March 29 Thomas Lemuel Hamilton is born in Aiken, S.C. His father,
Lemuel Hamilton, is a former streetcar conductor who opened a small grocery
store in Graniteville (one of the mill villages outside of Aiken)
about 1905. Lemuel Hamilton dies in 1910, leaving behind his widow,
Eulalie, and their two sons, Thomas and Frampton Hamilton. The family
then moves back to the old farm place owned by the Wingard family,
Eulalie Hamilton’s family. Thomas Hamilton attends all eleven
grades at the Aiken Normal School in Aiken.
January 21 Walter Horace Carter is born in a “faded green
bungalow” on the corner of Church and Mill streets in the cotton mill village of
Efird in west Albemarle, Stanly County, North Carolina.
Horace Carter moves with his family to Endy, a small community
just outside of Albemarle, N.C. His mother quits work at the Efird cotton mill when
his father, Raleigh Carter, gets a job as a mechanic at the Ford
dealership in Albemarle. Carter’s father will lose his job
during the economic depression of the 1930s and his mother will
return to work in the cotton mill.
Thomas Hamilton is working for the A&P grocery store in Aiken,
South Carolina, when he joins the Ku Klux Klan at the age of 19.
Further north, in Horry County, S.C., at least three Klan klaverns
are active: one in Conway, a second between Conway and Loris, and
a third in Little River, S.C. The major form of Klan activity—whipping
individuals for alleged moral crimes—sets the pattern for
Klan activity that Thomas Hamilton will direct there 25 years later,
between 1950-52. The Klan’s victims during both periods are
overwhelmingly white: 17 of 25 individuals (during the early 1920s)
and 10 of 13 (between 1950-52).
Thomas Hamilton moves from Aiken, S.C., to Augusta, Georgia, in
1930. There he marries another South Carolina native, Olive Ray,
an elementary school teacher. For most of the 1930s Hamilton works
in an A&P store on Walton Way in Augusta, while Olive, a graduate
of Winthrop College, teaches elementary school near their rented
apartment. A daughter, Sally, is soon born to the young couple.
Hamilton finds a large and active Klan when he moves to Augusta
in 1930: some 3,200 members are reputedly on the roles of its
Alexander H. Stephens Lodge. Yet Hamilton probably joins the new
Richmond Klan No. 294, which is formed in 1930 by his future Klan
mentor, Dr. Samuel Green of Atlanta. Both klan lodges fall on
hard times during the depression and come close to being disbanded
before being reborn during World War II and combined in 1946 by
Green and Hamilton. Thomas Hamilton will become head of the consolidated
Augusta Klavern in 1948.
Horace Carter begins a part-time job at the age of 16 writing
a local sports column for the Stanly News and Press.
He also takes a full-time, second shift job sweeping floors during
the summer at the Efird Mills in Albemarle. Carter continues to
work at both places during his high school years.
Horace Carter graduates from Endy High School and enters the University
of North Carolina with the hope of becoming a journalist. He is given
a work study job at the University News Bureau earning 30 cents
an hour, which makes it possible for him to pay for part of his
stay in Chapel Hill.
Thomas Hamilton is working in Augusta, Georgia, at a grocery owned
by John F. Carswell, one of his fellow church members at the Woodlawn
Baptist Church. The store is located at 846 Liberty Street in
a section of Augusta known as Frog Hollow.
Horace Carter and Lucile Miller are engaged in the fall of 1941
but delay marriage because of the uncertainty of American entry into World
Horace Carter drops out of the University of North Carolina in
January 1942 in order to take a job at the shipyard in Wilmington,
N.C. Later in the year, he joins the navy.
Thomas Hamilton begins to emerge as a community leader in Augusta,
Georgia. He and his wife Olive work closely with the youth at Woodlawn
Baptist Church, he as general director of the Baptist Training Union
and she as a choir leader. Hamilton represents his church at the
Southern Baptist Sunday School convention in Texas. He also joins
the Exchange Club, serves on the county’s War Price and Rationing
Board, and becomes a central figure in the local Masonic order.
Horace Carter serves at the Hospital Corps School at Portsmouth,
Virginia, for three months after completing his naval training at
Norfolk, Virginia. From Portsmouth, he is sent to Charleston, S.C.,
where he becomes assistant master at arms of the naval hospital.
In the meantime, his fiancé, Lucile Miller, graduates from
college and begins teaching in Gastonia, N.C. Late in 1943, Horace
Carter is selected for the Navy V-12 Training Program and is sent
to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for training.
Horace Carter is elected editor of the student newspaper at UNC,
the Tar Heel, in April 1944. His term as editor ends
three months later, in June, when the Navy transfers him to midshipman’s
school at the University of Notre Dame. Carter’s experience
as a journalist earns him the position of editor-in-chief of the
Navy’s year-book, The Capstan. Following his schooling at
Notre Dame, Carter is accepted for training in a secret navy program
called “Amphibious Roger” (later “Scouts and
Raiders”). He is given 19 days of leave before his training
starts, and during that time, on October 28, he and Lucile Miller
Severe knee and ankle injuries combine with night blindness to
prevent Horace Carter from continuing in the Scouts and Raiders program. As a result,
the Navy transfers him from Florida to Brooklyn, New York, where
he graduates from navigator’s school. In August he begins
his duties as a navigator on the newly launched U.S.S. Zenobia,
a training ship with the Atlantic Fleet's Operational Training Command.
While on leave during Christmas in 1945, he is told he will be officially
discharged from the Navy in January.
Horace Carter returns to Chapel Hill to complete his degree in
journalism at the University of North Carolina. He takes several
courses during the winter and spring quarters but the specific
required course he needs to graduate—in political science—is
not offered. He lives in Chapel Hill during the week and visits
his wife Lucile in Albemarle on the weekends. Their first child,
Linda Carol Carter, is born on January 28, 1946—the same
day that Carter is officially discharged from the Navy.
Augusta grocer Thomas Hamilton serves as one of Grand Dragon Samuel
Green’s closest allies in the postwar revival of the Ku
Klux Klan in Georgia. Hamilton becomes an officer of the new Augusta
Klavern chartered by Green and his rise to the klavern’s
top position occurs simultaneously with his rise to the top of
the local Masonic Order.
June Horace Carter moves with his family to
Tabor City, N.C., to work as executive secretary of the Tabor
City Merchants Association. His principal interest in the position
is the related promise made by association officers to help him
start a newspaper in Tabor City.
July 5 Horace Carter publishes the first issue
of the Tabor City Tribune.
December President Harry Truman appoints a distinguished
group of leaders to serve on the President’s Committee on
Civil Rights. The purpose of the committee is to recommend “more
adequate means and procedures for the protection of the civil
rights of the people of the United States.”
July 12 Judge J. Waties Waring of Charleston,
S.C., judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
of South Carolina, rules that the exclusion of blacks from Democratic
Party primaries in South Carolina is an unconstitutional state
action, despite the state legislature’s recent deregulation
of the party. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually upholds Waring’s
decision, and in 1948, thousands of African American will vote
in the South Carolina primaries.
Fall Horace Carter leases the Tabor City
Tribune to two associates and moves with his family back
to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he partners in a new printing
company, Colonial Press. Carter’s partner is another former
editor of the Tar Heel, Orville Campbell, who forms the
Colonial Press after being guaranteed the printing contract for
the Tar Heel.
October President Harry Truman’s Committee
on Civil Rights issues its report, “To Secure These Rights,”
which sets the nation’s civil rights agenda for the next
generation. The report notes that African Americans still suffer
many restrictions in the United States and that all Americans,
regardless of their race, color, or national origin should have
access to education, decent housing, and jobs. The committee recommends,
among other things, anti-lynching and anti-poll tax laws, a permanent
Fair Employment Practices Committee, and the strengthening of
the civil rights division of the Department of Justice.
December Thomas Hamilton is named High Priest
of the Royal Arch Masons in Augusta, Georgia.
Feb-March President Harry Truman asks Congress
to enact several of the recommendations made the previous October
by his Committee on Civil Rights. The Klan responds to Truman’s
request with a parade in Swainsboro and a cross burning in Wrightsville—two
south Georgia towns within 75 miles of Augusta. The Klan’s
Grand Dragon, Dr. Samuel Green, warns the crowd at Wrightsville
that northern bayonets may bring bloodshed and violence to southern
streets if Congress complies with Truman’s request.
April The Klan’s Grand Dragon Dr. Samuel
Green joins Thomas Hamilton in Augusta, Georgia, for special ceremonies
initiating 125 klansmen. The Klan’s resurrection divides
Augusta, especially its religious community. The Augusta Ministerial
Association considers but fails to approve a resolution condemning
June-July Both the Republicans and the Democrats
hold their national conventions in Philadelphia, the Republicans
in June and the Democrats in July. North Carolina is alone among
southern states in casting its delegate votes for President Harry
Truman during the Democratic national convention. Late in July,
moreover, after bolting the Democratic national convention, a
group of Southern Democrats, led by South Carolina governor Strom
Thurmond, form their own party, the States’ Rights Democratic
Party. The Dixiecrats, as they are called, select Thurmond as
the new party’s presidential candidate at a convention in
October 8 The Augusta Chronicle runs
what appears to be the last newspaper advertisement for Thomas
Hamilton’s grocery store.
October 19 President Harry Truman dedicates
the “Three Presidents” monument on Capital Square
in Raleigh, N.C. He also delivers a political speech at the State
Fairgrounds in Raleigh, making North Carolina the only Southern
state in which he campaigns during the 1948 presidential elections.
November 2 Harry Truman is elected president
of the United States in an upset victory over Republican candidate
Thomas Dewey. The States’ Rights Democratic ticket, headed
by presidential candidate Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, carries
only 4 states: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
The States’ Rights Democratic Party quickly disappears.
February 23 Thomas Hamilton and Dr. Samuel
Green visit Columbia, South Carolina, for a Klan meeting in West
Columbia. During the day, the two Klan leaders visit the South
Carolina legislature, where the representative from Aiken introduces
the Georgia Grand Dragon to legislators. Green bows amid scattered
applause and then identifies Hamilton, who is sitting with him
in the house gallery.
April Grand Dragon Dr. Samuel Green charters
the Thomas L. Hamilton Klavern No. 42 in Langley, South Carolina—a
town halfway between Augusta, Georgia, and Hamilton’s native
Aiken, S. C. Green also honors Hamilton’s wife, Olive, with
the creation of the Olive Ray women’s Klan auxiliary in
June Horace Carter completes his course work
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and receives
a degree in journalism while managing the printing operations
for Colonial Press. He also discusses the formation of a new printing
company with Mark Garner, a former Tar Heel reporter
who is executive secretary of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.
August 18 The Klan’s Imperial Wizard,
Dr. Samuel Green of Atlanta, dies, setting off a leadership struggle
within the organization. Speculation initially centers on Thomas
Hamilton as Green’s successor, but the position goes to
Sam Roper of Atlanta.
September Thomas Hamilton sells his grocery
store in Augusta and moves to Leesville, S.C., to focus on organizing
Klan klaverns in the two Carolinas.
November Georgia’s new Grand Dragon, Sam
Roper, calls Thomas Hamilton a “traitor” after Hamilton
announces that the Association of Carolina Klans has been formed
and that he, Hamilton, is the ACK’s Grand Dragon. Hamilton
organizes the ACK’s first North Carolina klavern late in
November in Charlotte. “You’d be surprised the type
of men who are in it,” he tells one Charlotte reporter.
“Some of the city’s leading business men were there.”
The goal of the new klavern is to “fight the Communism that
has crept into the schools, the colleges and the political set
up,” Hamilton says, and “the Charlotte Klavern will
be the nucleus from which other North Carolina groups will be
December 17 Klan representatives from 14 states
meet in Montgomery, Alabama, to form the National Ku Klux Klan.
The new group is led by Thomas Hamilton (Grand Dragon of the Association
of Carolina Klans); William Hugh Morris (chairman of the board
of governors of the Federated Klans of Alabama); and Bill Hendrix
of Florida (adjutant of the Southern Klans, Inc.) “We have
joined with the pledge to fight Communism and all other un-American
‘isms,’” Hamilton tells the Augusta Chronicle.
“And we are not banded for any pecuniary gain.”
February 12 The Association of Carolina Klans holds a special
konclave. Thomas Hamilton brings together Klan leaders from throughout
South Carolina at the Thomas L. Hamilton Klavern No. 42, in Langley,
South Carolina. The meeting provides Hamilton with contacts and
membership lists that enable him to plan strategically for mobilizing
the Klan in South Carolina. More than 50 representatives from
18 different klaverns attend.
April 3-7 The United States Supreme Court hears arguments regarding
separate-but-equal educational facilities in graduate and professional
May 6 Thomas Hamilton and the Klan stage a “spring
festival” at the brick “Klan Klavern” building
on Rabbit Hill in Langley, S.C. The only robed and hooded figure
at the meeting is a tall, unidentified man described as “Nathan
II,” who tells the crowd of 125 spectators that “the
days of Reconstruction are coming back.” Hamilton also speaks
to the crowd, as does Bill Hendrix, the Grand Dragon of Florida,
and all three men use the back of a pickup truck as their pulpit.
While Hendrix and Nathan II rail against “Asiatic Jews”—a
supposedly new group of Jews who are allegedly leading the communists
and Negroes—Hamilton sounds like the true Christian klansman
he considers himself to be. According to the Augusta Chronicle
[May 6, 1950], “South Carolinian Hamilton told the group
he believes in the Bible and goes to Sunday School.”
May 16 NAACP lead counsel Thurgood Marshall and
Columbia, S.C., attorney Harold Bouleware file a case in the U.
S. District Court in South Carolina charging that blacks are being
denied equal educational facilities (in this case, school buses)
in Clarendon County, S.C. This case is the precursor to the Briggs
v. Elliott case that will be combined with the Brown case from
Kansas (and several others) as part of the historic 1954 Supreme
Court decision outlawing segregation in the public schools.
May 26 Thomas Hamilton visits Tabor City, N.C. to meet with local
Klan sympathizers led by Troy Bennett.
May 29 Thomas Hamilton meets with Klansmen in Horry County, S.C.,
to discuss the Klan organization there.
June 5 The United States Supreme Court announces its decisions
demanding desegregation in public transportation and public graduate
June 14 Horace Carter and Mark Garner publish
the first issue of the Tabor City Tribune under their
new partnership, Atlantic Publishing Company. Carter announces
that he is the editor and publisher of the Tribune, which
is located in Tabor City, N.C.
June 16 The Atlantic Publishing Company prints
the first issue of Horace Carter and Mark Garner’s new newspaper,
the Myrtle Beach Sun. Garner is editor of the Sun, which
is located in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
June 25 The Korean War begins when North Korea invades South Korea.
July Horace Carter and Mark Garner buy a one-half
interest in the Ocean Beach News through their corporation,
Atlantic Publishing Company. They have no editorial control over
the paper; they only print it. They will purchase the remaining
half of the paper from its founder J. Eddie Bone, in March, 1951.
July 1 Thomas Hamilton visits Conway, S.C., on a recruiting drive
for the Klan. He receives numerous letters in the weeks that follow
asking him for membership applications and for more information
on the Klan.
July 8 Thomas Hamilton leads a Klan motorcade through Conway, S.C.
July 11 South Carolina Senator Olin D. Johnston defeats Governor
Strom Thurmond in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in
South Carolina. James Byrnes wins the Democratic nomination for
governor in S.C.
July 12 The police chief of Tabor City, N.C., L.R. Watson, writes
Thomas L. Hamilton on police department stationery. Addressing his
letter “To Whom it May Concern,” Watson notes he is
writing at the urging of local barber Frank Young, who is working
with Hamilton. According to the FBI, Watson stated in his letter
that “he received a message concerning leading a parade through
the town of Tabor City and would be glad to have the opportunity
to lead the parade through as he had several places in mind he would
like the parade to pass, all of which were in the city limits and
would not take much time. WATSON stated if that was agreeable he
would like the same representative to contact him.”
July 22 Horace Carter’s barber in Tabor
City, N.C., Frank Young, suggests that the young Tabor City
Tribune editor be downtown that Saturday evening—that
there would be something Carter would want to see. What Carter
sees that Saturday night is Thomas Hamilton leading a Ku Klux
Klan motorcade through Tabor City.
July 26 Horace Carter opens his attack on the
Klan after struggling with the questions of if and how he should
respond to the Klan motorcade. He publishes several stories in
the Tabor City Tribune: “This Issue – A Dual
Purpose”; “An Editorial: No Excuse for KKK”;
and “Ku Klux Klan Here on Saturday Night.”
July 27 Horace Carter finds a threatening note
under the windshield of his car and two more such notes at his
Tabor City Tribune office. These are the first of hundreds
of threats he eventually receives in connection with the Klan
crusade of 1950-52.
August 2 Horace Carter publishes a short editorial,
“Our Thanks,” regarding reader response to his earlier
anti-Klan editorial, and “An Open Letter from Me to You
on This Week’s Ku Klux Klan Developments.”
August 7 Grand Dragon Thomas L. Hamilton writes Judge William F.
Simmons, a magistrate at Myrtle Beach, S.C., regarding the recruitment
of Klan members there. Simmons responds by saying that he is too
old to help the Klan physically, but that he would like to help
Hamilton find a few good men for a klavern in Myrtle Beach. Simmons
helps Hamilton organize a Klan motorcade that will lead to violence
in Myrtle Beach on the night of August 26.
August 9 Horace Carter publishes a letter in
the Tabor City Tribune from John W. Hardee of Tabor City,
N.C. Hardee says that even though he is not a member of the Klan,
he believes Carter is misrepresenting it. The Klan is not a group
of “Lawless hoodlums,” Hardee argues. It is “just
a good old Red Blooded American Organization. Organized to support
the good Morals of Good American People.” Hardee is especially
worried about corrupt law enforcement officials and the prospect
“of a bootlegger or a red light district next door”
to Tabor City. Not only does Hardee send Thomas Hamilton a copy
of his letter to Carter, but on August 14 Hardee writes Hamilton
again saying that he wants to be a charter member of the Klan
being organized in nearby Loris, S.C.
August 16 Horace Carter publishes “This
Is Final Installment on Ku Klux Klan Activities” in the
Tabor City Tribune. “The Tribune with
this short article expects to ring down the curtain on further
publicity regarding the Ku Klux Klan. . . . It is the sincere
hope of The Tribune that the Ku Klux Klan will see fit
to forget that Tabor City is on the face of the earth and that
they will carry on their activities elsewhere.”
August 26 Klansmen from a motorcade led by Thomas Hamilton attack
Place, a popular black night club in Myrtle Beach. The club is owned
Fitzgerald, a prosperous black man whose gambling, prostitution,
and illegal liquor operations are connected with organized crime and
the graft and corruption of state and local law enforcement officials.
The attacking klansmen fire hundreds of shots into Fitzgerald’s
night club, and during the fracas, a white Conway policeman, James
Daniel Johnston, who had just been elected as a magistrate in Conway,
is killed—his Klan robe covering his policeman’s uniform.
Fitzgerald, the club’s owner, is taken to the woods in nearby
Pine Island where he is severely beaten and cut by several klansmen.
He is found several hours later by a friend, and after being treated
for his wounds by Dr. William S. Chapman, a white physician in Myrtle
Beach, Fitzgerald is taken into protective custody by Sheriff Ernest
Sasser. Rather than take the black man to the county jail in Conway,
however, where Sasser himself is headquartered, the sheriff puts
Fitzgerald up for the night in the basement of his (Sasser’s)
house. The following day Sasser takes Fitzgerald to Marion, S.C.,
for safekeeping. The black entrepreneur is booked as “Paul
Roberson” (but, apparently, not charged), and after two days
in the Marion jail, Fitzgerald is transferred by Horry County deputies
to the “Women’s Department” jail in Conway, where
he is held for safekeeping until being released on September 7.
Fitzgerald leaves the state and goes in to hiding with friends in
Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City.
August 29 Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, sends
a telegram and letter to the Department of Justice asking it to
investigate the incident at Charlie’s Place for violations
of Fitzgerald’s civil rights under Title 18, Sections 241
and 242 of the U.S. Criminal Code.
August 31 Horry County Sheriff Ernest Sasser
arrests the ACK’s Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton and 8 other
klansmen on charges of “conspiracy to stir up mob violence.”
Before releasing Hamilton on $5,000 bail, Sasser puts him in jail
in Conway in a cell next to Charlie Fitzgerald.
September 2 The South Carolina Highway Patrol is ordered to break
up “all concentrations of people and cars on highways that would tend to
According to the state’s highway commissioner, Claude R. McMillan,
the order is aimed at preventing the Klan from repeating the torch-light
processions it had been staging every Saturday night for the past
Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton addresses a Klan rally in Tallahassee,
Florida, telling the crowd that the “Myrtle Beach Negroes
had dared the hooded
group to ride past their dance hall. ‘Whenever a Negro tells
me that I can’t drive
down a highway without bloodshed I won’t take it,’ he
September 22 James M. McInerney (Asst. Attorney General, Criminal
United States Department of Justice) writes to FBI Director J. Edgar
Hoover requesting a full investigation of the Ku Klux Klan motorcade
through Myrtle Beach and the beating of Charlie Fitzgerald. McInerney
provides Hoover with summaries of investigations being conducted
by Horry County Sheriff Ernest Sasser and by Eugene A. R. Montgomery,
head of the NAACP in South Carolina. Hoover hesitates ordering the
FBI to investigate because of these other investigations and the
fact that Hamilton and other Klansmen had been arrested and faced
a preliminary hearing.
September 30 A preliminary hearing is held for Thomas Hamilton
and other klansmen arrested by Horry County Sheriff Ernest Sasser
for their participation in the incident at Charlie’s Place
in Myrtle Beach. The hearing is held at the Horry County Court House
in Conway, S.C., before magistrate H. D. Crawford. Crawford finds
“probable cause” to hold Hamilton and four other men
for further trial: Charles McCown Garrison (patrolman, Florence,
S.C. Police Department), Robert Lee Simms, Jr. (salesman, Florence,
S.C.), Joe Clyde Creel (owner of Creel’s Gulf Station in Conway,
S.C.) and Greenville Grandy Sawyer, Jr. (bricklayer, Effingham,
October Horace Carter is chosen as chairman of the Christian United
Jewish Appeal for the Tabor City, N.C., and Loris, S.C., area. “Many
times during the course of every year our Jewish neighbors here
are asked to contribute to dozens of worthy projects,” Carter
says. “They always cooperate in these fund drives and have
been among the leaders in aggressive community betterment and civic
pride in our town. This time they are calling on the assistance
of the Christian people of Tabor City to help them reach a goal
October 5 A grand jury at the Court of General Sessions in Conway,
S.C., returns a “No Bill” on charges that Thomas Hamilton,
Charles Garrison, Robert Simms, Joe Creel, and Greenville Sawyer
conspired to commit mob violence during the incident at Charlie’s
Place. All five men are set free. In Washington, NAACP leaders Walter
White and Thurgood Marshall take Charlie Fitzgerald to meet with
officials in the Civil Rights Section of the Department of Justice.
At the request of section officials, FBI agents take a statement
from Charlie Fitzgerald.
October 20 James M. McInerney (Asst. Attorney General, Criminal
United States Department of Justice) asks Deputy Attorney General
Peyton Ford to have the FBI conduct a full investigation of the
incident at Charlie’s Place in Myrtle Beach, S. C. The FBI
complies with McInerney’s request and begins an investigation
into the incident at Charlie’s Place.
November 7 A dozen men break in to the home of
Rufus Lee, a farmer, in Conway, S.C. They seize Lee and send his
two sons, Hinson, 18, and Coolidge, 23, running down the road
toward the family’s tobacco barn. The men then drive Rufus
Lee to a secluded spot, whip him, and cut his hair. The incident,
which is investigated by FBI agents and by South Carolina state
constabulary officers, is condemned by the South Carolina Temperance
League. Horry County Sheriff Ernest Sasser blames the Klan for
November 9 Some 40 union officials in North Carolina
and South Carolina sign a telegram to U.S. Attorney General J.
Howard McGrath warning him of a Klan rally planned in Horry County,
“We the undersigned union officials of North and South Carolina,
call to your attention the fact that the Carolina Ku Klux Klan
has announced a ‘Demonstration and Cross-Burning’
in Horry County, South Carolina on Saturday night November 11th.
“According to the KKK this demonstration is being called
as a follow-up to the Myrtle Beach violence of last August now
being investigated by the FBI.
“Since the constitutional rights, property and personal
safety of Negro citizens are endangered we respectfully urge that
the Department of Justice take immediate action to prevent further
November 10 The FBI ends its investigation into
whether anyone acting “under color of the law” participated
in the Klan attack on Charlie Fitzgerald and his nightclub in
The Special Agent in Charge at the FBI office in Savannah writes
to FBI Director Hoover that “The Association of Carolina
Klans has scheduled at 8:30 P.M., 11/11/50, a Klan demonstration
at a point about 8 miles from Mullins, S.C., on State highway
917, which is the Mullins-Loris highway.
“The purpose of this demonstration and cross burning is
to explain the Klans’ side of the Myrtle Beach incident.
“Mr. Thomas L. Hamilton, Grand Dragon, has stated to the
press that he anticipates a large crowd, possibly from 8,000 to
November 11 The Association of Carolina Klans
holds a rally in Horry County, S.C. The editor of the Tabor
City Tribune, Horace Carter, attends the rally along with
about 8,000 other spectators.
November 15 Horace Carter of the Tabor City
Tribune responds to the ACK’s recent rally in Horry
County, S.C., by publishing an article titled “K.K.K. Threatens
to Expose Horry Officials,” and also “An Editorial:
True or False,” that examines the statements made by Thomas
L. Hamilton at the November 11 rally.
November 17 Speaking at a Democratic banquet
in Columbia, South Carolina’s newly elected governor, James
Byrnes, refuses to countenance the Klan’s recent actions.
Horace Carter takes note of Byrnes’ remarks in the next
issue of the Tabor City Tribune (November 22, 1950).
Writing in an article titled “Governor-Elect Issues Warning
As Sasser Replies to Klan Charges,” Carter notes that: “South
Carolina Governor Elect James F. Byrnes told a Democrat banquet
audience in Columbia last Friday night ‘there will be no
room for a government presided over by a grand dragon or a grand
kleagle’ after he takes office.”
November 19 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton releases a letter responding
to the anti-Klan remarks made by governor-elect James Byrnes two
nights earlier in Columbia. The letter, which Hamilton also sends
to outgoing Governor Strom Thurmond and to South Carolina Senator
Olin D. Johnston, says that anyone who claims the Klan has taken
the law into its own hands is “just a liar,” and that
“any man or group of men who says the Klan has advocated any
violence in this state is also a liar.” Hamilton writes that
he presumes Byrnes “has definitely taken a stand against the
Klan, of which I am leader here in South Carolina.” And then
chides Byrnes: “I am satisfied that, if you made that statement
before your were elected, you would not be the Governor.”
November 28 The United States Atomic Energy Commission announces
it will build a
nuclear materials plant 20 miles south of Augusta, Georgia, near
Aiken, S.C. Construction of this Savannah River Plant will require
the removal of 1,500 families within 18 months and the arrival of
8,000 workers in six months. According to one joke in Washington,
the South Carolina site was selected after 43 states asked to be
excused from the project, which they considered as too dangerous.
Finally, President Truman allegedly said: “Put it in South
Carolina. It’ll serve Jimmy Byrnes right.”
December 5 A post card headed “K.K.K. News” is mailed
from Leesville, S.C. to Jesse Reese Fant Jr. of Anderson, S.C. The
post card has Thomas Hamilton’s post office box listed at
the bottom: “Box 231 Leesville, S.C.” The post card
“Old Poison Pen Wilton E. Hall, of the Anderson Independent,
has stepped into it up to his ne[ck.] Hall is having NIGHT-MARES
– When he gets on drunk now, he dont see white elephants,
inste[ad] he sees white robes; or should I say he sees his newspaper
partner….Senator Taylor. BEWARE!!!! of Newspaper Editors –
they sit behind closed doors.
“WAKE UP AMERICANS….AWAKE AMERICANS……
“Box 231 Leesville, S.C.”
The recipient of the post card, Jesse Reese Fant, Jr. is a member
of the state house of representatives from Anderson, S.C. Wilton
Hall is a newspaper and radio station owner from Anderson, S.C.,
who also served briefly as a United States Senator from South Carolina.
The post card will result in federal charges being brought against
Thomas Hamilton in June 1951.
January By January of 1951 the first of several
klaverns eventually organized in Columbus County has been formed
in Whiteville, the county seat. This “Kolumbus Kounty Klavern”
holds its first meeting in Whiteville at the American Legion hut.
The klavern’s “Exalted Cyclops” is Jule Richardson,
a 54-year-old Fair Bluff man whose high blood pressure keeps him
from working. The klavern’s secretary-treasurer is Howard
Gore, an electrician. Jule’s brother, Carl Richardson, will
participate in (and be convicted for) several of the floggings
administered by the Klan in Columbus and Horry Counties over the
Jule Richardson, the Exalted Cyclops, is asked by one of the new
klavern’s members, T. L. Enzor, to put his (Enzor’s)
neighbors, Bessie Page and Will Flowers, on the Klan’s list
for flogging. Enzor claims that he saw Page—a white women
whose house is connected to Enzor’s by a three-foot path
across a field—having sexual intercourse with another neighbor,
Will Flowers, a black man who lives with his wife, Evergreen,
and their daughter, near Page and Enzor outside of Chadbourn,
January 16 James F. Byrnes is inaugurated as governor of South
Carolina. He recommends a state law prohibiting anyone over 16 years
of age from appearing masked on the streets.
January 17 Horace Carter briefly notes in his
Tabor City Tribune that the paper has received one of
the notices mailed out by the KKK from Leesville, S.C., “inviting
thousands of people to another public speaking” on January
20, 1951, in Aiken, S.C.
January 17-18 At a Klan meeting in Crescent
Beach, S.C., Thomas Hamilton appoints Klansmen from Columbus County,
N.C., to flog a white woman, Bessie Page, and a black man, Will
Flowers, who are neighbors in the Broadway section of Columbus
County near Chadbourn, N.C. Page and Flowers are targeted because
of allegations made by their neighbor, T. L. Enzor, a Klansman,
who claims he saw the couple having sex. Hamilton tells the selected
floggers “You better give ‘em a good whipping or you’ll
have to do it again.” He then leaves with Florida’s
Grand Dragon Bill Hendrix to prepare for the Klan’s January
20 rally in Aiken, S.C.
The designated floggers return to North Carolina where they are
joined by 30 or 40 more of their cohorts, none of whom is robed
or hooded. Bessie Page escapes flogging, as does her neighbor
and alleged black lover Will Flowers, who escapes from his home
as the Klansmen attack. His wife, Evergreen Flowers, is knocked
out and briefly tied up by the Klansmen before being released.
Down in Horry County, moreover, at roughly the same time that
night, 7 Klansmen wearing robes and hoods attack two white men,
J.C. Gore, 25, a Purple Heart veteran of World War II, and his
crippled uncle, Sam Gore, 42. Horry County Sheriff Ernest Sasser
arrests 7 Klansmen for the Gore floggings, but each immediately
pays $5,000 bond and is released.
January 20 Thomas Hamilton and Bill Hendrix hold a large Klan rally
at Aiken, S.C., near the construction site of the new atomic materials
plant. Hamilton and Hendrix tell some 350 unmasked and unrobed listeners
that the U.S. should pull out of the “Jewish-dominated”
United Nations. Hamilton also blames the recent violence in Horry
County, S.C., on “New York racketeers” and Sheriff Ernest
Sasser, claiming that one S.C. county (obviously Horry County) is
“the jumping-off place for racketeer operations between New
York and Florida.”
January 24 Horace Carter runs articles in the
Tabor City Tribune describing the Klan attacks on Evergreen
Flowers near Chadbourn, N.C., and on the Gores in Horry County,
Carter also runs an editorial in the same issue of the Tribune
headlined “Right is Right and Vice Versa.” The editorial
concerns a black woman teaching in a local school who was slapped
by a white man. Carter argues that this was wrong no matter the
color, and that had the situation been reversed, the assaulting
party would have been duly punished.
January (late) The editor of the Tabor City
Tribune, Horace Carter, receives an anonymous telephone call
from a man who claims he is a physician in Myrtle Beach. The caller
says he has overheard a party-line telephone conversation in which
two men were discussing a contract on Carter’s life.
February 7 Early in February, 1951, the Horry
County Klavern of the Association of Carolina Klans begins printing
and distributing 4x7 manila cards called the KKK News. The first
two issues—mimeographed cards printed in red ink—attack
Horry County Sheriff Ernest Sasser as corrupt and ineffective.
Implying that Sasser had sold out to the gambling interests in
Myrtle Beach, the KKK News suggests that Horry County needs its
own “Kefauver investigation.” Horace Carter responds
with an editorial in the Tabor City Tribune on February
7. In “Bring the Charges to Court,” Carter says he
has no brief to bear for Sasser, but that the Horry County Klan
should submit proof of its accusations against the sheriff.
February 9 South Carolina releases statistical information on its
46 counties. Horry County leads all counties in the percentage of
income derived from farm products. It is also the only county in
the state where more than 50% of the white school teachers lack
a class 4 certificate—that is, a certificate for 4 years of
February 14 In an editorial titled “Klan
Attacks Sasser with Literature,” Horace Carter, the editor
of the Tabor City Tribune, summarizes the KKK News and
its recent threats against those who would inform on the Klan.
“Three of the sheets carried rough sketches of a rat and
was indicative of the contents of the articles,” Carter
writes of the KKK News. “Each sheet was aimed at attacking
any person accepting a deputy sheriff’s position from Horry
Sheriff Ernest Sasser who announced several weeks ago that private
citizens throughout the area would be deputized to help in investigating
Carter also runs a story containing two letters signed by the
KKK and sent to a local farmer, Shepard Strickland. Strickland
brings Carter the handwritten letters, which threaten retaliation
by the Klan unless Strickland stops drinking, lets his family
go to church, and stops talking bad about the church. According
to Carter, Strickland contacted Thomas Hamilton about the letters
and was told by the Grand Dragon: “Don’t do anything
until I see you.”
February 23 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton visits
Horace Carter at the offices of the Tabor City Tribune
in Tabor City, N.C. The Klan leader says he will call for a boycott
of Carter’s advertisers if Carter does not end his campaign
against the Association of Carolina Klans.
February 28 Horace Carter prints a brief, 3-paragraph
story summarizing Thomas Hamilton’s visit to the Tabor
City Tribune. The Tribune also carries a full-page
ad headlined “Patronize Our Advertisers” and a note
that says “Another group of circulars have been distributed
by the Ku Klux Klan advertising another public speaking. The new
circulars announce a speaking to be held at McBee, S.C., Thursday
night, March 1, at 8:00 P.M.”
March 9 Horace Carter and Mark Garner announce
that their company, Atlantic Publishing, has purchased the remaining
50% of the Ocean Beach News from the paper’s founder,
J. Eddie Bone. The purchase gives Atlantic Publishing complete
ownership of the Ocean Beach News, which is located in
Ocean Beach, S.C.
March 27 The Fourth District Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia,
rules that the University of North Carolina must admit blacks to
its law school. Two black students will be admitted in June, 1951.
April 18 Horace Carter writes in support of
the UNC Law School decision in his “Carter’s Column”
in the Tabor City Tribune.
April 28-29 Stickers labeled with “KKK Yesterday, Today,
and Forever” are found plastered on automobiles, trucks, and
businesses in Whiteville, N.C., the county seat of Columbus County.
The stickers show a robed Klansman riding a horse and a lighted
torch held aloft in his hand.
May Registration begins for municipal elections
in Tabor City, N.C. the Tabor City Tribune notes on May
9 that Troy Bennett had registered to run for the Board of Town
Commissioners. Bennett, a leading local Klansman, will be elected
as one of Tabor City’s three town commissioners in June
of 1951. He will be forced to resign from the board in July 1952,
however, after being convicted in state court for participating
in a Klan flogging.
May 19 Thomas Hamilton leads a second Klan motorcade through Tabor
City, N.C. Some 34 vehicles, most with S.C. license plates, are
reported as part of the motorcade. As the motorcade leaves Tabor
City and crosses the state line into South Carolina, Hamilton’s
car is stopped and he is issued a citation for having an illegal
red light in the form of a cross on the front of his vehicle. The
light violates a state law recently passed by the South Carolina
May 23 Horace Carter briefly summarizes in the
Tabor City Tribune the second Klan motorcade through
Tabor City. He also writes an editorial titled “The KKK,
Another Step . . . Breakdown of Government.” Carter writes:
“All over the world, governments are growing weaker. In
our own country, never before have so many people lost confidence
in the men they elected to high office. Graft and subversion has
crept stealthily into almost every phase of American public life.
“Taking advantage of this weakness, the obviously un-American
and subversive Ku Klux Klan has rapidly grown among the disgruntled,
the dissatisfied, the trouble makers and the prejudiced. ”
June 4 A federal grand jury in Columbia, S.C., indicts Thomas Hamilton
on charges of violating postal laws by mailing the “K.K.K.
News” post card in December 1950. Specifically, Hamilton is
charged with sending mail “of a libelous, scurrilous and defamatory
character and calculated and obviously intended to reflect injuriously
upon the character and conduct of one Wilton E. Hall[.]”
June 12 Municipal elections are held in Tabor City, N.C. Troy Bennett,
a local Klan leader, is elected as one of the three commissioners
on the Board of Town Commissioners.
June 27 Horace Carter publishes in the Tabor
City Tribune a long letter written by the Grand Dragon of
the Association of Carolina Klans, Thomas Hamilton. The letter
is Hamilton’s response to Carter’s earlier editorial
criticizing the Klan for taking advantage of the general breakdown
of government at all levels in the United States. Carter also
publishes his own equally long rebuttal to Hamilton’s letter.
Late June The editor of the Tabor City Tribune,
Horace Carter, begins receiving an increasing number of threatening
notes and phone calls. Some call him names, others threaten him
with physical harm, and one caller even threatens to kidnap his
bird dog, Bess.
July 21 Whiteville, N.C., hires William Hayes
Farrell, a klansman, as its new police chief.
August 13 The editor of the Whiteville News Reporter,
Willard Cole, publishes a story saying that the Association of
Carolina Klans had sent out notices about its plans to stage a
rally in Columbus County between Whiteville and Tabor City on
Saturday, August 18. According to Cole, Grand Dragon Thomas L.
Hamilton said the ACK would stage the “‘most colorful
and spectacular demonstration in the Southeastern United States
in the past 25 years.’ [Hamilton] said that the purpose
of the meeting is to ‘awaken the people of America to some
of the things going on in this county’ and to educate the
people to the purposes of the Klan.”
August 18 Some 5,000 spectators show up for the
Association of Carolina Klans rally at 8:30 pm on highway 701
in Williams Township, between Tabor City and Whiteville, N.C.
Both Horace Carter, the editor of the Tabor City Tribune,
and Willard Cole, the editor of the Whiteville News Reporter,
attend the meeting and summarize it in their respective papers.
August (mid) Horace Carter’s dog Bess disappears
from the editor’s house in Tabor City, N.C., and is assumed
kidnapped. She is gone for four months, reappearing in late December.
August 28 North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott
responds to questions about the Ku Klux Klan’s plans to
expand in the state, saying “we’re not going to take
any foolishness from the Klan. Both the Klan and the Communists
are obnoxious to the people of this State. The Communists want
to overthrow our government, while the Klan wants to take the
place of government.” Scott sees no difference between the
But he does see a difference between the current Klan, which he
refused to join when asked to, and the Reconstruction Klan, to
which his grandfather belonged. “It was an entirely different
problem then,” Scott said of the Klan during Reconstruction.
“We didn’t have law and order in those days. We do
September 26 Horace Carter notes in the Tabor
City Tribune that “Another KKK Meet” is scheduled
for Saturday night, September 29, between Tabor City and Whiteville.
Carter reports that one of the Klan’s scheduled speakers,
Florida Grand Dragon Bill Hendrix, has challenged the president
of the North Carolina Junior Chamber of Commerce to a debate at
the rally. Hendrix issues the challenge in response to the chamber’s
recent description of the Klan as un-American.
September 29 The Association of Carolina Klans
stages it second rally in two months in Williams Township (between
Tabor City and Whiteville) in Columbus County, N.C. Only about
700 people show up for the rally.
October 6 A group of Klansmen seize a white couple,
Ben Grainger and Dorothy Dillard Martin, from her grandmother’s
home in Fair Bluff, N.C. The Klansmen then transport the couple
into South Carolina and flog them there for alleged moral infractions,
such as making and drinking moonshine, not going to church, and
living together out of wedlock.
The incident is the first in a series of floggings that Klansmen
will administer over the next several months in Columbus County,
N.C., and Horry County, S.C.
October 8-14 Tabor City celebrates its annual Yam Festival.
October 21 A group of Klansmen abduct George Kemper Smith, a white
man, in Nichols, S.C., and carry him across the state line into
North Carolina. They then whip him near Fair Bluff, N.C., at a place
known as Lover’s Lane. Like many other Klan victims, Smith
is beaten for alleged immoral behavior, in this case his reputation
for drunken driving and carrying a woman across state lines for
immoral purposes. The Klansmen tell Smith they are beating him “because
you ought to stay home more.” Many of the 19 Klansmen who
participate in the Smith flogging also participated in the Oct 6
flogging of Grainger and Martin and will take part in several subsequent
October 26 Robert Lee Gore, a white man in Olyphic, N.C. is abducted,
taken across the state line into South Carolina, and flogged by
Klansmen. No one is ever arrested for the incident.
October 30 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton is convicted in federal
court in Columbia, S.C., for mailing material defamatory to former
South Carolina Senator Wilton Hall. The jury trial takes place under
George Bell Timmerman, Sr., of Batesburg, S.C., who is Judge of
the United States District Court for the Western District of South
Carolina. Hamilton pays a $1,000 fine rather than go to jail for
a year. The Klan klaverns in Columbus (N.C.) and Horry (S.C.) Counties
raise about $250 to help Hamilton pay his fine.
October 31 During an evening revival service at
the Cane Branch Baptist Church, near Allsbrook, S. C., 24 men
in Klan robes enter the sanctuary and parade through the aisles.
After exiting the church and leaving its property, 14 of the Klansmen
are arrested by Horry County Sheriff Eugene Sasser (and six of
his deputies) for violating a state law prohibiting the wearing
of masks on public property. The arrested Klansmen are jailed
overnight and released the following day after each posts a $1000
bond. Several Klansmen claim that the church granted them permission
to wear their regalia to the service.
November 5 Judge William F. Simmons of Myrtle
Beach issues warrants for the six deputies who assisted Horry
County Sheriff Ernest Sasser during the October 31 arrest of 16
Klansmen outside of the Cane Branch Baptist Church near Allsbrook,
S.C. Simmons, the magistrate who helped Thomas Hamilton organize
the August 1950 Klan motorcade through Myrtle Beach, issues the
warrants upon the complaint of A. L. Tyler, a deacon of the Cane
Branch Baptist Church. Tyler says in his complaint that the deputies
used obscene language and broke up a church meeting. The church’s
pastor, the Rev. N.E. Tyler, and the church’s clerk, Arthur
W. Tyler, report that church members passed resolutions commending
and approving the Klansmen’s conduct.
Other local churchmen, however, immediately side with the deputies
arrested in the Klan incident. Ministers and deacons from Methodist,
Baptist, and Presbyterian churches throughout Horry County post
bond for the deputies.
Nov 15-18 Klansmen attack three residents of Columbus
County, N.C.: Clayton Sellers, a white man; Dorsey Robinson, a
black man; and Esther Lee Floyd, a black woman.
Sellers, a poor farmer of the Sellerstown community between
New Hope and Beaverdam, says Klansmen told him he was being flogged
for having beaten his mother.
The Klan also later claims that Robinson was acting as a messenger
between Floyd, the other black victim that night, and a white
man who is allegedly her lover. Robinson and Floyd, both of Chadbourn,
N.C., are targeted separately, on the same night, by the same group
of Klansmen. Robinson later says the Klan accused him of getting
drunk and cussing in front of a white woman. The Klansmen decide
not to flog Floyd, however, after she tells them she is pregnant.
They scissor-cut a crude cross in her hair instead, telling her:
“Go to Whiteville and tell everybody the Ku Kluxers got
Nov 19-21 The first press reports of the floggings
of Robert Lee Gore (October 26) and Clayton Sellers (November
15) are printed by Willard Cole in the twice-weekly Whiteville
News Reporter and then by Horace Carter in the weekly Tabor
December 1 Lee and Louise Tyson, white tenant
farmers in Hallsboro, N.C., are riding in a truck with Norman
Sasser, a drinking companion, when Sasser stops his truck near
the Tyson’s home and gets out. Robed and hooded men seize
the Tysons from the truck and proceed to flog Lee Tyson, telling
him he is being whipped for not going to church and for failing
to provide for his 8 children. The Klansmen decide not to beat
Tyson’s wife, however, after she shows them her bandaged
thigh and says she was severely burned there several weeks earlier.
December 8 Woodrow Johnson, a white auto mechanic in Whiteville,
abducted and flogged by Klansmen for “drinking too much.”
The man leading the flogging party is Johnson’s step father-in-law,
Henry Edwards, a garage owner in Whiteville.
December 25 Dan Ward, a white farmer in Nakina, N.C., is threatened
by three white men who demand that Ward and his wife, Ella, remove
a black tenant farmer from their property by December 30 or have
their property burned and the black tenant farmer “Kluxed.”
December 29 Greer Pinkney Wright, a white tenant farmer and painter
N.C., is abducted and flogged by men who tell him “We’re
December 31 The pastor of Fair Bluff Methodist Church, a white
man, the Rev. Eugene Purcell, is threatened after refusing to withdraw
his invitation to a local “Negro quartet” to sing for
a men’s fellowship supper at the church. Allegations that
the Klan is behind the threat are given credence by the fact that
Early Brooks, the Klansman leading most of the violent local floggings,
is a member of the Fair Bluff Methodist Church.
By late December, the Klan has succeeded in creating a “reign
of terror” in the Carolina border towns of Columbus and Horry
Counties. Local residents are buying all the ammunition they can
find, and when they do answer their doors at night, it’s usually
with some kind of weapon in hand. The strain is particularly acute
on the region’s small Jewish population, many of whom are
successful merchants. Arthur Leinwand liquidates his business, for
example, and moves to Virginia, while Albert Schilds, a Jewish merchant
who owns clothing stores in Tabor City and Whiteville, is hospitalized
with a bleeding ulcer.
January 1 Lawyer W. Jernigan, a white tenant farmer
in Hallsboro, N.C., is abducted and beaten, and told by his captors
that the 25 lashes they give him are “just a sample”
of what awaits him if he continues to fail to support his family.
Alton Bullock, the manager of the black quartet invited to sing
at the (white) Fair Bluff Methodist Church, is visited by a white
man who says “I was sent all the way from Florence, S.C.
to tell you boys not to sing.” After Bullock decides his
quartet will not perform, the church extends its invitation to
two other black groups, both of which decide not to sing after
being told of the threats made earlier. On the night of the scheduled
performance, several cars filled with men and bearing South Carolina
license plates ride through Fair Bluff and linger across the street
from the church. The stress of the situation takes its toll on
the church’s minister, the Rev. Eugene Purcell, and his
pregnant wife. The distraught pastor takes a leave of absence
from the church.
January 8 The three men who threatened to “Klux”
Dan Ward’s black tenant farmer in Nakina, N. C., and to
burn Ward’s property if the tenant were not removed, are
convicted of assault and trespassing in Recorder’s Court.
Later that night, H. D. “Dick” Best, a white automobile
salesman in Whiteville, N.C., is abducted from his home and flogged
by several hooded figures. Best is later told that the incident
resulted from a complaint made by his nephew, who alleged that
Best was mistreating his wife.
January 9 Horace Carter reports in the Tabor
City Tribune that “Three Nakina Men Get Road Terms
For Threatening To ‘Klux’ Farmer.” He also notes
that his bird dog had been found two days earlier on highway 701
near Williams Township school by his brother-in-law, Tribune
employee J. A. Herlocker.
January 16 Horace Carter responds in his “Carter’s
Column” to the perceived lull in Klan coverage mentioned
by several readers of the Tabor City Tribune. Carter
reiterates his long-standing opposition to the Klan and then mentions
the fact that the town of Fair Bluff is “practically an
armed camp” and “that guns and other weapons are available
in just about every residence, and that the slightest incident
might set off fireworks that could end only in death and tragedy.”
Carter also notes “reliable reports that the FBI is nearing
the day when wholesale arrests are going to be made and some KKK
members are going to be exposed in open court. This is our greatest
hope. If arrests are not made and if the organization is not exposed
to the public, it can only end one way – that is mass tragedy
with several persons meeting their death.”
January 23 Horace Carter prints on the front
page of the Tabor City Tribune a long letter written
to him by Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton in response to the “Carter’s
Column” of January 16. Carter also prints in an adjacent
column his own response to Hamilton’s letter.
Later that day, the Columbus County Ministerial Association releases
a long statement declaring that “we do not countenance nor
condone the lawless and violent acts of certain men within our
January 24 The Whiteville News Reporter publishes
a resolution approved by the Columbus County Ministerial Association
in opposition to the recent floggings. The resolution, which is
scheduled for reading in churches of all denominations on Sunday,
January 27, is headlined by the News Reporter as describing a
“Close Parallel Seen Between Local Acts Of Violence And
Communist And Fascist Methods.”
Later that same day, someone calls the Associated Press from Whiteville,
N.C., to report that Thomas Hamilton had disbanded the Fair Bluff
klavern for “un-Klanish” activities.
February 1 There are an estimated 1,556 dues-paying Klansmen in
Columbus County, N.C., and between 3,000 and 5,000 Klan members
in Horry County, S.C.
February 12 Florida Grand Dragon Bill Hendrix
is arrested on federal charges in Tallahassee, Florida, for sending
defamatory materials through the United States mail.
February 16 More than 35 FBI agents, working in close coordination
with state and local law enforcement officials in Columbus County,
N.C., arrest 10 Klansmen for the kidnapping and flogging of Ben
Grainger and Dorothy Martin on October 6, 1951.
Feb-May Dozens of men are arrested in connection with the flogging
cases in Columbus County, and many more will be arrested in the
months that follow. Most of those arrested are charged with violating
state laws regarding kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.
March 22 The Tabor City Merchants Association
presents Horace Carter with an engraved wristwatch in naming him
“Tabor City Man of the Year.”
April-May Horace Carter receives numerous telephone
threats as arrests, trials, and sentencings continues for the
13 reported floggings that occurred in Columbus and Horry Counties
May 24 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton is arrested in Florence, S.C.,
and charged with conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to assault
in the Evergreen Flowers case of January 18, 1951. Hamilton posts
a $10,000 bond in Florence and then a $10,000 bond in Whiteville,
June Horry County, S.C., Sheriff Ernest Sasser
is defeated in his reelection bid by John Henry.
July 19 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton stages a rally of the Association
of Carolina Klans at Johnsonville, S.C. Some 2,000 spectators attend
July 21 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton pleads not guilty to the charges
against him in the Evergreen Flowers case.
July 22 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton changes
his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial at a special
session of Superior Court in Whiteville, N.C.
July 30 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton is sentenced
to four years in state prison for his role in the Evergreen Flowers
case. Hamilton is given until October 1 to begin serving his sentence
because his wife Olive must have a hysterectomy for cancer.
September 1 Most of the men convicted in the Klan-related
flogging cases begin their sentences.
October 1 Grand Dragon Thomas Hamilton enters
the North Carolina state penitentiary in Wilmington, N.C.
November 16 The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai
B’rith honors Horace Carter of the Tabor City Tribune
and Willard Cole of the Whiteville News Reporter for their editorial
stands against the Klan.
May 4 Horace Carter receives telegram from Grayson
Kirk, President of Columbia University, notifying him that the
Tabor City Tribune and the Whiteville News Reporter have
won the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service.
February Thomas Hamilton is paroled from prison
after serving 17months of his four-year prison term. He and his
wife Olive eventually move to North Augusta, South Carolina, where
they live with their daughter Sally until her death in the mid-1960s.
Hamilton is eventually ordained as Baptist minister and will serve
several small churches in the North Augusta area until his death
on September 29, 1976. His wife Olive dies in 1985
Horace Carter continues to work at the Tabor City Tribune
and to write his “Carter’s Column” for the weekly