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Louisiana - Racism - Ku Klux Klan
Grand Dragon Jack Helm fired
Klan Grand Dragon Jack Helm was fired from the Selective Service Board in 1966. He had served on the board for 9 years before Gen Lewis Hershey, head of the draft board, requested documentation from Helm proving that Helm was not a member of the klan, or a letter from Helm that repudiated the klan, or Helm's resignation. When Helm refused any of those options, Hershey had him removed saying:
no grand lizard, whatever that is, is needed in the selective service system"
(source: S.A. 1 May 1966 p. 9-F "Shelton Helm Rap Federal Government at Klan Rally")
Congress House Unamerican Activities Committee investigated the Ku Klux Klan in 1966. A big surprise was the number of educated people it subpoened from Louisiana, including the District Attorney of Bogalusa, a Principal of a Junior High School, and other Public School Officials, this was in stark contrast to the illiterate, low-brow, low-earner KKK members the committee subpoened from other, Southern states. Several of the KKK witnesses from Louisiana had Master's Degrees - one was even a retired Army Major. At the time, a Robert M. Shelton of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was the acting Grand Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America.
Numbers in Louisiana Disputed
HUAC denied that Louisiana's KKK or UKA had 4,000 members in the entire state, much less the 4,000 UKA claimed for Bogalusa, alone.
Louisiana Klan members and former members who testified included:
J. Saucier of Monroe, one of the Original Incorporators of the the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Tommy Frank Reagan of West Monroe, identified as the unsuccessful candidate for grand dragon of the Louisiana Realm of the United Knights of Ku Klux Klan of America
Willis J. Kidd of Swartz as the imperial dragon of the Original Knights of KKK of America
Lloyd Barnett, Grand Titan of the Southern Realm of United Klans of America in Louisiana
Marvin C. Brister of Tioga, grand Titan of the UKA who ran a cover group, the Christian Constitutional Crusaders
Jack M Helm, vice-president of Louisiana
Dr. J.M. Edwards, a Jonesville chiropractor
Thomas J. Rester, former exalted cyclops of the Original Knights of KKK in Bogalusa
Other Cover Groups included:
The Monroe Hunting and Fishing Club
* * The Green Thumb Club, a woman's auxillary
In response to the hearings, Klansmen in Louisiana burned hundreds of crosses in four parishes, Livingston, Tangipahoa, East Baton Rouge and Ascension.
John M. Lovejoy Jr., a Junior Division student from New Orleans at LSU, drew the attention of the FBI, the BBB, and LSU's Dean, after he purchased Medallions praising the KKK and advertised them for resale to the general public. He advertising this product by billeting downtown New Orleans during the Christmas Holidays and by placing posters with the following description around LSU's campus. The notice read:
"Medallic Arts announces beautiful Ku Klux Klan Medallions. The oberse bears a striking portrait of a robed knight atop a prancing stallion. The reverse bears the name Ku Klux Klan in impressive, boldface letters, surrounded by mottos of the Klan. These are beautifully complimented by a firey cross and the American flag. This dollar-sized work of art is a must for any loyal Southerner. If you are interested in receiving this imposing piece send one dollar to Medallic arts Ltd., Box 18258. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana."
After WWL in New Orleans became involved, things quickly unraveled for Lovejoy who faced fines for operating a business without a license; investigation by the FBI; and censure by LSU's Dean of Men, Arden O. French Who was reported to be not at all amused by the stunt.
(source: M.A. 7 January 1966 p. 7-C "Student Fails to Make a Go at Peddling Klan Medallions")
1967 Klan-Organized Bombings
On 19 July of 1967, in separate bombings that occurred about an hour apart, members of Louisiana's Ku Klux Klan attempted to kill Mrs. Viola Logan, a retired African American teacher who had been prominent in the civil rights movement, and state AFL-CIO leader, Victor Bussie, who had spoken ill of the Klan while giving testimony before a committee of the state legislature considering setting up a special commission to probe labor-management racketeering in the state. No one was injured in the bombings.
A Tulane Law Student, J.R. Kimble, told several newspapers that the bombings had been planned at his house. District Attorney Sargent Pitcher offered protection to Kimble, if he would agree to testify against the members of the Klan.
(S.T. 8 September 1967 p. 1-A)
1967 Jack M. Helm - Imperial Dragon
1967 Jack Cannon - Texas Grand Dragon
1967 Ferrall McCormick - Mississippi Grand Dragon
HUAC Investigation Sources:
1966 M.A. 10 January 1966 12-A "New Type of Klansmen Emerging From Louisiana, Hearing Shows"
(source: State Times 25 August 1967 p.11-B)
1966 M.A. 8 January 1966 p. 1-A "HUAC Investigator Says Klan's Power Overrated in State"
1966 M.A. 8 January 1966 p. 1-A "Crosses Burn by the 100s in 4 Parishes"
M.A. Saturday 16 April 1966 p. 11-A "Imperial Wizard of United Klans To Speak Here"
S.A. 10 April 1966 p. 5-B "2,000 Attend Klan Rally In Field Near Bogalusa"
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