A Hundred Years of Terror from the Ku Klux Klan
During the third week of March 1981, a black man named Joeseph
Anderson was being tried in Mobile for killing a white police officer
in Birmingham; the jury of the trail came to a hung jury. This upset
Tiger Knowles, Province Klaliff of the United Klans of America, and
Henry Hays, the informal leader of the younger Klansmen of the UKA.
They felt that if a black man could get away with killing a white
police officer, than white men should be able to get away with killing
a black man.
So, Knowles and Hays decided to go on a mission, they were determined
to show Mobile that what happened in that courtroom was wrong. The two
were driving through in a black neighborhood to find a black man--any
black man-to perform their mission. The black man they found was a
young man named Michael Donald. They pulled up next to Donald as he
was walking on the side of the road. Knowles asked if he could tell
them how to get to Powell's, a local nightclub. When Donald approached
the car, Knowles showed him his .22-caliber pistol and told him to
stay quite. Knowles then got out of the car and forced Donald into the
car, then got in next to him. Hays then drove toward Baldwin County
along an old truck route by the paper mills. Knowles forced Donald to
empty his pockets onto the back floorboard.
"I don't believe this is happening. You can do anything you want to
me. Just let me go," Donald kept saying. Knowles asked Donald if he
had heard about the recent murders of black children in Atlanta.
Donald said he had. Knowles then threatened Donald with the murder.
Soon afterward, Hays pulled into an old garbage dump. "Please don't
kill me," Donald said. " I'll do anything you want. Just don't kill
All three of them got out of the car. Donald lunged at Knowles, and
they both stumbled to the ground. Donald grabbed the St. Christopher
medal Knowles wore around his neck and broke the chain.
"I'll kill you for that," Knowles said. Knowles lost his grip on the
gun and it was knocked away. Donald tried to fight for his life with a
tree limb about 4 feet long. Knowles grabbed it from him and started
beating Donald over and over, while Donald was grasping for his
breath. Hays got the noose from the car they had made earlier. Knowles
and Hays struggled to get the noose around Donald's neck. Hays pushed
his foot down on Donald's forehead to tighten the noose. He ran out
the length of the rope and pulled as hard as he could. Hays was trying
to drag him but Donald kept rising up on his knees. So then Knowles
beat him again with the limb. Soon after, Donald quit struggling. They
then pulled him to the car. They put Donald in the trunk and Hays made
three slits with a knife, on Donald's throat above the noose to make
sure he was dead. They then closed the trunk,...