Louisiana Once Made Payments To The KKK To Broker Peace
You can't change the past. All of us have things in our past that make us proud. We have also have thing in our past that we hope will never be brought up again. The State of Louisiana is just like you and I. While much of our history is an incredible story of an incredible people, there are stories from our past we might not be as proud to celebrate.
According to FBI records obtained through the LSU Manship School of Mass Communications our state, under the leadership of Governor John McKeithen made payments to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960's. The state also made payments to black supremacist groups during that same time period. The reason? To stop the violence that was occurring in Bogalusa.
Gus Weill was Executive Secretary to Governor McKeithen at the time. He told the Louisiana Radio Network that he was unaware of any such payments at the time. But he is not surprised at the report. Weill suggested in his comments that ending racial violence in the state was a top priority for McKeithen.
From the moment he was elected, he turned a lot of his energy, most of it done very quietly, to stopping the racial nightmare in this state that we had seen in Alabama and Mississippi.
The money, believed to be about $10-thousand, most likely came from a fund that was comprised of privately raised dollars.
There was something called the Sovereignty Commission to deal with racial problems, and they had a budget mandated by the state, and I’m certain that’s where the money came from.
It is believed that the funds were raised during an administration that was previously in office before McKeithen was elected.
I can only imagine the outrage that would have swept the state had this been made public back during the tumultuous times of the 1960's. Is giving money to hate groups something to be proud of? Probably not. Is doing what it takes to help let calmer heads prevail? Probably so.