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 ...
... middle of paper ...
...ed before he could be retried. Henry Hays continued to protest
his innocence until his execution on June 6, 1997.
"Lagniappe: Something Extra For Mobile." Lagniappe: Something Extra For Mobile. N.p., n.d. Web. 29
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-
"Henry Francis Hays | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers." Henry Francis Hays | Murderpedia,
the Encyclopedia of Murderers. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.
"Michael Donald Lynching." KKK History Website Atom. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
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