Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Fatal Bullet

It was 1874 and James M. Walker had been warned not to interfere in KKK business. If the truth be known, James had been trying to get them to stop killing defenseless former slaves and their children.

The Klan wanted these former slaves to get out of their county in central Kentucky. The Klan was "protecting its turf." But the former slaves were poor and had no place to go. So a confrontation was inevitable. There were several and they took place at night. After several warnings, a family was murdered by as many as fifteen masked men. Their cabin was set fire and their bodies were tossed in the fire to destroy the evidence of the shootings. Quite neat, really.

So James Walker obtained federal warrants for the arrests of some of the Klansmen. But the sheriff was in the Klan and he was not about to serve the warrants. It seemed that a second confrontation was called for--one to stop the man who was trying to stop the Klan.

On May 4, 1874, in a very public place on a rainy Monday afternoon James Walker was murdered with one bullet while his brother was wounded. It was a public execution designed as a warning to the rest of the white population that they were not to interfere.

James was 31 years old with three little children. It was the date of his eighth wedding anniversary. He was also my great-grandfather. That one bullet had a profound affect on his mother, his brothers, his wife, his children, his children's children, and even on me one hundred and thirty-one years later.

All because someone dared to stand up against the bullies. It was the beginning of the end for the Klan in that part of Kentucky.

The entire story can be found in the small novel, The Courage Place


2 comments:

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