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Civil rights movement

Colluding with the Klan

An FBI informant wrote an account of collusion between the Birmingham police and the KKK in May 1961:

“The rioting that greeted [the Freedom Riders] in Birmingham was not the brainchild of the Klan …it was instigated by members of the police department…

Since the riders were arriving on Mother’s Day – a holiday – only a skeleton force of men and dogs would be on duty and they would have orders to stay in headquarters in the parking area.

The Klan would be allowed 15 minutes from the time the buses entered the terminal to beat, stab, maim and terrorize the passengers.

Detectives Turner and Parker would warn us when the time was up; I was to look for Mike; when he waved his arm as a signal we were to get the hell out.”