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The Roundtable

"When Evil Lived In Laurel" Curtis Wilkie's Book About The KKK In Mississippi

Book cover for "When Evil Lived in Laurel"
W. W. Norton & Company
/
W. W. Norton & Company

In January 1966, Vernon Dahmer, head of a Mississippi chapter of the NAACP and a dedicated advocate for voter registration, was murdered by the White Knights, one of the most violent sects of the KKK in the South.

Veteran journalist Curtis Wilkie’s "When Evil Lived in Laurel" is the chilling story of this little-known brutal murder from the Civil Rights era and its aftermath, which ultimately led to the downfall of the infamous Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers and the destruction of his virulently racist organization.

To recreate these harrowing events—the conversations, incendiary nighttime meetings, plans leading up to Dahmer’s murder, and the nearly botched execution of them—Wilkie drew on his exclusive access to the almost daily journals, kept secret for fifty years, of a former Klan infiltrator for the FBI who risked his life to help break the White Knights.

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