SAME CASE?: When agents received information that , a Sebring Klavern member and [Bureau Deletion] of Province 2 was ineffective due to poor management and a lack of administrative ability, they sent a letter from a “citizen” to the mayor of Okeechobee that  belonged to the KKK. The individual stopped attending klavern meetings, affecting other members, and internal discord prevented meetings from being held on a regular basis.373 In June, 1968 the FBI sent a letter, ostensibly from a "citizen," to the Mayor of Okeechobee Florida exclaiming that a particular Klansman should not be retained as a city employee. Action was apparently taken as the individual stopped attending Klan meetings.374
William Richardson meanwhile, continued to fight with Robert Shelton. When several members of former UKA Unit # 12, who had disaffiliated from the UKA some months previously tried to set up a new group under a militant leader, Tampa conducted interviews to deter them.375 Richardson took the Tampa, Melbourne, Plant City, and Titusville UKA klaverns and formed the Knights of the Invisible Empire (KOIE) on May 26. 1968.376 This left the UKA with only one Klavern, in Lake Wales.377
Richardson was charged with arson in the firebombing of a sundries store in June 1968. A Fire Marshall and City detectives who had the store under surveillance witnessed Richardson drive behind the store and leave minutes before the blaze broke out. Officers arrested them two blocks away, and found explosives in their truck.378The Fire Marshall and Fire Inspector had "received confidential information" that a store was to be bombed.379 Agents made plans to exploit divisions in the KOIE, consolidate opposition to Richardson, and unseat him.380
In August, the Bureau provided WKCT with information on William Richardson and the KOIE but it is not clear whether the station used it to prepare reports.381 In any event, the KOIE had difficulty in recruiting while officers waited for the outcome of Richardson’s arson charge.382 Richardson was imprisoned in January 1969. By that time, the UFKKK was losing members and the CIOE had disbanded. After Richardson was imprisoned, only a small contingent of 25 Klansmen remained in two KOIE Klaverns, in Melbourne and Titusville. [4 had left the group after being brought up on charges in a special meeting.383 One informant who had evidently attained a high position within the KOIE, was instructed to combat an advocate of violence by questioning his legitimacy, and ensure that vigilante violence was prevented, and thereby effectively reduced the organization's membership.384
In May, after  joined the KOIE, the group reactivated, burning a cross to intimidate an alcoholic, driving two black patrons out of a restaurant in a Holopaw service station, and intimidating a white divorcee having affairs with black males. Klansman held a rally to capitalize on a tense racial situation in Melbourne that June. Arrests followed confrontations between black and white youths. Agents “repeatedly instructed”  to prevent violence from occurring, and re-interviewed Klansman to “cast a shadow of doubt in their minds as to [5’s] legitimacy as a member,” and to caution them against violence.385 The interviews upset Klansmen, and drove all but seven members to drop out of the group, and  advised that he would continue to oppose  and block proposals to recruit more members and nullify his influence over the existing ones.386 Melbourne closed and rejoined UKA in July. Ocoee 9-10 present in meetings July-Aug.387
In November 1967, agents had sent a copy of an article from the Ft Pierce Tribune, as well as a letter warning about former Vero Beach Klansman Leon Blanton’s states rights organization activity, to a Florida Klan officer, in order to cause friction between the UKA and the NSRP.388 Blanton’s activities were quickly "neutralized," but NSRP organizing continued, radicalizing former Klansmen.389 By April 1968 Leon Blanton was complaining to Shelton the “the FBI is giving [us] hell in Florida.” He or someone working with him was complaining that property owners were fearful of allowing the Klan to hold rallies on their property.390
An extensive Ft. Lauderdale News exposé in April 1969 provided readers with a detailed graph of the UKA structure, identified and ridiculed Klan officers, and identified their places of employment. As a result, Klansmen suspected that the News was operating informants within Klavern #6, where members began searching for bugs. One officer , as well as some rank and file members resigned and some prospective applicants withdrew their applications. The Exalted Cyclops resigned one month later.391 Robert Shelton instructed that Klansmen were to stop talking to newspaper people. All news releases were now to come only from Imperial headquarters.392 The Unit # 12, Orlando retained forty-seven as of October 1968.393 Cocoa, Dade City had disbanded and Titusville showed no signs of activity. The Lake Wales klavern had grown however, and the Orlando #12 had become very active.394 Up until the spring of 1969 then, overall Klan membership declined in Florida while the hard core members moved from organization to organization with increasing frequency.
In May, however, Polk County Florida fell under a Federal Court Order to integrate it's schools, precipitating a distribution of KKK circulars, cross burnings, and a growth in UKA membership. At a 1968 integration workshop in Bartow, an imposing group of about a dozen white men disrupted a meeting by entering and standing silently against the walls of the room for thirty minutes. Klan literature had been placed on automobiles outside. The integration of Lake Wales High School precipitated interracial fights, white protests against integration and protests by blacks at the closing of their schools, as well as and a number of cross burnings directed at white women alleged by the Klan to be "carrying on affairs with Negro men."395 UFKKK members talked of forming "rifle clubs."396 Police feared that a riot would occur sooner or later, and FBI informants were instructed to stifle violence.397 Increased Black Power activity in the state occurred over the next three years as well, raising a potential issue for Klan recruiters to exploit.398 Although cross burnings and threats against civil rights leaders would occur in 1970 and the school integration controversy escalated over the next few years, FBI reports reported declining membership in all Florida Klan organizations through the rest of 1969.399
The UKA was growing to a small degree, with a new klavern established at Bartow, and the Melbourne KOIE rejoining the UKA in July. Units contined to meet at Lake Wales #31, Orlando #12, Titusville, but none of them were engaged in any “extreme racial situations.”400 The Bartow unit contained only 12-16 members, and only 9 of these had attended meetings in September. Orlando#12 was in a similar state. The Bureau had “sufficient coverage” to minimize activities of militant Klansmen, according to the Tampa SAC. Lake Wales lost their klavern trailer due to lack of money and membership and a fire destroyed their trailer. The Fire Marshal suspected arson, leading members to speculate that  destroyed it to recover insurance money and not have it repossessed, so the Klavern was in serious trouble.401 Bartow was forced to cancel plans for a rally because not enough money existed in the Klavern treasury.402 On the other hand, FBI investigations revealed that some Klansmen were working with members of the American Nazi Party to install a white power telephone-message line.403  UFKKKK was talking about organizing hard-core Klansmen into cell-like structures.404
In summer 1969, agents sent a letter to Imperial Headquarters protesting that it was a bad idea that  proposed to raise money by collecting debts for Orlando businessman to collect a large percentage for the Klan.405 In 1969-1970, agents interviewed recruiters for the Lake Wales and Bartow Klaverns to discourage their work. Agents also contacted the Orlando Sentinel and provided copies of the Fiery Cross, so that the newspaper could publish derogatory information on Robert Shelton.406 They helped another newspaper with informaiton on Klavern #6.407 In January 1970, COINTELPRO operatives alerted Ft. Lauderdale Zoning authorities about building code violations at the Klavern #6 meeting hall. After authorities forced the Klavern to rectify minor deficiencies, agents contacted the Ft. Lauderdale News, to expose the Klavern.408 After the Melbourne Klavern’s lease expired, agents contacted the Melbourne Police, who in turn contacted the building’s management to expose [7’s] Klan association. The group was forced to leave. To further disrupt the Klavern, agents made anonymous telephone call to the wife of one Klasman, indicating that her husband, “the [26 ]. . . should stay away from  or he would go to jail with .”409 Robert Shelton continued to attempt to recruit in Florida, but Bartow retained only 10-12 Klansmen.410
Agents also informed the People’s Missionary Church that one of their organizers, Armand James Chandonnet had furnished fake credentials. Church investigators found that Chandonnet had forged checks and misappropriated more than $2000 in church funds. Agents alerted the Ft. Lauderdale News to Chandonnet’s background and his forthcoming prosecution for check fraud, resulting in an exposé. The operation was important because Chandonnet had been an effective Klan organizer, revitalizing Klavern #6 and opening Klavern #108, a new unit in Broward County. Klavern #108 EC pressed charges against Chandonnet, who then resigned his Klan office. This created considerable dissention, with the ultimate effect that the #108 EC and four other Klansmen also resigned. They split from Klavern #6 to create an independent organization, but the EC eventually returned to his home in North Carolina. Klavern #108’s four remaining members folded back into Klavern #6.411 Racial tension was evident in Spring 1970, as interacial fights caused two schools to close in Panama City, and riots broke out in Melbourne and Miami.412 Tampa one troublemaker will set informants against him.413 As of June, the UKA was growing but experiencing numerous differences. Tampa Klansmen brought charges against one member and another member was suspended. Bartow was riddled with troubles. There was constant bickering between the Ft Lauderdale units, which the Grand Dragon was unable to resolve. Melbourne Klavern retained only 7-8 Klansmen, and they too, were “enthralled in their own machinations,” as a state of confusion took hold after two of the group’s most trusted members resigned in the wake of controversy.414
In fall, when a Klavern #6 Klansman became active in an anti-bussing organization called “United We Stand for America,” Miami agents exposed his role through the Ft Lauderdale News, forcing him to disassociate himself from the group. Interest in the USA fell substantially after the expose appeared. FBI agents also interviewed newly elected Klan officers to disrupt the UKA.415 When a #6 Klavern official contacted WKCT to alert them that Robert Shelton was recently released form prison and would like to be interviewed on the station, Miami agents provided a list of questions for the interviewer to ask, including questions about accounting and financial matters, and identification of local Klan officials. Some of these questions were utilized.416 In Lake Wales, some law enforcement person in sympathy w Klan and provided bureau information it.417
By 1971 despite the activities of ambitious Klansman who were traveling throughout Florida to build klaverns, promote good will and espouse that they would help law enforcement rather than commit violence, the UKA retained only five Klaverns, with small memberships: West Melbourne #8 with 8, Orlando #12 with 20, Lake Wales # 31 with 15-20, Bartow #105 with 10, and Tampa with 7. Rallies in the state also proved disappointing.418 Then, in March, racial incidents at high schools in Haines City, Lakeland and Winter Haven, contributed to UKA recruitment among low-income seasonal laboring people in the Polk County citrus industry. One klavern was established at Winter Haven and second group began organizing in Lakeland. A number of successful rallies took place, due to a Polk County organizer’s active promotion of the Klan. Robert Shelton’s also spent considerable time in Florida, creating a reservoir of new applicants.419
When a new Homestead Klavern #114 was established in South Florida in March 1971, agents launched an “All out, vigorous and intensive interview program” to thwart its growth.420  was making frequent attacks against FBI agents in local newspaper interviews.421 He was infuriated by FBI interviews and obsessed with the idea of using a polygraph to weed out FBI informants. As COINTELPRO ended Klan informants were reminded to be most circumspect in contacts with agents.422 Given "appearances by black militants and white radicals" at Florida schools, Florida agents closed the COINTELPRO file while worrying about the potential of increased Klan growth due to a growing white "backlash."423 In 1973, Grand Dragon John Paul Rogers and Orlando Klansman Ed Jones attempted to reorganize the UKA, around the issue of racial violence in Florida schools, but ran up against FBI pressure.424 Eight years of COINTELPRO had accomplished an appreciable reduction in Klan membership statewide, and Klan activity was sporadic through the 1970s.425
1 John Drabble, “COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE, the FBI, and the Cold War Consensus,” (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley, 1996).
2 On domestic anticommunism and FBI surveillance, see Kenneth O'Reilly, Hoover and the Un-Americans: The FBI, HUAC, and the Red Menace, (Philadelphia, 1983); Athan Theoharis, Spying on Americans, Political Surveillance from Hoover to the Huston Plan, (Philadelphia, 1978); idem, ed., Beyond the Hiss Case: The FBI, Congress, and the Cold War, (Philadelphia, 1982); Frank J. Donner, The Age of Surveillance, (New York, 1980). For an analysis of COINTELPRO-WHITE Hate’s origins and place in the Cold War domestic security apparatus, see William Keller, The Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, Rise and Fall of a Domestic Intelligence State, (Princeton, 1989); Kenneth O'Reilly, Racial Matters: The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972, (New York, 1989).
3 Kenneth O'Reilly, Racial Matters: The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972, (New York, 1989); William Keller, The Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover, Rise and Fall of a Domestic Intelligence State, (Princeton, 1989), Chapter 3; Richard Gid Powers, Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover, (New York, 1987), 407-411; David Cunningham, There’s Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence, (Berkeley, 2004),81-92, 106-108, Chapter 4, 152-156, Appendix A and B. For more detail on the origin of COINTELPRO-White HATE, see Drabble, “"The FBI, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and the Decline of Ku Klux Klan Organizations in Mississippi, 1964-1971," Journal of Mississippi History, 66:4, (Winter, 2004): 353-401.
4 John Drabble, To Ensure Domestic Tranquility: The FBI, COINTELPRO-WHITE HATE and Political Discourse, 1964-1971, Journal of American Studies, 38:3(August 2004): 297-328; The FBI . . . in Mississippi.”
5 David Chalmers, “The Ku Klux Klan in the Sunshine State: The 1920s,” Florida Historical Quarterly, 43, (1964), 209-215.
6 Klan units were organized in Jacksonville, Orlando, Volusa county, Miami and St. Petersburg, Hastings, West Palm Beach, Key West, Ocala, Ft Meyers, Levy County, Dunnellon Lakeland Lake Worth, Florence Villa, Deland, Kissimmee, Tampa, Sumter City, Sanford, Miami Gainesville, Putnam County, Palatka, Volusia, Polk County and Monroe. Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 225-229.
7 Michael Newton, The Invisible Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Florida, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001),49-52.
8 Newton, Invisible Empire, 53-56.
9 Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 225-229.
10 Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 311-313; Jerrell H. Schofner, “Communists, Klansmen, and the CIO in the Florida Citrus Industry, Florida Historical Quarterly, 1993 71(3): 300-309.
11 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes, xvii.
12 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes, 203.
13 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes, 204.
14 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes, 204.
15 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes, 214.
16 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes, 214. See also, Steven F. Lawson, "From Sit-In to Race Riot: Businessmen, Blacks, and the Pursuit of Moderation in Tampa, 1960-1967", in Elizabeth Jackoway and David R. Colburn, eds. Southern Businessmen and Desegregation, (Baton Rouge LA., 1982), 257-81.
17 Tampa to Director, 1/14/65.
18 Michael J. Klarman, "How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis," Journal of American History (June 1994), 91(quote); Cantor Brown Jr., None Can Have Richer Memories: Polk County Florida, 1940-2000, (Tampa: University of Tampa Press, 2005), 64-65.
19 Brown, None Can Have Richer Memories, 87.
20 Hendrix entered into a coalition with William Morris’s Federation of Alabama Klans and Tom Hamilton’s Association of Carolina Klans. Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 339-342; Teresa Lenox, “The Carver Village Controversy,” Tequesta, L, (1990): 39-51; Clive Webb, Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights, (Athens, University of Georgia Press, 2001), 55-64; Michael Newton, The FBI and the KKK: A Critical History, (Jefferson NC: McFarland and Co, 2005), 50-52. The Associated Klans of America blamed the bombings on the NAACP, and castigated “hate mongering racial agitating” newspaper columnists who blamed the Klan. “Florida Bombings and the Klan,” American Klansman, 2:1, (Associated Klans of America, January 1952), Box 1, Folder 3, RIGHT WING POLITICAL COLLECTION, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA LIBRARY, ATHENS GA. From 1949-1962, Hendrix used “Knights of the KKK” and a number of other names. SAC Letter No 63-4, 1/23/63, 15-16, FBI San Francisco file 100-44462, “Bombings and Attempted Bombings,” Lazar archive.
21 One 1947 report citing 1570 civil rights investigations indicates that the government obtained only 27 convictions. Powers Secrecy and Power, 326, 563; Ben Green, Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America's First Civil Rights Martyr, (New York, 1999), 94, 106-107; Robert W. Saunders Sr., Bridging the Gap: Continuing the Florida Legacy of Harry T. Moore, 1952-1966, (Tampa: Tampa University Press, 2000), 18-24, 111, Chapter 5.
22 Green, Before His Time , 176-177, 182. See also New York Times, 28 December, 1951, 9 January 1952; Don Whitehead, “FBI Hunting Night Riders in Florida,” Los Angeles Times, 13 January 1952, 16.
23 Green, Before His Time, 229.
24 FBI investigators suspected that Sheriff Dave Starr, Constable Carl Sanders and Justice of the Peace C. M. Tucker, were Klan members. In 1978 a confession by Raymond Henry Jr., blamed Mccall for the killing. Green, Before His Time, 118, 231-245; Newton, FBI and KKK, 52; 10 Action News Reports circa late 1985, University of Georgia Libraries media archive.
25 On the first day of Rosh Hashanah for example, a dynamite blast, targeted the Tifereth Israel Northside Center. Kate Snatich, “A tale of Citrus and Secrets: a father Sends His daughter back to a Time when the Klan Gripped Orlando County—and a Puzzle Falls Into Place,” Orlando Sentinel, 7 April 2002, F1; Green, Before His Time, 132-133. See also New York Times, 1 January, 1952.
26 In 1958 Richard L. Ashe, a former FBI undercover informant testified that Orlando Klansman Edgar J. Brooklyn had admitted his Klan’s culpability in the killing. In January 1978 the case was re-opened, former Brevard County Klansman Edward Spivey, who had been indicted for flogging and castrating Joseph Schoomaker in 1935, claimed that Joseph Neville Cox, Secretary of the Orlando Klan, had set the bomb in a $5000 contract job. Two months later, Raymond Henry Jr. admitted making the bomb and implicated many local policemen, as well as the local sheriff. His claims did not hold up however, since the policemen he named were too young to have done it. In 1991, researcher Jim Clarke revealed that the FBI’s principal suspects had been Exalted Cyclops Tillman Belvin? and Earle J Brooklyn, (the brother of the man Ashe had identified in 1958), of the Orlando Klan. The case was reopened in 1991, and closed in 1992 with no indictments issued. Caroline Evans, “‘A Bland, Scholarly, Teatotaling Sort of Man,’ Harry T Moore and the Struggle for Black Equality in Florida,” in Charles M. Payne and Adam Green eds., Time Longer Than a Rope: A century of African American Activism, 1850-1950, (New York, New York University Press, 2003), 456; Green, Before His Time, 194-206, 215-216; Lenox, “Carver Village Controversy”; Newton, FBI and KKK, 52-53.
27 David Kraswell, “Liuzzo Case Remindful of Florida Klan Expose,” Los Angeles Times, 25 April 1965, 10.
28 Klarman, "How Brown Changed Race,” 98; idem, “Brown and the Civil Rights Movement,” 100; Saunders, Bridging the Gap, 149-151, 159.
29 Moseley, 165.
30 Raymond A. Mohl, “The Pattern of Race Relations in Miami since the 1920s,” in David R. Colburn and Jane L. Landers eds., The African American Heritage in Florida, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995), 348.
31 Mohl, “Pattern of Race Relations,” 349.
32 Ibid., 349; Meir and Rudwick, CORE, 176, 260.
33 Brown, None Can Have Richer Memories, 113, Saunders, Bridging the Gap, 151-157.
34 Core also used a boycot to gain hiring of blacks in supermarkets in 1960. Mohl, “Pattern of Race Relations,” 349-351; Richard V. Kelcher, “The Black Struggle for Political and Civil Rights in Broward County, 1943-1984,” MA Thesis, (Florida Atlantic University, 1990), 60-66. On the impact of migrants see also McMillan, Citizen’s Council, 98-99; Heard, A Two Party South? (1952), 53; Manning J. Dauer, “Florida The Different State,” in William C. Harvard ed., The Changing Politics of the South, (1972), 92, 157.
35 McMillan, Citizens Council, 99-103
36 The family claimed a mix of Irish-Indian. AP, “Family Quits town After Klan Threat,” Washington Post, 14 January 1955, 3.
37 “Union Reports 12 Shot,” Washington Post, 22 October 1955, 21.
38 Stetson Kennedy, The Klan Unmasked, ((Boca Raton: Florida Atlantic University Press, 1990 ).
39 Georgia was largest. Moseley, “Invisible Empire,” 165. Audiences ranged from 200-700. Nathan Perlmutter, Bombing in Miami: Anti-Semitism and the Segregationists, Commentary, 25 (1958), 498. 501-502.
40 Director to Albany and all Continental Offices, 1023/58, Bombings and Attempted Bombings, 5-6, Racial Matters in FBI San Francisco file 100-44462, “Bombings and Attempted Bombings,” Lazar archive; Nathan Perlmutter, “GET” Commentary, 25, (June 1958), 498-503.
41 The group also claimed bombings of Jewish Center in Nashville. Bern Price, “Anti-Semitism Growing in South as By-Product of Integraiton issue,” Washington Post, 15 June 1958, A14; Benjamin Muse, “Anti-Semitism Rise Doubted in Bombings,” Washington Post, 19 October 1958, E1.
42 “Klan Demonstrations Barred in Florida,” Washington Post, 14 March 1958, A3.
43 Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 353-354. For details on Klan organizing during this period, see FBI Report, “The Ku Klux Klan,” Section II, 1944-1958, (May 1958), downloadable from www.thememoryhole.org/fbi/kkk.htm, 59-66.
44 Between 1949 and 1963, klaverns were organized in Tampa, Lakeland, Mulberry, Ruskin, Orlando, St Petersburg, Orlando,. Jacksonville, Pinellas County, Brooksville, Dade City, Lacoochee, Bradenton, Ft Meade, Lake Wales, Sebring, Avon Park, Arcadia, Bartow, Wimauma, Auburndale. Tampa to Director, 1/14/65. All FBI documents cited in this article are contained in the COINTELPRO-White Hate File (Bureau File 157-9) unless otherwise indicated. The complete COINTELPRO file, as released by the FBI in 1977, is available on microfilm: Athan Theoharis ed., COINTELPRO: The Counterintelligence Program of the FBI (Wilmington, DE, 1978). The WHITE HATE file comprises microfilm reels 18-20. Sections 1 and 2 of this file contain executive level communications. The rest of the sub files are organized by city of field office location. The communications discussed in this article, are contained in the Jacksonville, Tampa or Miami Field Office sub files, unless otherwise indicated. “Director” denotes FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In the interest of brevity, I cite the section or field office file, the direction of the communication, and the date it was sent. Occasionally, if a document that originated from a given sub file or section, is located in a different sub file, I indicate the actual location in parenthesis, following the date.
45 “Fiery Crosses In Southern States,” London Times, 28 March 1960, 8; Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 353-354; Saunders, 189, 191.
46 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Book 5: “Justice,” (1961), 37-39; Saunders, Bridging the Gap, 179-181, 189.
47 Saunders, Bridging the Gap, 148.
48 Jacksonville to Director, 5/21/62, Tampa to Director, 5/22/62, and Miami to Director, 5/15/62, FBI HQ File 157-7 “Klan Type Organizations and Hate Groups,” Section 1, Lazar archive.
49 Director to Miami, 3/13/63, FBI HQ File 157-7 “Klan Type Organizations and Hate Groups," Section 1, Lazar archive.
50 Jacksonville letter, 5/24/63, FBI HQ File 157-7 “Klan Type Organizations and Hate Groups," Section 1, Lazar archive.
51 Memorandum, 11/1/63, “Racial Situation St. Johns County Florida,” and Director to Jacksonville, 11/27/63, in David Garrow ed., Centers of the Southern Struggle: FBI Files on Montgomery, Alabany, St. Augustine, Selma, and Memphis, (Frederick MD, 1988) hereafter cited as COTSS