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Author and sociologist David Cunningham speaks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the origins of cross burnings and white hoods, and why North Carolina had more Klan members during the height of the civil rights movement than all other Southern states combined.
The longest-serving U.S. Senator in history died Monday. He was 92. In a 2004 interview on Fresh Air, Byrd discussed his 50-year Senate career with Terry Gross — and talked about the noteworthy votes he cast over the years.
Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell writes for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., and specializes in unearthing new evidence from Civil Rights era criminal cases. His coverage has led to the convictions of four Ku Klux Klan members, starting with Byron De La Beckwith for the assassination of Medgar Evers. Recently, Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of orchestrating the murders of Civil Rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner. Next week Mitchell will be honored with the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism.
His book is called Them: Adventures with Extremists. (Simon and Schuster). He traveled around the world interviewing different types of extremistsfrom Islamic fundamentalists in a Jihad training camp, to Ku Klux Klansmen at rallies. Them was first published in the U.K. in the spring of 2001.
Artist William Christenberry is known for his portrayal of the American South in his work. He has spent 35 years rendering images of the architecture and the landscape of his birthplace, rural Alabama, in drawings, sculptures, and photographs. His art deals with Southern heritage with both affection and aversion.
Professor Raphael Ezekiel. A former psychology professor at the University of Michigan, Ezekiel has spent the last ten years investigating the leaders and members of the Klans and Neo-Nazi groups. His new book The Racist Mind: Portraits of American Neo-Nazis and Klansmen (Viking) looks into these groups and provides a foundation for understanding the personal and social roots of white racism. Ezekiel is presently based at the Harvard School of Public Health where he is studying youth violence prevention.
Dees co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center and has been involved in civil rights cases for years. In 1988 he made legal history when he fashioned a seven million dollar verdict against the Klu Klux Klan that effectively bankrupted the group. He has a new memoir out, called "A Season for Justice: The Life & Times of Civil Rights Lawyer Morris Dees."