Klan of devils : the murder of a Black Louisiana deputy sheriff / Stanley Nelson.

Nelson, Stanley, 1955 September 18- [Browse]
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2021]
236 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


Library of Congress genre(s)
Summary note
"In the summer of 1965, several Ku Klux Klan members riding in a black pickup truck shot two Black deputies in Washington Parish, Louisiana. Deputy Oneal Moore, the driver of the patrol car and father of four daughters, died instantly. His partner, Creed Rogers, survived and radioed in a description of the pickup. Less than an hour later, police in Mississippi spotted the truck and arrested its driver, a decorated World War II veteran named Ernest Ray McElveen. They returned McElveen to Washington Parish, where he spent eleven days in jail before authorities released him. Afterward, the FBI sent its top inspector to Bogalusa to participate in the murder inquiry-the only civil rights-era FBI investigation into killing a Black law enforcement officer by the Ku Klux Klan. Despite that assistance, lack of evidence and witnesses willing to come forward forced prosecutors in Louisiana to eventually drop all charges against McElveen. The FBI continued its investigation but could not gather enough evidence to file charges either, leaving the murder of Oneal Moore an unsolved cold case. Hired by Dorman Crowe, Washington Parish's white sheriff, Moore and Rogers had been deputies for precisely a year and a day when the Klansmen attacked them. Crowe hired the men because in his campaign for sheriff against a candidate endorsed by the Klan, he promised the Black community that he would hire African American deputies, a vow that lifted him to victory. Afterward, the Klan harassed the newly hired deputies and tried unsuccessfully to convince Crowe to fire them. The attack on the men came amid great upheaval in Bogalusa as Blacks protested in the streets with demands for implementing newly passed Federal civil rights laws. In response, the Klan stepped up its campaign of terror until, at the behest of Louisiana Governor John McKeithen, its leaders agreed to pause the violence. That agreement led to a split amongst the Klansmen, some of whom formed a renegade group specifically to kill the Black deputies. The murder of Oneal Moore would have remained largely forgotten if not for the efforts of the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Stanley Nelson, who in 2017 filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department to immediately begin the process of releasing long-hidden documents involving the case. Nelson and the CIR were successful in their case to acquire those materials partly because Oneal Moore's widow, Maevella, who still lives in the same home she shared with her husband 55 years ago, signed a privacy waiver at their request. Since then, the Justice Department has released thousands of pages of FBI reports, interviews, and clandestine surveillance details exclusively to the CIR. Klan of Devils is Nelson's subsequent investigation of the case, which the FBI probed from 1965 to 2016. He describes the Klan's growth and the emergence of Black activism in Bogalusa and Washington Parish against the backdrop of political and racial change in the 1950s and early 1960s. With the files and assistance of two retired FBI agents who worked the case, Nelson also explores the lives of the primary suspects, all of whom are now dead, and suggests which Klansmen were ultimately responsible for this senseless and horrific attack"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • "Need help quick at Varnado"
  • "Setting off a time bomb"
  • "Elmer, either give me the badge or I'm taking it!"
  • "The woods are full of people lighting cigarettes"
  • Shotgun Fuller visits the sheriff
  • The arrest of a white man
  • Secret meetings, suspects, and frogging
  • Stutterers, leakers, and a jailhouse mole
  • "A lot of things change ... in front of three federal judges"
  • Racial cases move to court : McElveen's family secret
  • "A pack of no-good devils"
  • "We're going to get them!"
  • 9780807176078 (hardcover)
  • 0807176079 (hardcover)
Other standard number
  • 40030845471
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