian Star, 20 January 1967, 6b.

[180] George Ballard, Exalted Cyclops of Bogue Chitto Unit # 713, was Titan for Province 3 and 4 during this period. Jackson to Director, 10/12/66, 10/25/66, 2/17/67, 4/19/67; Director to Jackson, 5/6/66, 1/20/67, 4/19/67; HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 30-31; Charles B. Gooden, "United Klans Group Sets Election Meeting Sunday," Jackson Clarion Ledger, 27 February, 1967; James Bonay "Once Powerful Klan Empire Crumbling in Mississippi," Jackson Daily News, 23 March, 1967.

[181] For an example of KGF rhetoric, see A MESSAGE FROM THE KNIGHTS OF THE GREEN FOREST, INC." Ku Klux Klan Addition Papers, (Green Knights), Special Collection Library, Duke University.

[182] Walton was not able to recruit many Klansmen, however, and COINTELPRO activity against him soon ceased. Jackson to Director, 8/29/66(quote), 1/20/67; Director to Jackson, 9/6/66.

[183] In September 1969, Walton was arrested for carrying concealed weapons and, along with two other men, for plotting the murder of Fayette Mississippi Mayor Charles Evers, after Evers received an anonymous tip. A Grand Jury chose not to indict. Roy Reed, "3 Mississippi Whites Held in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Evers," New York Times, 11 September 1969, 19; Joseph Lelyveld, "The Mayor Of Fayette, Miss.," New York Times, 26 October, 1969, SM 54. See also, Charles Evers and Andrew Szanton, Have No Fear: The Charles Evers Story, (New York, 1997), 260-264.

[184] Memphis Commercial Appeal, 19 November, 1967, cited in William Vincent Moore, "A Sheet and a Cross: A Symbolic Analysis of the Ku Klux Klan," (Ph.D. diss., Tulane University, 1975), 164-165.

[185] Jackson to Director, 2/7/68. See also Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 329. One of the Mississippi Grand Titans during 1968 can be identified as George Higgins Jr. He seems not to be the Klansmen targeted here, because by 1973 and until at least 1978, Higgins became the acting Grand Dragon of Mississippi. United Klans of America, Fiery Cross, 16, Special Edition, 1978, in the Wilcox Collection of Social Protest Movement Materials, Spencer Library, University of Kansas, (Folder Number G540) hereafter cited by their collection designation, "RH WL " followed by the Folder Number. Two other UKA Grand Titans for Mississippi, in January 1968, were James Thorton and Durrell Fondren. Fiery Cross, 3:1, January 1968, 8; Fiery Cross, 3:6, June 1968, 15 in "State Bureau of Investigation Files," Box 1, Folder IA5, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

[186] On the history of the cases see Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 235-257; Branch, Pillar of Fire, 608-611; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 149-150, 306. In October,

[187] The FBI identified laurel resident V.L. Lee and Waynesboro resident Andre Hendry as Klansmen. UPI, "2 Strikers Held in Slaying Are Identified as Klansmen," New York Times, 10 August 1967, 1966; Laurel was home turf to the White Knights, but it is possible that Hendry belonged to the UKA, which had a Klavern in Waynesboro. HUAC, Present Day, 154.

[188] Memphis Commercial Appeal, 19 November, 1967, cited in Moore, "A Sheet and a Cross," 164-165.

[189] Nelson, "White Knights Charge On." About 300 of these were members of the White Knights. Walter Rugaber, "The Klan: The Knights Are a Bit Bedraggled," New York Times, 7 January, 1968, E6.

[190] Jack Nelson, "Klansmen Recruited by States Rights Party: FBI Agents Investigating Racist Group in Connection With Mississippi Violence," Los Angeles Times, 30 May, 1968; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 57; Nelson, Terror in the Night, 23-24, 26, 46, 63, 106-107; Thomas Tarrants III, Conversion of a Klansman, (Garden City, NY, 1979), 52, 55; Jackson to Director, 1/20/67; Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 254-261; Watts, Sovereignty Files, 258-259; UPI, "Blast in Mississippi Damages Parsonage," New York Times, 16 November, 1967, 40. As early as 1966, Bowers had created an organization designed to enlist support from sympathizers who did not want to join the Klan. The group propounded a racialist theory regarding a Khazar origin for Jewish-Communism, similar to the ideology propounded by racist activist John Crommelin at that time. HUAC, Present-Day KKK, 47, 293-294. The best source on the NSRP remains E. B. Duffee, Jr., "The National States Rights Party" (Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland, 1968).

[191] An amorphous set of millenarian escatologies (which constitute hermeneutical traditions rather than a strictly defined creed), Identity includes two important scriptural interpretations which helped transform KKK ideology during this period. The "seedline" tradition holds that Jews constitute the progeny of a sexual union between Eve and Satan, that people of color are the product of separate and inferior creation and that whites are the descendants of the Biblical Israelites. The pre-millenarian, Christian Dominionist denial of the doctrine of Rapture, holds that Christians need to act immediately in order to assure survival during an imminent period of tribulations which will occur before the return of Christ. Jeffery Kaplan, "The Context of American Millenarian Revolutionary Theology: The Case of the 'Identity Christian' Church of Israel," Terrorism and Political Violence 5:1 (Spring 1993): 30-82. See also, Michael Barkun, Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement, (Chapel Hill, 1994) and "Racist Apocalypse: Millenialism on the Far Right," American Studies 31, Fall 1990, 132; James A. Aho, The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism, (Seattle, 1990).

[192] David R. Colburn, Racial Change and Community Crisis, St. Augustine, (New York: 1985), 5-8; "Portrait of an Extremist," Saturday Evening Post, 22 August 1964, 80-83; Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 216, 239, 260; HUAC, Present-Day KKK 86-90; "Rev. Connie Lynch-N.S.R.P. Crusader" Thunderbolt No. 97, January 1968, 8. (RH WL G1380). A reel to reel audio tape of a Swift lecture entitled "Christianity and the Ku Klux Klan," delivered on October 31, 1965 is available in the Ku Klux Klan (Addition) Papers, Manusript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.

[193] Tarrants and an associate of the paramilitary Minutemen organization, also compiled dossiers on political enemies. Tarrants, Conversion, Chapter 5; Nelson, Terror in the Night, 23-26; Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 216, 238-239, 256-257, 259-260; Sims The Klan, 267-268, 271-274.

[194] "Bowers Freed—Paid Pimp Fails," Thunderbolt, 114, July 1969, 11. See also Thunderbolt, 107, November 1968, in The Right Wing Collection of the University of Iowa Libraries, 1918-1977, [Microfilm] (Glenn Rock NJ, 1978) Reel 129:T19 (Hereafter cited as RWCUIL followed by reel number).

[195] The assistant police chief had created a special police "Black Squad" to set off bombs and shoot into Klansmen's houses. "Mississippi Rabbi Sees Rise in Bias," New York Times, 20 September, 1967, 34; AP, "Jury Clears a Klan Leader Of Submachinegun Charge," New York Times, 19 January, 1968, 45; Nelson, Terror in the Night, 20-21, 53-54, 56-65, 79-80, 91, 134, 138-141, 147-172; Tarrants, Conversion of A Klansman, 55, 58; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 285-291. On the Minutemen see T. Harry Jones, A Private Army, (Toronto, 1969).

[196] Nelson, "Klansmen Recruited by States Rights Party."

[197] Jack Nelson, "Police Arrange Trap: Klan Terror Is Target," Los Angeles Times, 13 February, 1970.

[198] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 188, 240. See also 212, 217, 219-220, 224-225, 227-236.

[199] Ibid., 142-146, 171-187, 21-22; Whitehead, Attack on Terror, 291-301. A student at Mississippi college, Ainsworth shared a room with the daughter of Sidney Crockett Barnes, leader of a Swift inspired Identity group. Ainsworth had accompanied Tarrants when he bombed the Jackson synagogue on September 18, and the home of civil rights activist Robert Kochtitzky on November 19. Nelson, Terror in the Night, 29-30, 143-144.

[200] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 193-197, 240-241.

[201] The NSRP also alleged that FBI informant Robert E. McCoy had exposed a plot to plant dynamite in the home of Klansman J. L. Harper during spring 1968. "Mississippi Spy Defects-Exposes Three Frame-Up Cases," Thunderbolt, No. 107, November 1968, in RWCUIL, 129:T19.

[202] Tarrants, Conversion, 56, Afterward. See also, Nelson, Terror in the Night, 192.

[203] "ADL and FBI Set Up Mississippi Murder" Thunderbolt No. 123 March 1970; Letter to the Editor, "ADL-FBI Guilty of Murder in Mississippi" Thunderbolt No. 124, April 1970; "Strange FBI Case--Whose Side Are They On?" Thunderbolt No. 126 June 1970, 8; (all in RH WL G1380); "A Case Against the FBI" and "Remember Kathy Ainsworth" Crusader 41, circa 1979, 5. (RH WL G550).

[204] They were never able to collect from Avants, however, because he kept changing his residence to avoid payment. Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 602-603; ABC News transcript, "Justice Delayed," 20/20, November 29, 1999. FBI Inspector Joseph Sullivan had suggested that the FBI provide information to help with this suit. Fearing that exposure could create complications for criminal trials and embarrassment to the Bureau, FBI executives turned him down. Sullivan to Director, 6/3/67 (Section 1); Director to Sullivan, 6/19/67, (Section 1).

[205] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 208; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 149-150; UPI, "Klansman Guilty In Bomb Slaying," New York Times, 20 July 1968, 25. Governor William L. Walter created a controversy in 1972, when he released his former client, Charles Clifford Wilson, from prison. Walter had acted as Wilson's defense lawyer during his unsuccessful appeal against conviction for the murder of Dahmer. Roy Reed, "Release of Klansman, Jailed For Killing Black Leader, Is Decried in Mississippi," New York Times, 24 December 1972, 17.

[206] "Bowers Freed--Paid Pimp Fails"; "Mississippi Spy Defects-Exposes Three Frame-Up Cases," Thunderbolt, 107, November 1968 (RWCUIL 129:T19).

[207] "Welch Attacks Right-Wing Organizations: Employs ex-FBI Pimp to lecture at Rallies!" Fiery Cross, 4:1 January 1969, 15 (RWCUIL F16).

[208] A meeting in April had drawn 40. The inspector issued no citations. The letter to "Jack Sunn," appeared in the Jackson Daily News on June 1. Jackson to Director, 4/22/70, 5/13/70, 7/31/70; Director to Jackson, 7/31/70.

[209] Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 261; "The South Fights an Agonizing But Losing Battle," New York Times, 18 January 1970, 164. According to HUAC investigators, Beckwith joined the White Knights in August 1965, and became a Kleagle. HUAC, Activities of KKK, 2700.

[210] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 68. Klan activity during 1978-1979, brought national attention to allegations of police brutality in Tupelo, and Mississippi based Nazis and Klansmen were implicated in a 1982 shooting, as well as a bizarre plot to overthrow the government of Dominica, but no large scale Klan organizing occurred in the state. Howell Raines, "Klan Patrols Tupelo As 400 Blacks March," New York Times, 7 May, 1978, 26; "U.S. Official Seized in Fight Arising From Klan Rally, New York Times, 11 June, 1978, 26; U.S. Reported Investigating Police and Klan in Tupelo," New York Times, 25 June 1978, 26; Thomas A. Johnson, "Below Tupelo's Calm, a Residue of Tension," New York Times, 30 January 1979, A10; Susan Harrigan, "Angry Blacks Intensify Allegations of Brutality By Police in the South," New York Times, 7 February 1979, 1; AP, "Klansman Surrenders In Newspaper Shooting," New York Times , 23 January 1982, 7; UPI, "Klansmen Are Among 10 Indicted In Plot on Caribbean Island Nation," New York Times, 8 May, 1981, A16.

[211] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 221-223, 244-247, 254; Tarrants, Conversion of a Klansman.

[212] "Fail to Stop NSRP Meeting," Thunderbolt No. 123 March 1970, 10-11 (RH WL G1380).

[213] Nelson, Terror in the Night, 271; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 260; Rich, "Ku Klux Klan Ideology," 279-282, 353-355. Hawkins was sentenced to three years in prison. In 1987, Hawkins was "espousing the line" of the "super militant and anti-Semitic" new White Knights of the KKK, headquartered in Kansas City MO. Nelson, Terror in the Night, 270.

[214] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 45.

[215] "Here is Bible Proof the God Himself Forbids Racial Intermarriage" and Thomas E. O'Brian, "Christ Not Jewish: True Bible Translation Real Eye Opener" Thunderbolt No. 161 June 1973, 11; "Adam First White Man" Thunderbolt No. 166 November 1973, 10; "Turn the Other Cheek" Thunderbolt No. 169, February 1974, 10; "Negro Fits Bible Description of the Beast of the Field" Thunderbolt No. 173, June 1974, 7; "The Basic Identity Message" Thunderbolt No. 174, July 1974, 10; "Billy Graham the Devil's Advocate," Thunderbolt No. 175 August 1974, 10; "Seventh Commandment Forbids Race Mixing" Thunderbolt No. 165 October 1975. (All located in RWCUIL 129:T19).

[216] Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 266-268.

[217] Newton, KKK Encyclopedia, 44-45; "Beckwith is Cleared of Carrying Bomb," New York Times, 20 January 1974, 53; Roy Reed, "How Beckwith Was Cleared in Bomb Case," New York Times, 21 January, 1974, 13.

[218] Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 276-279, 284-285, 287-289, 299.

[219] Sanford J. Ungar, FBI, (Boston, 1975), 415.

[220] Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 263-265, 276-279, 288-291, 298-305; Frederick James Simonelli, ""American Fuehrer: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party," (Ph.D. diss., University of Reno, 1995), 215-232.

[221] Nelson, "Klansmen Recruited by States Rights Party"; Sims, The Klan, 160-161; George Thayer, The Farthest Shore of Politics; (New York, 1967), 43; Newton, KKK Encyclopedia;, 72; Melissa Fay Greene, The Temple Bombing, (Reading MA, 1996). The NSRP consistently vilified the FBI throughout its entire publication run. For early examples, see Thunderbolt, circa October 1958, 3; Pamphlet, "How the FBI Promotes Race Mixing," July 1958; Thunderbolt 34 September 1961, 3 (RWCUIL 129:T19); For the FBI response, see FBI Monograph, "National States Rights Party," August, 1966, 3-4, 16; FBI Monograph, "WHITE EXTREMIST ORGANIZATIONS, Part II, National States Rights Party," May 1970, 1-3 acquired by the author through a Freedom of Information Act request.

[222] The FBI thwarted their attempt to gain chapter status with the National Rifle Association. Jackson to Director, 5/30/67, 6/7/67, 6/19/67, 7/31/67, 2/5/68; Director to Jackson, 6/2/67, 7/28/67.

[223] "Klan Rally in Jackson, Mississippi," New York Times, 4 October, 1980, 28; "Klan Leader Criticizes U.S. Report And Asserts, 'We Violate No Law,' New York Times, 25 November 1980, 12.

[224] Drabble, "From White Supremacy to White Power."

[225] William Booth, Beckwith Convicted of Murdering Evers, White Supremacist Gets Life in '63 Shooting, Washington Post, 6 February, 1994, A01

[226] William Booth, "Surprise Testimony Finishes Prosecution's Beckwith Case," Washington Post, 2 February, 1994, A01; Massengill, Portrait of a Racist, 174-175, 212-214, 219.

[227] "Civil Rights Timeline," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 24 February 2003; Rick Bragg, "Ex-Klansman Implicates Chief in Killing," New York Times, 20 August, 1998; "Jurors Convict Former Wizard In Klan Murder" New York Times, 22 August, 1998, 1. Bob Stringer, an employee of Bowers who had typed up Klan propaganda during the 1960s, also testified that Bowers had ordered the killings. Jerry Mitchell, "Stringer recalls 'elimination' plan," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 14 May, 2000.

[228] Former White Knights officer Ernest Gilbert has been providing information in the case. Emily Whitten, "Harper Asks Feds to Investigate Dee, Moore murders," Natchez Democrat, 12 January 2000; ABC News transcript, "Justice Delayed," 20/20, 29 November 1999; ABC News transcript, "Mississippi's Murderous Past," 20/20, 14 June 2000; Southern Poverty Law Center, "Remembering Reality," Hate in the News, (Tolerance.org article #136), 9 April 2001; "Civil Rights Timeline," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 24 February 2003.

[229] "Civil Rights Timeline," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 24 February 2003.

[230] Southern Poverty Law Center, "Remembering Reality."

[231] "Jerry Mitchell, "Avants Found Guilty in '66 Klan Killing," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 1 March 2003; idem, "Ex-Agent Testifies Against Avants," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 29 February 2003; AP, "Texas, Life Sentence in Racial Killing," New York Times, 18 June, 2003.

[232] Jerry Mitchell, "FBI document says Ernest Avants admitted role in '66 killing," Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 18 January, 2000; Michael A. Fletcher, "Unsolved Killings, Unresolved Pain: Time and an Era's Prejudices Slow New Probes of South's Civil Rights Slayings," Washington Post, 26 September, 2000, A03; Jack Elliott Jr., "Mississippi Burning: The Files, Sovereignty Documents Shed Light on Famous Murders," Associated Press, 20 March 1998; Mitchell, "Stringer Recalls 'Elimination' Plan,"; "Biographies of Slain Civil Rights Figures."

[233] Jack Nelson, Terror in the Night, 106.

[234] The aggressive, extralegal actions of the Jackson police, should also be mentioned in this context.

[235] Michael Newton, Gary R. Mormino, Raymond Arsenault, The Invisible Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Florida, (Gainesville, 2001); Glenn Feldman , Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949, (Tuscaloosa, 1999); Glenn Feldman, "Soft Opposition: Elite Acquiescence and Klan-Sponsored Terrorism in Alabama, 1946-1950," The Historical Journal, 40:3, 753-777.

Edited by John Bevilaqua
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