Page 4

1965_01_30--026_SP We Got Nothing to Hide

Before the rally at Hemingway, South Carolina's Grand Dragon Robert Scoggins (left and below) supervises as Klansmen erect cross. the Klan as an organization opposed to all lawlessness but determined to save the country from the enemies who would betray it. "I don't hate the nigra." he said. "I feel sorry for him. He's been used as a tool by the forces that are trying to take over this country. And the only thing I see to do is bring the old World War II fleet out of mothballs and ship every one of them back to Africa. That would be a peaceful solution, wouldn't it?" Shelton had sketchily traced his own career. He was 35 years old. he said. His father was a retired Tuscaloosa grocer and a colonel on Governor Wallace's staff. He had gone to Tuscaloosa High School and then briefly to the University of Alabama. hoping to study law. But there hadn't been enough money, even though while in school he worked the evening shift at the B. F. Goodrich plant, making tires. His granddaddy and his father before . him had been Klansmen, but he himself hadn't thought much about the Klan until he went into the Air Force in 1947. They sent him to Germany, and there he saw white German girls going about with Negro soldiers. He couldn't stand the thought of that happening in this country. he said, and when he got out of the service and went back to Goodrich to work, he started looking around for a Klan to join. " I just happened to stumble on a Klavern meeting," he said, "and there was a man there who claimed to be a preacher, though he said some things that a preacher ought not to say, and I found out later he had never been ordained in any church." Whatever the preacher said, Shelton was not so offended that he abandoned his idea of becoming an active Klansman. " I decided to join the Klan and work to try to better it," he said. " I didn't go for that violent stuff. It was against my training. I was brought up in a religious atmosphere. My daddy and granddaddy built the first Alberta City Methodist Church. My wife and my mother teach Sunday school there now, and my daddy is a member of the board of stewards." Shelton, who had been promoted by Goodrich to a sales job that required him to travel the Southeastern States, soon got so engrossed in Klan work that Goodrich fired him. "They told me to quit the Klan or else, and I took the 'or else,' " he said. He then operated his own tire- recapping business for a few years, but soon his Klan duties became so demanding that he decided to devote his full time to them. Now on salary, he will not say how much that salary is—" It ain't as much as Thurgood Marshall makes." But the United Klans' share of the $10 " klektoken," or initiation fee, and of the $12-a-year dues each Klansman pays, is apparently sufficient to pay Shelton and to maintain a handsome office in a somewhat shabby seven-story structure in downtown Tuscaloosa. It also provides funds for Shelton to travel about 120,000 miles a year, organizing new Klaverns throughout the South; to publish a Klan newspaper called The Fiery Cross; and to pay heavy lawyers' fees when one of his Klansmen goes into court. The United Klans' main income, he says, is from fees and assessments. No money comes from making and selling robes, a racket by which Klan leaders in the old days enriched themselves. "We look for widow ladies in various towns to make them for us," he said. "We are not in the robe business." Shelton will not reveal the total membership of his organization, though he hints that it runs into "many thousands," with "many thousands more 2 9


1965_01_30--026_SP We Got Nothing to Hide
To see the actual publication please follow the link above