Orange County, North Carolina historic information cache - Ku Klux Klan Activites in Orange County in 1964
Ku Klux Klan Activites in Orange County in 1964
Owing to the early 1960s "wave" of local Civil Rights protests and sit-ins, and the resulting integration ordinances enacted in Orange County (and by the state and federal governments), and in anticipation of the upcoming November elections, the klan became quite active in the county in 1964. The Sportsman's Lakeside Lodge in Hillsborough was one of two Orange County klaverns (i.e. local club or unit) of the United Klans of America, Inc. (UKA). Another Orange County klavern was located in or near Mebane.

On the evening of June 27, a cross was burned in a "vacant lot adjoining the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery on Durham Boulevard"; numerous passers-by recalled the event, but no police became involved nor was a police report filed. Apparently, earlier in the year, in June, a klan rally was held nearby the location, on "old HWY 15-501" about two miles from Chapel Hill. According to reports, about 700 persons participants and spectators combined attended the rally. However, both of these klan activities took place just over the county line in Durham County.

On August 1 at 8:00 p.m., a rally was held by the UKA near the intersection of New N.C. Highway 86 and U.S. Highway 85; a notice was mailed to radio stations and newspapers, postmarked Hillsborough but utilizing a Durham post office box as the return address (there were two UKA klaverns in Durham at the time). The sheriff apparently wasn't notified as early as the media was, but intended to be on hand with several deputies "to guard against trouble."

Ku Klux Klan rally, near Hillsborough, August 1, 1964
Ku Klux Klan rally, near Hillsborough, August 1, 1964; person in photo identified to likely be Fred Cates, Jr. Photo by Jim Wallace.

Forty-five klansmen attended the rally, as did approximately 750 spectators (seven of whom were removed from the premises by klansmen for "distributing Communist literature"). Of the klansmen, six were North Carolina klan officers and seven were women; also in attendance was North Carolina's Grand Dragon, James Robertson or "J.R." Jones (a.k.a. Robert/Bob Jones) of Granite Quarry, North Carolina (the headquarters of the UKA in North Carolina at the time). Festivities included a 15-minute cross burning, klansmen "walking around with torches," and four speakers who "stressed anti-Communist and anti-Negro themes." They apparently, however, emphasized to reporters that they were "white supremacist, not nigger haters."

The klansmen made it known that regarding the upcoming presidential election, they were for Barry Goldwater and very much against Lyndon Johnson. And, regarding the upcoming gubernatorial election in November, Jones stated that "we're going to do everything we can to keep Dan Moore from winning," as Moore was including the NAACP in his call for state unity. Jones, however, was seemingly perplexed as to who to vote for, as he felt that North Carolina "deserves more than Preyer" (L. Richardson "Rich" Preyer, the more liberal of the candidates, was opposing the more moderate Moore in the election). Moore won the Democratic Party primary, then went on to win the general election; he was governor from 1965 to 1969.

Committee on Un-American Activities. Activites of Ku Klux Klan Organizations in the United States. Part 1, October 1965. Hearings Before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-Ninth Congress, First Session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966.

The News (Chapel Hill/Orange County)
       July 30, 1964
       August 6, 1964

*Photograph taken by Jim Wallace, and courtesy of UNC.

NOTE: I previously identified Sportsmen of Orange, Inc. as Orange County's klan organization; I was incorrect. That organization seems to have been a group of UNC-affiliated athletic enthusiasts in the 1960s.
[Created: 7 April 2013; last updated: 10 April 2013]    

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