Ex-member: ‘The Klan don’t have no program’

On this day in 1965: Roy Woodle, bricklayer and itinerant preacher, tells a subcommittee of the House Un-American Activities Committee that the Ku Klux Klan is a “fake” organization that preaches “good things” — segregation and Christianity — but does nothing about them. Its true purpose, he says, is furnishing its leaders with “Cadillacs, rib-eye steaks . . . and first-class motel rooms.”

Woodle says he recently quit the Klan after serving as chaplain (grand kludd) for North Carolina.

The Klan has grown, he says, by promising “victory, that the schools wouldn’t integrate. But the Klan don’t have no program.”

Woodle is one of more than a dozen Klan witnesses from North Carolina called to testify; most refuse. The hearings are in response to President Johnson’s call for a congressional investigation of the Klan after the murder of civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo in Alabama.


‘Emissaries of Communist conspiracy’ keep lips zipped

On this day in 1956: A subcommittee of the House Un-American Activities Committee convenes in Charlotte. Two days of hearings will single out Bill McGirt, a poet working at a Winston-Salem fish market, as the state’s top communist, but he and 10 other subpoenaed witnesses refuse to testify, and little new information surfaces.

“The conclusion is inescapable,” says Rep. Edwin Willis of Louisiana, “that these people are professional agitators, expert emissaries of the Communist conspiracy planted in the Southland. Who said it couldn’t happen here?”