KKK Silver Dollar Group
The Silver Dollar Group was one of the most secretive Klan groups in the United States during the mid-1960s when the FBI used informants to infiltrate and then neutralize its violent operation.
Known as a “Klan within a Klan,” the SDG was made up of Klansmen from traditional Klan groups including the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the United Klans of America and the White Knights of Mississippi.
Raleigh Jackson “Red” Glover, an employee of the Armstrong Tire Plant in Natchez, Miss., started the Silver Dollar Group in the spring of 1964. FBI records are somewhat contradictory on when the group began with several accounts noting the year 1965 as the date of formation.
However, within the FBI’s records is an interview with a waitress from the Shamrock Motel Café in Vidalia, LA, the place where the Silver Dollar Group was born as Red Glover and other Klansmen met for coffee in the spring of 1964. Glover explained his contempt for the traditional Klan groups and their leaders. Without violence to achieve the goals of segregation forever, Glover believed there was no other practical way to stop the steady advances made by the Civil Rights Movement.
The waitress at the café told FBI agents months after she relocated to another town that during the spring of 1964 she dated a married man who was member of the SDG. The waitress recalled seeing Klansmen meet at the café. She said that her SDG boyfriend gave her his silver dollar that spring and she was well aware that the coin was important to the Klansmen.
Glover handpicked each member of the SDG and gave each a silver dollar, often minted in the year of the Klansman’s birth, as a symbol of unity. Klansmen would often flip the coin with their hands while engaged in conversation. When one SDG Klansmen died, mourners at the funeral observed a silver dollar pinned on one of the flower arrangements.
The SDG may have been responsible for eight murders over a three-year period. Some of the murders had been committed before the Klansmen responsible were taken into the SDG by Glover. Ultimately, the SDG was something akin to a violent Klan All-Star team.
Glover structured the group with little regard for ceremony often used by the traditional Klans. He did not believe that wearing white robes or holding cross burnings did anything to help stop integration. He told his members that they should commit their violent acts in groups of three to five and that these same groups could act without anyone’s permission.
However, Glover constantly warned SDG members to keep their mouths shut and to act in secret. Because Glover was known to pick fights in bars and to bully those in his path, Klansmen feared him and knew that he had no problem killing someone.
Although Glover may have given silver dollar coins to as many as 52 men, his core group involved less than 20 Klansmen. This group met at coffee shops, hunting camps, along river banks and sometimes during fish fries that included wives and children.
The eight murders linked to the SDG by LSU Cold Case Project associate director Stanley Nelson in his book “Devils Walking: Klan Murders along the Mississippi in the 1960s,” (LSU Press, 2016) include:
1964: Clifton Walker, Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Moore, Joseph Edwards and Frank Morris.
1965: Earl Hodges.
1966: Ben Chester White
1967: Wharlest Jackson.