Terror in the Night: The Klan's Campaign against the Jews

Terror in the Night: The Klan's Campaign against the Jews

by Jack Nelson
     
 

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In 1966 the Ku Klux Klan launched a second front in the South, this one against Mississippi's small enclaves of Jews. Well assimilated within the white population, Jews had been diffident about voicing support of black civil rights. When violence erupted and Jewish voices began crying out for action, the Klan scapegoated Jews in a campaign of terror.

Jack Nelson,

Overview

In 1966 the Ku Klux Klan launched a second front in the South, this one against Mississippi's small enclaves of Jews. Well assimilated within the white population, Jews had been diffident about voicing support of black civil rights. When violence erupted and Jewish voices began crying out for action, the Klan scapegoated Jews in a campaign of terror.

Jack Nelson, himself a Mississippian and in the 1960s Atlanta bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, had lost no time in coming home to write page-one reports on the civil rights struggle. In Terror in the Night he re-creates the chilling experiences of investigating the Klan's campaign against the Jews. He reports on the bombing of a Jackson synagogue, the dynamiting of a rabbi's house, and the Klan's marking select Mississippi Jews for execution. He reports how law enforcement's clandestine investigations, bankrolled by Mississippi Jews, helped bag the terrorists in a nearly disastrous shootout.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ku Klux Klansmen, claiming that Jews were the driving force behind the civil rights movement, bombed two synagogues and a rabbi's house in Jackson and in Meridian, Miss., in 1967-68. A Klan hit list targeted Jewish business leaders for assassination. Nelson, Los Angeles Times Washington bureau chief who covered the South in the civil rights era, discovered evidence that the FBI and the Meridian police, using funds supplied by the Jewish community, paid informants to set a trap that left Klan hit man Thomas Tarrants III wounded and his fanatically anti-Semitic bomb-maker girlfriend Kathy Ainsworth dead. This absorbing true-crime tale is a time capsule to the civil rights movement's heyday. Using FBI files obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Nelson recreates the case and illuminates the FBI's long vendetta against him for his reportage. Photos. Jewish Book Club alternate; author tour. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This often gripping journalistic account of appeasement and retribution in 1960s Mississippi has three parts. The first is the story of how the assimilated Jewish communities of Jackson and Meridian, Mississippi, which had resisted opposing segregation and racial violence, were drawn into the struggle against the Ku Klux Klan when they too became targets of attacks. The leaders of those communities then experienced the poetic justice of being unable to enlist fellow citizens, cautious appeasers, in the fight. The second part is the story of the response of the FBI and the local police, with the cooperation of the Jewish community leaders--retribution that ultimately overstepped the limits of legality. Of particular interest is Nelson's detailed account of how the FBI bullied two leading Klansmen into cooperating. The last and least interesting part is Nelson's recitation of the personal and professional risks he took in uncovering the story of the retribution. Recommended for history collections.-- Timothy Christenfeld, Columbia Univ.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780878059072
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
09/30/1996
Pages:
287
Product dimensions:
6.01(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.68(d)

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