Klansmen made to unmask themselves — after 30 years

“In 1923, a bill introduced in the state legislature to prohibit organizations from keeping their memberships secret or wearing masks in public posed a major challenge to the Klan’s North Carolina support base….The bill failed, a testament to the Klan’s political influence….

“[After a 1949 rally in Charlotte] both the Raleigh and Charlotte city councils adopted ordinances barring the Klan from appearing in public wearing masks or hoods….

“[In 1953] in the wake of the rash of floggings perpetrated by Thomas Hamilton‘s Associated Carolina Klans, the state… passed a law prohibiting members of ‘secret political societies’ from wearing disguises in public or burning crosses on private property without consent of the owner….”

— From “Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan” by David Cunningham (2013)


In jail cell, a Klansman changes his sheets

“For their crusade against the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina,  Editor Willard Cole of the Whiteville News Reporter (circ. 5,007) and Editor Horace Carter of the Tabor City Tribune (circ. 1,500) won a Pulitzer Prize this year, the only one ever given to weekly papers.

“Last week Editor Cole was praised from another quarter…. In the mail came an unsolicited letter from former Imperial Wizard Thomas L. Hamilton, who was sent to jail, along with 15 other Klansmen, as a result of the weeklies’ crusade.

“Said Hamilton’s letter, which Cole put on Page One:  ‘All my friends everywhere should disband the Ku Klux Klan…. I am through with [it] and believe all my former associates will best serve themselves and society as a whole by taking a similar stand.’ ”

— From Time magazine, Nov. 2, 1953