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Intolerance: Anderson versus State

Good Essays
One of the most shocking racial crimes that ever took place in the United States occurred

on October 17, 1981. That week a jury had been struggling to reach a verdict in the case of

a black man, Josephus Anderson, accused of murdering a white policeman. The killing had

occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, but the trial had been moved to Mobile, Alabama. Francis

Hays, the second-highest Klan official in Alabama, and his fellow members of Unit 900 of the

United Klans, knew that the presence of blacks on the jury meant that a guilty man would go

free. According to Klansmen, who attended the unit's weekly meeting, Hays had preached that

Wednesday saying, “If a black man can get away with killing a white man, we ought to be able

to get away with killing a black man”(Kornbluth).

A young black male, Michael Donald, was abducted in downtown Mobile, Alabama

and taken somewhere across the bay. Two Ku Klux Klan members, Francis Hays and James

“Tiger” Knowles, were arrested and charged with the murder. A third individual, Benjamin Cox,

was also charged as an accomplice. The three were sent to trial and one was executed, Hayes,

and the other two are serving time in prison.

The Klansmen got together that Friday night at Bennie’s house after the trial. According

to James “Tiger” Knowles, Tiger brought a borrowed firearm. Henry Francis Hays took part in

the crime by bringing supplies to help with the murder. The group of men devised a plan and

drove around the city looking for a black man to kill.

Michael Donald was walking home alone when the two saw him. They pulled over,

asked him a few questions, then pulled out the firearm and pointed it towards Michael and

demanded he get in the vehicle. They kept driving ...

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...ed before he could be retried. Henry Hays continued to protest

his innocence until his execution on June 6, 1997.

Works Cited

"Lagniappe: Something Extra For Mobile." Lagniappe: Something Extra For Mobile. N.p., n.d. Web. 29

Jan. 2014. .

Kornbluth, Jesse. "The Woman Who Beat The Klan." The New York Times. The New York Times, 31 Oct.

1987. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/01/magazine/the-woman-who-beat-the- klan.html "Henry Francis Hays | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers." Henry Francis Hays | Murderpedia,

the Encyclopedia of Murderers. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. henry-francis.htm>. "Michael Donald Lynching." KKK History Website Atom. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

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