Black Becomes Owner of Klan Headquarters
The mother of a black teen-ager murdered by two Ku Klux Klansmen is being given the deed to the United Klans of America headquarters in Tuscaloosa to settle a $7-million verdict against the group.
“The deed is being recorded (today),” said Morris Dees, a lawyer for the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center.
Dees represented Beulah Mae Donald, the mother of 19-year-old Michael Donald, in the civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Mobile against the Klan and former and present members.
Dees said there may be other property that belongs to the other defendants in the suit that Beulah Donald may be able to possess, stemming from an all-white jury’s $7-million award Feb. 12.
Only Klan Asset
Dees said that from the start of the trial that his aim was to dismantle the financial framework of the United Klans. He said the building was the only asset the Klan had.
Donald should get about $200,000 for the 72,000-square-foot building on six acres of Lake Tuscaloosa, about 50 miles west of Birmingham, when it is sold, Dees said.
Michael Donald was kidnaped from a Mobile street and taken to a rural area in Baldwin County, where he was beaten and choked to death by Klansmen James L. (Tiger) Knowles and Henry Francis Hays. Donald’s throat was cut and his battered body was brought back to Mobile and hanged from a tree in a racially mixed Mobile neighborhood.
Knowles said during the trial that Donald was abducted at random and killed to show Klan strength in Alabama. He pleaded guilty to violating Donald’s civil rights, which led to the 1984 conviction and death sentence of Hays.