SLU historian to discuss KKK’s historical role

Southeastern Louisiana University historian Samuel C. Hyde Jr. addresses the historical role of the Ku Klux Klan in the Lower Mississippi Valley region in an upcoming “Fatal Encounters” program on the Discovery Channel.

Southeastern’s Leon C. Ford Endowed Chair of Regional Studies, Hyde is interviewed in the program titled “White Hot Rage,” at 9 p.m. Sunday. The program covers the case of Cynthia Lynch, who came to Mississippi several years ago to join a KKK group based in Washington and St. Tammany parishes. During her initiation into the group at an isolated area in the Pearl River Swamp, Lynch changed her mind and was subsequently murdered by the Klansmen, Hyde said.

Hyde said he provided details on the first, second and third Klans as they appeared in the post-Civil War era and again in the 1930s and in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s.

“During each phase, the Klan displayed unique attributes,” said Hyde, who is the director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies. “I discuss the motives that would cause people to join such paramilitary organizations in the rural South, as well as what induces people to resort to violence to resolve their grievances.”