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September 06, 1974 - Image 15

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1974-09-06

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Friday, September 6, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY"

Page Three-B

L Friday, September 6, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Three-B

Wizards, circa 1974

The

Klan stays

in

business

CAMPTI, La. OP) - "Wel- two smaller tents for rank and
come to Klan Country," the big file workers.
sign said. And there beside U.S. -Two portable outhouses.
71, on a rented meadow three Two large and luxurious mo-
miles north of Campti, the Ku tor homes, one for King, the oth-
Klux Klan was hustling for new er for Robert Shelton of Tusca-1
recruits. loosa, Ala., the UKA's. imperial'

Blacks and Jews and intellect-
uals, liberals, skeptics and their
ilk need not apply.
THE SUN had slipped behind
the green hills of central Louisi-
ana but the day was still bright.
Most cars whining along U.S.
71 zipped right on by the KKK
sign and the ominous hoodedI
figure beside it.a
"People don't come until af-
ter dark," shrugged a state
grand dragon John King, a
Winnfield lawyer. "They don't
care to be seen at a Klan rally."
He said that's because the
Klan is famed for clandestine
terrorism, murder, whippings
and fire to impose its version of
law and order-and word hasn't
gotten around that times have
changed.
THE BLOODY image often
repels potential members whose
politics may lie just south of
Attila the Hun's but who balk at
violence - it appeals to what
King calls the "nitwits, wild
men and radicals."
"But the haters pass right on
through," King added. "Theyj
don't stay long."
This peaceful dragon is state
commander for the United
Klans of America, Inc. UKA,
richest and most visible of the
15 separate and jealous Klan
groups known to the FBI.
THE encampment seemed
remarkably well protected. It
was patrolled by 10 armed men
wearing gray military uniforms,
boots, and black helmets.
Each man's belt bore a hol-
stered pistol. A two-foot billy
club dangled beside it. Two
troopers carried M-1 carbines
with banana clips curved be-
neath them.
King, wearing coveralls, was
$ fiery-faced and sweating hard
from the unaccustomed labor of
helping deck the grassy field
with props for his "American-
ism Rally."
THEY included:
-A 30-foot-tall wooden cross,
wrapped in burlap and soaked
with diesel fuel, to be lighted
later; plus a four-foot cross
made of lead pipe, perforated
like the burners of a gas stove.
Fueled by a tank of butane, the
small cross flamed near the
fence gate, beside the floodlit
welcome sign.
-An 18-wheel flatbed truck as
a platform for musicians and
speakers. Microphones stood on
it, flanked by American and con-
federate flags. Strings of elec-
tric light bulbs dangled from
temporary poles.

wizard.
Keeping tabs on the UKA and
other Klans used to involve mil-{
lions of FBI dollars and hun-
dreds of agents and informers.'
But except for a militant klav-j
ern here and there, FBI spnkes-'
persons say things have been'
routine since 1971.
HOW MANY klansmen arej
there today? How many klav-I
erns in what states? People3
who know won't say. But Klan+
secrecy seems to hide weakness,
not strength.
"The secret of our power
lies in the secrecy of our mem-
bership," a leaflet boasts. "We
are a great secret organization
to aid officers of the law and
we can do our best work when
we are not known to the public."
The FBI says membership in
the Klans has declined consider-
ably since 1971 but numbers of
Klan organizations continue to
be involved in atrocities deny-
ing others their constitutional
rights. The FBI estimates that
United Klans of America, the
largest group, has a, member-
ship of 1,700. In 1972, they esti-
mated it at 3,200.
ACTUALLY, Klans were nev-
er secret to the FBI or interest-
ed police.
Agents rated the worst onesj
as dumb and easy compared to
new radical left groups like the
Weathermen or the Symbionese
Liberation Army.
"Members of the new radical
left are educated and ingen-
ious," an FBI veteran said, in
ticking off the major differ-
ences between the old Klan and
the radical left.
"THEY'RE a different breed,1
much more difficult to infil-
trate. Hell, in the Klan if a
man has finished grade school,
he's educated. If he has finish-
ed high school, he's got a mas-
ter's degree. A college man ...+
wow! The radical left not only
reads guerrilla textbooks but+
improves and refines them.1
They have more money, for ev-l
eryday living purposes, and the+
Klan was always flat on its
backside.

"The Klan never robbed. And
when they kidnapped it was for
beating, intimidation, even kill-
ing - not ransom."
By dark nearly 200 cars and
pickups were parked on the
field but over half left when a
rainstorm struck.
ABOUT 100 spectators stuckE
through two hours of speeches
r e s e m b 1 i n g fundamen-
talist preaching, condemning ra-
cial integration, new math, com-
munism and Jews. Antisemitism
got more space than blacks.
"The Jews are the anti-
Christ!" cried Shelton. "People'
say Christ was a Jew. He was
not. Show me anywhere in the
old King James Bible where it

of people - not that we've got The Knights abbreviate their
anything about the poor." title as KKK, ask members to
Cynical FBI agents, who sus- pledge one per cent of their
pect that money is the root of earnings, and predict a "final
most Klans, say leaders have solution" resembling Hitler's
nothing against the affluent, ei- attempt to exterminate the
ther, but that any member will Jews.
do. "We are headed into a race
The UKA plainly has enough war," said the KKK's David
money flowing is to pay Shel- Duke, a Louisiana State Uni-
ton $15,000 a year and provide versity senior who -used to be
him with a motor home nearly the youngest grand dfagon of
as big as a greyhound bus to them all before Dimmie edged
travel from klavern to klavern, him out.

t

coast to coast.
He claims klaverns in almost
every state.
PROOF that the UKA had
yankee klaverns came when
five men identified by the FBI

THEN there are Klans like
the Fraternal Order of the
KKK, which may have a mem-
bership of one: A. Roswell
Thompson, a New Orleans man
who wants no part of a peace-

"The secret of our power lies in the secrecy of our membership.
We are a great secret organization to aid officers of the law and
we can do our best work when we are not known to the public."
-a Klan leaflet
3::::: iss~sa::::si::ssasi::sass~ssssas~li~imassissa rosaasiisss~iaassmisissm aisisas ssiasam ssasessississit."r:,s".::issvss . p

AN ATLANTA GRAND DRAGON poses with a group of his fellow Klansmen at a meeting during
the 1960's. Although Klan activities have decreased over the past few years, the organization is
still much in evidence around the South.

says Jesus Christ was a Jew;j
"Our country was founded'
by men with names like Hamil-
ton, Adams and Washington,"
said Shelton, and he mourned
today's "Kissingers, Schlesing-
ers and Goldsteins."
THE rednecks lounged against
their cars, listening. Children
fell asleep on the seats.
At the end, 23 hooded klans-
men in white satin robes waved
torches in a ritual, then lit the
big cross. It was not particular-
ly spectacular; rain had di-'
luted the diesel fuel.
Not many heeded King's
pleas to stick around and sign
on.
"If you're interested in talk-
hig to us about the Klan, we're
here to do it and we're not in
any hurry to leave," he called.
But it was around midnight.
The exodus continued.
"WE ARE planning to change
our style," King told a reporter
while unplugging his public ad-
dress system. "We're going to
hold meetings in motel banquet
halls, places like that, instead
of out in fields.
"You don't get rained on and
you also reach a different kind

1
I
1
I

as "UKA affiliates" were ar-1
rested on a charge of bombing
10 parked school buses during
integration troubles at Pontiac,
Mich., in 1971.
Shelton says the UKA is fi-
nanced by a monthly assess-
ment of 50 cents a member,1
paid to the national UKA from
whatever dues are imposed by,
the local.
No other Klan of the 15 seems

prosperous, though James Ven- During Reconstruction, t h e
able of Stone Mountain, Ga., social club became the back-
claims over 100,000 members bone of white undergroun*'re-
for his National Knights. Shelton sistance to Yankee domination.
is among those who doesn't. be- When the KKK got out of hand,
lieve it. it was ordered disbanded.
"aThe hardy KKK concept sur-
"THEY'RE all paper tigers,' vived spread and took root in
he scoffed. "Anybody can set both the South and Midwest af-
up a Klan. But I doubt if all ter World War I, with its mem-
the other Klans could muster in bership estimated at five mil-
total membership what we have ip tiaea9fvs.
in just two Louisiana parishes."
Other Klans are a mixed bag. Now it's like crabgrass. It
They range from the North and withers away periodically, but
South Carolina Klans to the it never seems to die.
new Texas Fiery Knights set up
by Scott Nelson in Houston - After the Israeli government,
now boasting the youngest Jerusalem's Hebrew University
grand dragon in all Klandom, is the city's largest employer,
19-year-old Dimmie Johnson- with more than 6,000 teaching
to the tough-talking Knights of and administrative staff, says
the KK, headed by Edward the university's director-general,
White of Nashville, Tenn. Yosef Harpaz.

ful Klan image.
"We are a terrorist organiz-
ation," he insisted. "All our
violence is secret, but we're
violent - take my word for it."
Some Klans, like the one that
held a cake sale near Vidor,
Tex., seem to have come full
circle to the nature of the first
KKK - set up by Civil War
veterans in Pulaski, Tenn., in
1867 as a social club.

iedical facilities are set up, -An old Army tent to shel-
'e're in complete compliance ter a concession stand, where
ith the law." Launch Day is Klan women sold soft drinks,
wo days away. sandwiches and slivers of cake;
ATTEND THE
KIWANIS
SUMMER SALE
Saturday, Sept. 7
8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Complete your furnishings with furni-
ture, housewares, appliances, boo ks,
records, c a me r a s, antiques, and so
forth.
Kiwanis Activity Center
Corner: W. Washington and First Streets

TONITE!
All Campus TG.
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1502 HILL
LIVE BAND 8:00 P.M. BEER

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