In March of 1983, when Bobby Person (an Affrican American) applied
for a supervisory position at the Moore County, North Carolina,
Correctional Unit, an act unheard of in the history of the prison,
he was met with great opposition from the KKK. On May 30, a cross
was burned in front of his house and Klan literature was strewn
across his lawn sometime later. The letters "KKK" were scratched
onto the hood of his father's pickup truck and his wife and children
were harrassed by another driver the next day. On October 12,
1983 at about four o'clock in the morning, Jerry Michael Lewis,
a fellow guard, drove by in a truck robed in his Klan attire holding
his hand out in a Nazi-style salute. At dusk, the truck returned
with two other passengers who called for Person to come out of
his house. Carrying a .22 rifle, Gregory Short, yelled out to
Person who was standing behind a tree with his own rifle: "Come
out from behind that tree, nigger, and I'll whip your ass."
After his retirement from the Green Beret, Klansman Glenn Miller
had become a leader in the pro-Nazi National States Rights party.
In December 1980, he resigned from the Nazis and founded the Carolina
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Anointing himself Grand Dragon, Miller
announced that his goal was to create the Carolina Free State,
"an all-white nation within the bounds of North and South Carolina.
Separation is the key." In 1981, Miller told the Duke Chronicle
that "over 90 percent of the murders [in 1980] were committed
by niggers...It's pretty obvious that white people are going to
have to use their weapons." Miller created a KKK influenced by
his military training and Klanwatch received reports of paramilitary-type
training situated at Miller's twenty-seven acre farm at Angier.
The White Carolinian was Miller's primary means of rallying again
black, Jews, and other non-Whites.
The threats at Person's house ceased until March 31, 1984 when
Lewis appeared and cursed and yelled racial epithets at Person's
wife and children while Person was at work. In the spring of 1984,
Morris Dees ensured a suit against the Carolina Knights while
others planned his execution. Lewis joined the Klan because he
was angry that blacks were promoted ahead of "better-qualified"
white in the Department of Corrections. In his deposition he gave
radical explanations for the violence he created and even insisted
that Person had been the agressor in the truck rides. After being
called as a defendant, Lewis liked the idea of being dropped from
the case because he was trying to start life over by enrolling
in the Tennessee Temple University, a Christian school in Chattanooga.
The settlement agreement stated that Miller would not operate
a paramilitary organization and do other acts prohibited by two
North Carolina statutes. One was a prohibition of civil disorder
and the banding, mustering, drilling, or practicing of military
evolutions without state authority.
This case was the beginning of states putting limits on the actions
of hate groups. However by the end of the 1980s, the Klan had
gone into decline and other hate groups, i.e. militia groups like
the Patriots rose. But militia activity was important to those
groups and the precendent set by this case in North Carolina was
a basis for prohibition to other states. In fact the practice
of an active militia is still an issue today.
deposition of Jerry Michael Lewis:
Q: So the only reason you went up that road was to go
up to his house with your Klan uniform on and stand in the back
of your truck?
A: Well, see...the Pope wears a white robe. My church,
we wear white robes to sing in choir....I use my same robe I go
to the Klan meetings with at the church where I sing in the choir.
It's the same thing.
Q: Have you got any symbols on it, blood drops or anything?
A: Weve go the blood drop patch, but you can take that
Q: When you were riding in the back of the truck that day,
were you singing in the choir? Were you out there as a Klan member?
A: No... I was just practicing a parade, because we had
Klan parades coming up and down, pretty soon.
Q: So you went out there as a Klansman?
A: As a Klansman. (229)