Read this chilling account in Laurence Leamer’s “The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan,” and you won’t put the book the down:
“When Beulah Mae Donald went to bed in her apartment (in Mobile, Ala.) on the night of the murder, she had a strange dream. A steel gray casket sat in the middle of the living room. When she moved forward to see the face of the deceased, somebody came up to her and said, ‘You don’t need to see this.’ That’s when she woke up, at about two in the morning, and realized that her nineteen-year-old youngest son, Michael, had not come home.”
Michael Donald was found later that night in 1981, his throat cut and hanging from a tree on Herndon Avenue. Before they hung him, two local Klansmen, Henry Hays and James Knowles, had tortured the black teen.
Morris Dees is the hero of this true story. Cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dees saw the case as an opportunity to file a lawsuit against the UKA. On behalf of Donald’s grieving mother, Dees filed a first-of-its kind civil suit and charged the Klan organization and its leaders with conspiracy.
Ultimately, Dees desstroyed the UKA and created a weapon that the Southern Poverty Law Center used time and again aagainst other racist organizations.
Laurence Leamer has written more than a dozen books, includng “The Kennedy Women,” “The Kennedy Men,” and “Sons of Camelot.”