top of page

Klan Activity in Mississippi

Apr. 11, 1964 - The Ku Klux Klan is putting on a show of force in Mississippi on behalf of Byron De La Beckwith, the white supremacist on trial in the murder of Medgar Evers, Negro civil rights leader.

Ten crosses were burned in the Jackson area last night. Today, about 75 tough-looking men, some linked with Klan activity, showed up as spectators in court.

They stared stonily at Captain Ralph Hargrove of the Jackson police department as he testified that the fingerprint found on the rifle that killed Evers last June 12 was the defendant’s.

The police said they had received information that more white segregationists planned to attend Monday to fill the courtroom and keep out Negro spectators. A few Negroes were seated at the trial today.

Chief of Detectives M.B. Pierce said the crosses were burned about 11 p.m., some of them inside the city limits.

“They apparently picked that time because it was during the change of police shifts,” Chief Pierce said. “They haven’t done anything else that we know of here, but we are going to catch them.”

Until recent months, the Klan had failed to gain a foothold in Mississippi, the stronghold of the White Citizens Councils. But there has been a flurry of cross-burnings in southwest Mississippi around Natchez, and in the Mississippi Delta around Greenwood, where Beckwith lives. Greenwood is 100 miles north of Jackson.

Support this project at


bottom of page