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The Mississippi Mafia
Mississippi was, until about the mid sixties, controlled by a Mafia like group that used the ignorance and or hate of members of the KKK to control their vast empire of corruption through intimidation and murder. Oscar Thomas a Afro FBI agent, who lived in Mississippi until he was 12 years old, was sent to Mississippi on a secret mission. There he would join with Clinton Moody, a local FBI, agent to gather information about abuses to Mississippi's black citizens. What Oscar and Clinton found, was not only mass discrimination against blacks but also how the hate fostered by whites toward blacks, was used by the White Mafia to sustain their corrupt empire.
The Agents start a juke joint called the County Line Inn on the Jones-Wayne county line. They staffed it with Male FBI Agents. They also use females from a private investigating firm. The females posed as loose women in order to extract info from KKK members, the male FBI Agents posed as bouncers. Info is planted through out Wayne and Jones County that the place is run by the New York Mafia. The bouncers were known as strict enforcers and any disturbance that started was squelched immediately. The place got a name as a place you could go with your girlfriend or wife and not have her hurt in a fight nor insulted by a drunk. In the back room, illegal card games took place.
Chapter 1: The Plan
It's hot in Mississippi in July. Sweat was popping up on Clinton Moody's face as he climbed into his government issued blue Chevrolet. As he drove out into the hot murky morning he rolled his window down and turned the vent fan on high. There were not too many government issued vehicles equipped with air conditioners in the sixties. It was only eight o'clock but the temperature was already in the eighties.
As Clinton drove out of his drive way and into the street, he pondered the telephone conversation he had received last evening. It was from Betty Taylor,the secretary of the regional FBI office. Joesph Robertson the director wanted to see him at ten o'clock the following morningy. Clinton didn't really think too much of the call as he normally got weekly summons to discuss ongoing investigations. Little did he know what was in store for him this morning.
In 1962 Clinton was a two year veteran with the FBI. He had attended Jones County Junior College in Ellisville on a football scholarship. He then graduated from the University Of Southern Mississippi, where he also played football. He majored in Chemistry and graduated in 1960 with a 3.9 grade point average. Although recruited by several industries in Mississippi, he chose instead to accept a position with the FBI. Chemistry along with physics and mathematics majors are heavenly recruited by the FBI. They are consider as great analysist which is required in FBI work.
The short drive from his apartment to the regional office in Hattiesburg took Clinton about forty minutes. By the time he got the car parked and got to the office it was a couple of minutes until 9 o'clock. Clinton was about an hour early but then he was always early for an appointment.
Clinton was considered one of the best new recruits in the southern district. He was already responsible for the uncovering and arrest of the head of one of the largest moonshine operations in Mississippi. He was consider one of the most daring of all FBI agents. He was on the boxing team in college and had recently earned a black belt in karate. He was a health nut and every day did 100 push ups and 100 sit ups . Unmarried Clinton was considered a rare catch. He had a body that made women turn their heads when he went by.
Although a Christian, Clinton didn't consider any religious order God's chosen. He had studied several different religions and could see parallels in all. He was really amazed at the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and Buddha. He meditated for an hour every day, when he first awoke. When asked why he had such a mild demeanor, his reply was that it came from his morning talks with God. When asked why he was so fearless he said the he believed that he was protected by God. Although a perfect marksman, he had never once pulled a weapon to use on another person. As a matter of fact, he had used force only once on another person . He used a Karate maneuver to subdue a bodyguard, who insisted that he could and tried to, kill him with his bare hands. He never used profanity nor engaged in conversations ridiculing other people, races or religions. He said that “Judgment will contaminate you”.
As he walked up the steps to the Federal Building, he was surprised to see Joseph Robertson meeting him at the door. It was as though Joe was anxiously awaiting Clinton's arrival. “I'm an hour early” Clinton thought uneasily “ I wonder what's up”. As he entered the door, Joe raised his hand and offered it to Clinton.
“Come in Clint, we have some important things to talk about. Come on back to my office , we need to make this a private chat.”
Clinton was now starting to feel uneasy. As he followed Joesph to his office, he was aware of several admiring office girls staring at him. After Clinton entered the office Joseph closed the door and strode to his desk. Clinton took a chair in front of the desk as Joseph settled into his own cushioned chair.
”Clinton I've got something big I've got ask you to do. You know there are big changes taking place in the country especially in Mississippi. We have a pressure being put on us from Washington like never before. The Kennedy boys are determined to enforce Civil Rights in Mississippi.”
“We are going to have a new black FBI agent transfered to our office. You are the one of a few people that knows this, other than myself. His name is Oscar Thomas and he is due in here this afternoon. Clinton you and he have been chosen for a special project here in Mississippi. You are not only suppose to work with him but you are also suppose to help protect him. I feel he will be in great danger as long as he is here in Mississippi. If any thing happens to him, I believe it will cost me my job. I have studied this situation long and hard. Director Hoover says that he hopes the KKK gets their hands on him but if they do, he has a rope that he will use on me. I will hang right beside him.”
“Clinton, what I'm going to ask you to do right now is to save my life. I'm not asking you, to put a burden on you but you are the only person that I know that can solve this problem. You are just not only the one person in Mississippi but I believe you are the only person in the country that has the unique qualifications to solve this problem. I'm begging for your help, please take Oscar under your wings and protect him”.
“Joe”, Clinton said “you really know how to floor flush a person. After what you just said I believe that I can walk through a concrete wall. Then too I might have to before this is over with. There's one thing that you know about me, I like a challenge. I would take this assignment even if you weren't crying. Just tell me as much as you can about Oscar before he gets here. That way I can at least get this project off with a bit of a head start. I'm sure going to need it”.
Oscar Thomas was born to Edgar and Ethyl Thomas in Leaksville Mississippi in 1937. Edgar, his father was a sawyer at a sawmill. The job of a sawyer was the most important job at the sawmill. This job was usually handled by a white man normally the owner. The sawyer's job was to determine how each log was cut into lumber. This was determined mainly by two factors, demand and the size of the log. Demand was determine by the broker who would call and tell the owner what his demands were. The size of the log dictated what size lumber could be cut from the log. The bigger the log, the longer, wider and thicker the lumber could be. A good sawyer would cut the most lumber from a log. Edgar was one of the best sawyers in the business. He had worked for Leaksville Lumber Company for all his adult life. Most workers made minimum wages, Edgar made double the minimum wage. Because of this he was always subject to taunts from the whites.
Ethyl Thomas was the school teacher at the local one room black school. She didn't make the same wages that her white counterparts did but between she and Edgar, they made a wage close to what a middle class family made. This increased the white animosity toward them. Having been denied a first class public school education when she was growing up, she wanted something better for her only child. Ethyl would buy the same books to teach Oscar that were used at the white, public, school. By the time Oscar was 12 years old he tested in the high 90 percentile on his achievement tests.
In 1950 the Thomas family's life was usurped. The animosity toward them had grown to a boiling point. On a hot July morning Edgar was walking to work as he normally did. He only lived about a mile from the sawmill. As he got close to the sawmill he picked up a scent of something burning. A couple of minutes later his worst fears were confirmed. All of the wooden structure of the sawmill was burnt up. Also, a lot of the metal parts were warped from an intense heat. When he got closer he could see better what had happened. Some group had taken recently milled lumber and stacked it inside the mill. They had then taken all the gasoline from the storage tank that ran the sawmill motors, poured it on the lumber and set it on fire. The fire was so intense that it destroyed or damaged everything under the sawmill roof.
As Edgar got to the edge of the burn site he could see the owner Sam Wilson surveying the damage. Seeing Edgar he turned to face him with a sickly smile and hand shake.
“Edgar, I guess they got me this time . We've been together for a long time but I guess this is the last straw. I'm too old to put up with this kind of crap anymore. What's so sicken is that I know who it was. It was Luther Mason, a deacon at the same church I go to. I got a visit from him and his hooded group last night and he gave me a warning for what he called the last time. He called me a nigger lover and a disgrace to the white race. He said to tell you that your days were numbered and that you had better get out of Mississippi. “
“Edgar I have been blessed. I can live comfortable on investments I have made over the years. I own enough timberland that if it's managed right, it will take care of my descendants for years to come. The sad part about all of this, is that some of the people who are involved in this, will now be with out a job. This business provided a lot of families with jobs, either directly by working for me or indirectly by working for people providing services to support the business. People working for business's selling trucks, sawmill equipment, groceries, hardware they will all be with out jobs. Think of all of the loggers in the area and the people who work for them. Even Luther Mason, a logger himself, will be with out a job.”
“Edgar, you have made a lot of money for me over the years. In my opinion you are the best damn sawyer ever born. You need to get out of Mississippi. I have a friend in Minnesota who is original from Leaksville. He was my sawyer before moving North many years ago. He wound up with his own lumber business in Minnesota. He saw you working on a visit several years ago. He says that you are the best sawyer in the business. He has been trying to steal you from me for years but I never mentioned this to you. For the safety of you and your family, it's time for you to get the hell away from here.”
With tears in his eyes, Edgar agreed with Sam. Although he hated to leave his relatives behind, he knew now, that this was his only choice. Edgar went home and told Ethyl about the damaged sawmill and the conversation he had with Sam Wilson. He asked for her advice as to what he should do. Ethyl had never made decisions regarding Sam's work. She was quiet spoken and easy to get along with but she was also one whom Edgar relied on when he had a problem. She took care of all the finances and bill paying. Over the years they had lived comfortable but she had also managed to save a tidy sum in the local bank. She knew Sam Wilson was right and as much as she hated to, she agreed , they needed to leave for Minnesota immediately.
Two days later Edgar, Ethyl and Oscar with their suit cases packed, were on the ramp of the GM&O Railroad depot in Waynesboro Mississippi They were waiting for a train to take them out of Mississippi. Sam Wilson who owned the house they lived in had bought their 46 Ford sedan and all their furniture. He said that he would dispose of them and get his money back. They were also mildly surprised when they went to draw money from their account at the bank, there was an additional $2000.00, that Sam had deposited in their account. He said this was in appreciation for what Edgar had done for him over the years.
When the train came the Thomas family was herded into the last car which was reserved for the colored and the over flow whites. As the train pulled out of the depot headed for Chicago, Edgar pondered the past few days and there was a sadness in his heart, after all, he was leaving the home of his birth.
Chapter 2: Oscar Comes Home
Oscar was pondering nervously about his past as he sat in his second class seat on the DC8 going to New Orleans. “I would never have believed that I would be going back to that place”. The place that he and his family had been run out of ten years earlier. He had some very frighten feelings about people in Mississippi. It bordered almost upon hate for the State and every white person in it. He could remember the way the he was looked at when he would go into a store. How he would have to wait until every white was served before him. How many times had he been called nigger boy or pick-a-ninny. People were especial hard on him because his family was considered uppity. People thought because they had a higher standard of living than most whites, they thought they were as good as whites.
Oscar had grown up in Grand Forks Minnesota. He attended public schools there and was placed in advanced study classes. By the time he had finished high school he was 6 foot 2 inches and quiet a good Basketball player. He earned a scholastic scholarship to The University of Minnesota where he majored in physics. He played on the Minnesota basketball team so this took care of all of his food costs. He joined the FBI after graduating with honors in 1960. By 1962 he was a two year veteran with several successful undercover operations throughout the country. He was a very persuasive agent who could charm a snake. Every body who knew him said that he should be in the entertainment field. He would make a good actor or a comedian. He never got upset over anything and if there was a misunderstanding between him and another person he wouldn't let it linger a minute, he could mend fences better than anybody.
After landing in New Orleans, Oscar was met by an employee of the government motor pool. He handed over the keys to the car that he would use during his stay in Mississippi. Oscar's only thought was that he wouldn't be needing it very long. He hoped that he would be on his way back north very shortly.
Now as he sped toward Hattiesburg, thoughts of the fast paced week ran through Oscar's mind. He had been summoned to the FBI field office in Minneapolis on Monday. When he arrived, much to his surprise, he discovered that he would be having a private meeting with Bob Torsch. Bob was the number three person in the FBI chain-of-commands. Bob Torsch was a gruff talking person, who was feared by every FBI agent in the Country.
Oscar was met by his field boss, James Thornton, as he entered the FBI building. Oscar, I need to talk to you before our conference with Bob. He can be a real ass hole at times but he can also make or break you. You need to use all of your diplomatic resources during this meeting with him.
“Don't worry James” said Oscar “everything will be fine, I'll charm the freckles off him”.
“That's what I'm afraid of “said James shaking his head in resignation.
About an hour after his scheduled arrival Bob Torsch came bursting through the door as though he was going to a fire. Oscar was sitting in a chair reading a magazine when he heard the commotion at the front door. James was sitting in his office and didn't have time to get up before Bob was inside and headed for his office.
“You”, Bob said motioning toward Oscar, “lets go”. “Do you mean me”, Oscar responded pointing his finger toward him self.
“Do you see any body else in the waiting room”, Bob responded in a very irritating manner.
Oscar got up and trudged slowly behind Bob to the open door of James's office. As they entered, James jumped up and stood by his chair.
“Close that door and take a seat” Bob motioned toward Oscar as they entered the office.
Bob then sat down in James chair as James scurried toward one of the other chairs in front of his desk. Oscar ignored the door and started to take a chair next to James.
“Can't you hear” Bob shouted toward Oscar, the veins popping out on his neck.
James started to get up and close the door when he was warned by Bob to keep his seat.
“Not you James, I mean Mr. Wonderful there” Bob said without motion toward anybody.
Oscar just sit as Bob got more and more irritated. James started squirming in his chair as if waiting for something horrible to take place.
“I see that you are going to have a short tenure with this organization. Now get up boy and close the door or I'll throw you through the damn thing”Bob said.
Bob wasn't a very big man. He had got his reputation because of the number of people he had shot. He was very quick to anger so most people steered clear of his wrath. As Oscar stood, a sigh of relief came over James face but this evaporated quickly as Oscar started around the desk toward Bob. Bob sensing himself hemmed in started pushing his chair back. James looked into the face of Bob and was surprised at the fear he saw.
“You know what Mr. Asshole, I believe I would like to see you do that”, Oscar said without raising his voice.
“Oscar”, James shouted, “you can't talk to Mr. Torsch that way. You should have more respect for his title”.
“Respect, you expect me to have respect for a person who calls me boy, a person who has not once called me by my right name, a person who has yet to shake my hand and greet me as a normal person would. This man is not normal he has the mentality of a member of the KKK . My parents left Mississippi because of people like him and if I have to work with people like this you can have this badge. I gave up a chance to work in research with IBM for this job. I don't need this humiliation I can go back to Mississippi and get better treatment than this”.
Still not raising his voice, Oscar threw his credentials upon James desk and slowly walked out. When Oscar walked into his apartment the phone was ringing. He had came home to pack and head out to his parents home in Grand Forks for some much needed rest. He couldn't wait to get up to the Lake of The Woods for some walleye fishing. He started not to even answer the phone but it wouldn't stop ringing. He needed it to call his folks and let them know he was coming home for a few days. When he picked the phone up he was surprised to hear the voice of James Thornton.
“Oscar I've got to talk to you. I'm begging you to please listen to me. I found after you had left that Bob wasn't up here to interview you, he was here to recruit you. There is very important mission he needs you for. I know, he really blew it, didn't he? I've never seen him so shook up. After you left he just sit there, white as a sheet. I don't believe anyone has ever stood up to him like you did. You scared him to death. The words you used on him was like a poison to him. After you left he started crying. He begged me to contact you and explain the mission to you.”
“To tell you how important this mission is, it was conceived by Attorney General Robert Kennedy himself. He needs two agents with special qualifications to implement it. He set out the criteria for the agents he wanted. He then asked that the background of all agents be checked and a list of 50 agents meeting these criteria be submitted to him. You was one of the two agents selected. The problem is that the wrong person came to tell you what was wanted . The mistake was he didn't know how much an independent thinker you are. If you will let me explain the mission to you, he will stay out of it. He's afraid to go back to Washington and have to face Bobby Kennedy”.
“James, can you think of one good reason why I would want to save Bob's butt? He talked to me worse than a dog”. “
No, I can't think of a reason that a normal person could give but then you are not normal. You have been chosen as one of the best FBI agents in the Country. This means that you must be above normal. By the way, one of the criteria was that the candidate be level headed and another criteria was that they not be vengeful. I believe you meet both of these qualifications.”
“Wow, you sure know how to load up an answer! Don't you? My head is so big that there's no way I could give you an answer right now. Let me sleep on this tonight. I might not be vengeful but I am a bit of a sadist. I think I will let Bob Torch squirm a bit tonight. I'll give you my answer tomorrow. Besides, I am like my Father, I could never make
such an important decision without first consulting an authority. I'll call my Mother tonight and see what she says about the situation. You can tell me about this important mission tomorrow. Right now I just want to unwind and think about the days events”.
Oscar never did get all the answers about the mission. He was told that the head of the field office in Hattiesburg would give him a briefing when he got there. He would be meeting with the other selected agent and then the three of them could have a through discussion of the mission.
Driving along the Mississippi Gulf Coast was a “pleasant to do” for Oscar. He pulled over to a parking area and watched the waves come in. There were several people enjoying the beach. Young children were digging in the sand, couples were strolling hand in hand, several were wading, and a hand full were even swimming. Noticeable was the absence of non whites. The reality finally hit Oscar, he was back in Mississippi and nothing had changed. As Oscar started to move back upon highway 90 he could see in a distance a highway 49 marker. Turning left onto highway 49 he checked his odometer. Oscar knew that in about 75 more miles he would find out what the big secret mission was. But first he would get a dose of Mississippi hospitality.
About 30 miles outside of Hattiesburg Oscar noticed a car following closely on his tail. After a few miles the car turned on a set of blue flashing lights and a deafening siren. “Now what”, Oscar thought as he pulled over to the side of the road. Oscar rolled down the window and waited for the officer to approach.
“Get out of that damn car boy“ .Who do you think you are. You're in Mississippi now and you better have some damn respect for the law. Where did you get that government car anyway.”
As Oscar got out of the car, the officer grabbed him and turned him facing the car. “You had better start answering some questions and answering them fast or you are going to get some knots on your head. You hear me boy”?
“I won't answer any questions until you start treating me like a human” said Oscar in a mild manner but boiling inside. “I wasn't doing any thing but driving at a very safe speed and the only reason you pulled me over was because of the color of my skin. You are a very evil person and I won't give you the satisfaction of thinking that you can scare me”.
“I'll show you. You black bastard” the officer said letting go of one shoulder and reaching for his billy club.
Before his hand reached his billy club the officer found himself on the ground and his hands handcuffed behind his back. It was a maneuver that Oscar had learned at the FBI Academy. He got so good at the maneuver that he set a new time record at the Academy. He was so fast that nobody could put handcuffs on him when they had him pinned in a spread eagle fashion.
After locking the officers car so that he couldn't get to his radio Oscar took the officers keys and threw them in the back of his car. He then cranked his car and headed back toward his destination. He hoped he would get some support when he got to the Hattiesburg field office . He knew that it was just a matter of time before the Highway Patrol was notified that one of their officers was found handcuffed and locked out of his car.
About 5 miles from the field office, two cars with blue lights pulled in behind Oscar. He knew now that there was an APB (All Person Bulletin} out on him and he had a short time to get to where he hoped he would find help. He accelerated to about 60 miles an hour. The speed zone was now 45 mph. Traffic in the southbound lane was enough to keep anyone from going around and blocking him. Luck was with Oscar today, although there were now about a 8 cars following him, none had been able to get ahead and put up a road block.
“Now if I can find that doggone field office”, Oscar thought as he got close to his destination. He knew what street it was close to but having never been there, he wasn't sure what the building looked like. Then he saw several government issued cars similar to his own parked in front of a four story building. Pulling into the parking lot, Oscar sped up to the front entrance jumped out and ran into the lobby.
“Where is the FBI office”. Oscar asked the receptionist in a hurried tone.
“There's two right there” the receptionist said pointing to two wild eyed men staring out the window at all the blue lights flashing in the parking lot.
Oscar walked over to the two FBI agents who were still stunned at all the commotion. As Oscar approached the agents with his wallet out and his badge showing, the door burst open and deputies from several different peace officer groups entered with drawn weapons.
“I'm agent Thomas”, Oscar said to the other agents, “and I need some help”.
Oscar had just met agent Clinton Moody and his new field supervisor Joseph Robertson. “My God man do you always make such a grand entrance”, Joseph wanted to know.
“Believe me it wasn't my idea”, Oscar countered.
As the peace officers approached the three men with their weapons drawn Clinton and Joseph stepped in front of Oscar to shield him. “Hold it right there” Joseph said, “this is United States property and you have no jurisdiction here”.
“Your Nigger just beat up one of our men and left him in the ditch to die and we're planing on have a lynching party tonight”, one of the men shouted.
At that instant doors started opening and marshals, FBI agents, border patrolmen and several recruiters, with loaded carbines came streaming out of offices with drawn weapons pointing at the peace officers. Betty Taylor the receptionist had alertly pushed an alarm button that notified all government agents that help was needed in the lobby. As the group advanced on the peace officers they decided that they maybe could handle the situation better if they put their weapons away.
All of a sudden a big man in a MHP uniform burst through the door. He was Ralph Waltrop district head of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He had been monitoring the situation on his car radio and was close by when the APB came in.
“What kind of business are y'all running here Joe”, Ralph demanded. “One of my men was almost killed and y'all are harboring his assailant”.
“Hello Mr. Asshole”, Joesph said taunting Ralph. “ I really don't know myself. I think we need to step into my office and see if we can figure this out. Clinton, you and Oscar come too”.
As the four men headed to the FBI office, the peace officers and government officers starting mingling and discussing what had happened.
“What in hell did you do to my officer you black bastard”. Ralph screamed as the other three men took seats around the desk.
“Whoa! Whoa! If you can't conduct your self like a sane person I'll call Jackson and see if we can get some body down here who can” Joesph said getting up from his chair.”You don't know what happened and I don't know what happened and we're not going to find out until we talk to the two people involved. I'll tell you one thing though you best never call one of my officers such names again. As a matter of fact I'm going to send Jackson a report on your conduct anyway.”
“Agent Thomas was sent here with the blessings of some pretty high people in the Federal Government. I don't think you want me to send Governor Lowder a report on this incident”.
Ralph slumped into a chair with a defeated look on his face. “I'm sorry I didn't know who he was. You see one of my men has been assaulted and there's nothing that irritates a law officer more than having one of his fellow officers attacked”.
“Ralph, let me tell you something”, Oscar started. “I and my Parents were run out of Mississippi by people just like you in 1949. Those scars are still on me . When your man stopped me for no reason except for the color of my skin, when your man started cussing me like you just did, when your man grabbed me and reached for his billy-club to hit me , I reacted because of my past associations with people like you. The only hurt I put on your man was to his pride. I can hear his fellow officers chiding him now about how that Nigger made a fool out of him”.
“Wow”, Joseph thought as he listen to Oscar in rapt attention, “what a man. This job is going to get interesting. “
Wow”, Clinton thought, “I like this man. I'm going to enjoy working with”.
“My God”, Ralph thought, “I think I've bit off more than I can chew “.
After Oscar had finished talking there was a slight pause as everybody was waiting for someone else to pick-up-the-ball.
Ralph, “I think what you need to do is go and talk to your man, get his story and then come back and we will discuss this matter further”.
“I think you are right Joe. I'll go do just that, right now. About that report to Jackson, are you still planing on doing it”.
“That's left up to Oscar”, Joseph said, “he was the one you came down on”.
“Forget it”, Oscar said, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”.
With that statement, Oscar had made a friend for life. Rising from his chair and heading toward the door, Ralph stuck his hand out to Oscar “I'm sorry for what happened and I look forward to working with you”.
After he was gone Oscar turned to Joseph and said “ Boy but do you know how to tame a tiger” .
“You're not bad yourself”, Clinton injected. The three agents then formally introduced each other and went out to eat.
This was 1962 and you didn't just walk into any restaurant in Mississippi, if anyone in the party was Black. There was one restaurant in Hattiesburg where Blacks and Whites could eat at the same table. It was owned by this wonderful black lady that everybody called Mama. Her restaurant naturally was called Mama's Place. It always had a large crowd at lunch time so tables were set up outside for the overflow. The three agents took a table on the outside as far away from others as possible. They each placed their orders and got comfortable for a little get-to-know-you conversation.
“You know I really had reservations about taking this job”, Oscar said. “I have had butterflies in my stomach ever since I said, I do. Being chased by all of those blue lights I knew I had screwed up. Now then though, after the way it all turned out, I believe this job might prove to be interesting.”
If Oscar only knew how interesting, he would probably have headed back to Minnesota right then.
“Oscar I know you and Clinton are in the dark about what this mission is all about”, Joseph started, as he pulled a paper out of a attache case, he had placed on the table. “First let me tell you why you two were chosen for it. Really you should be proud of being selected. Every agent in the country was considered for this assignment. Let me read you what the qualifications were. What was needed were, two agents, one black and one white, they had to be young, innovative, honest, courageous under fire, level headed, able to protect classified material, not given to boasting, easy going, very athletic, good personality, good record of solving cases, non vengeful, not biased, trustworthy, top grades at the Academy, good grade point average from college, good marksman, no ego problems, and having mastering one of the martial arts. Each field office was to submit one agent of each race if possible. These names were then submitted to the state level where two agents were selected. These agents, fifty white and fifty black, were then sent to Robert Kennedy's office. A committee headed by Bobby himself, went over each agents qualifications and you two were selected. Bobby knows everything about you two from the day you were born. Whether your Mississippi backgrounds had any thing to do with your selection, I don't know. But after reading your qualifications, I don't think they could have made better choices.”
“Now for the scary part. You must both pledge not to reveal any part of your mission to anyone but me. I was chosen for this job also. I am to report directly to Robert Kennedy through cryptographic messages or in person. I am the liaison between you and Bobby. This mission is so important that not even the Director will know any thing about it. You might be considered the two top law enforcement people in the country. Your mission is. by using any legal methods, gather information about civil rights violations in Mississippi. It is believed that the civil rights of both blacks and whites are being violated. You will secretly document all of your findings. This information will used for possible indictments and as models for future operations. You will be provided with unlimited funds for buying equipment, recruiting informants and anything relating to the mission. You can have the use of any equipment or personnel in the justice department. A secret ledger will be kept by me to document all costs for this operation. The reason for the ledger is also two fold. It will keep all of us honest and it will be used to gather information for future operations.”
“As this mission grows we will build operating procedures. These for the time being will also be kept secret. At a later date these documents, if found to be worthy, could be implemented as standard operating procedures. How you work, is decided by you. Where you work will be determined by you but should not be out of the state of Mississippi. You base of operation will be decided by you but both of you will have the same base. You can move the base as the work dictates. You should meet once a day to plan what you are going to do that day. You can contact me at any time but you should not talk to anyone else about anything relating to an ongoing investigation. If you need to discuss anything of a secret nature you can come to the office or I will come to your base.”
“We will have new cars delivered to us in a couple of days. These cars will have the latest electronic equipment installed in them. They will be equipped with two way radios with a special frequency. The radios will scramble and unscramble all messages so that the messages can not be intercepted. Each vehicle will have homing devices so that we can track each others car at all times. I will also have such a radio in my office and home. Each car is equipped with a panic button that will alert each of you and me if either of you are in trouble. By-the-way, these cars are air conditioned. You know only top level agents have air conditions in their cars. Y'all must have really impressed Bobby. Each car will have coded car locks on the doors and the trunk. The trunk has a special safe installed for stowing secret documents. The safe is made of a special alloy that's welded into the cars frame. Well thats about it for now men. You are, starting right now, on your own. You need to wait around for a few days. Any Questions?
“Whew”, said Clinton, “You've filled my head with so much stuff I can't even think but I bet I'll have thousands of questions before this ordeal is over”.
“I feel the same way”, sighed Oscar. “There's so much stuff in my mind my head hurts.”
“Good” , Joseph said, When we get back to the office I have another interesting object to show you.”
When the three agents got back to the office Joseph opened the big safe in his office. He then unplugged an extension cord that was powering a big steel box. He took the box out and struggling under it's weight, placed it on the desk. The box looked to be about 18x18x18 inches. It had 10 toggle switches on it's side. It had a hinged door on top, that appeared to be locked with a regular combination lock. Joseph looked at the other agents as they stared in wonderment.
“This box contains a very secret document. The contents of this box is guarded by some really innovative stuff. To open it, you have to know the combination of the 10 toggle switches. I am the only person who knows its combination. Your chances of guessing the combination are almost a billion to one. If you force the box open, a gas will enter the box, destroying its contents. The bottom of the box contains the electronics. There is also a rechargeable battery that will provide power to the box for 5 days. The purpose of the extension cord is to keep the battery charged up. It is equipped with a homing device that is on at all times and has a range of 1000 miles”.
Joseph flipped a set of toggle switches on the side of the box and then opened the top. He took a big book out of the box and set it on his desk.
“Y'all are looking at one of the most top secret documents in the world. There's only about 8 of these books around. They contain listings and descriptions of the highest tech devices in existence. Most were developed by NASA, the Justice Department and the Defense Departments. There's things in these books that only a hand full of people know about. If Bobby had not been a brother to the President, we would never have got our hands on it. When you get a chance come by, look at it and see if there's any thing in it you might need. Bobby has to approve of any purchases from this book”.
“Here's a catalog with other devices you may need. This Catalog only has a secret classification on it. You can have any thing in it, by simply telling me to order it. You should keep it locked in your car safe at all times. Regardless of the devices you have, please keep them locked in your car's trunk when not in use.”
“Well that's about it men. You are now on your own. Just remember to protect each others back. There are some pretty mean characters in Mississippi. They would love to get their hands on anybody interfering with their vices and biases. If either of you ever get into something you're having trouble getting out of, just press your's car's panic button and I'll do what ever I can to help you. There are a lot of Peace Officers out their who won't cooperate with you once they find out what you are up to. We have means of taking care of them though, if they start interfering with the mission.”
Chapter 3: Hayes Place
“You two have the whole weekend to get acquainted,” Joseph said. Your cars won't be here for a couple of days. Why don”t ya”ll knock around a bit decide what other equipment you'll need, discuss how you are going to start this thing and get a little bit of R&R. You have a hard-row-ahead and probably some long days and nights before this is over. Oscar, here's some keys to the door next to my office. There's a small two room apartment there that I use on occasions. You can stay there until y'all set up your base of operations. By the way, all of your living expenses will be paid for out of the special fund set up for this operation.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Clinton. “Come on Oscar, I'll drive and let you get acquainted with your new environment”.
As they drove out of the parking lot and headed toward Petal, Clinton turned to Oscar and said,"well,Oscar it looks like our job has just turned interesting". "We've got a couple of days to knock-around, how about let's go find a cold beer".
"OK, I'm not a real big drinker but after the morning I've had, I believe a cold Heineken would hit-the-spot. Hey! Now wait a minute, I know you're-pulling-my-leg, you can't buy alcohol in Mississippi".
Now turning East onto high way 42, Clinton said, “Wanna bet. Oscar, I believe you need a quick course in Whiskey 001. Did you know that the American Revolution was fought over whiskey? A lot of the early Americans were shipped over her to get them out of England and France. They were hell raisers and most of them partook of the nectar of the-corn-mash. Most of the early American's considered it their God given right to imbibe and no damn Government, hundreds of miles away, was going to keep them from doing it. Most boys started drinking at an early age and any body regardless of age, that had the fare, could order a drink. Well, the English Government didn't outlaw strong drink, they just taxed it so hard, that nobody could afford much of it. Yeah, the American Revolution was fought over high taxes, most surely the high whiskey tax.”
“Now about Mississippi being a dry state. Whiskey was made unlawful in Mississippi in 1930. Before this there was plenty of taxed whiskey everywhere. Church groups got together and forced the politicians to outlaw that ole devil's brew. This made the church groups happy. It also made the bootleggers happy because now they didn't have any competition. The only problem was that now the schools and public works started suffering for funds. So the Mississippi legislature met again and passed a new law. This law said: liquor is illegal in Mississippi, but if you sell it, you have to pay a tax on it. This was called The Black Market Tax. This made everyone happy. Whiskey was illegal, yet you could get it if your local bootlegger paid The Black Market Tax.”
“There's numerous places, right here in Hattiesburg, where you can get alcohol of any description. Most of it is sold in honky tonks run by blacks. The blacks sell the booze and the bootleggers get the profits. The whites go to the back door of a honky-tonk to get their booze. This allows the church groups to look down on the backs for selling the devil's brew, not the deacon whose drinking it. I know I am boring you Oscar but I believe you need to know this, as it is part of the politics of Mississippi”.
“No Clinton, I found it very interesting, especially your farsightedness into the core of the situation. I'll bet you are the only white in Mississippi who would make that observation. You have a very analytical mind. I see now why you were chosen for this mission. I'm going to enjoy working with you. As you were giving your whiskey lesson I figured out why your were doing it. This can be a good place to start on our investigation. Am I right.”
“Right on Oscar”. “I'll have to return the complement, you have a pretty good analytical mind yourself. I have done quiet a good bit of investigating already. I have a bit of a head start on you but I'm sure you will catch up. I believe it was a pretty good trick on ole Bobby's part to select both a black and a white for this investigation. You can go to the black neithborhood to get information and I can get information from whites. “
“Right on Clinton. The thing we need to be concerned with is secrecy. It would be good to do as much of the investigation as we can without the informants knowing what we are doing. The work he will be doing will not require his taking risks. Neither will they know what the over all mission is about. That way the bad boys won't be privy to what we are up to.”
About 30 miles east of Hattiesburg the Agents came to a small town called Sandhill. As Clinton turned north onto Highway 63, Oscar set up as he spied a road sign that said Leaksville, fifteen miles. At that moment an old haunting feeling came back on him. He started remembering that time years ago when his Father came home excitedly from work and started rousing his Mother to start packing. He said that we had a short time to get business taken care of and getting out of Mississippi. He remembered how scared he was when his Daddy said that they all could be killed if they didn't get out of Mississippi in a hurry.
Before that time Oscar loved living in Mississippi. He had fun playing with all his cousins, whose home was close to his. He enjoyed fishing with his Daddy on the Chickasawhay River. He had once caught a 10 pound catfish down there on a throw line. He enjoyed going to Breland's Grocery on Saturday. While his Mother got groceries, he and his Daddy would go to the back of the store and eat hamburgers.
There was a place in the back of the store, close to the meat market, where they fried hamburgers. He liked to watch the hamburgers being prepared. The butcher would prepare the meat that would be used in the hamburgers. He would take all the fatty beef trimming, that would normally be thrown away and grind them up with a small amount of lean beef. He would then hand roll the resulting mixture into balls about an inch in diameter. He would stack all the meat balls up about a foot high in a pyramid shape on a shallow baking pan. The meat balls were then placed in a refrigerator until needed.
The place where the hamburgers were prepared was call a hamburger joint. There were normally two people working the joint. One did the frying and the other one took care of the bun warmers and dressing the hamburgers up. When you placed an order for a hamburger, a meat ball was placed on the grill. The grill was flat with a bit of an oval dip in the middle of it. The oval dip contained the grease used for frying. The meat ball was placed on the flat part of the grill and two spatulas one on top of the other were used to flatten the meat ball into a round patty. The patty was then placed into the center of the grill to be fried. When done the patty was taken off of the grill and placed on a bun that the other attendant had ready with the proper garnishes on it. There were long benches on either side of the store to segregate the joint.
Clinton noticed that Oscar had became real quiet and he detected a bit of melancholy in him.
“Oscar, I had forgotten that Leaksville was the place of your birth. I know the story of how your family was treated when Y'all were living here. I'm sorry but I didn't think about it when I headed this way”, Clinton said apologetic.
Oscar seemed to perk up when he saw Clinton showing concern for him. “I have to face it sooner or later anyway. It might as well be sooner. I've known that, ever since I accepted this assignment. You know, I said that I would never come back to Mississippi but when I was told what this assignment was all about, I knew I had to. You know I have lots of kin around Leaksville. We have grown apart over the years but I need to reconnect. I know it would make my parents happy if I did. I always had it better than the rest of my kin and I think they need to know that I care. I just hope that I can help in some way, to give them a better quality of life”.
At that moment Clinton choked with emotion. He knew that he had met a man that had more aplomb than anybody he had ever known. He was glad that he had been chosen for this assignment. Maybe, just maybe, they could make a difference.
“Well I tell you one thing Oscar, at least you don't have to worry about anything when you go back to Leaksville. If anybody bothers you I believe Bobby would send the whole dang Army down here to bail you out. Just remember I'll always back you up. I don't care if it's day or night if you run into trouble you just holler. By-the-way, you know there may be some recruits for us around here.”
“I really appreciate that Clinton. It's a good feeling to know you have a Solid wall behind you. By the way, we sure seem to be going a long way for a couple of beers, Where are we headed.”
“We are headed for a place right close to Shubuta. Its a black honky tonk that I use occasional to get information about local bootlegging operations. They don't know that I work for the FBI. They think that I am just a thirsty government clerk. A white can go in there and sit and drink but a black can't do the same in a white tavern. This is my stomping grounds. I was raised in Meridian but I have spent a lot of time in honky tonks in Wayne County Mississippi. It's home to one of the largest illegal whiskey operations in the State. Uncle Sam loses a lots of revenue in this area. I am also related to some Lowery's who live at Hiwannee, a community about four miles south of Shubuta. “
When the Agents got to Waynesboro, they swung over to Highway 45 and headed north. About eight miles later they passed a store that had a Coca Cola sign out front with the name Hiwannee Grocery on it. “ (Lessie Lowery who ran the store, would later be impaneled as a jurist in the famous Mississippi Burning trial)
“That store is owned by the Lowerys who are my Aunt and Uncle. When we have more time we will stop by and I will Introduce you to them.”
Five minutes later they came to a dirt road that veered off to the right. As they turned onto the road you could see another store about a quarter of a mile father up Highway 45 on the right.
That's Jim Adams's store up there. He owns the property that the honky tonk is on.”
All at once they came to a building which had several vehicles parked in front of it. Pulling in front of the building they stopped next to a log truck. The building was a shot gun type house with a porch that ran the entire length of its front. There were several people milling around in front of the building and on the porch. Some were sitting in cane chairs on the porch. When the Agents stopped several in the crowd started trying to hide cans of beer and pint fruit jars containing shinny. In back of the store was a gate that opened into a small fenced pasture. About tthree hundred feet west of the gate you could see the back of Adam store.
“Let me tell you a little about this place. This is known as Hayes Joint”, Clinton said. “It gets it's name because this neighborhood is know as Hayes quarters, It's really Jim's place but Leroy Hayes runs it. The way that it works is that Leroy makes all the profit off of sales in the honky tonk. He gets his shinny from the only booze supplier in Wayne County, Arthur Alexander. Jim Adam charges Leroys rent according to how much booze he sells. Every week when the Shinny Runner delivers the booze he also stops by Jim's store and tells him what was delivered. Every Saturday night, when the till is the fullest, Jim collects his rent from Leroy. “
As the Agents got out of the car, they could hear an interesting sound of a guitar being plunked and a person singing. As the music drifted across the soft early evening they stopped and listened for a minute.
“Say the thangs that we use to do we ain't gonna do no more.
No the thangs that we use to do we ain't gonna do no more.
You use to sit all night and hold my hand and pray that the sun would never come.
You use to sit all night and hold my hand and pray that the sun would never come
But the thangs that we use to do we ain't gonna do no more.
I have searched all night for you baby but my searching was always in vain.
I have searched all night for you baby but my searching was all ways in vain.
Cause When I was out there searching for you baby you were out with yo other Man.”
“Lawezze me would you look whose coming”, a loud voice from the porch said. “I'll be damn if it ain't one of Papa Hair's boys”. With that the beers and shinny started popping back out.
As the Agents walked up to the crowd, Clinton whispered to Oscar, “ remember now we are government clerks, not FBI Agents”. As Clinton got closer he could see a big strong looking man on the porch. It was Willie Johnson a man who lived close to the Lowery's on the Hiwannee-Chaparell Road. The Hiwannee-Chaparell Road is a dirt road running East from Hiwannee to Chaparell.
“Willie Johnson, well I'll be dang I haven't seen you in a coons age” said Clinton. How's Fannie May and Dinner Boy”. Fannie May was Willie' wife. Dinner Boy was his son. Dinner Boy got his knick name by being in charge of the dinner bucket when he was a young boy. When the Johnsons were working in the fields, they always took Dinner Boy with them. Dinner Boy was too young to work, so Fannie May would find a shady spot at the edge of the field, and leave Dinner Boy with the the dinner buckets. The dinner bucket was a gallon syrup bucket, usual packed with biscuits, filled with meats and homemade jellies. During the day as the Johnsons got hungry, they would yell for Dinner Boy to bring the bucket of food.”
They's all fine” Willie said. “They don't live with me any more. Fannie May she say I drink too much. Look here my jars empty. Thank you can put something in it for me. I know you government people make lots of money.“
”Yeah come on in and I'll buy you a drink but only one. I don't get very much of that government money”, Clinton said as he opened the rusty screen door.
of a sudden everybody in front of the joint recognized Clinton or
claimed to have worked for Papa Hair. Papa Hair was the knick name
the Blacks had given to Clinton's Grandfather, Lewis Peyton Lowery.
They gave him that name because he would go for months with out
getting a haircut. He owned a sawmill and over the years he had
employed most of the men living in Hayes quarters.
“Y'all all come on in and I'll buy one round but only one now, you hear,” Clinton said as voices all around mumbled in agreement.
“Coffin in the yard, put it on the shelf.
If wife gets better, I'll use it myself.
Ain't it a shame. Ain't it a shame.
To leave yo Baby out in the rain.”
A middle age man sit on a stool in the middle of the building singing as he plunked on an old worn guitar. About 20 people sitting around small tables surrounded the entertainer. Seeing all the people coming in the door at once, he stopped singing and everybody stood up. A commotion of any type in a illegal juke joint was cause for alarm. It could mean a fight, a shooting or an occasional raid by the Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff who was in on the cut, would occasional raid a joint to keep the church people happy or in truth keep them in the dark.
A bespectacled man came out from behind the homemade bar to see what was going on. Seeing Clinton a big smile came across his face as he and everybody in the joint started eying the nice looking, young, well dressed, black, man with Clinton.
“Hi ya Clinton. Now who could that be with you” the man said.
“Leroy this is my Yankee working buddy, Oscar Thomas. He just got here from Minnesota. He's never been in a real black, juke-joint before, so I thought I would show him where to find good whiskey. Oscar this is Leroy Hayes”.
As Oscar and Leroy shook hands, Leroy said, “Oscar I always tell Clinton, if he could be a Brother for one Friday night, he would never be White again”.
“Mr. Clinton”, a voice behind Clinton said, “my jar is still empty. You need to have less blow and more go”. “
have you heard Leroy once call me mister. I'll tell you like I told
him, you can call me manure but don't call me Mr. Manure”.
“OK Clinton, how about giving me some corn drippings”.
“Leroy give everybody what ever poison they want”, said Clinton.
As Leroy started pouring shinny and what ever mix the drinker wanted, his wife Lula a big pleasant looking lady, started dragging cold beers out of one of the metal wash tubs used to ice the beer down. In the commotion of getting their orders placed the Agents were temporarily ignored by the group.
“Whose paying for this?” Oscar inquired, out of range of the others in the joint.
“Don't worry I came prepared”, said Clinton. I have an emergency, unquestioned, fund set up for me. As long as it doesn't get too big there's no problem. You'll have one set up for you on on Monday. Just keep an unofficial record in case anybody should ask.“
“How about Leroy, think he would make a good recruit” , Oscar inquired?
“No no, never”, Clinton answered. “He would be good to get information from but you don't want him to know anything that's confidential. You hang around him for awhile and he will tell you any thing you want to know. The Afro's say, if you want to know something just go see ole Leroy. He knows everything that happens within 50 miles. I have an Afro in mind in this area but you need to be the one to talk to him. He's Robert Black, a school teacher in Shubuta”.
After seeing that everybody had a drink, Leroy came over with a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beers. “Come on over and sit down. Y”all need to know the latest news and ole Leroy has it”.
“Wait a minute Leroy”, I wanted a Heineken Oscar said frustrated.“
“You got one and Clinton got a Budwiser. You see around here if you want anything besides a Pabst Blue Ribbon, You have to dream that a Pabst taste like what you wanted. This the only beer that you can get in Wayne County. My supplier has a cousin, who owns a Pabst distributorship in Bogalusa Louisiana. I think they may scratch each others back.”
“You mean that Arthur Alexander has his runner take shinny to Bogalusa and he brings beer back” said
“I didn't say that but I guess everybody knows that Arthur handles all the hooch in Wayne County”, Leroy said.
“I guess you heard that Houston Duval was killed yesterday”.
“No”, said Clinton looking unamazed, “I don't see how he's lived this long. Who finally got him “.
first wife's father or so I was told. He was the meanest man I
believe I have ever know. He once tried to kill his own Uncle in a
shoot out”. Clinton some of your Kin had trouble with Houston too
if you remember. Your cousin, Joe Lowery got into a fight with him
one night while riding around with Raymond Jones, our Constable. Joe
was only eighteen at the time but he handled Houston pretty good.
“Your Uncle Bryant fought him for two days straight. Bryant was home on leave from the Korean War. He had came by here to pick up a bottle. Houston drove up saw Bryant and called Papa Hair, Bryant's Daddy, a no good son-of-a-bitch. They fought the meanest fight I have ever seen. Although Bryant got the best of him, Houston saw him up at Shubuta the next day and they went to it again. Both of them was bloody all over when it was over.”
Papa Hair told me one time that the only gun he had ever owned was bought to kill Houston. It seems that Houston was cutting timber off Papa' Hair's land when Papa Hair walked up on him. When he Saw Papa Hair coming he got his rifle out of his log truck and started shooting at Papa Hair. Papa Hair got that old Jeep he rode around in, turned around and headed for Shubuta. He didn't stop until he got to JE Tony's office in Shubuta. You know JE was who Papa Hair sold all his lumber products to. It was said that at one time they, JE Tony and Papa Hair were two of the richest men in southeast.
“Papa Hair told JE about the Houston Incident and JE asked Papa Hair, “Why didn't you kill the son-of -a-bitch? You could have shot him in the back and not even got indicted”.
Papa Hair said, “JE I've never even shot a gun before”.
“Lewis, if Houston finds out that you won't fight back, he will chase you out of Mississippi”.
Papa Hair left JE's office, walked straight over to Tom McCaskey's Hardware Store and bought a 38 caliber Pistol. He told me to put the word out about the pistol and that he was looking for Houston to kill him. Houston Duval left the country, went to New Jersey and didn't come back until after Papa Hair had died”.
“ Leroy”, Oscar said “you sure are a good story teller but how much truth is in it”.
“Now I normally stretch the truth sometimes to make ordinary news easer to to tell but that story is the truth and Clinton there will back it up. Right Clinton”?
“I'm afraid that's the way I heard it too Oscar”, said Clinton.
“It's getting past my bed time” said Oscar, “I've got get to get back to my room, shower and unpack”.
“You're right” said Clinton, “We'll drive through Shubuta on the way back. There's an old bridge there that I want you to see. Then on the way back to Hattiesburg, I will tell you about the lynching that happened there”.
“Yeah, Y'all do that and the next time you come by here, I'll tell you my version , so that you can compare them”, said Leroy laughing.
leaving Leroy's joint the agents went back up to Highway 45, turned
right went, past Adam's store, drove over a bridge across Chicksawhay
River, drove through Shubuta business district, and ended up at an
old metal bridge. The bridge was one of those that had a metal
structure over it for strength. It had wood runners for one lane
traffic so that the first person there, had the right-of-way and
anybody coming the other way had to wait. As the agents drove across
the bridge, the old bridge shook and rattled as though it was going
to fall into the Chicksawhay River. After crossing the Agents turned
around at the first house they came to.
“All of Shubuta's Afros live over here”, Clinton said, as they drove back toward the the Bridge. They then went back across the bridge and stopped in the middle of the bridge.
“There's only one way in and one way out”, Clinton said looking toward, Oscar who was staring nervously into the murky water below. “The two that were lynched were two young Afro boys. They were hung up right there in the middle of the bridge so that all the Afros could see them. I will tell you the story on the way back to Hattiesburg.”
After the two agents rode away from the bridge, Clinton started the lynching story.
“Jim Adam's had a niece who lived with him. She had to walk two miles to Shubuta, where the school she attended, was located. She had to cross over a bridge north of Jim Adam's store. The story goes that the two Afro boys were under the bridge and supposedly made remarks to her as she passed over head. She got scared and ran back to Jim's house, which was in the back of the store. She told the story to Jim and immediately a lynching party was formed. They found the two boys hidden in some bushes close to the river. They tied them up, took a logging chain and tied them behind a log truck. They drug them up and down the gravel road in front of Leroy's place. They drug them until there was very little skin left on their bodies. They then took them and hung them on that bridge. The bridge is know to this day as Hangman's Bridge.”
“When I was a young boy I use to spend some summer time at Grand Daddy's house. There was a man, I can't remember his name. who use to drive up and down highway 45 in his car. He did this every day and he was always drunk. He drove real slow so the law didn't bother him. His father had been wealthy, as he owned and rented several of the buildings in down town Shubuta. His father had set up a trust fund for him , so he didn't have to work. It was said that he was involved in the lynching and that it almost drove him crazy. He drank all day hoping he could forget the sight of those bodies hanging on that bridge.
“My god can you believe how inhumane some people are to others” Oscar said.
Then he got real quiet again as old memories flashed through his mind about how his family had fled Mississippi. When they got back to Hattiesburg Oscar was sound asleep.
The following Monday Clinton was in the office early. He wondered how Oscar had made out over the weekend. He had told him how to find his apartment if he needed anything. If he got lonely and needed someone to talk, to call or come over.
Oscar had met a young Afro college student, Albert Pickens, at Mama's Place . They had became fast friends and he had show Oscar around Hattiesburg. He told Oscar the ends and outs of being an Afro in Hattiesburg. They had gone to Oscar's temporary apartment in the Federal Building and watched baseball on TV. Oscar showed Albert the FBI office which could be accessed through a door in the apartment's living room. Albert was ecstatic about being in an FBI office, a place he thought he would never even see, let along entering as a guest. They had seen several different Peace Officers driving around but had no trouble with them. It seemed that all of them had been warned to stay clear of Robert Kennedy's Nigger.
Chapter 4: The New York Mafia Moves In
Walking into the office, Clinton found Oscar up and excited. “I'm ready to go now buddy he said. I got some good rest, I'm invigorated, I went around and became acquainted with Hattiesburg, made some new friends and I'm now ready to fight the bad guys.“
“You know every time I get some of that fresh Wayne County air in me, I feel the same way”, said Clinton. “Oscar, got any ideas about how we are going to spend some of Bobby's money”.
“Now I'm glad you ask that” said Oscar. “Let me throw it at you. I worked on an FBI operation in ST. Paul once. We set up a sting in a tavern. I don't know why but every bad guy that I have ever met, likes to hang out in taverns. We were working on a tristate ring that was hijacking appliances and buying other stolen goods. We knew that they had to have a way to get rid of their good without getting caught. We opened up a tavern in an IRS confiscated building. We used some of our agents as bouncers. This was a pretty good idea because if something went wrong with the operation, we could out muscle our opposition. It was such a good idea that within six months, we had enough evidence for indictments. There's nothing like liquor to loosen a tongue up”.
“Wow!', said Clinton. “You have my gears turning now. I know just the place to start this operation. There's a big mansion that sits right on the Wayne-Jones County line. It's a perfect spot. It was confiscated by the IRS for back taxes. We can borrow it and turn it into a temporary night club. It will be one of the most plush places around when we get through with it. We will get both good and bad money coming in there. We'll staff it with FBI agents. We'll find some good looking female who will pose as easy girls and extract information from the suspects. We'll have big strong male FBI agents as bouncers. We'll have the safest place around for a person to take their wife or girlfriend for a night out. We can have it all. We'll have Brother Dave Gardner and other southern entertainers to perform. We'll have gambling up stairs. We'll put Gus Stevens to shame. When a suspect comes in, we can bug his car, without the suspect even knowing it”.
“That sounds great said Oscar, I can get Frank Luando, the agent who set up the sting in St. Paul. He would love to get involved in something this plush. He loved running that tavern. He said if his family would let him, he would buy one when he retires. We can also get the agents who did the bouncing. They already know how to handle rowdy customers. We'll have that place crawling with agents. The only problem will be determining how much they should know about the operation. What do you think Clinton”.
“I think they should know that we are looking for civil-right abuses. Of course any illegal activity they find out about, we will look into. They can know what we are doing but only you, I, and Joe Robertson will be privy to all the information. We will be the only ones who will tie all the information together. Oscar I think you should be in charge of finding the right agents for running the club. Because I have done some carpentry work in the past, I will see to the remodeling. I will check with the agent Frank Luando for his suggestions”.
“He will have plenty of them” , said Oscar. “He was always wanting to remodel that old St. Paul tavern. He had a thousand changes he wanted to make”.
When Joseph came in, Clinton and Oscar ran their plan by him. “You know you don't have to have my blessings. You are your own bosses, I'm just here for logistic support. I do believe that it's a good plan though. You two should never be seen around the club once it opens. Clinton you should get some body else to handle the remodeling. You shouldn't let any one know that the FBI is involved in any way with the club. After all there are quiet a few people in Wayne County who know you are an agent”.
“I've got that figured out”, said Clinton. “I will help Frank find the best architect and builder. I will check the job every evening to make sure the builder is doing what we ask. I think we should have the place bugged to the hilt. We should have bugs everywhere, the tables, the entrance ways, the bar and even the restrooms. We will need a good strong building built away from the main building. It will house the monitoring equipment. We will be able monitors any bug. We will need a good bug man to see that the equipment is installed properly and to filter out the information that we need. Any time a suspect comes in, the bug man will be notified so he can monitor him.
“We will also need some agents working the parking lot said Oscar. We could have the parking lot located on the side of the building with a solid wood fence around it. Parked cars would not be seen by anyone driving up to the club. Cars entering the parking area would be stopped and guided to a parking spot, This would serve a two fold purpose, our agents would be able to bug cars without any one seeing them and a person could have a discreet meeting without their car being seen ”.
“I'll see about getting the females ”, Joseph said. “There's not many in the Agency. Hoover doesn't like women you know. There's a couple of private investigating firms we have used in the past that have female investigators. I'll contact them and see what they have. I'll see about getting the building from the IRS today and tomorrow we will run over and check it out”.
The mansion was located on a road running off of Highway 84 close to the Myrick community. It sit on 100 acres of pasture land. Half of the building was in Jones County and half was in Wayne County. This way you could serve both black market booze and Wayne County shinny. It was a big beautiful two story brick building with tall round columns in the front. It had a porch sitting behind the columns running the entire length of the house. It was 150 feet in length and 50 feet wide. The former owner was a Texas wildcatter who had lost everything due to high stakes gambling in Las Vegas.
Walking into the mansion the three agents were awed at the size of the place. There was a wide stairway on the left wall with an elevator underneath. The living, dinning, and kitchen was one big room. There was a big den on the left wall behind the elevator that contained several televisions and two pool tables. There was a long kitchen on the back wall with a large bar separating it from the dinning room. The living room was located in the front right side of the room. It had a large chandler in the middle and a large fire place on the right wall. The upstairs was filled with huge bedrooms, with luxurious big bathrooms. There was a small kitchen and a big conference room.
“Frank Luando will be electrified when he sees this place”, Said Oscar. “I called him last night and told him about the operation. He immediately called the other agents that he had worked with in St. Paul and they all want a part of it. I didn't tell him all the details. Just that we had this big mansion that we were going to turn into a swanky night club for gathering information. He was ready to pack his bags and head this way right then. He said that his life was dull since the St. Paul operation.”
“I'll go back and make all the arrangements with my contact in Washington”, said Joseph. “It's better that he handle all these things. Hoover doesn't like the idea of Bobby using his men without his knowing what they are doing. Hoover has never had anyone control him like Bobby does. They say Bobby has a picture of Hoover wearing women's clothes and he holds that over Hoover. It's said that Hoover doesn't have a strong likening towards Afros anyway. I have already made arrangements for the female operatives too. I contacted Bob Glass who works for a national investigating agency. He said that he had just the ladies for the job. They are not only beautiful but crafty too. We will have to train them though and I guess I'll have take that boring task on my self”.
“Wait a minute Joe”. Clinton said jokingly. “You're pulling rank now. You might get into trouble with your wife if you take on that job. I can keep you out of trouble if you let me relieve you of that burden”.
Two days later Frank Luando arrived at the Mansion. His field supervisor called Joseph and said that he would release him immediately. He couldn't do anything on his normal work for talking about our operation. When he walked in the door of the mansion, he was so overcome with emotion that he almost passed out. The wheels started turning in his head and within thirty minutes he had his dream plan formulated.
“We will put in a wall with a door right here,” he said striking an imaginary line with his finger between the corridor and the living room. “That way anyone, upon entering, the building could not see into the sitting area. A bouncer will be stationed here too keep unwanted guests out. We can remodel the kitchen into a first class drink serving and storage area. We will build a raised area under the chandler to accommodate a good band.” Frank rattled on and on for half an hour. The plan was already in his mind, he just needed to implement it.
A week later all of the operatives arrived in Hattiesburg and were transported to the Mansion. The remodeling had already started but there was so much activity with all the people working on the venture, that you couldn't tell what it was going to look like. Each of the lady investigators and agents was assigned an upstairs room. The agents went immediately to the conference room while the ladies went to their rooms to unpack and cleanup. Later that afternoon the entire group would meet and assignments would be made.
As the 12 agents entered the conference room, Clinton and Oscar were already seated at the far end of the big walnut table. Joseph was standing with his back to a blackboard and facing the table from the far end. As the agents approached the table. Joseph, Clinton and Oscar rose and greeted the other agents. After introductions were over, they all took seats around the table. Written on the black board was the following:
FBI Agents: Frank Luando __Lucky Lucando
Harry Martin __Harry The Ape
Mark Magee __Muscles Magee
Floyd Robinson__Prettu Boy Floyd
Alfred Gaines__Alfred The Singer
Willie Dyson__Willie The Sneak
Billy Johnson__Billy The Charmer
James Stapleton__Mr. Friendly
Louis Mayo__One Arm Louie
Ralph Nelson__ Scar Face Nelson
Joe Misco__Joey The Safecracker
Jack Milano__Ears Milano
Lady Investigators: Cecile Dotson
“First off I would like to tell you a bit about the investigation”, Joseph started. “You will see behind me each of your names and beside each name is a nickname. If you have any problem with these nicknames, you”ll have to take that up with Lucky. He was the one who gave you these names. I would like to see you refer to each other by these names from now on as there's a purpose behind these names.”
“Almost everybody in the Mafia has a nickname. We are actual doing everything we can to make certain people believe we are part of the Mafia organization. They say “Birds of a feather flock together”. We are hoping to gain the confidence of certain people by making them believe we have a common goal with them. We hope we can make them comfortable enough with us to talk freely about their operations. Our aim is to get information regarding civil-right abuses but if anything else falls through the screen, we will act on that too.”
“The lady investigators are not agents therefore they need to learn as little about the operation as possible. They need to know that we looking for civil-right abuses or they won't know what to keep their ears open far. After the first meeting with them they should not be involved in any other.”
“Oscar and Clinton will not be seen around the operation once it has started. They will come here for meetings but they will arrive in an inconspicuous way by coming up the back stairway. The back stairway will be made accessible only to FBI people. It will be your job to protect the ladies and you should shield them from any unsafe activity. Oscar do you are Clinton have ant thing to add.”
“I would like to say that this part of the operation belongs to you,” said Oscar. “I guess because you are working for him in his bogus business, you should report to Lucky for any thing you need or can't handle. He in turn can contact either Clinton or me. We can't tell you the full scope of the investigation as we are sworn to secrecy. Lucky will be briefing the ladies later today. We are leaving the training of them up to you. Think about what we are doing and we will have several meetings before starting up. If you have any questions and suggestions we will cover them then.”
The next day when Clinton entered Joseph's office in the Federal Building. there was a slender black haired man, with horned rimmed glasses sitting talking to Joseph and Oscar. “Morning Clinton”, Joseph said. “I want you to meet Sneaky Cecil Marsh. He works for the same investigating agency as Bob Glass. He's the best snoop in the business. He has a car we call the sneak mobile. It has hidden cameras all over it. He can take photos of anything with out having to move the car. The subject can move to any position around the car and if they are not hidden behind an object, he can get their picture. I've given him that list of possible trouble makers you gave me and he's headed out this morning to dig up some dirt on em”.
“Good morning all” Oscar said shaking the other men's hand. “You don't fool around do you Joe”. You are my kinda field boss. We will probably need them as soon as possible. I think we are going to get some feed back pretty soon. But we'll tell you about that later”.
“I can take a hint” said Cecil. “I've been around long enough to know you have something to say that's not intended for the ears of non agent people. I'll have you something in a couple of days”.
After Cecil had closed the door Clinton said, “The rumors are already starting”. Every where I go, people who know I work for the FBI, are asking me if I'm in on the big Mafia investigation. I say do you mean the one over on the Jones-Wayne county line. I tell them no but if what I here is true, I will probably be in on it pretty soon. I'll bet you a wooden nickel we will get a bite pretty soon.”
About a week later a brown automobile with a sign on it's side identifying it as belonging to the sheriff of Jones County, drove up in front of the mansion. It stopped in front of a newly installed sign that read in huge letters “County Line Inn”. A round red faced man in a big cowboy hat stepped out of the car and started toward the front door. A young man was working on the front of the building installing a new front door.
“Where yo boss boy”, the Sheriff asked real authoritative like.
“I don't know” the young man said. “I guess he's gone back to town”.
“Well who in hell is in charge here”, he demanded in a nasty tone.
“I really don't know”. I was told to install this door and that's what I'm doing. You'll have to check with somebody inside if you want to find that out”.
Walking away in a huff, the Sheriff spied Frank Luando observing the work going on.
“Hey you, can some damn body around here, please tell me who in the hell is in charge of this operation”.
“I guess you've found him” said Frank holding his hand out.
Ignoring his hand the Sheriff's face turned even redder. And who in hell gave you permission to put up a place to sell liquor without getting permission from me”.
“You must be Randy Buford, Frank said. “I've been expecting you”.
”Well you should have seen me before you went to all this expense, I'm not giving any damn Mafia crooks permission to start a liquor business in my county”.
“Can't we go back to my office and talk about this”. Said Frank.
“Hell no, I'm not going any further into this building with out my men going with me”.
“That's alright Randy”, Frank said as agent Mark Magee walked up with a big brown envelope in his hand. “Take this envelope, study it and then come by to see me right away. If I can't work with you I'll have to go another route. By the way you don't want anybody else seeing what's in that envelope”.
“I will be back”, Randy said as he stalked away but you had better be prepared to go to jail when you see me coming.
As he stalked away, the sheriff opened the brown envelope. Pulling out a group of pictures, he viewed them for a moment, stuffed them back into the envelope and never looked back. You could read his face by seeing the way he hurried away. At the secret agent meeting the next morning, every agent agreed in unison that the war had started.
Arriving back at the Court House, Sheriff Buford went straight to his office and closed the door. He hadn't talked to his deputy all the way back to town. Neither did he hear any greetings as he walked down the hallway to his office. He opened the brown envelope again and looked at the incriminating evidence that could ruin him. He could go to jail for a long time if anybody found about it contents. There were bank accounts of illegal monies and pictures of his taking bribes from bootleggers, and illegal gambling operations. They got their hands on evidence that even he didn't know how to get. Also in the the envelope was the phone number of the County Line Inn.
The next morning Frank was out front checking the new front entrance,when he notice the brown Sheriff's car pull up again. This time was different, he was waiting for it. The sheriff had called and requested a meeting. When Frank extended his hand this time, he got a hardy shake from the Sheriff. It was as though to say, we are brothers in crime.
Before the Sheriff could beg, Frank started to talk. “ Randy, I”ll tell you what I need from you. I need a little bit of protection from your side and I'm willing to pay for it but I don't want you holding me up. I'll give you a fair cut of the profits if you keep your people off of me. Also I'd like for you let me know if the Feds such as the FBI and ATF are headed this way”.
The Sheriff agreed to these terms but also wanted the rest of the information that was held on him. Although he didn't get it. he was satisfied that nobody else would see it. He was also now throughly convinced that Lucky Luando worked for the Mafia.
Things were shaping up at the Inn. The new bar was ready and all the tables were in place and bugged. The front door had been moved to the left side in front of the stairway and Elevator. This cut down on the size of the foyer, but gave more room for tables inside the club. The Privacy wall had been built between the foyer and main room. The parking lot had a privacy fence all the way around it. The building for monitoring the bugs was almost complete.
The lady investigators had been trained how to extract information from a person with out their being aware. All of the agents had been running drills on how to get to hot spots when trouble broke out. They all had two way radios for communicating, so on signal, they could instantly be at some place where trouble was happening. The whole place was broken into easy to get to zones.
Each agent was assigned an area where their expertise was needed. Harry The Ape, Muscles Magee, and The Assassin would roam around floor making sure that no trouble broke out. They would also have their ears open for information. Pretty Boy Floyd and Alfred The Singer would be bartenders. Billy The Charmer would be the foyer greeter, while Mr. Friendly would be the front door greeter. One Arm Louie would work the pedestrian gate going from the parking lot to the front door and Scar Face would work the main parking lot gate monitoring vehicle traffic into out of the parking lot. Joey The Burglar and Ears Milano were responsible for parking the cars and also for bugging the suspect cars. Willie The Sneak was responsible for the bugs, monitoring, building.
Here is the way the operation works. A person in the club was marked a suspect from over heard conversation. This information is telephoned by direct line to Willie The Sneak. Willie is told what table the suspect is sitting at. Willie starts monitoring and recording that table's bug. If it is determined that the person is putting out incriminating information, Willie then calls Ears Milano in the parking lot. Ears knows where the car is parked that the person came in. He knows this because each person driving a car into the parking lot is given a card with a number on it. They are told to keep this number on them so their car can be found when they return. This number is checked when they are seated and the table number is then relayed back out to the parking lot where it is recorded next to the card number.
Ears and Willie will decide whether the suspect requires further monitoring after they leave the parking lot. When it is decided that they do, then Ears tells Joey The Burglar to put a bug in the car. Joey got his name honestly as he can open a car door and put a bug inside the car in less than a minute. He has a variety of sun visors with bugs and homing devices already embedded in them. He just finds one for that particular car and changes the sun visor out. After they leave the parking lot, the car can be found from the homing device. With a van equipped with bug monitors, the bugged vehicle can then be found and any conversations inside the vehicle monitored.
As the opening day drew near more and more cars were doing a loop in front of the building. They would stop for a moment the occupants would scan the grounds and the building and then drive away. One such car stopped but didn't drive away. It was Arthur Alexander Wayne County's famous bootlegger. Walking up to the steps to the front entrance he was immediately challenged by Harry The Ape. Harry was a huge man with hairy arms and a full beard. He looked as though he could crush an ordinary size man with his bare hands.
“I'm sorry sir but we're not open yet”, Harry said.
“I know Arthur said but I think its in both of our interest for y'all to talk with me before you go any further with this operation, My name is Arthur Alexander and I supply most of the alcohol products sold in Wayne County”.
“Arthur we've been expecting you”, Harry said “Follow me buddy and I'll take you to the boss”.
Walking into the main room, Arthur looked around in amazement. He had never seen anything like this before. It was nothing like the cheap joints owned by the blacks in Wayne County.
As they got close to the pool room Frank Luando walked out. “Lucky I want you to meet Arthur Alexander” . said Harry. “Arthur this is Lucky Lucando”.
“ Well I'll be damn. Arthur Alexander, I can't believe it. Boy I've heard so much about you I think I already know you. Come on into my office and lets talk. Harry how about telling Willie about Arthur being here. He wanted to meet him. Here sit down”, Frank said floor flushing Arthur.
“Well what I wanted to talk to you about was the liquor laws here in Wayne County”, Arthur started. “You know that it's actual against the law to sell liquor in Wayne County'. You see I kinda control the politics in Wayne County. My man is Sheriff. My man is State Representative. My man is even the U.S. Congressman from this district. So if you are going to sell liquor in Wayne County you have to buy my liquor. I know you're sitting right on the line, so it's OK to sell the Black Market hard liquor. But if you've going to sell beer it's got to be Pabst Blue Ribbon”.
“Whoa! Whoa”! Said Frank. “I was following you a little bit until you said that the only beer that I could sell was Pabst Blue Ribbon. Do you know how much money we've put in this place. You're telling me, that the only choice of beer my customers are going to have, is a non premium beer. I wouldn't stay in business a week if I have to do that”.
“Well you should have thought of that before you built this fancy place. You damn Yankees come down and think you can bring your big city ways with you. You should have asked before you went and built this fancy joint. It's not my fault. If you can't make it with my conditions then you are going to have to move on. Next thing you'll be wanting me to cut my prices too”.
“You are right”, Frank said. “I was going to ask you that but now that you have been such an ass hole, I'm not going to buy anything from you. I'll buy all my shinny from suppliers in Jones County”.
“ You don't know who you are talking to”. Arthur said almost yelling. “Nobody treats me like this! Nobody! Your days in Jones County are numbered and if you don't get your ass out of here, your days on this earth are numbered. You might not know who Luther Giles is but you're about to find out. If you think you're going to keep him from getting his cut you're hauling a half load of paper wood. Luther Giles will be in here tomorrow with enough men to wipe you and all your goons off the face of the earth. If he needs them, he can even use the National Guard”.
With that said, Arthur got up and headed to the door with Frank in tow. Walking out into the hot Mississippi Summer sun, Arthur stopped as a big explosion occurred next to his car. He jumped back into Frank and almost knocked him over.
“What in hell's that” Arthur inquired of Frank.
“I don't know but it looks like you might not be quiet as popular in Wayne County as you thought”, Frank said.
“You sorry Bastard. You can't scare me', Arthur said as he hurried into his car and sped off.
Just as he was looping back down to the main road another explosion rocked Arthur's car. Grey smoke billowed behind Arthur's car as he pressed the gas pedal to the floor. Two down one to go. The agents meeting that evening was very satisfying. Everything was going exactly according to plan.
“I'm elated”. said Clinton. “It's almost scary, how smooth things are going. How about it Lucky give us a report”.
“Everything is go” said Frank. “Everybody's trained, all dry runs were a success, the booze pantry is stocked, Willie The Sneak's bug system is ready, the band is ready . I think we should be ready to open the gate Friday afternoon. That gives us three days to rest. I've already posted the open hours under the County Line Inn, sign. I believe we decided that we would open every afternoon at four to start with and stay open as long as we have a good crowd. If business drops off during the week, then we can change the schedule”.
“Sounds good to me” said Oscar. “We've just got the new bug van in. Clinton and myself will be running it. It has equipment in it that would make Willie The Sneak envious. It can locate a homing device any where in Mississippi. It can pick up a bug 10 miles away. There is only one of these in the world and we have it. When Joey The Burglar notifies us, we will be ready to roll”.
“Frank you need to be ready for Luther Giles tomorrow” said Clinton. “He won't waste any time getting here. He has lots of influence around here and likes to use it. He and his deputy will be here first, so you need to take care of them immediately. His deputy, Charley Barnett, is a big man that likes to push his weight around”.
“Don't worry, I'm ready for him, I have all the ammunition I need to knock his chocks down” said Frank.
“One other thing” said Clinton. “You need to be on the look out for the tough boys. They will be coming soon. They have been bared from every joint in the country. They always like to try out a new place. They will take over and run all your good customers away if you let them. This place will get a reputation that it will never live down”.
“My kind of people”, said Muscles Magee. I can't wait until they show up”.
“Me either” said Harry The Ape. “Remember the time we took on that Hell Angels gang in St. Paul. They came in as Hell Angles but went out as Angles, we had knocked the hell out of them.
Chapter 5: The Inn Opens
True to form, the next day bright and early, Luther Giles in his county car, and Charlie Barnett in his, came zooming up to the front of the Inn. They came in with sirens blaring and every warning light on their cars flashing. It sound like a big invasion taking place. By the time the two officers had gotten out of their cars, most of the agents were at the front door. Both officers got out and stood beside their cars as if to use the cars to shield themselves from the agents. As Frank walked out on the porch Luther yelled.
“Hold it right there. Don't you make another step toward me or you'll wish you'd never been born. Now you tell your men to come out on the porch and don't start any funny stuff”.
As the agents walked out on the porch, Frank said, “I don't know what your problem is Luther but you don't have any jurisdiction in Jones County. You see that yellow line down the middle of the pavement, you and your deputy are parked on private property in Jones County. Now if you two will just quit playing cowboys, you can come into my office and will talk about this”.
“To hell I will” shouted Luther. “I have jurisdiction any where in Jones County. Both me and the Jones County Sheriff share jurisdiction in each others counties. Now you do as I tell you”, Luther shouted as he and Charlie pulled riffles up and rested them on the hood of their cars”.
“I know better than that Luther”, Frank said. “You and Randy Buford hate each other. He would never give you permission to do any thing in Jones County. Besides, you can put those weapons away, you have your backs to two M1 riffles. They will blow holes in your back, big enough to drive a mack truck through. Turn around and meet Muscles Magee and Harry The Ape”.
About that time several shots were fired over the officers head. The Sheriff and Deputy dropped their weapon and jumped back startled.
“Now Luther come in and lets get acquainted”, said Frank as the two agents with the M1s walked up behind the officers and picked up their weapons. “We were waiting to talk to you but we didn't want it to be this way”.
“I'm not going with you any where” said Luther getting into his car. “You haven't heard the last of this”
“I wouldn't move that car if I was you sir”, said Muscles Magee, aiming his M1 at the front tires. “Not unless you want to drive home on four flat tires. Now please get out of the car and do like Lucky says”.
“You wait out here Charlie and let me go in and see what this fool wants said Luther. We can wait our time to make our next move. These thugs don't know how much pull I've got in this state. They're about to find out though”.
“My name is Lucky Luando” Frank said after they entered his office.
He didn't offer his hand as he knew it would be refused.
“I had a talk with Arthur your boss yesterday and he left pretty upset. That's why I knew you would be here today, to take up for him. You're on the take from him so you don't have any choice but to protect him. Here look at this while you're sitting there.”
“I'm not any body's patsy”. Said Luther as he started opening the big envelope that Frank had given him. “ I owe no allegiance to no one but my Wife. If you think you can bluff me with that shit, you're off your rocker.”
With the contents out of the envelope, Luther's face suddenly turned ashen as he spread them on the desk in front of him. As he looked at the bank receipts, the pictures showing him with another woman and incriminating picture of his taking bribes from Arthur, Luther suddenly became very quiet.
“I also have a tape that was made of the conversation between me and Arthur yesterday. I imagine the ATF would like to get their hand on what I hold on you two. Now that we understand each other lets see if we can't work out a deal that will be profitable to both of us. I will buy all of my shinny from Arthur but I don't want any of that stuff he sells the blacks. I know he makes the best aged whiskey in the world. That's what I want and I am willing to pay the same price for it as I pay for Jack Daniels and other legal whiskeys. We can all do good on this operation but you mustn't hassle me. I also want you to notify me when any Fed men are coming for a visit”.
“I tell you what Lucky, that sounds like a good deal to me. As a matter of fact it's a better deal than what we were going to offer you. If you are willing to pay that much for the aged shinny, we don't need to supply you with beer. Arthur has oak barrel after oak barrel of aged shinny. As a matter of fact he has been looking for an outlet for it. He will be tickled to death over this deal. By the way will you give me all the pictures and negatives you have of me. I wouldn't want any of those getting back to my church where I am a deacon.”
Frank handed Luther a shoe box. Luther looked in the box and a sigh of relief appeared on his face. He didn't know that there was another box just like that one.
Now that the pantry was stocked with the best aged shinny in the world, everyone was anxiously waiting for the doors to open. At 3:30 PM Friday October 20 1962 the doors of County Line Inn swung open. It opened 30 minutes early as the parking lot already had about two dozen cars in it. The band was playing “Love Me Tender” as Alfred The Singer was at the mike, warbling out a fair imitation, of Elvis Presley. Cecile Dotson, Jeannie Dixon, Karen Porter,and Patty Clauside, the female investigators were gathered in front of the bar ready to carry out their roles as barmaids.
About 10 pm the Inn was hopping. It was about 90 percent full the band was really belting them and the dance floor was full. It was about this time that two cars full of loud occupants, entered the parking lot. They pulled up in front of the Inn parked and got out. Mr. Friendly left his post at the front door and walked out to encounter the rowdy group. First though he put out a “Hey Rube” over his radio to alert the agents to possible trouble. Mr. Friendly got his name because he always had a mad look on his face. Although he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, the first impression was that he was a terrible person to be around.
“This might be that tough group that Clinton was talking about”. Frank said. “If it is we need to get them in the club so we can make examples out of them. Each of you know what to do so standby and be ready to come when you hear “Hey Rube” again”.
Walking over to the cars Mr. Friendly said, “I'm sorry but you can't park there. You will have to drive around to the the parking lot”.
About that time Frank came out the front door to observe. “
If you don't want the damn things parked here then you move them” said a rough looking one eyed man with a acne face as he tossed the keys to Mr. Friendly.”
“I said you can't”, Mr Friendly started.
Frank interrupted, “That's OK Mr. Friendly. We'll move the cars for them. Give us the keys guys and we will take care of everything”.
Acne face spoke up. “Thats better, you damn Yankees had better watch out, you're in Dixie now and we don't put up with any shit down here”.
After seating the group at the table of their choosing. The group really started showing out. They went to different tables asking escorted ladies to dance, daring people to do anything about what they were doing, yelling at and disrupting the band. And then it happened, one of the men ran his hand up Patty's dress. Patty took her serving trey and rapped the assailant knocking him to the floor. As he got up to grab her, he could hear the sound of feet racing toward the group. Unbeknown to the group of rowdies, the agents had slowly circled them and had them hemmed in. Turning around to see who their guest were, most of rowdies wilted. All but one that is, Mr. Acne Face looked behind him and found little Willie The Sneak hemming him in. Turning to grab Willie, he suddenly found himself laying on his stomach with his hands tied behind his back. Mr. Acne Face had just had an encounter with a move that Willie once held the record on at the Academy. That record was broke by none other than Oscar Thomas. As the rowdy group were escorted out of the Inn, the rest of the patrons stood and gave the agents a rousing cheer.
“Good job, none of those are any good.”
“They have all been jail at one time or the other.”
“I don't know why y'all let them in,
“I'll recommend this place to everybody”.
Were the many accolades the agents heard. When they got to the front door their car was waiting for them. As Frank gave the keys back to the group he said, “We didn't move your cars, we knew you wouldn't be staying long”.
“You haven't heard the last of this” Mr. Acne Face said.
“Watch it big boy I might have to spank you again”. said Willie.
As they drove away they went by a swamp pond that exploded getting their cars coated with gumbo. Everybody in Jones and Wayne Counties knew about the Inn on the Jones-Wayne County Line that was run by the Mafia. As a matter of fact half of Mississippi had heard of County Line Inn. There were people coming from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Louisiana. The business was so good that everybody but Frank had to find another place to live.
All of the upstairs was renovated to make room for tables. There were two bands , a country and western band up stairs and a rock band downstairs. The conference room was left as it was and used for big stake poker games. The big building out side. used for storage, was renovated and turned into a kitchen. A cook was hired to prepare sandwiches and salads. Six more girls were hired and trained. Joseph tried to get some more FBI Agents but was rebuffed by Washington. The place was generating a profit which was put into a bank account. It would be used to return the building to it's original state if the IRS so chose.
Everything was just fine as far a the Inn being profitable but that wasn't the purpose of the Inn. There wasn't much information being gathered about Civil Right abuses. Not that they weren't happening.
Then one crisp Fall morning, a big white El Dorado Cadillac drove up to the Inn. A big man got out of the car on the passengers side. He wore a light blue pin striped suit, had a big cigar in his mouth, and carried a diamond tipped walking cane in his right hand. He was Rupert Stanley and he was the biggest heavy equipment dealer in Mississippi. A big muscular man got out on the drivers side. He was Bobby Boyd, Rupert's chauffeur and body guard. Rupert never went any where without Bobby. As a matter of fact Bobby was the only person in the world he trusted. One Arm Louie was coming out the front door as Rupert and Bobby reached the front porch.
“I'm known as One arm Louie”, Louie said “follow me Rupert”.
One Arm Louie had two arms when he entered the FBI. He was one of the most daring and feared at one time. He had his left arm amputated after getting it very badly damaged in a shoot out with a bank robber several years ago. He was still one of the best marksmen in the agency. When Rupert, Bobby and Louie got to the office, Frank was sitting at his desk looking through some papers.
“Lucky this is Rupert Stanley he seems to know you. Rupert this is Lucky Luando“, Louie said.
Frank didn't know Rupert Stanley but he did know about him. He was one of the men that Clinton said needed watching. While shaking hands with Rupert, Frank said to Louie.
How about telling Joey to check out the front driveway, I saw some trash out there this morning. Also tell Clinton that I want him to come to work. Were a little short handed tonight.
By the time Rupert and Bobby got back in the car it would be bugged. Clinton and Oscar could then follow it to listen to the conversation between Rupert and Bobby.
Clinton had told Frank how he came to know about Rupert Stanley. Clinton was working with the Lauderdale County road crews one summer while he was going to College at Mississippi Southern. It was hot out there on the road. Clinton's job was going around cleaning out culverts with a shovel. About three o'clock every Thursday afternoon, this big black Cadillac would drive up to where the road crew was working. He would open his trunk and it had these big coolers full of iced down Coca Colas. Clinton said that he believed that those Cokes were the best tasting stuff he had ever put in his mouth. Later he found out that the man in the black Cadillac was a salesman for Rupert's company. He often wondered if there wasn't some hanky-panky going on there. He later did a bit of investigating on Rupert but only came up with here-say.
Rupert and Bobby sat down, Bobby closed the door. It was as though Bobby knew that this conversation was for Frank's ears only. Frank flipped a toggle switch that started the bug recorder out in the bug room.
Rupert started,” I'm really impressed with your place here. We never thought it would go. We just didn't believe that a bunch of Yankees could come down here and that southern whites would patronize them. We don't have anything anywhere in Mississippi as nice as this place”. We want to do business with you but we have to know more about your operation. We need to know whose backing you. What your plans are for the future. Whether you plan to buck us.“
“Rupert You keep speaking of we. Are you in the same business as we are. Just who is we.”
“Wait a minute there, you are starting to meddle now”, Rupert said. “I don't plan to tell you my business. I came here to try and get you on board with our operation. We're a big organization and you can't buck us. We have influence all over this state. We also have influence on a national level. I don't care whose backing you, they're not big enough to buck us”.
“Let me get this right”, said Frank. “You come into my place demanding to know everything about my organization. Wanting to do business with me. Then you rebuke me for trying to find out what you are all about. You are probably the stupidest person I have ever seen in my life”.
With that Bobby Boyd stood up and shouted. “You sit down you damn fool. Nobody talks to Mr, Stanley like that. I'll crush your face”.
Frank pushed a button and the door flew open. As Bobby reached for Frank four big muscled hands grabbed Bobby and he was out the door and screaming in pain. Harry The Ape and Muscles Magee were putting the hurt on Bobby.
The door closed and Rupert was sitting along with Frank. He had lost all his valor without Bobby's protection. Rupert was just sitting there. His mouth had suddenly gotten very very still.
“Well, what happened to all those threats Rupert”, Frank said. “Now it's just you and me come on spit it out. Tell me what you are going to do to me if I don't cooperate with you.”
“What are you going to do to Bobby”, Rupert said almost pleading.
“We might give him a Jimmy Hoffa” said Frank. “This meeting is over. Take your goon and get out of here. If you ever try any of these tough arm tactics again, I'll make a phone call to New York and you and your car will get blown up.”
Frank walked to the door opened it. He waited for Rupert to get up and walk out of the office and then followed him out. When they got to the front of the building Harry The Ape, Muscles Magee and Bobby Boyd were already there. Bobby was rubbing his left arm which had been pinned behind his back. There was a big bump on his forward from his head hitting the floor.
“Remember what I said” Frank emphasized as the two men got into the car.”Don't show your faces around here again”.
The two men drove out the drive way, entered the Myrick road, and disappeared into the night. The bug van pulled out of the parking lot and headed in the same direction the two men were going. Clinton was driving and Oscar was seated in the back of the van controlling the receiver that was monitoring the bug in Rupert's car. Both men had headsets on to listen to the conversation between Rupert and Bobby.
Oscar and Clinton had been in the bug room when Rupert and Bobby entered Frank's office. They had been listing to some recordings, taken of a KKK member's conversation, when they saw a red warning light go on. Willie The Sneak saw it and turned the volume up on the receiver going to the office bug. They had heard all of the conversations between Frank, Rupert and Bobby. When Rupert and Bobby got in their car, Oscar and Clinton were already in the bug van ready to follow their prey.
“Those bastards are going to pay for this” Rupert said. “They're mighty brave when they have all those armed thugs around them”. We'll see how they match up against the Klan. I will call an emergency meeting of our group. Wait until they see the power of our MAFIA . Lets drop by and talk to George Faison.”
Clinton and Oscar would discover later that MAFIA stood for “Mississippians Against Forced Integration Alliance”.
George Faison was the Imperial Wizard of Mississippi's KKK. He had been investigated many times about bombings and killings of Afros in Mississippi but no Grand Jury in Mississippi had ever indicted him. He owned a truck with a welding machine on it that he used to do contract work in the oil fields. He lived just east of Laural on Highway 84.
Rupert stopped at a pay phone in Laural and called George's house. He found out that George was out in Yellow Field, an oilfield just west of Waynesboro. There was a work-over rig out there that he was doing some welding on. A work-over rig is a small drilling rig that sets up over a producing well and does repair work on it.
George had just finished his welding on the rig and was heading to his truck when he saw the white El Dorado driving up. George was a slightly red headed man about six foot tall. He had a good build on him with a bit of a paunch from drinking beer. He was very charismatic and a good recruiter for the KKK.
“How about lets going for a ride George” Rupert said. “ I've got some important things to talk over”. As he got in the car, Rupert offered George a bottle containing Arthur Alexander's aged shinny.
“You know I don't drink that stuff Rupert I'm a beer man “, George said. “
Look in that cooler back there., it's full of cold beer”.
Rupert always had a good supply of enticements in his car. His trunk was full of cold soft drinks. They headed out of Yellow Field and back onto Highway 84 West. After they were about a mile past Fox Grocery a black van pulled onto the highway and started trailing them.
“George we've got a problem we need help with”, Rupert started. “You know that bunch of Yankees thats opened that place close to Myrick. Well, they're getting out of hand. We're going to have to do something about them. Its rumored that they belong to the Italy Mafia. I've been told that they're in cahoots with Bobby Kennedy. They plan to start bringing nigger boys down here to mix with our white girls”.
This was a lie that Rupert was starting at that very moment. As he planed, it would grow into a rumor, that would spread all over the region. It was a method that the Mississippi MAFIA used on the Klan all the time. They would get the Klan incited with lies to do their dirty work. Looking in the rear view mirror Rupert could see Georges face had turned the same color as his red hair. He knew his ruse was working.
“I want to drive by and show you the place. Later on you and some of your men can go in and look the place over. Then we will make plans about what we are going to do to run those damn bastards back north”.
“I'll get some of my most trusted Klan brothers and we will check the joint out tomorrow night. This has to stop immediately. The very idea of one of those Black Bastards touching my daughter makes my stomach turn over! It makes me want to go to the quarters and burn crosses all night”.
A big smile came over Rupert as he looked at the hate on George's face. He knew he'd done it again.
“Clinton”, Oscar said as he listen to George vent his anger toward Afros. “I believe our work is starting to bear fruit. I think we have enough of this information for now. I believe we need to go back to the Inn and make a plan for our tomorrow night guests”.
“I think you are right Oscar. “I'm going to radio Frank and have someone take a picture of George when they drive by the Inn.
“We've got to find a Young Afro to be there when George shows up tomorrow night. We need to nourish that lie Rupert's planted in his head” and I've got just the person”, said Oscar. “Do you remember that young college student, Albert Pickens, that I met when I first got here. Well, he does a mean Nat King Cole imitation. We could seat him at a table close to where the Klan is seated. We could get the band to call him up after the Klan leaves. They won't be staying long after they see one of our good looking ladies serving Albert anyway. We just need to make sure that Harry and Muscles keep a close watch on him.”
About eight o'clock that night three cars pulled into the Inn's parking lot at one time. George was in the first car and his Klan brothers were in the other two cars. There were six Klan members in all.
“It looks we are going to be a little rushed tonight Ears”, Joey The Burglar said as the group of six headed toward the front entrance.
When they were seated and their drinks were served, Cecile Dotson came toward them followed by Albert. After Albert was seated, one of the Klan members stood up.
“'You're not putting that nigger over here close to us”.
Before Harry and Muscles could make it to the table, George had pulled the man back down and told him to keep his damn mouth shut. “You are about to screw this whole dam thing up. Me and Jack are going to look around”, George said as he and the guy causing the commotion got up. “Y'all stay here and keep your cool. Don't do anything to jeopardize our plan.”
About five minutes later the two returned to their table and set down. About that time Jeannie came by with a drink for Albert. Smiling she set the drink in front of him and placing her hand on his shoulder said:
“We are so glad to have you here, we hope you enjoy yourself.
As she turned to walk away, she turned and smiled at him again. With that the six looked over at the two hefty bouncers and left. As the three bugged cars were leaving the parking lot, inside the Inn, Albert was being introduced as the next Nat King Cole. After he had finished the song, he got a rousing ovation. He then walked up to Frank and said “I want to get the hell out of here”. Frank laughed and led him out the back door to a car that would take him safely home.
This was 1962 and both the Afros and whites were slaves to the Mississippi MAFIA. The Afros received slave like wages for their work and the whites didn't fare much better as the rich politicians controlled by the Mississippi MAFIA kept good paying jobs out of the state. The poor whites joined KKK groups that were used by the Mississippi MAFIA to do their dirty work.
Rupert Smith called an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi MAFIA. It was his duty to notify each member of the board that a meeting was needed. Any member could call a meeting by simply telling Rupert that one was needed but it was Rupert that notified each member. Rupert was the Executive Director of the board. It was his job to carry out the wishes of the board . The reason that Rupert was selected for this position was because he worked all over the State, he knew ever member of the MAFIA and he was very efficient at this job, as a matter of fact, he loved it.
The MAFIA Board of Directors was composed 0f
Rupert Smith: Owner of Mississippi Equipment Company
Robert Lowder: Governor of Mississippi
David Flowers: Attorney General of Mississippi
Charlie Johnson: State Tax Collector
Altron Brewer: Congressman .
William Arrington: Cotton Farmer
Randolph Sanderson: Lumberman
This was the board of directors. There were exactly one hundred MAFIA members spread out over the state. They are all prominent well to do people who contribute huge amounts of monies to the organization to support it's activities. The MAFIA is such a secret organization that no one outside the organization even knows it exists. You don't ask to join the MAFIA the MAFIA asks you to join it. No new members are taken in until some one dies. When that happens the next member has already been selected. As a matter of fact there are ten members on a list. They are listed as prospect one through ten. When a new member is needed to keep the quota, the person listed as prospect one is selected. Then every body on the list moves up and a new prospect takes the number ten position. Before becoming a prospect a person is investigated for two years to make sure he would be a good prospect.
Before a person is ask to join the MAFIA they are told about a secret organization trying to get started in Mississippi. The purpose of this organization was to fight the federal government in their efforts to destroy our culture. This would be done through controlling the election of officials county, state and federal. If they show an enthusiasm in the idea they then go before a screening committee that determines if they qualify for membership. They are then required to learn and honor this pledge.
I pledge with my life to honor the code of the MAFIA.
I know that if I divulge any activities of the MAFIA I am subject to a penalty of death.
I know that if I divulge the name of any member of the MAFIA I am subject to a Penalty of death.
I can leave the MAFIA at any time I choose but I will honor this pledge until I am dead.
Recognition of one member by another was accomplished by a secret password and secret handshake. The secret password is Aifam which was Mafia spelled backwards. The secret handshake is two light taps with the back of the left hand. To get another member's attention, a tap or a touch on top of ones head with a closed fist was needed. Neither the pledge, nor the recognition methods were ever written down.
The board meeting was always held in a block building on William Arrington's farm near Cleveland Mississippi . It look like an ordinary block building but it was far from that. It had paneled walls, $800 chairs and a solid maple conference table. It was stocked with plenty of hand food and anything you wanted to drink including Arthur's Shinny and $20 a pound imported coffee. The only thing this building was used for was the MAFIA Board of Directors meeting.
After the MAFIA pledge was given, the board meeting was called to order by the acting chairman, Governor Lowder. He turned the meeting over to Rupert Smith to explain the purpose of the meeting.
“We have a problem in Jones County” , Rupert started. “The Italy Mafia has started a night club there and are planning to use it promote integration. I went there with Bobby Boyd and we both got roughed up. Bobby was pulled from out of a chair by a group of their goons and thrown to the floor spraining his back and left arm. They threatened to kill and bury Bobby like they did Jimmy Hoffa.”
“George Faison went into the club and he says that they are already serving niggers in there . He said the white barmaids were rubbing all over one of them and it was all he could do to keep his men from cleaning the place out. What I want to know is what you want me to do about it”.
“Tell us what you want to do Rupert do you have any ideas”, asked David Flowers? This was what Rupert wanted to hear.
“I would like for George Faison to handle it”, he said. “He can take care of it after hours when there's nobody there. The only trouble is that he needs some supplies”.
“I can handle that”, said Randolph Sanderson. “I have some supplies left over after I cut a road into the woods last month. Just be sure that some crosses are burned so the Klan gets the credit. They like to take credit for those things anyway. I'll have some one bring the supplies by your place in Laurel tomorrow”.
Oscar and Clinton had dull jobs for awhile but now all of a sudden they had so many leads that they didn't know which way to go. While monitoring George Faison's car they found out that Rupert had gone some where by air plane. He had gone to consult with somebody on how to handle the Italy Mafia, before they caused all the white girls to get nigger babies. Tomorrow was Friday and he was due to land in Hattiesburg at 11 am.
Chapter 6: The Klan Does The Dirty Work
Friday morning Clinton and Oscar headed to Hattiesburg in the bug van to meet Rupert. By the time they got there Bobby Boyd was already there. Bobby had become a member of the MAFIA even though he was not financial well off. Rupert convinced the board that because Bobby was so close to him it was impossible for him not to know the activities of the MAFIA. He had became one of the MAFIA's most loyal members.
Bobby Boyd was born poor. He was a big baby when he was born and he was always much stronger than children his own age. His father was a tall slender man who cut and hauled paper wood for a living. His mother was a big boned heavy set lady. The family lived in a 3 room shack that set on 5 acres of land.
When you walked into their yard you had to be careful where you stepped as chickens ran freely all over the yard. There was a hog pen where pigs were raised to be slaughtered for meat. There was also a milk cow. A big garden set to the left of the house. 95 percent of their food was raised by Bobby's mother along with his two sisters. They were responsible for the garden and animals. Bobby always worked in the woods with his father. He and a helper could cut a load of wood with a crosscut saw before his father could take a load to the woodyard and return.
Bobby went to school to the sixth grade before he was told that he was wasting his time. His father kept him out of school too much for him to make good grades. Bobby hated school any way. He loved the woods and the fresh air. He loved to hunt for squirrel and wild turkey. He also loved fishing for catfish down on the Pearl River. He loved wrestling with the neighbor boys. None of them could handle him. Sometimes he would wrestle two at the time. All of his neighbors were black.
Bobby had a sister named Pearl, She was big boned and heavy just like her mother. Bobby caught her and a young Afro boy named Willie in their barn one afternoon. They were laying on the hay and both were naked, Although his sister had enticed Willie into the barn it didn't matter to Bobby. Bobby grabbed Willie, wrapped his right arm around his neck and broke it. The sheriff came to investigate the incident. It was considered a justifiable homicide because Pearl was being raped. Bobby never had anything to do with his neighbors after that.
When Bobby was 18 years old he went to work at a woodyard. The wood yard was in Quitman Mississippi and it was part of Rupert Smith Enterprises. Rupert was a buyer for the Scott Paper mill in Mobile Alabama. He had 5 such yards scattered over southeast Mississippi. Rupert was looking for a good strong young man to train as a body guard and chauffeur. He often carried large sums of money on him. This money was used mostly for bribes to elected officials for buying equipment from him. He had come to this woodyard to check on Bobby. As he drove into the yard, everybody stopped working and looked as the big beautiful white Cadillac approached. That is every body but Bobby, he kept right on throwing paper wood off a truck and onto the railroad car. He picked the biggest of pieces up and tossed them like splinters.The wood yard manager came running out of his office on seeing Rupert drive up. He stuck his out hand and gave Rupert's a big squeeze.
“That's him Mr. Rupert” he said, “I've never seen anybody like him. He can work all day just like that. He can do twice the work of anybody else. I've never seen a piece of paper wood he can't pick up off the ground and load on the rail car. He doesn't smoke, drink or cuss. As a matter of fact he doesn't even talk unless spoken to”.
From that day on Bobby was Rupert's constant companion. Rupert sent him to off to the Chicago Executive Security School for a month. After Bobby had completed the course and returned to Mississippi, Rupert got a letter from the schools head instructor. He said that Bobby was an example of the perfect body guard. He had learned all the tactics taught at the school and he wasn't one to run his mouth a lots. I know of several people who tried to hire him but he would only smile and tell them that he wouldn't think of leaving you. That you had been the one who had enabled him to get off of that dog gone paper wood truck. That was a mark of the most important aspect of a body guard “loyalty”.
As the two men traveled up Highway11 toward Laurel. Rupert started telling Bobby about his meeting with the board of directors.
“Well, we had a full quorum Bobby. Everybody was there. They agreed with me that we need to go ahead and let George Faison take care of everything. Randolph Sanderson is sending a truck with enough dynamite to take care of that damn County Line Inn. We will do it after hours when there's nobody there. We don't need any local people getting hurt although I would like to get rid of all them damn Yankees. David Flowers said that he would do all that he could if anything goes wrong but it would have to be real discrete so no one can tell he's involved.”
“I need to find George right away. When we get to Laurel, stop and I'll call his house to see where he is”.
After calling George's house, they found that he was out in Yellow Field again. They drove out and found the oil well George was working on. George piled into Rupert's car and the three of them took off again. They drove back towards Laurel for no reason except to talk. Rupert for some reason felt more comfortable talking inside his car. It was as though if he talked out in the open somebody could hear him. Little did he know.
Rupert said, “ George we've got orders to destroy that place in Myrick. I have some stuff coming in sometime today. It will be in a blue van parked in the back of my place. There”s a small lot back there where I keep repossessions. It has a chain link fence around it and the gate stays locked. I'll get you a key for it. When do you think you will you be ready to use it”?
“I'm ready tonight” said George . The sooner we get rid of them nigger lovers the better. Can I leave our calling card? They need to know that the Klan's behind this”.
“Not tonight George”, said Rupert. “They don't close until late on weekend nights. There's also too many people roaming around late on weekends. We don't need any local people hurt. Monday night would be a good night though. You need to leave the stuff in the van until you get ready for it.”
“How about this”? George pondered. “Monday afternoon I'll have Vernon Jones pick up the van and drive it to his pasture close to Myrick. Then about two AM we will all gather at the van, leave our vehicles, take the van to the Inn, wipe it out, set out about five burning crosses and be back at our vehicles in about fifteen minute. I plan to bust the front windows unload most of the stuff in there and throw the rest of it on both ends of the building. There shouldn't be too much left of that place when we get through”.
Friday afternoon Clinton and Oscar walked into Joseph's office, Their heads were swirling with what they had just heard from Rupert's bug.
“Joseph hold on to your seat“, said Oscar. “You're not going to believe what we heard today. We have just found out there's a secret organization in Mississippi, with some very prominent people in it. We know that one of them is the Attorney General. We have another name we hope to find out who it belongs to. Have you ever heard of Randolph Sanderson”.
“Ole Randy huh” said Joseph.“Yes I've heard about him he owns a large sawmill in Philadelphia Mississippi. He was investigated because of rumors that he was a member of the KKK. Although there was never a connection found between him and the Klan, he was a known sympathizer with their cause. He owns thousand of acres of timberland that he inherited from his Father. His Father made all his money by working the Indians and Afros for nothing. He's probably one of the ten richest men in Mississippi. He would probably be an easy one to bug”.
“Now for the knockout punch Joseph” said Clinton. “We've found out that George Faison plans to dynamite the County Line Inn early Tuesday morning. There's suppose to be a van load of dynamite delivered to Rupert's equipment company sometime today. It will be picked up Monday and moved to a farm close to Myrick. George and his group will pick the van up about two o'clock Tuesday morning, take it to the Inn and try to blow it up”.
“Well, what do you think we should do”, said Joseph. “We have several options. We can notify the local authorities. We can notify the state authorities. We can notify the ATF. We can stop it our selves. We can let them blow the place up. Whose got suggestions?”
“I tell you”, Oscar started. “We are just getting this investigation going. If these people, who ever they are, figure we are getting information from their meetings, it's going to ruin our investigation. If they find those bugs it's over for us. We need to stop the bombing but we need to do it discretely. If there was just some way we could cause an accident to that van and destroy it's contents before they get a chance to blow up the Inn”.
“I've got an idea said Clinton. “We will use our agents at the Inn. We need a meeting with them anyway to explain that their place is about to be blown to pieces”.
Two AM the following Tuesday morning, six men in white robes and hoods drove up to Vernon Jones farm at Myrick. Two of them got into the front seats, the other four got into the back of the van and sat down by three piles of dynamite. As they drove off, George who was sitting on the passenger side, turned around and said:
“Y'all remember now you three will carry the stuff (pointing to the three sitting next to the three piles). I and the other two will light and throw them. Lets make it a good quick blow and then get the hell out of here.
As they pulled about half way up into the Inn's drive way a popping noise was heard under the hood, the driver suddenly lost control of the van and it swerved into the ditch. A few minutes later the van was surrounded by about eight agents with their guns draw. Muscles Magee reached in to the van's window, unlocked the door and jerked the passenger door open while Harry The Ape did the same thing on the drivers side.
“What in the hell was all that noise”, Frank Luando asked the startled group of robed men. “Were y'all shooting at us. Get out of that damn van or were going to fill it full of holes”. About that time another four agents came down the road with M1's Pointing at the van. The two Klan men in the front got out with their hands in the air. The back door of the van opened and four more hooded men came out with their hands held high.
“Well I'll be damn, its the Kluckers “, Frank said. “Did you come over here to shoot our place up? Some body had better start talking and talking fast or there are going to be bodies laying all over the ground”.
“No Lucky, they didn't come over here to shoot us up”, said Ears Milano, “They came over here to blow us up. Look at the dynamite they have in here.”
“You damn worthless peace of shit”, said Ralph Capone in an apparent rage. “I'll bust your brains out you bastard”.
With that he rammed the but of his M1 into George's stomach. George doubled over in pain but couldn't scream as the wind was knocked out of him. Ralph had a menacing look as he drew the M1 back as though to hit George in the head with it. Ralph always looked animal with that long fake scar down th length of his right face. Now in a fake rage he looked like a monster out of control.
As three of the other agents grabbed Ralph and held him back, Frank said to Ralph. “Come on Scarface you can't kill him, you know what the Family said about killings. We can't do any of that with out getting their permission. Come on you are going to get us all in trouble”, Frank said as Floyd was still struggling to get to George.
The rest of George's group had horrifying looks on their faces as they watched the proceeding. They had all sorts of bad images of what was going to happen to them.George was now sitting up on the grassy edge of the driveway. He looked like a scared little boy about to get a spanking.
“Go get us some gasoline”, Frank said to no one in particular.
One Arm Louie hurried up the drive way to the inn yelling back “I'll get it”.
“What are you going to do”? whimpered George.
“We are going to set your van on fire”, said Frank.
“You can't do that”, George said. “You'll blow that van all to pieces. There'll be a hole in this driveway you can drop your joint in”.
“Let's take that dynamite out and pile it on top of that hill”, frank said pointing to a small hill right above ditch the van was in. By the time they got the dynamite piled up Louie was back with a large can of gas.
“OK it's your baby now Pretty Boy Floyd”, said Frank.
Floyd was an ammunition expert. He took the gas can, sprinkled a small amount on the pile of dynamite and made a gasoline trail back down the hill to the van.
“Everybody clear out” Floyd said.
”I wish I could put you kluckers on that pile said Scarface still acting mad.
As everybody moved up to the front of the Inn Floyd continued his gas trail all the way up to the Inn.
“Everybody cover your ears”, Floyd said.
He then took a book of matches out, lit one and touched it to the gasoline trail. The end of the gas trail started burning as the flame headed toward the pile of dynamite.
There was a headache type boom that woke several people up in the surrounding community. Looking at the hole in the top of the hill, Scarface grabbed another M1 and headed towards George's head again.
You sorry asshole look what you were going to do to us.
As George held his hands up in front of his face to ward off the blows, Scarface was again grabbed and restrained. Floyd then took the rest of the gasoline and soaked the insides of the van. He then set the van on fire. When the gas in the van's gas tank got hot enough it also ignited with a small explosion. After a while there was nothing left of the van but a grey warped body.
About that time lights from a vehicle turned off the Myrick road and headed up towards the Inn. As it got close to the group you could make out the out lines of men sitting in a wrecker.
Driving up to the group, the driver rolled down his window and asked, “Did y'all call for a wrecker” ?
“I sure did” said Frank pointing with his two way radio. “I just radioed one of my men in the Inn and they called you, he lied. How did you make it here so fast.”
“I was only a few miles away”, the driver said. “We were headed to pick up a repossession when we got a call. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard what happened. I had to come and see this for myself. What in Hells going on here he said opening his door.
“You just stay in that truck Pal and mind your own business” Muscles Magee said. “We'll handle everything out here you just do what we tell you. We want you to back down, pick that car up and dump it in that hole up there.”
As the wrecker was backing down the hill George and his crew, who were surrounded by the agents with drawn weapons, wondered about their fate.
Frank turned to the crew and said. “ I want you Kluckers to start walking away from here. If you stop or look back my men have the right to shoot you. They won't kill you but they will give you enough lead in your legs you won't be able to walk. Now go, get the hell out of here”.
“I hope you stop or turn around”, Scarface said looking at George . “You'll get yours in your back”.
The six men started walking slowly toward the highway. After they were about a hundred feet away, Scarface shot a couple of rounds over their heads and yelled.
“You Bastards had better get the hell out of here”.
With that the six men started running. When the six men were no longer, visible Frank walked up to the wrecker and said, “It's OK you two can get out now.”
Clinton and Oscar crawled out of the wrecker and started laughing.
“Let's take this van and dump it in that hole so we can see what our monuments going to look like”, Oscar said.
By the time they got the van in the crater people in cars started arriving. They had been awaken by the noise and then had seen the black smoke billowing up from the car burning. First they started circling in front of the Inn and driving back to the highway. After they found out nobody would try and stop them, they started parking and walking up to the hole with the van in it. Frank stayed up for awhile to tell the story about being attacked by the KKK. It was part of the plan to stir the pot. Some had even gotten the story from the six men walking down the road. Although the two versions were different the net results were the same. The Klan had almost bombed the County Line Inn owned by the Mafia. The results of this confrontation was a big hole at the inn with a burned up van sitting in it.
By the time the Inn opened Tuesday afternoon, there were cars parked all the way back to, as well as on the shoulder of, the Myrick road. One of the agents had to stay out at the Inn's entrance to keep the traffic from blocking the flow of the Inns patrons. Willie The Sneak put a bug out by the hole to record the viewers comments. They ranged all the way from condemnation of the Mafia pigs from New York to the KKK killers.
Chapter7: Senator Massey Meets His Grandson
Senator Massey had been a Mississippi Senator ever since his Father had retired from that job 30 years ago. He hated the Washington crowd even though he was admired for being a hard worker and one who very seldom missed a roll call. He loved chairing the Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry Committee and was responsible for most of the subsidizes for farmers. When he didn't have a duty to perform in Washington he was home on his farm. He had a larger cotton allotment than anybody and was continuously fighting to keep cotton imports out of the country. He was a native Mississippian and wore it on his shoulder.
Senator Massey had no children which was the only disappointment he had about life. He had met his wife Ruth when they were both students at Mississippi State. There weren't many girls going to Mississippi State then . Mississippi State is an agriculture and engineering school and there weren't many females interested in these professions in 1916.
Ruth was an only child whose father owned a huge cattle farm close to Columbus Mississippi. He owned fifty thousand acres of prime prairie land in Mississippi and an adjoining twentfive thousand acres in Alabama. Ruth loved to ride horses and was a champion barrel rider. When she was eithteen she knew as much about raising cattle as her Father. Her Father was very proud when she decided to enter Mississippi State and take Animal Husbandry.
Not only was she one of the few girls at Mississippi State but she was also one of the loveliest. She had once been a finalist in the Miss Mississippi Hospitality contest. They both belong to the same sorority and after a few conversations they found that they had much in common. They both liked horses, they both like hunting, they both like country living and they both loved Mississippi. After knowing each other for two years they decided to marry.
One day as Senator Matthews was just winding up a conversation on the phone with one of his old hunting buddies from Jackson. His secretary called from the outer office to tell him J Edgar Hoover was waiting to see him. Senator Matthews and J Edgar were close friends. They had a lot of common interests although cross dressing wasn't one of them.
After pleasantries were over, Hoover turned to James and asked, “Hows your black FBI agent making out in Mississippi Senator”.
“What damn FBI agent are you talking about? You didn't send one of them black Bastards down to Mississippi did you. You wouldn't do that to me. Would you?” Senator Matthews asked.
“No I didn't James”, Hoover said “ Bobby did. “He's got about 15 of my agents down there on some kind of secret mission. He won't even let me know what it's about”.
“I can't believe you would let him do that J Edgar, James said. “You've never let any one tell you how to run your department in the past. Not even the President”.
Bobby after all is my boss and he doesn't know compromise” said Hoover. “I'll wait him out. He probably want last more than four years any way”.
Hoover didn't tell Senator Massey about the pictures that a private investigator, hired by Bobby, had made of him in a dress.
“His name is Oscar Thomas. Here's a profile on him you might find it interesting.”
Looking in the packet after The Director had left, James scanned over the material that Hoover had left on Oscar. Born: Leaksville Mississippi November 17 1937. Father: Edgar Thomas. Mother: Ethyl Nored Thomas. Grandmother: Lucy Bently Nored. The packet fell from his hand and scattered out on his desk.
“MY God!” Senator Massey thought. “I've got a black Grandson . I wonder if Hoover knows that. They say he has something on almost ever elected official in Washington.”
The thoughts of sweet beautiful Lucy Bently flowed through his mind as the information he had on Oscar all of a sudden took on a greater importance. He read every item over and over. He was possessed to imprint the most minute detail in his mind. He read with pride how Oscar had played,although not a star on the University of Minnesota's basketball team. He was especially proud that he had graduated with honors and was consider one of the best young FBI agents in the Agency. All of a sudden the Senator had a strong urge to meet Oscar. Perhaps it was because Oscar was as close to a son as he would ever know.
Senator Massey wondered if Lucy Bently had ever told her Grandson about him. He had seen to it that all of her needs were taken care of over the years. He had discreetly checked on her yearly out of guilt. He knew that she had moved to St Paul and lived with Ethyl after her husband died. She had retired from the Masonite Company when she became eligible. His father had got her a job at Masonite years ago. Although being Afro she could only work in menial jobs, it was still better than picking cotton. He had set up a small trust fund for her after she retired. Between that, her social security and her Masonite retirement she lived comfortable.
Betty Taylor the pretty redhead receptionist in the Hattieburg Federal Building smiled as Senator Massey walked up to the long bar separating the main lobby from the reception area. She looked at him in awe as she recognized the Senator. She had never seen Senator Massey in person as he served the northern senatorial district.
“Senator Massey what brings you down to this part of the country”? she asked effervescently.
“I need to talk to Joe Robertson is he around”.
“I believe he's in his office Senator, just a minute”. Betty said as she started to dial Joseph's office. “He'll be right out Senator would you like some coffee”?
“No thank you”, the Senator said not even hearing the question.
Joseph, Clinton and Oscar were planing their next strategy after the attempted Inn bombing when the phone rang.
“Well I'll be damn. I wonder what in hell he wants”, Joseph said as he hung up the phone. “That's was senator Massey. What in the world is he doing down here. I'll be right back men”.
Joseph walked out into the big spacious lobby and spotted Senator Massey. He was still talking to Betty when Joseph walked up.
“Senator Massey, what do we owe this visit to”, he said. “I wonder if I could talk to you for a moment in private”. James said.
“You sure can, just follow me”. As they passed by his office, Joseph opened the door and said, “ Don't run off men. I'll be right back. Oscar I'm going to use the apartment for a moment”. Joseph said not waiting for an answer.
Following Joseph to the apartment, Senator Massey suddenly had a sinking feeling in his stomach. He had just seen his Grandson for the first time.
“Was that Oscar Thomas”? the Senator wanted know as they entered the apartment. “
“Well yes it was”, Joseph said in a startled tone. “Now how did he know his name? Nobody was suppose to know much about Oscar and what he was doing in Mississippi” Joseph thought.
“I understand he's down here on some sort of top secret thing”, the senator said.
“It must not be too secret if you know about it”, Joseph said in a very flabbergast, irritating way. “I have strict orders not to divulge what he's down here for.
“I want to know what in hells going on down here that I can't know about. I'm cleared for the highest secret clearance you can get and you tell me that I can't find out what's going on in Mississippi. Some body had better start talking and talking right now, If they don't, some body's head going to roll. Y'all are doing some things down here that even Hoover doesn't know about.”
“How did he know that”, Joesph thought. “He must have been talking to Hoover himself. I'm going to have get word to Walter Fuller immediately”. Walter Fuller was the person in Washington who coordinated the operation for Robert Kennedy.
“Senator Massey you have just put me in a helluva bind. Here I've sworn a secrecy oath that you are trying to get me to break. If I break that oath I'm not only going to lose my job but I'm also going to jail. I'm sorry but I can't help you on this one.”
“I want to talk to Oscar. I believe once he sees what I have to offer he might help me”.
With that Senator Massey walked out of the door. When he opened the door to Josephs office, the two Agents were still sitting there waiting for Joseph's return.
“Oscar, I'm Senator Matthews. I am the senior US senator from Mississippi. I would like to know what your business is in Mississippi. I know that there's something going on down here and I plan to find out what it is. I can make it mighty hard on you if you don't tell me. On the other hand I can see that you have an easy life in the Bureau if you'll cooperate with me.”
“I'll tell you something Senator. I lived around people just like you until I was 12 years old and I loathe you people. When I was 12 years old y'all ran me and my family out of Mississippi. I said I would never come back to Mississippi but I did because I believe in this cause. If you think stupid threats from you are going make me break an oath you are sick in the head. People like you don't have any scruples anyway. An oath doesn't mean any thing to you. You might have a secret clearance but you bought it like everything else you get.”
“Boy, you're in Mississippi now” said Senator Massey.”You're going to have to learn some manners if you plan to stay here. Black boys don't talk to their White Elders like that. You'll find your self making a home on a tree limb if you don't watch your tongue. You are not a Mississippian any way you're a dam brain washed Yankee Nigger. How about you young man. I under stand you're a native Mississippian. I'm a personal friend of J Edgar Hoover. I could help you move up in the ranks if you will cooperate”.
“Not no but hell no” Clinton said. “Oscar has more manners in his little finger than you have in your whole body. People like you soil the name Mississippi. You are not the real Mississippian you only represent the ugly Mississippi. You think the Afros and poor Whites owe you their slave labor. Because they were born poor they should stay poor. That is the thinking of Feudal England. It was because of people like you that the Revolution was fought. Senator asshole you are stupid. If you don't change your thinking about skin color you are not going to be part of the future Mississippi”.
“Mr. Robertson I am 65 years old, I have been a senator for 30 years and I have never had a subordinate talk to me the way your men have. I don't think you realize the power I wield in this country. You are looking at the most powerful man in Mississippi. My family helped make this State what it is today. I will go to any length to get satisfaction for the damage your men have made of my character. The FBI will have three less men working for them tomorrow, that you can count on. You three will be picking cotton on my farm before this is over with. I tell you I am a personal friend of J EDGAR HOOVER the most powerful bureaucrat in Washington. I don't think you realize it but you work for that man.”
Joseph said, "You know Massey", (Senator Massey hated someone addressing him with out the Mr. or Senator tagged on his name) "I have been listening to your ranting and raving now for the last 15 minutes. You are really nothing but a spoiled, overgrown 65 year old , pompous, fool. You have no respect for anyone including yourself. You don't know how to treat a person without abusing them. You and your family have done nothing for Mississippi. It's because of you and your family that Mississippi is rated the poorest State in the Union. You and your Mississippi political cronies have intentionally kept good industries from coming into Mississippi so that you could have a good source of cheap labor. I understand your favorite statement is "KEEP EM POOR AND UNEDUCATED AND YOU CAN CONTROL EM".You have done nothing since you came in here but degrade the three of us. Now you get your sorry ass out of here and get back with the political crooks where you are more at home".
Senator Massey's face looked like a big toad's. His face was red, he was breathing hard and sweat was dripping off his chin. But he still hadn't finished what he had to say.
"Let me tell you one thing" he started. But he never got to finish what he was going to say as Joseph butted in.
“No, let me tell You. You get your ass out of this building or you're going to be rolling down those front steps in about two minutes". As the Senator turned to walk away he made one last statement.
"You can kick me out today but it will be your ass tomorrow.
"Well I guess we showed him,” said Oscar. "We might end up like that cartoon my father keeps on his desk. (Edgar, Oscar's father was superintendent of the lumber company where he worked.) It shows a picture of two men sitting on a park bench. One is well dressed and the other one looks like a bum. The well dressed man says to the bum. "You won't believe it Winthrop but people down at the office still talk about the time you told me off". We may be sitting on a curb with a tin cup before long.”
"Don't worry'", Joseph said, “there's something only a couple of people know. I really would lose my job if it gets out I told ya''ll about it. You are a matter of fact the only two people in the world that I would tell. Bobby's got pictures of Hoover in a dress. Please don't let this out. There are now only about five people who knows this. I only tell you this to ease your mind about Hoover firing you.
The next day the close friendship between James Massey and J Edgar Hoover came to an end. J Edgar got angry at James for betraying a trust. James got angry with J Edgar for not firing the three FBI Agents.
Chapter 8: Rupert Gets In The Shinny Business
After all the turmoil had died down, the two agents continued their “how are we doing now and what are we going to do next” meeting. “We've got to find that groups meeting place, said Joseph, referring to the MAFIA. “Has any body got any ideas”.
“Well for one thing we need a to get a good bug on Randolph Sanderson said Clinton. It would be good to also get one on David Flowers the Attorney General”.
“The only problem is we only have one bug van”, Said Oscar. “We're having trouble keeping up with the bugs we've got riding around now. I think we need to get a bug on something one of our prey carries with them all time. Something like a ring or a watch. Then when we find there's going to be a meeting of the group we'll tail all three of the known members. Our problem is finding where to place the bug”.
“I've got the it but not the how”, said Said Clinton. “ You know that diamond topped walking stick that Rupert carries with him all the time? It would be a perfect place to put a bug. If we could just only borrow it for a while”.
“Let me take care of that”, said Joseph. “You've forgotten about Joey The Burglar. I promise you, he will come up with a scheme. He thrives on such clandestine operations. They say that diamond is worth about $10,000”.
That Saturday, Rupert was suppose to meet one of the county supervisors at his Laurel business. The Supervisor had bought two road graders from Rupert and they were meeting for a little kickback business. When Rupert went to get out of his car a bearded man came up and opened the door to let Rupert out. As Rupert was getting out of the car the bearded man grabbed Rupert's cane, pulled a knife out, slashed the back tire of Rupert's car, jumped into a waiting rusty pickup and he with another man driving, took off.
Another man pulling into the parking lot in an Oldsmobile, saw the incident and gave chase to the pick up. As he looked into his rear view mirror he could see Rupert waving his hands and yelling, “Call the law. Call the law.”
About 5 miles east of town, the pickup pulled into an old log road. The Oldsmobile pulled in behind him as the bearded man got out of the pick up. The Oldsmobile driver got out and was handed the cane.
“It's ready Ears” said Joey the Burglar as Mr. Friendly got out of the drivers side with a can of spray paint.. Get the hell out of here. We're going to give this pick up a quick paint job while things cools off
After Ears pulled back upon the shoulder of the road. He took the the cane and threw it in tall grass in the ditch. In a few minutes two Laurel Police cars came roaring into view. He started flagging as soon as he saw them. As the two cars slowed down and came to a stop an officer with sargent stripes asked:
“Were you the man chasing that pickup?
“I was” Ears said. “I got right on their tail and they threw the cane in the ditch. I guess they figured that if they threw the cane away I would stop following them”.
“I'm going on up the road and see if I can catch up with that pickup, the officer said. How about you helping the men in the other car find that cane”.
The two officers got out of the car and started looking where Ears had pointed, he thought the cane might be. In about 5 minutes one of the searching officers yelled, holding the cane over his head.
“I've found it. Here it is right here . I bet ole Rupert will be tickled about this. He might even give us a reward.“
Ignoring Ears the 2 officers jumped back in their car and sped off . They were going to take that cane back to Rupert and get the glory for finding it. As Ears got back into the Oldsmobile a pick up pulled out of the woods. It had a new blue paint job that looked like a teenager's work.
About two days after Rupert's cane was stolen, the Agents met at the Inn for a new strategy meeting. The new bug in Rupert's cane had recorded a new MAFIA meeting for Wednesday. Rupert didn't let that cane out of his sight anymore. He was paranoid, when anybody got close to him, he would squeeze the cane and pull into his body.
“Here's where we are so far”, Joseph said. “We are investigating an organized group of very influential Mississippians. They use the Klan to do their dirty work. What their full purpose is we don't know yet. We now know who three of the members are. They must have a permanent meeting place, as all Rupert said when called them, was that there would be a meeting. He dosn't tell them where the meeting was taking place. Our plan now is to find out who the members are, what their goal is and where they are meeting.
Rupert and Bobby would be driving to the meeting. They would leave about five o'clock Wednesday morning. The meeting was scheduled for one PM. Clinton and Oscar would follow Rupert's car in the bug van. It was decided that because Rupert's two bugs were working so good that there was no need of following any of the other members. There would be four other agents also following Rupert and Bobby. They would be following in the two special built cars that were issued to Clinton and Oscar.
The special built cars had recently had hidden cameras installed in them. You could make a couple of passes by an area in one of those cars and know everything taking place there. Billy The Charmer would be driving Clinton's car with Ears Malone handling the cameras. Mr. Friendly would be driving Oscar's car with Joey The Burglar handling the cameras. All of the Agents vehicles had Mississippi licenses plate on them.
The Inn operation had became so intertwined with the overall operation that Washington had decided that the investigation should be wide open with the agents at the Inn having equal access to all information. It was decided that by knowing everything about the operation, it would improve information gathering. Joseph had explained to the Agents how this was the brain child of Robert Kennedy and how Hoover knew nothing about what was going on. Clinton and Oscar would still be in charge of the direction of the investigation.
By 5:30 AM Wednesday morning Rupert and Bobby were headed North on Highway 49. Close behind was the bug van and the two special built FBI cars. The group arrived in Cleveland about 9 AM. After stopping for breakfast Rupert and Bobby headed out to the meeting place. Clinton and Oscar had discovered, while listening to Rupert's bug, that the meeting was taking place on a farm owned by somebody named William Arrington. Rupert was going out to the farm to check and make sure every thing was ready for the meeting.
The three Agent vehicles had kept about a three miles distance from Rupert's car as well as each other's car. As they were following Rupert on county road 8, the homing signal suddenly started getting weak. Clinton radioed the other 2 cars and told them to watch for a road that Rupert might have taken. Coming to a driveway Clinton pulled into it, then backed out into the road and headed back toward town. The van had traveled about a mile when The Charmer radioed to say that they had a fix on the road that Rupert and Bobby had turned onto and that they were waiting at a country store close to the road. Driving another mile Clinton and Bobby came to a gravel road with a sign that read Arrington's Cotton Gin. As they drove by the country store Clinton radioed the other agents to follow him back to the restaurant where Rupert and Bobby had eaten earlier.
Entering the restaurant the agents found a table as far away from the other patrons as they could. Clinton and Oscar ordered grits with their eggs while the other four agents ordered hash browns. The Yankee Agents looked in disgust as Clinton and Oscar mixed the grits and eggs together. Ears looked at Oscar and said.
You can take the man out of the country but you can't take the country out of the man”. “
That's one thing I enjoy about returning to Mississippi, you just can't get good food in St. Paul”, Oscar joked.
After about three cups of coffee, Clinton said. “OK lets decide how we are going to set this thing up without the locals getting suspicious. I think we should leave one of the cars with the cameras at the store. That way we can take pictures of every body going down that road to the gin. Oscar and I will find an inconspicuous place to park the bug van for recording the meeting. The other car can go down the gravel road, find the meeting place and take pictures”.
“That sounds good”, said Billy The Charmer. I think me and Ears should take pictures of the people going down the road. I'll ask the owner of that little country store about my parking the car there. I'll pretend that it's broke down and that I will come back and get it later. Then me and Ears will get in the back seat and take pictures of traffic on the road. If we are quiet nobody will know we are there. Those windows have one way vision so nobody can see inside”.
“I think we have a plan” said Mr. Friendly. “I and Joey The Burglar will go down to the meeting place. Joey needs to case the place any way, to see how we can bug it. We should be able to get plenty of pictures before they run us off. I imagine the place will be guarded. I'll pretend to be a salesman for a fertilizer company”.
About an hour later every body was in place. Billy The Charmer and Ears Milano were parked with a good view of vehicles entering the gravel road. They were parked about 200 feet from the store and out of sight. Clinton and Oscar had found a parking place, out of sight, down an unused farm road. Mr Friendly and Joey The Burglar were on their way down the the gravel road to the gin.
When Mr. Friendly and Joey got to the gin they found Rupert's car parked in front of a red brick building. It was about 30x30 with one big heavy steel door on the back side. It had no windows. There were three tremendous men out front milling around. Bobby Boyd was also out there looking like he would tear a person into, if they even spoke to him.
“Drive around to the back”, Joey said. “I need some pictures of that door”. As Mr. Friendly circled around to the back, the four men came running up to the car.”We're in trouble now here's comes the beef” He said. “That's all right, I've got enough pictures already. This camera system is something said Joey.
“Where in hell do you think you are going”? Said a mean voice. Getting out of the car Mr. Friendly said, “I'm looking for Mr. Arrington”. I'm a salesman for, Rainbow Fertilizer Company. I wanted to talk to him about supplying him with fertilizer. I could save him a lot of money. There's nobody out here that can beat our prices”.
What in hell are you doing coming back here Mr. Meanie said?'
“I was looking for a way in that building, that's his office isn't it” said Mr. Friendly.
No, that's not his office”, came back the rough voice. “You'll find it back up on highway 8”.
“I'm sorry buddy thanks a lots” said Mr. Friendly, getting back in the car and taking off before anybody could see Joey.
“I've got enough pictures to make an album”, Joey said.
About 11 Am, Mr. Friendly and Joey the Burglar pulled in front of Ears Milano and Billy the Charmer. Mr. Friendly got out and slipped some coveralls on over his other clothes. He raised the hood on the car that was supposedly having engine trouble. He removed the distributor cap and all the spark plug wires. If some body came up he could put them all back on as though he had fixed a firing problem. Jerry the charmer got out and started talking to Mr. Friendly as Ears and Joey continued taking pictures of the traffic turning into the gravel road.
About 12:30 PM all the MAFIA Board Members had arrived. Govern Robert Lower called the meeting to order. “The meeting of the Board of Directors of Mississippians Against Force Integration Alliance or MAIFA will come to order. Lets all stand and say the MAFIA pledge.
I pledge with my life to honor the code of the MAFIA.
I know that if I divulge any activities of the MAFIA I am subject to a penalty of death.
I know that if I divulge the name of any member of the MAFIA I am subject to a Penalty of death.
I can leave the MAFIA at any time I choose but I will honor this pledge until I am dead.
“The order of business today is the thing that has become our nemesis, the ”County Line Inn”. said Governor Lower. “We got some bad publicity out of that dynamite snafu. There were articles and speculation in almost every newspaper in Mississippi and some out of state. A war between the Mississippi Klan and the New York Mafia was how it was billed. The hole with Randolph's Van in it has become a tourist attraction. People go up there and have picnics. The woods next to the hole has been cleared off and they've built a park there with a playground. The mob is out to gain acceptance in the community. They have even started closing down on Sunday. The Klan is getting to be the bad boys on the block. Who wants to start the discussion off on this subject. Rupert I believe you have your hand up. Go ahead”.
“What I want to say”, Rupert started, “is that we had some bad luck on that dynamite thing. Who would have thought that damn van would break down right in front of the Inn. That bunch of crooks weren't even suppose to be there at that time in the morning. They had a bunch of high stake gamblers come over from New Orleans and they were just closing when George and his crew got there. I don't think we should let up. I think we can still whip them. We've never let anybody beat us before. I believe if we let them get away with this we will be losing respect. What we should do is wait a month or two and hit them again”.
Charlie Johnson, The State Tax Collector, was standing when Rupert sat down. “We don't need one of those gang wars like they have up North. I don't see how they are hurting us any way. If we keep up this fighting it's going to draw more attention. The FBI is waiting if it turns in to a shoot out. The ATF is going to get us if we don't stop using that dynamite. I think we need to get a negotiator to get a meeting with them. We are getting a lot of negative feed back from our shinny movers in Alabama and Louisiana. It took a long time to get this net work set up. We have all our people in place to protect our shipping corridors. A lot of these people are starting to get edgy. They didn't mind turning their heads when there was nobody shaking the tree. They say when the Feds come though we're on our own”.
Rupert was standing along with David Flowers the Attorney General. “Rupert lets see what David has to say before you take another turn” the Governor said as Rupert sat down
”I agree with Charlie. I have had a lot of MAFIA judicial people all over the State, lawyers, judges, and prosecutors raise concerns about what's going on. They have been our friends in the past but I don't know how they are going to react if the Feds put the pressure on. I think we need to get Eddy Walker in on this. He is the best lawyers in Mississippi. If he can't fix this nobody can”.
“OK Rupert you've got the floor”, the Governor said.
“I think that you can't pacify these thugs. If you give in to them now they'll want more and more and pretty soon they'll
have control of the whole State. You can't deal with a Blackmailer and you can't deal with the Italy Mafia. They'll both drain you dry. “
After Rupert sat down and nobody else stood up. Congressman Alton Brewer asked for a vote on getting Eddy to negotiate with the County Line Inn group. William Arrington seconded the motion. The only person not voting for negotiations was Rupert Smith.
The next morning an enthusiastic group met in the conference room at the Inn. By now they all had either listened to the recorded bugs or been briefed about the activities taking place at the Arrington farm. Their investment was now starting to pay off big time.
Joseph said, “I talked to our Washington contact,Walter Fuller this morning. I told him about what y'all found out yesterday. He was really excited about how the operation was progressing. Walter called again before I came over here. Walter said that Robert Kennedy was ecstatic. He said that Bobby hadn't expected such big results, like this, so early.”
“Joey we need to get bugs in that meeting place at Arrington's Gin. We also need to get one in the vehicles that each of the other MAFIA Board Members use. Take Ears with you but be careful. If you get caught pretend to be burglars and we will get you out of that. Frank we're going to have another visitor real soon. He's suppose to be some hot shot lawyer. He will be here to negotiate a peace deal with your group. I hope you are up to coping with him, Do you think you can handle him”.
“I studied law in College”, said Frank. “I like a challenge from those golden tongue know it alls. They look good when they are berating somebody who doesn't know how to defend themselves. When I get through with him he'll have forgot what he came here for.”
The following Monday morning a dirty old pickup truck pulled up to the front of the Inn. A tall man in Levis, cowboy boots and a plaid shirt crawled out and headed up the steps. Frank was out front anticipating his visit.
"Good morning sir" the man said extending his hand to Frank. "My name is Edward Walker and I'm looking for one Lucky Luando.
Frank could hardly contain him self as he saw the fake impression Edward was trying to present. "This one is going to be fun". Frank thought.
“You have just met Lucky Luando , what can I do for you.”
"I've got an offer for you that I believe you are going to like. I represent some pretty influential people in this state and they would like to do some business with you".
"You know Ed, the last time I heard those words. somebody tried to blow me and this Inn off the face of the earth. I really don"t believe I want any more of that type of business. I could have got that in New York. That's the reason I came to Mississippi to get away from your type.”
"Now wait there just a minute ole pardner", Edward said. "You're jumping to conclusions. I didn't come here to hurt you, I came here to help you. I believe we both have common interests and common enemies. We need to cooperate so that we both can survive. I've been sent here by people who sympathize with what's you've been through. The parties that have gave you such a hard time were doing so with out the full consent of my people. They should have known that's not the way to treat a visitor to Mississippi. After all we are the hospitality state”.
“You know the people I represent now control most of the alcohol beverages consumed in the state. We are willing to share this business to a certain extent with you. We would like your cooperation so that we can avoid any negative publicity which could cause both of us trouble. We could guarantee your protection against interference from local officials. We are a big organization and we could make trouble for you. We could run you out of the state but that would get nasty. Tell me what you want and I'll see if we can't work something out”.
“Edward did you ever work for the mob”, Frank asked.” “You have a way of gaining a person's confidence and then you slip a mickey in his drink. You haven't told me any thing that your friend Rupert didn't, you just told it in a different way. Are y''all by any chance related”.
“Ouch, that hurts”, said Edward. “Now if I was a fighting man I'd have to call you out on that one. That no good son of two peckered billy goat doesn't have one ounce of decency in his bones. He'd steal the last nickel belonging to his mother. When you cut, you cut deep. We've just got to find some way to settle our differences. Please just tell me what you want”.
“I just want you and your Kluckers to leave us alone. That's all we've ever asked for. We are not interfering with your business why should you try to wreck ours. You know the people I work for know a lot more about your business than you do about ours. They could cause a lot of trouble for you . I don't want to see the mean boys come down here. If they get involved you know what's going to happen. You are a lots better off dealing with me than with them”.
Edward Walker was now throughly convinced that he was dealing with the New York Mafia. He would have to use another tactic on them, they didn't cater to strong arm stuff.
“I can promise you that as of right now you want have to worry about the White Knights again” said Edward. “I will get back to my people and we will agree on something that you will like. I'll be back in touch with you in a couple of days.
Now that we know where each other stands I would like to know one thing, do you really have a connection to the New York Mafia”.
“I would tell you but I think you could be taping this conversation,” said Frank.
What! What kind of person do you think I am”, Ed said? “Do you think I would stoop so low as to make friends with you and then turn around and do something that low life”.
“Hey, One Arm Louie. bring that debugger over here”.
Louie had an object that looked like a portable radio. He brought it over to Edward and scanned his body with it. When it got close to Edward's left pocket, it started making a buzzing sound.
“Hey low life. What do you have there”. Frank said. “Don't try to play back this conversation, Louie just wiped out everything on your tape. If you want to know what was on it though, just come by sometimes and I'll let you listen to mine”.
With that Frank pulled a small recorder out of his coat pocket.
Every since Rupert was put down by the MAFIA Directors, he had been in a depressed mood. He wasn't use to anybody opposing him like that. He had started building his corrupt empire when he was very young.
Rupert's Father owned Stanley General Mercantile store in Winchester Mississippi. He had bought two used school buses and converted them into rolling stores. Few Mississippi families owned automobiles in the thirties. Except for goods such as sugar, seasoning, rice, kerosene for lamps and so forth, everything else was grown on the farm. The rolling stores had shelves stocked with such staple products and made weekly runs to these remote areas.
On top of the bus there were crates to hold chickens. The chickens was used by the customers to barter. The stores also bartered for eggs, sides of bacon, smoked sausage, and fresh country butter. These products were always in demand at the mercantile store by people living in town.
When Rupert was 10 years old he started working on one of the rolling stores. Friday and Saturday were big days for the rolling store. Rupert and a driver would operate one store while his older brother would operate the other one. Rupert was in charge of the cash register (a wooden tray with wooden separators nailed into it) and bartering. The driver did all the physical labor. During school months Rupert would skip school on Fridays. Back then there were no laws concerning school attendance.
Rupert liked working on the store. It was kind of like it was his own business. He liked bartering and would always get more than the standard his father was asking. If he got one more egg than what he was suppose to then he would take the price of that one egg out of the money tray and put it in his pocket. This kept the goods sold, to money taken in, balanced so his father was none the wiser.
By the time he was 14, Rupert was driving the rolling store himself. There were no traffic laws back then anyway. At 14 he also had a pretty nice cache of money hidden under a loose board in a storage area behind the store. It was under a stack of heavy wooden nail barrels that he made sure was always covered.
It was about this time that he met young Arthur Alexander. Arthur lived in the Frost Bridge community close to the Alabama line. His father's name was Arthur too but everybody called him Alex. Alex was a bootlegger and his shinny was known to be better than any bonded whiskey made. The Sheriff himself got his drinkings from Alex
Rupert's Saturday route went by the Alexanders house. One Saturday as he was getting close to the house, Arthur darted out of the woods and flagged him down. He was carrying a gallon jug under his right arm. Rupert slowed to a stop and swung open the front door.
“How about trading me a can of that Prince Albert smoking tobacco for this gallon of shinny”, Arthur said.
“Arthur I don't have any use for that stuff”, Rupert said. “ You'll have to go get me some eggs or chickens or something. Something that I can sale or trade for”.
“You can sell this shinny if somebody finds out you've got it”, Arthur came back. “This is the best shinny in the world. This is Daddy's special oak barrel aged shinny”.
“You're right and I know just the people who would buy it but they won't buy a whole gallon” said Rupert. “If you had some in pint jars, I could sell them all day”.
“Wait right here, I'll be right back” said Arthur as he scurried back into the woods and disappeared.
In a bout 5 minutes Arthur came running out of the woods with a cardboard box containing 8 pint jars. The two boys took that gallon of shinny and poured it into the 8 pint jars. Right then and there was born one of Rupert's and Arthur's first money making schemes. It first started off with their selling shinny stolen from Arthur's Father but before long Arthur had his own still hidden in the woods. Hidden not from the Revenuers but from his own Father.
Rupert financed Arthur's shinny still of which he was 50% owner. He made 50% of what Arthur sold from the still and 100% off what he sold out of the rolling store. Everything was going just fine until Alex caught them putting the shinny on the rolling store one day. He naturally assumed they were stealing his shinny. He came out of the woods with his gun trained on both of them.
The moonshine business is a dangerous business. There have been many killings over moonshiners protecting their shinny stash, protecting their stills from Revenuers and protecting their territory right. You just didn't steal a moonshiner's shinny, no matter if you were kin or not. Alex Alexander had killed two men related to moon shinning in the past.
Now with Alex bearing down on them with a loaded 30/30 riffle , the two boys knew they had to act and act fast. As Arthur turned and ran into the woods, he could hear the lead from Alex's first shot whizzing by him. Alex only got to make one shot. While Alex's eyes were turned on his fleeing son, Rupert grabbed a 38 pistol from under the store's seat, where he was still seated. He aimed it at Alex and pulled the trigger. Alex turned to fire at Rupert but never made it all the way around. Arthur's shot had hit it's mark. He had killed his first person.
Hearing the 38 pistol being fired, Arthur turned around and looked. He knew that it wasn't his Father's riffle so assumed that Rupert must have a gun on him and was trying to protect him self. As Arthur came out of the woods a white face Rupert aimed the 38 pistol at him. Arthur looked at his father and figured that Rupert was now going to kill him.
“Wait a minute” Arthur said raising his arms into the air. “You had to do this, he was going to kill you. This is just part of the business”. You've got to get out of here. Don't worry, I'll handle everything. The Sheriff will come out and do an investigation. There won't be much to it. I'll tell him I saw a car drive by, heard a shot, and came over and found Daddy lying here. It suits him right for all those beatings he's given me and Mama over the years. He's never treated us like human beings any way.
About two weeks later when Rupert was driving by, Arthur was waiting for him. When he pulled to a stop, Arthur came over to the door of the store and handed Rupert some money.
“Here's the money you put in that still. This should square us up now. From now on I'll make the shinny and you sell it. I've got the same deal with the Sheriff as Daddy had . He said that if my shinny was as good as Daddy's, I could still make it. He tried some of mine and said that we had a deal”. From now on pull into the house and I'll load you there”.
Chapter 9: Rupert Gets In The Heavy Equipment Business
By the time Rupert had finished High School he had quiet a good shinny business set up. His Father had died about a month after the death of Alex Alexander. His brother Pete had taken over the Mercantile business and Rupert was now responsible for keeping the rolling stores rolling. By now it was common knowledge that if you wanted good shinny just stop one of Stanley's Mercantile”s rolling store and you could get the best.
When Rupert turned 20 years old he had quiet a fledging shinny business going on. Every thing was just fine until his brother Pete, who was a devout baptist, starting getting inquires about illegal whiskey being sold on the rolling stores. When he was first confronted with these allegations, Rupert denied them and Pete let it drop right there. Later when he was nominated to be a deacon the allegations came up again. This time Pete had one of his loyal employees tail Rupert.
When he was told what Rupert was doing Pete knew he had to take some kind of action. He followed Pete to to the Alexander home and watched the shinny being loaded. After it was loaded and the crony that Rupert had running the rolling store, made his first stop, Pete confronted the driver. He threatened him with prosecution if he didn't tell him what was going on. He confessed that he, the other driver and Rupert were involved in the shinny businesses. Pete told the driver to take the bus back to the store and park it. He then caught up with the other driver and told him to also park his bus.
When Rupert came by the big store about noon and saw both of the rolling stores parked, he knew his goose was cooked. After a threating confrontation with Pete Rupert agreed on a buy out of his part of the business. He could now concentrate all of his energies on building his shinny business.
By the time Rupert was 25 years old he had all of the shinny business in Wayne County sewed up. By the time he was 30 he had all the shinny business in Clark County. He was a natural salesman he used persuasion and intimidation to get people to buy his products. He said that everybody had something in their background that they didn't want others to know about.
As he drove over the dirt roads of Clark and Wayne Counties, where most of the black honky-tonks were located, he noticed that it required a lot of equipment to keep those roads drivable, He thought “If you could get in with the county supervisors, in just a few of these counties, you could make a killing. There must be a helluva commission on selling one of those, as much as they cost.
Rupert was beginning to forge a permanent personality. He always wore light blue pin stripped suits, shirts with big collars and no tie, a tan hat, carried a straight but tapered round cane, and smoked illegal Cuban cigars. One day while traveling to Laurel on a shopping trip he stopped by Greyson Equipment Company. The thought of selling heavy equipment had been on his mind a lots. It seem like a good challenge and he always liked a good sales challenge He considers himself something of a super salesman.
Walking into the salesroom he was met by a salesman inquiring if he was interested in purchasing something. When Rupert told him that he was interested in a job , the salesman's jaw dropped as if to say, we don't need anymore salesman, we need buyers. He was told that business was so bad that the owner was the sales manager. He could find him in the first door on the right, down the hall. His name was Pete Greyson
Walking back to the office pointed out by the salesman, Rupert found the door open and a tall slender balding man sitting at his desk.
“Mr. Greyson could I talk to you a moment”, Rupert said.
“If you are going to buy something? Yeah. If you are trying to sell something the answer is hell no”.
“Neither said Rupert I'm looking for a salesman's job”.
“That's a hell no too”, Pete said. “Tell me, why would want to come to work here as a salesman. I know somebody told you before you got back this far how lousy our business is.”
“What if I could bring you four, $50,000 sales within a week, would you hire me then”, Rupert asked?
“If you could do that, I might even make you an equal partner”, Pete said jokingly.
“Give me some equipment prices so I can bargain”, Rupert said.
Rupert was a bit of a gambler. Ever since the thought of becoming involved in the heavy equipment business had occurred to him, he had done a bit of investigation. Rupert discovered that Roscoe Bosarge a Clark County Supervisor was in a big financial bind. He had borrowed money to invest in hog parlors and the price of pork hit bottom.
It took little effort to persuade Roscoe that by buying enough new road equipment he could have his debts made affordable.
Rupert had also discovered that Stan Mason a Supervisor in Wayne County had an unknown family in Jones county. Supporting two families had put him, also into a bit of a financial bind. Stan would also welcome Rupert's offer.
Armed with offers to buy $350,000 in heavy equipment Rupert entered Pete Greyson's office within four days after he had first met him.
“Well I see you made it back pretty quick? Did you sell that $200.000 worth of equipment” Pete said jokingly.
Would you believe $350,000 worth” Rupert said.
“I don't believe that”, Pete said “let me see the offers”.
“I will”, said Rupert “but first let's talk about that partnership you mentioned. I know you were joking at the time. I also believe you have cash flow problem. I believe I can make enough sales to get this company up on it's feet. If I am going to save your company I believe that I should be paid for it. What I want is to buy 49% of the company. You would still run the company but I would get profits from the company when it started paying off. I'll guarantee it will start making a profit, If it doesn't, I will walk out after a year and the company reverts back to you”.
“Rupert you move too fast for me buddy. You've got my head swimming. The offer you just made sounds mighty appealing. Give me a day to think about it”, said Pete.
When Rupert walked out of Pete's office, Pete was ecstatic. This morning he was ready for foreclosure now this fool comes in and saves him. He could have got the company for nothing if he had waited a few days. Rupert was far from being a fool. He knew about the company's money problems. He had hired an appraiser to check the company out. According to the appraiser the company was one of the best run companies in the heavy equipment business . It sold some of the best equipment in the business, had some of the best mechanics, had a good maintenance program and Pete Greyson knew as much about heavy equipment as anybody in the business. The only problem was they didn't know any about selling.
When Rupert walked into Pete's office the following morning, Pete's lawyer was already there. The Lawyer advised Rupert that he should also have a lawyer present. Rupert said that he didn't need a lawyer as he could read pretty good himself. This was a fact as Rupert had made perfect grades in school while missing half the time. When he was negotiating the property settlement with his brother he had bought a contract law book and memorized it. He knew more about contracts than 90% of the lawyer.
After the negotiations were satisfactory with Rupert,he pulled out his check book and wrote a check for the agreed upon amount. He then signed the contract, gave Pete the proposal he had between him and the two supervisors, got up, shook hands with the two men, walked out the door and said “I will see you at work tomorrow morning'. As he was walking out the door, Pete was still shaking his head. Little did he know what lay ahead.
In about a year Rupert had almost every corruptible official in the southeastern part of Mississippi in his fold. He took a crash self study course in private investigating. He knew more ways to get information on people than the FBI. The FBI couldn't use some of the tactics that he used. The Laurel company now had the best sales force as could be found. All of them had scruples except Rupert.
With profits coming to Rupert from the success of the Laurel company, thousands in sales commissions and thousands from his still ongoing shinny business. Rupert started, another company named The Mississippi Equipment Company in Columbus Mississippi. He built the company on the mold of the Laurel company by finding corruptible officials.
He found and trained salesman who would follow the same dirty tactics that he employed. By the time he was 35 Rupert had 4 such companies spread out over the State. He eventual bought Pete Greyson's shares of the company in Laurel by threatening to open another company in Hattiesburg and sucking all the business away from him.
Rupert, sold his shinny business to Arthur Alexander. Arthur is probably the only person who Rupert ever treated fairly. He was the only person he ever respected. That respect probably came from the secret that they shared about Arthur's Father murder.
When Rupert was 40 years old. He was contacted by a MAFIA member. He had been investigated for about 3 years. His financial investigating was especially interesting.
The member told him that all he could tell him was that there was a very secret organization that was interested in him as a member. It was composed of some of the most influential people in Mississippi. Their purpose was to offer opposition to foes of the Mississippi way of life.
He was asked to come before a committee who would question him more. He was told that if he was chosen he would be one of only 100 people that was allowed in the organization. These were probably the wealthiest people in Mississippi. If he decided on the interview he could never divulge under penalty of death what he had heard.
After the interview Rupert was accepted in the MAFIA. He was the first person ever accepted with out being on the waiting list. Rupert said that the first time he gave the MAFIA pledge, it was the greatest single moment in his life. Rupert turned out to be one of the most dedicated members of the MAFIA organization. He was elected to the board of directors after only a couple of years in the MAFIA. He became the executive officer whose job it was to carry out the mandates of the board.
Rupert had been a member of the MAFIA about 3 months when he was approached by Edward Walker a lawyer. Rupert was talking to the manager of his Columbus outlet when he noticed Edward tap the top of his head with a closed fist. This was a signal used by a MAFIA member to get another member's attention. Walking over to Edward and away from others. “Aifam, brother”. Edward said, “ Aifam” he repeated as he rubbed the back of the extended hand.
Edward said, “I represent a group of MAFIA members who want to make a business proposition to you. We know about your previous experience in the shinny business. What we would like to do is set up safe corridors where we can safely, with out opposition from local officials, move our whiskey across Mississippi and into Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee. We plan to organize the state distillers who will be willing to cooperate with us. We will regulate the price of the products and flow of the products. The distillers who don't chose to join our organization will have their operations shut down. We plan to use the KKK as the enforcers of this plan.
Our organization structure will be composed of a president, vice president, secretary, and treasury. They will be selected by the CEO. These 4 people will be responsible for the day to day operations of the organization. They will be answerable to a board of directors. We would like for you to be the CEO of the board and set everything up. It will be called simply the Syndicate
As the Syndicate starts making a profit from the business we will start a political organization to make sure the right people are elected to different local, state, and national offices. These elected officials will be the ones providing protection for our corridors.
Chapter 10: The KKK Does It”s Dirty Work
In the summer 0f 1955 Emmit Owens, a 14 year old black boy, was visiting his Grandparents in the town of Burris in the Mississippi Delta. He was born and raised in Chicago. Although he spent a lot of summers with his Grandparents in Burris he never got use to the Mississippi customs. He went to a large school in Chicago that had an equal number of blacks and whites children. He never thought it was wrong to sit next to a white on a bus, to talk to a white girl nor to go into a restaurant where whites were eating.
He loved visiting with his Grandparents. His Grandmother spoiled him by fixing him good soul foods out of her garden. His Grandfather would take him fishing at a big lake close to their home. There was a creek where he went swimming with his cousins. One part of the creek was for blacks to swim in and another part for whites to use.
Emmit was a happy cheerful person who didn't understand whites not responding when he would greet them on the streets of Burris. It didn't matter though, he spoke to them any way. He was considered an upedy nigger.
His Grandparents rented a small home out in the country. Their next door neighbor was Jack Hill a white who drove a dump truck for the county. His wife had left him about two years ago after he had gotten drunk and given her a severe beating. He had one daughter named Rebecka who was 14 years old. He had sexual molested Rebecka since she was 12. Because of the treatment by her father Rebecka had become an introvert.
Often when Emmit would walk by Rebecka's home she would be out side the house working in the garden. He would always speak to her but she would never speak back. One day when he went by Rebecka's house he was flabbergasted when she responded to his greeting. He started talking to the quiet unhappy girl and he liked it when he made her smile.
She would talk to Emmit and tell him things that she wouldn't tell her closest girl friends. She told him about how her father was molesting her and would beat her for no reason at all. Emmit's heart ached for her so he would always say things to cheer her up. He would help her do her chores and they would sit on the front porch and drink cold lemonade and talk. He would tell her about Chicago. About the parks, the zoos, the tall buildings and the trains that went under ground .
One Friday afternoon after getting paid Jack stopped by several back-road joints on his way home. By the time he got home his belly was full of rotgut whiskey. He had heard about people seeing Emmit sitting on his front porch. He would have his feet propped up on the front railing talking to Rebecka. He acted just like he was family
When he came in it was late. Rebeka had gone to bed and pretended to be asleep. Jack was normally drunk when he would make demands on her. Jack went into Rebecka's bedroom, jerked her out of bed and started beating her.
“I'll teach you to make a fool out of me”, he said. “Having that damn nigger in my house like he lived here. I guess you had him in your bedroom too. You'll probably end up with a black baby and I'll have to kill it”.
Rebecka covered up and tried to shield her self from her father.
“No! No! Daddy please don't. No daddy no, we just talked nothing else happened”.
As he was grabbing at her clothes Rebecka's night gown was torn off her. Seeing her naked body Jack grabbed her threw her on the bed and started raping and beating her. In a few minutes Rebecka stopped moving. She also stopped breathing. She had prayed for God to stop the beating and he did.
After seeing the lifeless body under him, Jack panicked. He started wringing his hands and trying to figure out what he was going to do. He got into his dump truck and went to town. Burris was a small town and the only peace officer they had, also worked at the hardware store. His name was Will Green. On the weekends Will would normally hang out around the one cell city jail.
When Jack into came into Will's office, his face was scratched and he was out of breath. His breath wreaked of rotgut whiskey. Jack told Will that he had came home and found Rebecka's dead naked body. It looks like she had been raped. He told Will about Emmit being seen around his place and he must have been the one who had killed Rebecka.
The town only had one doctor and he was at home. Will told Jack to go home while he got the doctor. When the doctor and Will arrived another person also showed up. He was Jeff Green a cousin of Will and head of the local KKK. Will had gone by Jeff”s house on the way to get the doctor,
Rebecka was examined by the doctor and it was determined that she had been raped. The doctor left and drove to Greenwood to get the funeral home to come and get Rachel's body. Will asked Jeff to go with him to pick up Emmit.
Will and Jeff drove up to the shotgun house owned by Emmit's Grandparents. It was now about 11 PM and the insides of the house was dark. Will walked up on the porch and started pounding on the door. The Grandfather, Louis came to the door half asleep with his overalls on and no shirt.
“Where's the boy Louis”. Will wanted to know. “That boy's in a heap of trouble”.
“He ain't here right now Mr. Will. He's gone over to the Lake to do some bottle fishing. You know those catfish bite mighty good at night. What kind of trouble has that boy done got himself in. He ain't been in Mr. Jordan's water melon patch again, has he”?
“No Louis it's worse than that, Rebecka Hill has been killed”. We think that Emmit did it. He's been hanging around the Hill's house and she had told her daddy that she was afraid of him. She told him to stop coming by there but Emmit wouldn't listen to her. He told her that he had been with a lot of white girls in Chicago. He told her that once a white girl went with him she would throw rocks at white boys”.
All of this was a lie that Jack Hill had made up to save his own skin. Jeff Hill had not heard the conversation between Jack and Will and this was the first time he had heard this. As Will continued to tell Louis what Jack had told him about Emmit and Rebecka, Jeff's blood started to boil. By now Jeff was so mad that he was shaking.
“Mr. Will I ain't accusing any body of lying but that's not the way Emmit told it to me. He said that girl had some deep down troubles and he went over to help her with her chores, so that her father wouldn't beat her. I told him that he needed to stay away from that girls house. That he wasn't in Chicago and people down here didn't take to black boys talking to white girls. Here he comes now. You can ask him about what I just told you.”
All three men looked in the direction of the lake and they could a light bobbing up and down as it approached them. In a few minutes they could see Emmit's face as he approached the group with a carbide light strapped around his forehead.
Louis prayed. “Lord please let Emmit have a string of catfish with him”. Louis's heart stopped as he saw his empty handed Grandson approach.
“They weren't biting tonight grandpa” Emmit said. Why are y'all still up, has something happened”.
When Emmit took the carbide lamp off, Will pulled his gun out and held it on Emmit. Jeff grabbed Emmit and held him while Will handcuffed his hands behind his back.
”What's going on”, Emmit wanted to know. “What have I done”.
“Emmit, Miss Rebecka's been killed” Louis said. “They think you done it”.
“Oh my God no”, said Emmit. “Oh my God. I knew it was going to happen. It's her daddy he has been molesting her for years and she was afraid that he was going to kill her one day”.
“You lying black bastard. You shut up”, Jeff said. “You've been seen over there loads of time and she had been trying to get you to stop. You're a smart ass uperdy nigger who thinks he's as good as whites. You should never have came down here in the first place. Everybody in town thinks you are a smart ass”.
After Emmit was put in the back seat of Will's car with Jeff, Emmit's Grandmother came out on the porch. As the car drove out of the yard she started balling:
“Not my baby. Please y'all don't. Please please please don't. Don't take my baby.
By the time the trio in the car was upon the road and headed towards Burris Emmit's Grandmother was down on here knees pleading. That was the last time she would see Emmit alive.
Two weeks later Emmit's body floated to the top of the lake. The chain wrapped around his body was no longer heavy enough to keep him weighted down. There were many inquires by the FBI into the Emmit Owens murder. No body was ever indicted. To add insult to injury, crosses were burned in the Grandparents yard as a warning to other Blacks in Burris.
In 1958 Lenny Becton was a Forestry Major at Mississippi State College in Starksville Mississippi. As was the custom on Friday evening Lenny and some of his Mississippi State class mates had hitchhiked over to MSCW (Mississippi State College for Women). MSCW had an outdoor dance every Friday night . Mississippi State had very few females enrolled so if you wanted to meet girls you went to MSCW.
Kathy Henson, a student at MSCW, was a beautiful wild local girl who liked to have a good time. She never met a stranger so when she came bouncing up to Lenny's group she didn't wait for an introduction she stuck her hand out and introduced herself.
“Hey”, “she said do y'all want some good stuff. Here try this”, she said pushing a paper cup towards Lenny's face.
Lenny took a sip of what he thought was a soft drink. It turned to be shinny and coke. Now Lenny was from Isney Alabama, about 5 miles from Frost Bridge Mississippi. Frost Bridge was where Arthur Alexander's shinny operation was. Lenny knew what good shinny tasted like and this stuff that Kathy had was rot-gut. Who ever was making this stuff was selling it as soon as it cooled off.
It turned out that the person who was making this shinny was Julian Bruhl. Julian was from Tennessee and had moved to Oktibbeha County Mississippi where his Wife's folks lived. He learned how to make whiskey from his Uncle, who was killed in a car accident, while being chased by the Revenuers. Julian figured he could get a decent shinny business going because his still was close to both Mississippi State and MSCW. He could sell his shinny real cheap because he didn't age it. That way if his still was busted, all he would lose was the still and not a lot of whiskey.
By the Fall of 1958 Julian's shinny business was so good that he hired a black man named Raymond Parker to help him with it. While one of them was working the still are mixing the mash, the other one was on the look out for the sheriff. Julian had tried to get the sheriff to work with him but the sheriff was on the MAFIA's payroll. He already had 3 stills busted but he would just move deeper in the woods, build a new still and set up again.
One day in the spring of 1959, Julian walked out of Sheelys hardware in Starkesville and loaded some copper tubing in his truck. Shelly's Hardware was owned by a Dr. William Sheely who was said to own half of Starkesville. Dr. Sheely was a Chemistry Professor at Mississippi State College. He was known as a tyrant by the students. If you weren't a genus you would probably flunk his class. He was so rough on students that a group of Korean Veterans hung him out his second story class room and threatened to drop him on his head. He was said to have got all his money from numerous inventions.
Before Julian could get in his pickup Sheriff Herbert Watson drove up beside him and parked his car. “
I need to talk to you in private”, the Sheriff said. “Get in the car”.
Julian got in the car and he and Sheriff Watson drove off.
“I've been told, to tell you, that you have three months to stop your shinny business. Make as much as you can during this time and get out. If you don't get out they will force you out and these people don't play. If you want to stay in business you will have to get a franchise from them but right now somebody else has the franchise for this area”.
“I've have never heard of such bullshit in all my life” Julian said. “I've been working with shinny all of my life and I've never heard anything about a franchise. I come from Tennessee the shinny capital of the whole country. We have the meanest shinny people in the business but I've never found anyone mean enough to run a Bruhl out of the business.
You go back and tell your people to come on but they had better bring some heavy armament with them. When they come they had better kill me because if they don't I'm coming after you. I can get you and be back in the hills of Tennessee in about two hours. Your people may be mean in Mississippi but you ain't shit in Tennessee”.
“I'll tell my connections what your reply was ”, the Sheriff said. “I don't have anything to do with enforcing their rules, they have their own group for that. But if you come after me I'm going to get you because I have the Law on my side. I can wipe you out and nothing will be said about it”.
By 1950 the Syndicate due to the endeavors of Rupert had every illegal operation in the State under their control. They controlled all alcohol sales of any kind, controlled the sales of most equipment purchased by the state and county, controlled agriculture allotments, if there was an illegal scheme going on and they found out about it, they would take at it over. They were contributing thousands of dollars to the MAFIA. Most of the MAFIA members didn't know what type of business the Syndicate was in, they just knew they were very generous to them.
In 1955 Rupert met one of the meanest men he would ever know. He was known only as Stonewall Jackson. Rupert was in Jackson on a business venture for his equipment company when he and Bobby stopped by a sleazy joint in the Quarters called Rough and Ready. It was owned by a Black Syndicate employee named Bones Jefferson. He had a stable of girls that worked for him and some rooms upstairs that rented by the half hour. It had a reputation of being the meanest joint in Mississippi. For a price you could get any thing you wanted at the Rough and Ready.
Rupert was intrigued by the adventure of going into places with bad reputations. He would brag about how bad some of the places were, that he had been in. He was never afraid as he always carried a 38 pistol in a scabbard in his coat pocket. He had enough influence to get out of any trouble he got into. Besides that he had Bobby and one look at Bobby's hulking size would deter most, even the meanest, from challenge him. Rupert was not a heavy drinker and Bobby would only drink an occasional beer.
Bobby let Rupert off at the front door and then went to park the car. The place was packed with both black and white patrons. There were three pool tables where people were making wagers on the players. In the right corner a group were kneeling around a man throwing dice. Rupert walked up to the bar found two empty bar stools, set down in one and put his hat on the other to save for Bobby
Before the bartender could ask him what he wanted to drink, Rupert was grabbed by the front of his coat and turned around so his back was to the bar. Before he could get his gun out he found himself trapped in his coat with two big hands holding both sides so he couldn't move.
“Hey queer what you doing on my stool you damn Bastard. Both of those stools belong to me”. Rupert had just met Stonewall Jackson.
“Here mister”, the bartender said bringing two more stools out and placing them at the other end of the bar, “you can sit down here.”
“Those stools belong to me too” said Stonewall. “As a matter of fact every inch in this place belongs to me. We don't like Queers in here”.
Stonewall was still had a grip on Rupert's coat when all of a sudden he was blind sided by a blow to the head that knocked him to the floor. Stonewall had never been hit so hard in all his life. He got up on his all fours as another blow caught him in the head again. This time he lay on his back and didn't move. Stonewall Jackson had just met iron hands Bobby Boyd.
Stonewall was originally siting at a table with two of his raunchy buddies before Rupert came in. He had gone to the restroom to relieve some beer when he came back and saw Rupert dressed in this fancy clothe sitting at the bar. Rupert looked like part of the establishment and he hated the establishment.
While Bobby was plummeting Stonewall the two buddies rose and went into their pockets. One almost got a 22 pistol out when Rupert shot him in the shoulder with his 38. As the shot man reeled with the impact of the slug hitting him, the other man looked behind the bar at a double barrel shotgun starring at him, on the other end was Bones Jefferson.
“I think you need to drop that knife Billy Boy, this is a gunfight”.
Sitting up now Stonewall was still mad. “I'll kill you. you Bastards”, he said as Bobby was still standing over him.
Bones Jefferson walked around the bar with his shot gun still trained on the two buddies. “You get him up and get him out of here “ he said to Billy Boy, the man with the knife.
By now there wasn't a person in the crowd moving. The place was quiet as a church. Everybody had stopped what they were doing and were watching the commotion.
As Billy Boy helped his buddy out the door, Bones turned to Rupert and said, “I'm sorry Mr. Rupert. Stonewall causes trouble every time he comes in here. He's long over due for a killing. If I do it, you know the Kluckers will get me. He got a killing streak him when he went to that ole war in Korea. He was already mean before he went over there but when he came back he was bad to the bone.
Stonewall grew up in Jackson Mississippi. His mother was never married and worked mostly as a barmaid. He stayed in and out of trouble as he raised him self on the streets of Jackson . He did some amateur boxing and was pretty good with his fists. As a matter of fact that's where he got his name. He was from Jackson and he had fists like stonewalls. That name stuck with him all his life. When he was seventeen his mother signed for him to go into the marines. He went to Korea when the war started and stayed there during the entire conflict. He reuped just,so he could stay in Korea. He enjoyed the fighting and killing and could not be repatriated after he came back home. He served a year in the brig for almost killing a policeman in Virgina. He was kicked out of the marines with a dishonorable discharge.
Stonewall got up and looked at Bobby with reverence. Bobby frisked him to see if he had a gun.
“Never carried a gun before, looks like I might have to carry one from now on though” he said.
He had never had anybody work him over that way before.
“I need to go to the restroom” he said walking away.
“You need to have somebody take care of that one” Bones said as Stonewall walked towards the restroom. “He's mean I tell you” They say he likes to kill and he will wipe out any body for a price”.
“That's very interesting” said Rupert.
That day Stonewall started working for the Syndicate. Rupert started using Stonewall to keep people whipped in to line, when they were found to be cheating the Syndicate.
Two weeks after Julian's talk with the sheriff, he was up in the woods to his still. It had been almost a month since his still had been hit and he was starting to accumulate a few extra dollars. His wife Jessie had been bugging him to take some time off and take a vacation. She would like to go down to Miami and do some sun bathing. He had a pretty good stash of shinny hid and he could disassembly the still and hide it. Raymond could handle the distribution, everybody knew him anyway.
Julian had checked the place out before he came up. He had some warning devices set up around the still. They would be triggered by anybody when he wasn't there. None of the warning devices had been tripped so he felt pretty safe to go ahead and start a batch of mash cooking.
Raymond was walking up to the still with his30/30 rifle on his shoulder He always used his rifle when he was standing watch as he was a better shot with it than one he wasn't familiar with. He had been thinking about what a good job he had. He was the envy of the Black community. He had a good used pickup truck. His wife and children had new clothes and shoes. He had moved into a larger house. Yes, life was good to him . Every time Raymond increased his sales he increased Raymond's pay too. That's something not many blacks got from their bosses. When Raymond was about a half mile away from the still somebody darted out of the woods and put his lights out.
Raymond woke up from his black-out groggy and not knowing where he was. He was still dazed as he got to his feet. He grabbed a small pine tree and held him self up until he could get his bearings. After a while he finally realized that he was up at the still. Then he saw something that almost made him pass out again. There laying on his back with a hole through his chest was Julian. Raymond went over to the body and looked but knew that it was no use. There were holes blasted in Julian's chest, that you could see through.
Raymond was so frustrated that he didn't know what to do. His instincts told him to get out of the woods, go home and think this over. After all who ever shot Julian could come back and get him too. So he took off with his 30/30 under his arm in a slow trot. When he got down to where his truck was hidden he was shaking all over. He couldn't wait to get back home to be with his family.
Jessie Bruhl had been after Julian all month to take some time off and rest a bit. Julian had been mighty busy trying to keep his stills running and getting shinny out to his customers. Jessie had tried to get him to get another job but Julian said that this was the only profession he was any good at.
On the morning that Julian was shot Jessie had received a very strange phone call. Some body called and told her that he had ran into Julian that morning and he wanted her to come up to the still and bring an ax. She didn't get the man's name but that wasn't what was strange about the phone call. What was strange was that Julian was always very strict about her coming around where he was working. He always said that the less she knew, the safer she was.
Julian always told Jessie where he was setting up so in case of an emergency somebody could contact him. Jessie parked her car on a log road below the still, got the ax out of the truck and started up to the still. As she started the hike up to the still, she could see in the distance Raymond, with his rifle under his arms, coming out of the woods. Raymond jumped into his truck and sped off. An uneasiness came over Jessie as she wondered where he was going in such a rush.
When Jessie got up to the still she was out of breath. When she saw the scene at the still she was breathless. She didn't have to go all the way to the still before she could see what had happened. Jessie turned in shock and ran back down from the still. As she got into her car and headed to call the sheriff, she didn't see the man hiding in the woods. It was Stonewall Jackson with a gratifying smile on his face, He was back in Korea again.
Jessie had traveled about a mile when she saw the sheriff parked in front of a country store. She was really relieved at being able to find him so fast. She didn't know that he was waiting for her. When she told him about seeing Raymond rushing from the scene, he acted surprised but he really wasn't.
Raymond had gone home scared to death. He figured that he would have to get away from the area. Not because he was a suspect but because he knew about the sheriff being involved with a group responsible for Julian's death. He had a brother that lived in Detroit who had been trying to get him to come up there. He worked for a roofing company and they had a lot of work and they needed extra help.
Raymond told his wife what had happened and she agreed that he needed to go to Detroit. Raymond had his suit case packed when the 2 sheriff's cars drove into his yard. The Sheriff and three deputies jumped out of the cars with their guns drawn. When Raymond saw the deputies he really got scared. not so much for himself, as for his family.
“Come on out Raymond and you won't get hurt the Sheriff Watson “. yelled.
“OK y'all I'm coming just please don't hurt my family Raymond yelled back.
Raymond came out of the house and one of the deputies handcuffed his hands behind his back.
“Sheriff if you will just let me go”, Raymond said,” I'm going to leave this place and you will never have to worry about me again. You won't have to worry about me running my mouth on you, I won't tell a soul about you being involved in the shinny business. If you will let me go I will get out of here and you won't ever see me again”.
“I don't know what you're talking about nigger', the Sheriff Watson lied. “I can't let you go after you killed that man up at his still. The only way you are getting out of Mississippi is in a casket. Hey, one of y'all go in the house and see if you can find that riffle. We're going to need it for evidence”.
Raymond was taken to the Oktibbeha county jail and locked up. Word spread pretty fast that a black man was locked up for killing a white man. They had found the murder weapon in his house and he was trying to trying to escape to Detroit when Sheriff Watson caught him.
It was a rainy gloomy morning at McIlwains Restaurant in Waynesboro when Rupert Stanley and George Faison met for breakfast. Making sure they were seated away from the other customers, they ordered their egg and grits, sipped on hot strong coffee and started their clandestine plans in a low voice.
“George we've got to do something about that thing in Starkville” Rupert said. “We can't have things like this happening in Mississippi. If we let those damn niggers get away with something like this, it won't be too long before they'll have the whole state screwed up.”
Rupert looked at George and knew that he had got the adrelain flowing in him. The veins in his neck popped out, his face turned red and he started breathing hard. He was turning animal.
“I tell you one damn thing”, George said, “I would like to get my hands around his throat”. If we don't do something about it now, the Federal Government will be coming in here and let him go free. I'd go up there myself if I could get him out with out too much trouble”.
“I tell you what George, if you could get some of your men to go with you”, Rupert said, “I can fix it so you can get in the jail and have him out in about 10 minutes. I have inside connections that will help you. If they know when you are coming, they'll have him waiting for you”.
“That sounds good Rupert”, George said. “I'll get four Klan Brothers, that I can trust and we will do the thing about two o'clock tomorrow morning. If you could set it up for that time then by three o'clock we'll have him in the Tombigbee and headed back south”.
“OK”, Rupert said handing George a roll of money. “This should take care of everything. I've got a car you can go in. I'll take care of any trouble that might come up. Stonewall Jackson will meet you in Starkville, to help you” A week later Raymond was found floating down the Tombigbee.
Chapter 11: The New York Mafia Expands
After the meeting between Frank Luando and Edward Walker. Things got so peaceful between the MAFIA and the County Line Inn that there was not much new information coming in. Almost every corrupt official in southeast Mississippi was known. It was time to make another move.
That move would stir up more trouble which was the only way new information could be gathered. It was decided to build a business similar to the County Line Inn inn in North Mississippi. Winona Mississippi was the site chosen. There was a nice building there which had once housed a club called The Stardust. The owners didn't get permission from the Syndicate to open and they were shut down. It seemed that Stonewall Jackson and his group came in every night and ran off all the customers.
The sheriff of Montgomery County, Jerry Bosarge, wasn't a member of the syndicate but he also didn't buck them. He had told the owners of the Stardust that it was OK by him for them to open but he wouldn't give them protection. He also gave Frank Luando that same permission.
“By the way what are you going to call the place” Sheriff Bosarge asked.
“Probably The Stardust” Frank said.
“Boy you got guts” the sheriff said. “That should ruffle some feathers.”
It was decided that because of their experience, all of the people from the County Line Inn would be transferred to the Stardust except Pretty Boy Floyd and Ears Milano. They would stay behind and work with the new people coming to work at the Inn.
Once the decision was made to start up the Stardust, it took about a week to move in. Willie The Sneak had a mobile home moved behind the club and he set his bug recording business up in it. There was a fence already surrounding the parking lot. The Stardust sign had never been taken down so a grand opening sign was posted underneath it.
The Stardust opened on a Friday evening. As was the case it opened to a good crowd. The same band that played at the Inn was also there. All eyes were open for ole Stonewall. They weren't disappointed. About ten o'clock Stonewall came in with about seven of his cronies. Before they sat down they had already insulted half of the people in the club. Four sat at one table and four sat at another.
Some of the patrons had already started getting up to leave, when slight built Willie The Sneak walked past Stonewall's table.
“Hey worm I didn't see you crawl in here” Stonewall said. “How about crawling your ass back out of here”.
Willie grabbed Stonewall, put his famous move on him and handcuffed his hands behind his back. Before his cronies could react. Harry The Ape grabbed him and he and Muscles Magee took turns bouncing Stonewalls head off the top of the bar. When Stonewall's cronies looked around and saw they were surrounded by the enemy they figured they didn't want any of what Stonewall was getting.
Stonewall and his group were led through the maze of standing clapping patrons to the door and out. Their cars were out front where they had left them in defiance of a no park sign. As Stonewall was shoved into the back seat he yelled
“You SOB I'll kill you for this.
With that Harry pulled him out again and pounded him until his eyes were shut. When Stonewall's car, driven by one of his cronies, left the club it had been bugged.
A week later, at three o'clock in the morning, Stonewall and four of his cronies pulled into the club. They were all armed with automatic riffles. Before they could get very far a sound was heard under their car and their car stopped. The tires were shot out and the lower body was filled with holes. All occupants of the car got out and dropped their weapons. All but one that is, Stonewall got out and started pointing his riffle towards the area the shots were coming from. Mr. Friendly the best sniper in the group, shot Stonewall with a 22 riffle in the right shoulder. This caused Stonewall to yell and drop his weapon.
About a week after the Stonewall incident Edward Walker pulled into the Stardust. Knowing he was coming Frank Luando was out front waiting on him.
“Well I'll be damn my ole buddy Lucky Luando”, Edward said. “I should know your calling card by now”.
“Steady Eddie”, Frank said. “I've been waiting on you to show up”.
“What are y'all after, the whole damn State”? Edward wanted to know. “You are trying our patiences now. We gave you part of our operation in southern Mississippi, now you come up here and start squeezing us more . How far do you think you can push us before we starting fighting back. This is by damn Mississippi and you just can't keep pushing and pushing. You push far enough and pretty soon we start pushing back”.
“Come on”. Frank said. “This State is big enough for both of us. Don't be so greedy. Let's share and share alike. You scratch our back and we'll scratch yours or you leave us along and we'll leave you along. Don't you believe in the free enterprise system”.
“Well I guess you can't hurt us very much by setting up business here Edward said. “We would like first chance at supplying your needs though. In the past you haven't done this. It would be at our mutual advantage to cooperate in this way”.
“I agree” said Frank “we will buy from you, as long as you don't try and hold us up. If we find out that your prices are excessive, we will move our own people in here to provide our needs. I don't believe you can be any fairer than that”.
Edward took this proposal back to the Syndicate. It was accepted and there was peace between the Mafia and the MAFIA for a while. Once the FBI agents had acquired as much info for that area as they could they decided to move on to greener pastures. It was then that they decided that they would set up in Tupelo.
Tupelo was a little bit different from the other two operations. Sheriff Buford Lee controlled every aspect of Lee County. It was said that you didn't fart in Lee County without asking his permission. The Lee family operation was compared to the Perez family in south Louisiana. They had been in control of Lee County for years. He was in the hierarchy of the Syndicate and a member of the MAFIA. He had made numerous statements about what he was going to do if those New York Mafia Bastards showed up in his county.
The agents had a bit of an in though. The Mayor of Tupelo, Robert Askew had been in office for years and he hated the Lees. It had something to do with status. Whereas the Lees were well to do and owned almost everything in the county. Robert Askew was born poor and his lot had not improved too much in his adult life. It was hard to get ahead in Lee County if you weren't an elite. It was something like the caste system if you were born poor you stayed poor. The agents also knew about the bad blood between the Sheriff and the Mayor. The Sheriff controlled all the booze in the city and the county, both the legal and illegal.
It was decided that Clinton would go in to negotiate with Mayor Askew. Normally Clinton stayed low key because a lot of people in Mississippi knew he was in the FBI. This time though because of his southern accent and knowing the local customs, he would be the obvious choice for the negotiations.
Mayor Askew had graduated from Mississippi Southern some years before Clinton and was a Loyal Alumni supporter. Clinton dropped by the Mayor's office to talk to the Mayor about joining the local Mississippi Southern Alumni Association.
Clinton and the Mayor talked at some length about their common adventures as students at Southern Miss. About the present Southern football team and it's chances of landing a berth in one of the College Football Bowls. Then Clinton hit the Mayor with his real intentions.
“Mayor, if a person wanted to, how would he go about obtaining a liquor licenses in Tupelo”, Clinton asked?
“There's no trouble getting a liquor licenses here, the problem is getting the liquor” the Mayor responded. “There's only one distributor of alcohol in this county and that's Sheriff Lee. His family has always controlled the sale of alcoholic beverages in Lee county and it's almost impossible to get them any where else. He uses some pretty underhanded tricks to keep anyone but his group from setting up a liquor business here. He's in cahoots with the State black market man (State Tax Collector) and they always manage to keep unwanted people out”.
“I know away around them for getting supplies, all I need is the licenses, Clinton said.
“You go ahead and decide where you are going to put your business and I'll get you a licenses”, the Mayor said. Just tell me who the Licenses will be made out to. I wish you luck Clinton but I think you are wasting your money. I would like to see somebody buck that damn Sheriff but I think you are in for a rude awakening”.
The agents found a building on the outskirts of Tupelo. It was just inside the city limits. Like in Winona, it was a former club that had try to buck the Sheriff. He had it closed down by hijacking any vehicle caring supplies to the club.
The club called the Tupelo Inn was ready to open in about a week after Mayor Askew arranged for a licenses. He had agreed to keep quiet about the new club. That way they could open before the Sheriff could find out about it. He said he would do anything to fight that crook, Buford Lee.
The opening was scheduled as always on Friday Evening. The Sheriff found out about it on Thursday. A good crowd turned out for the opening. This was surprising considering the short notice of it's opening. All supplies had been shipped from the Stardust. The same agents that opened the Stardust also opened the Tupelo Inn.
Saturday morning the big bad Sheriff showed up at the Tupelo Inn. Frank as usual was out front waiting on him. This time there was one other person not normally included in the direct operation of the other clubs, he was Joseph Robertson. The sheriff made a big splash with sirens on and two carloads of deputies. The cars screeched to a stop, the Sheriff and seven deputies jumped out and completely surrounded Frank and Joseph.
“What in hell's going on here”, the Sheriff demanded? “Who in hell gave you permission to open up a damn place in my county? Where did you get all of your illegal whiskeys? Nobody sells alcohol in this county without my permission”.
Joseph stepped forward with his FBI credentials in his hand.
“Sheriff Lee my name is Joseph Robertson I work for the FBI. I was sent in here because Mr Luando here, had been forewarned that you might try and violate his Civil Rights. I understand that you don't even have jurisdiction here. This is in the Tupelo City limits. Mr. Luando has a valid licenses for his business and from what I've been told he can buy supplies from anybody in Mississippi. If you don't back off right now, I'll have US Marshals in here in about an hour and all of you will be in violation of federal law”.
Sheriff Lee's face turned red as he wasn't use to any body backing him down.
“OK men go get in the cars”, Buford said . “I need to talk to Mr. Luando in private”.
As the deputies backed off Frank said, I'm not talking to you without Joesph here being present'. You have already abused me verbally. there's no telling what you will do if I don't have a witness”.
“I only want to work out something we can both live with”, Buford said. “It's just that I feel uncomfortable with the FBI watching over my shoulder. I tell you what I'll send my men away you get rid of the FBI and we can go inside and talk in private”.
“I can live with that”, Frank said. “Thanks Joseph for stopping by. I believe I will feel more comfortable too if we talk in private.
“OK you've got my number”, Joseph said. “I'm keeping my eyes on you Buford. You're lucky I'm not asking for an indictment on you right now”.
The sheriff said he was willing for Frank to operate a place as long as he used supplies provided by the sheriff”s companies. Frank agreed as long as the sheriff kept his supplies compatible he would buy from him.
Rupert Stanley was livid when he heard about Sheriff Lee making a deal with the Mafia. He called a meeting with the MAFIA Board to discuss this latest excursion into their territory.
“We've got to do something” Rupert said. “Enough is enough, is enough. The more we give the more they want. How far do we let them go before they have our backs to the wall. We should have taken care of them in Laurel. Now they are growing and getting a better hold on Mississippi. If we don't stop them now we are doomed”. “I don't see it that way”, Edward said. “They haven't hurt us financial. As a matter of fact they might be making money for us. They buy all of their supplies from us. So, what if they do make a good profit on their investments. It's only a drop in the bucket compared to what our investments make”.
“What about them threating us with the FBI”, Rupert wanted to know? “How can the Mafia use the FBI for protection. We have hundreds of policemen, constables, and sheriffs on our side why can't we use them”.
Edward said ,“For one thing Sheriff Lee was trying to stop somebody from starting a business. That's not only a violations of their Civil Rights but free trade is a right guaranteed by the constitution. They were in their rights, Sheriff Lee was wrong. If we try to fight this we will be in deep deep trouble. Just think about the negative publicity this would generate for us. We sure don't need any of that now. Lets just wait them out. Our time will come. I'll go by and talk them again. ”
After the discussion the board once again agreed with Edward. Edward would go by and talk to the Mafia group. He would try and stop them from expanding any further. He had to convince them that they were treading on dangerous water. This could eventual cause both groups to be destroyed.
As Edward drove up to the front of the Tupelo Inn, Frank Luando was once again out front waiting for him. Did he know I was coming or is this just a coincident Edward wondered. They seem to know our every move. Maybe they do have somebody in the FBI on their payroll.
“Hey good buddy Edward yelled at Frank”. “We meet again. I see you so often I can almost call you a close acquaintance”.
“Heaven forbid”, Frank said. “I don't want anybody thinking that I'm a friend of somebody in the Mississippi Mob. It might damage my good name”.
“That hurts” said Edward. “Especially coming from somebody with a Mafia name like Lucky Luando.”
“Lucky y'all have my people upset again. They're ready to do war on your group. There are some who would come right now and wipe you and all your places out. They feel threatened by you. You keep taking and taking as though we will let y'all get away with anything. There has to come a time of reckoning. Ole buddy I believe that time is almost upon us. You've got to stop humiliating us and start giving us some cooperation. We are fair people. We are easy to get along with. All we ask is y'all stop your expansion and stop trying to force us to do something both y'all and us will regret. You know about mob wars. Nobody wins when people with common interests start fighting”.
“Well, to tell you the truth Eddy”, Frank said. “We are ready to stop our expansions right here. This is the last place we plan to open in Mississippi. We feel the three we now have are a good complement to each other. If we spread any further we will be over saturating our places and we will not be getting maximum return on our investment.”
“What is your bitch any way. We give your group all our business. We offer the citizens a first class place to take their wives and girlfriends. You are making money when we make money. What do you call cooperation any way. Tell me what else can we do to appease you”.
“You know Frank you would have made a good lawyer”, Edward said. “You know how to twist the facts until they sound just opposite to what they really are. You know what the truth is. Y'all moved into our territory without even as much as an invite. Y'all set up your business and dared us to do anything about it. What if we moved into New York and started a business in your territory? What would have happened to us”?
“I promise You nothing would happen to you” Frank said. “Ninety-nine percent of the nightclubs in New York are individually owned” You can get a licenses quicker by not having mob influence than you can with. We have lawful business in New York Eddie. That's more than I can say for Mississippi”.
Well things went well for the agents and their clandestine operation around Tupelo. They eventually reached a point when very little new information was coming in as regards to Civil Right abuses and corrupt officials. It got so quiet that it was beginning to look like the day of the big bust was drawing near.
Oscar, Clinton and Joseph flew to Washington to meet with Walter Fuller, the liaison man for Bobby Kennedy. Oscar and Clinton were a bit nervous at the prospect of having a meeting with someone so close to brother of the President of the United States.
The meeting took place in a restaurant close to Dulles Airport. It was a restaurant that had a reputation for good steaks. It was owned by a retired CIA agent who saw the necessity of having a good restaurant with a place for private meetings. A group could drive around to the back of the restaurant, be escorted to a private secluded room, have a mouth watering steak and not have to worry about anyone overhearing what their meeting was about. The the US Justice Department used the restaurant frequently. After introductions and handshakes between Walter and the other three men they all set down and began to dive into there already ordered steaks.
Walter began the discussion by expressing his gratitude to the group. “I would like to start by saying how proud Bobby and I are with the accomplishments you have made in this endeavor. You have done something that nobody has ever been able to do. You have infiltrated and gained information on one of the most secret organizations in the United States. We knew that there was mass corruption going on in Mississippi. We also knew that bootleggers were stealing thousand of dollars from the Federal and State Governments. What we didn't know about was that both of these groups were being controlled by such a monolithic structure as this MAFIA group has.”
“We have gained enough evidence on the MAFIA and the Syndicate that we can make major arrests right now. The only problem is that in spite of all the people we have evidence on, there are still a couple of people whose names we don't know. They are alleged but we still don't know who they are. We would like to get our hands on them too. Does anyone have any idea what direction we need to take now? Do we need to go ahead and start making arrests or do we need to squeeze the orange for a bit more juice?”
Oscar responded: “I agree that the time is nigh but we have gained too much to walk off with first place when we could possible get the grand prize. After working with this group for so long it seems as though you have a feeling of what makes them tick. I believe that with just a bit of a squeeze they would crack. We have them paranoid now. They can't figure out how we are always countering any move they make on us. I believe if we can cause more mistrust between them that they might fall apart.”
“I agree with Oscar” said Clinton. We are so close to completely knowing their inner most secrets that it would be a shame to take it this far and then fall short of our goal. Right now we are somewhat cooperating with them and they are not trying to fight us anymore. That's because we buy all our supplies from them and in a sense they think they are controlling us, even if not to the extent they would like.”
“This has worked for us in gathering information about corrupt local politicians What we need to do is create some turmoil in their ranks. We need to get them fighting among themselves. We need to cause them to start questioning each others loyalty”.
“What if we could recruit some of their distillers to work for us”, Joseph said. “We could force some of them to come to work for us by showing them evidence we have on them. We could offer them protection and immunity from prosecution, if they would help us. We know of several who have expressed desires to get out of the business all together. I believe these would be good recruits. We could have marshals give them twenty-four hours protection to keep the Syndicate from attacking them.”
“We could then spread the word that they were working for us. We could get the help of the AFT to blow up some of the Syndicate's stills causing them to believe that we are trying to run them out of business. This could make them believe that they are being betrayed by their fellow distillers. That should cause then to start fighting some among themselves.”
“Well if you think it will help to extend the investigation then go to it. There are problems with this though. First is the danger. We have been fortunate to have been able to repel previous attacks without any one getting hurt. When you use threats of indictments to force them to cooperate with us, then you are exposing who you are. If this gets back to their leaders and they find out who we are this could be bad. We could lose the element of surprise for when we do start making arrests”.
“Well”, said Joseph, right now we know their every move. We will just have to be prepared to move at a moment's notice. If they find out who we are, before they do anything, they will call a meting of the MAFIA Board. Before they can react we will move in and take them out. When we get the big boys you can send the Federal Marshals and Attorneys in to get the rest”.
“That sounds like a plan if Clinton and Oscar are in agreement”, said Walter. “Just let me know when you need me to send help in. Above all else though please be careful. I guess you know you are about to stir a hornets nest up”.
The agents found three moonshiners, one near each of their clubs that were willing to work with them. When they saw the evidence against them they were scared to death. When they found out that they would be immune from prosecution they were thankful. Thankful that they wouldn't go to jail but more thankful that they would be able to get out of this business with out retaliation from the Syndicate.
Each cooperating moonshiner was assigned three Federal Marshals to protect them. The Syndicate assumed the Marshals were strong arms sent in by the Mafia. Each of the cooperating moonshiner had to sign an affidavit swearing not to reveal their agreement with the FBI. They couldn't tell any one, not even their family that they were working with the FBI. They understood that their phones would be monitored to thwart any threats from the Syndicate.
After the ATF destroyed several of the syndicate stills and the agents stopped buying any supplies from the Syndicate, the moonshiners working for the syndicate were boiling mad. They were not only angry at the turncoat moonshiners but they were more angry at the Syndicate for not giving them protection. They threatened to leave the Syndicate and to start working for that New York Mafia group.
Frank got a sudden visit from Edward. Once again he was out front of the Tupelo Inn when Edward drove up followed by Sheriff Lee. Frank knew that this was going to be a different conversation because in the past Edward hadn't brought any protection. He must have some pretty explosive advise to give Frank. Seeing Frank out front, Edward was now throughly convinced that Frank somehow knew his every move.
Getting out of the car Edward was followed by the sheriff as he approached Frank. Seeing the Sheriff approaching Frank with Edward, Muscles Magee and Harry The Ape stepped out the door of the Inn and stood with their arms crossed. One on each side of the door and about forty feet behind Frank.
“Lucky I see you've got your goons out to to protect you. You're not scared are you”. Edward said.
“ I am damn sure not afraid of you Steady Eddie, Frank said. I see you brought your stooge with you”.
Frank just zapped both men. Edward hated the name Steady Eddie and Buford Lee didn't consider himself anyone's patsy.
“Lucky in the past I have appealed to you for cooperation. That's over with. There's no more mister good guy left in me. You've knocked all that out. From now on it's down and dirty. I'm here to issue y'all an ultimatum. You can cease operations right now are we will blow your places off the Mississippi landscape. When I leave here today I have to know if you will accept what I'm offering. If you don't then you will be responsible for happens next”.
“I know you have some of the Feds on your payroll but you don't have enough Federal help to overcome what you are about to see. We have hundreds of legal peace officers ready to bear down on your places right now. When we get through you'll wish you had never heard of the name Mississippi. You best load up your Mafia thugs and take them back north. As of today you are through operating in Mississippi”.
“Edward you just made a big mistake”,Frank said. “You don't tell your enemy what your plans are. You have just put me on alert to prepare for you. We will be ready when you come. This is going to be the biggest war in Mississippi since the Civil War. Your people are going to get so much bad publicity out of this that every one of your crooked operations will be shut down. You'll be in jail and we will be safe and happy back in New York”.
“You won't be safe and happy in New York” Edward said. “You'll only be safe and happy if you like being dead. You don't know who you are messing with. Wait until you thugs feel the wrath of Mississippi. There's nothing worse. Come on Buford I'm tired of talking to Idiots”.
With that the two men got into their cars and sped off. Frank smiled and thought, ”Joseph will be glad to hear this. I believe this operation is about to come to a head”.
Chapter 12: The Plantation
James Massey's, great great grandfather came to Mississippi in 1866. He had owned a small farm in upstate New York but sold it after the Civil War. He took the money from the sale of the New York farm and bought some acreage in the Mississippi Delta. Land in Mississippi was dirt cheap right after the Civil War. He was able to buy a farm with several hundred acres in it. That farm grew into thousands of acres. By the time James Massey was born in 1915 the Massey Empire was vast. They owned several cotton gins and two textile mills.
James great grandmother was a beautiful lady with an olive skin. She was a mixture of Afro, French, Irish and Choctaw Indian. Neither she nor any of her ancestors would ever know that they had afro blood in them. There were many many people in both the North and South who had small amounts of afro blood in them. Quiet often a person with more white than afro blood would disavow their afro heritage because of the greater advantages of being white.
In order for the Massey empire to remain strong and wealthy, there was a need for much cheap labor. Before prison reform came about, there was always a good supply of cheap labor to be found in the prisons. By paying a small amount to corrupt prison officials you could get plenty of good cheap help.
Another good supply of labor were the poor afros, indians and whites. By keeping industry out and keeping the masses uneducated, there were always plenty of cheap labor. Mississippi was the poorest uneducated state in the union. Most of the politicians were either rich or controlled by the rich.
James Massey had resorted to cheap Mexican help to keep up with his labor demands. Those damn welfares were ruining his business. A person could make more on welfare and food stamps then he was willing to pay. He voted against every social program that had ever came up while he was in office. Those damn northern liberals were going to ruin the way of life that he had worked so hard to maintain. He always got elected by running on a platform of southern conservatism. Prayer in schools, do away with the welfare state, fight liberal programs such as Medicaid, make sure the farmers got subsidies, lowering environmental standards for business. All the good things.
He often thought about the beautiful Lucy Bently. The first time he saw her he was intrigued with her. The vivacious smile, the quick wit, the way she lit a room up when she walked in. She completely captivated him.
The first time he tried to touch her she rejected him in a very sultle way. “Now Mr. James you shouldn't be doing that. What would your pappy think if he found you doing such a thing. I bet that you have thousand of pretty white ladies after you. My goodness you're so strong and good looking. I bet you turn all of their heads when you walk by”.
After that Lucy tried to make sure that they were never along again. She could feel his eyes on her as she walked by. She would always smile and say something nice to him and then find some other place she would have to be in a hurry.
Lucy loved her job in the Matthew's Mansion. She knew that this would be as close as she would ever get to a place like this. She worked mostly upstairs keeping the bathrooms clean, changing the bed sheets, keeping the floors clean, dusting and any other general cleaning. It was much better work than her cousins who worked in the fields hoeing and picking cotton.
Then one day it happened. She was in his bedroom when James came in and grabbed her. He said that he couldn't stand it any more. He had to have her at any cost, She begged him to stop but he just kept jerking at her clothes. Finally after she was completely exhausted she gave in and let him have his way.
After that it was a regular weekly thing. Every time James found them along he would take advantage of her. This went on for two years. By now the guilt she felt caused her to lose some of her vivaciousness. Lucy was starting to feel like a whore . She saw her self as having sex to keep a comfortable job.
Then Lucy found out that she was with child. She knew that she was trapped. She would be fired and she would end up in the fields. The Massey's wouldn't want a pregnant black girl running around the house. James father would never believe that James was responsible for the pregnancy.
Then one morning she saw a way out of her dilemma. While Lucy was cleaning another room she saw Margaret Massey, James mother go into her bed room. Lucy instantly left what she was doing and went into James bedroom where he had just finish shaving. Lucy knew that he would grab her and start trying to undress her. She pretended to try and stop him but pretty soon both were standing naked next to the bedroom door.
No James she pleaded your mother's up here in her room she's going to hear you. No she won't said James as the desire was blazing through his whole body. Lucy made a lunge and knocked a lamp off a table. She then yelled as though it were an accident. James grabbed Lucy and put his hand over her mouth but it was too late. As they looked up Martha came bursting into the unlocked bedroom door.
James often thought about Lucy. If she still had that glowing personality. If their daughter was anything like her. He had forced himself not to find out anything about them. If any body found out about them it could ruin his career. He did know that his father had set up a trust fund to take care of Lucy's needs and Ethyl's education.
Now having seen his grandson James was confused . He was mixed with the emotion of having a black person humiliate him to one of being proud of seeing a descendant that had a lot of good characteristics that he lacked.
He had read the profile on Oscar over and over. He couldn't believe all the accolades Oscar had received. Why couldn't Oscar have been born to he and Ruth. He would have made a wonderful heir to the Massey fortune. He would have been a son that he could have been so proud of.
Everybody in the Syndicate had become paranoid. It seem like there every move was shadowed. You didn't know who to trust anymore. Those Mafia thugs from the New York Mafia had infiltrated their organization and it seemed like everybody was on the take.
Willie the Sneak had so many bugs scattered out over the Syndicate people that he had to keep a large log on them. The whole Syndicate structure was crumbling. The MAFIA Board and the Syndicate Board never met in the same place twice. Doom's day was quickly approaching.
The MAFIA Board met in a pasture on the road going to Arrington's cotton gin. A table was set up under a huge live oak tree. It was quiet a site to see a group of people siting around this big expensive table in the middle of a pasture. At least there couldn't be any bugs out here. The grouped were ringed by eight private guards out of earshot range.
Rupert Smith had his good luck walking stick so every thing said was recorded.
In attendance were: Governor Lowder, Attorney General Flowers, Charlie Johnson,the tax collector, Congressman Brewer, Farmer Arrington, Lumberman Sanderson, Rupert Stanley and Edward Walker.
Parked off the highway in a secluded area and about two miles from the gathering were eleven FBI agents. Four agents in each of the two special built cars and three agents in the bug van. The eleven agents were. Harry The Ape, Muscles Magee, The Assassin, Mr. Friendly, Jerry The Burglar, Alfred The Singer, Pretty Boy Floyd and Willie The Sneak. Clinton, Oscar and Joseph were manning the bug van.
The agents in the two cars got out and started checking to make sure that nobody else was in the area. They then gathered around the bug van to find out what was going on at the field party.
Congressman Alfred Brewer was chairman for this meeting and called it to order. After the secret word, the MAFIA handshakes and the pledge, the meeting was turned over to Edware Walker.
“Men I think we have come to the crossroads where we have to either fight ore die”, Edward said. “I never thought it would come to this but I also never thought a bunch of damn Yankees could come down here and do what they have done to us. They have left us with no choice. They have turned brother against brother, they have wrecked our stills, they have taken over a big portion of our business and lots of our people have become aligned with them. They have rubbed our nose's in it. We have to act now or we will be completely wiped out. You can't cooperate with them. Every time we'v tried, they took more and more. They just can't be trusted to keep their word.”
“I had a meeting with our Director and we have came up with this plan. I will lay it out for you, get your input and then we will have to act immediately. We can't delay this thing another day. We will immediately notify all the peace officers who are still under our control. We will deputize enough of the Syndicate's people to attack each of their three places. We will have enough people to hit them and wipe them out. I don't mean to capture them, I mean to annihilate them completely. We can't have not even one of them left standing. We have to get the message to their group that this is not New York. You can't come down here and run over our people like you do up North.”
“We have already notified our connections in the Newspapers. They will publish stories about how we completely wiped out this Mafia mob who were trying to come down here and take over our State. When it's all over with, we will be models of what states should do to control organized crime. When they are all wiped out, we can reorganize so that nothing like this can ever happen again.”
“The Director was suppose to be here to talk with us before the discussion but he phoned to say for us to start the discussion with out him. He's suppose to be here already but he had car trouble. He's due at any moment. In the meantime we will start the discussion.”
Joseph Robertson stepped out of the bug van. “Well men I guess this is “D” day. We have to strike now. We will never have a better chance to gather these people than this. We really don't have a choice we have to get these people before they put out the word for their blood bath. We will go in at full blast and hope the advantage of surprise will be on our sides. None of them gets but one chance to drop their weapon, after that you will have to shoot to kill. Let's go now and please be careful.”
The agents loaded up and headed out to meet their prey. When they got to the MAFIA gathering the group sitting around the table stood up and Edward shouted:
“Here comes the Director and his group now. Let him come on in men”.
The two carload of agents drove up and stopped, one on each side of the table. They had a good view of every body in the pasture. As they jumped out with their automatic weapons, Joseph blasted on a bullhorn.
“This is the FBI everybody put your hands up and sit still.”
Two of the bodyguards started to raise their weapons and were immediately met with a multiple of rounds of lead. They were killed instantly. The ghastly sight of the blood gushing out of holes in the bodyguards body caused even the most stout hearted MAFIA members to shiver and raise their hands higher.
The MAFIA members along with the remaining body guards were herded into a group. As they were being frisked for weapons, Edward Walker recognized some of the agents. He had seen them during his negotiations with Frank Luando.
“You're not FBI Agents”, Edward said. “You're part of the Mafia. You're going to kill all of us”.
About that time Joseph walked up with his FBI credentials in his hand. “My name is Joseph Robertson and I am in charge of the Hattiesburg FBI office”.
“But that man's boss told me he worked for the New York Mafia” Edward said, pointing to Mr. Friendly.
“Lucky never told you that”, said Mr. Friendly. “You figured that out for yourself. He just never told you any different. He told you that his organization was much bigger than yours and it is”.
About that time a big black Cadillac pulled up on the group. The driver saw what was going on and turned his car around and headed back out. Oscar and Clinton sensing that this must be the Director that Edward was talking about, jumped in a car and took off after him. The driver of the Cadillac seeing that he was being pursued gunned his car. Before the Cadillac got to the highway it was doing about seventy miles an hour. Hitting some loose gravel the driver lost control of the Cadillac and it jumped the ditch. Going into the woods the Cadillac hit a big pine tree head on.
Oscar and Clinton seeing the car hit the tree, stopped, jumped out of their car and rushed to the accident. When they got there and opened the door on the drivers side Oscar jumped back in amazement.
“My God it's Senator Massey” Oscar said. “He's hurt pretty bad”.
They got the Senator out and laid him on the ground away from the wrecked car. As Clinton rushed back to their car to get a first aid kit, Oscar started loosening the Senators clothes up to make him more comfortable. All of a sudden Oscar felt a hand on his arm. He turned and looked into Senator Massey's eyes. He then knew, as the Senator did, that his life on earth was short. As the senator's hand fell from Oscars shoulder Oscar grabbed it in a moment of compassion for the Senator. Oscar was surprised as the Senator squeezed his hand tight.
“My Son! My Son!” he cried. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry the way I've treated you. Please forgive me. Please tell my Lucy that I still love her. With that his hand loosened and James Massey was gone.
Oscar was shocked at the Senators last words. He first thought the Senator was having hallucinating but when he spoked of some one named Lucy, he knew he was talking about his Grandmother. Oscar started crying uncontrollable, this man was his Grandfather. One part of him he hated but right now he could only feel love for him.
When Clinton returned he was surprised to see Oscar crying and stroking the body he was holding in his arms. Clinton couldn't believe that the man he thought had nerves of steel, this man who never got excited about anything, was crying over and hugging a white man.
When Oscar saw Clinton, he said sobbing, ”He was my Grandfather Clinton! He was my Grandfather and he had to be dieing to admit it”.
By now the Agents had gathered enough evidence on the MAFIA and it's offspring the Syndicate to arrest half of the officials in Mississippi. What started out as a civil rights investigation had ended up with enough information on crooked politicians and business men to probably shut Mississippi down.
Robert Kennedy had sent hundreds of marshals and attorneys into Mississippi to start processing indictments. There was a lot of negotiating going on as the officials, finding the overwhelming amount of evidence that had been accumulated against them, starting spilling the beans on each other.
Epilogue Mississippi Corruption
Back in 1988, the public wasn’t shocked to learn 57 Mississippi county supervisors were federally indicted in Operation Pretense. The general assumption was that politicians were corrupt so the sheer number was no eye opener. For all the public knew that number could be low. After all, the state has a total of 410 supervisors overseeing 82 counties. What was surprising was that something was actually being done about it!
Operation Pretense resulted from a complaint filed in the early 1980s by a businessman and Pentecostal minister, John Burgess. The charge was that Burgess could not win a bid for county business without offering supervisors a kickback valued at 10% of the purchase price. Burgess agreed to help the FBI snare corrupt officials by opening a front operation. The sting ran from 1984 thru late 1987. In the end, 26 counties were disgraced by having between 1 to 5 supervisors indicted. That number could well have been more except that both agents and operatives were exhausted by the sheer magnitude of the investigation. Operation Pretense ultimately resulted in the conviction of 2 state highway commissioners, 55 county supervisors, 1 county road foreman and 13 vendors for bribery, extortion, and a host of other felonies. While waiting trial, 1 supervisor died and another was determined to be mentally incompetent. Back when I was a kid, I remember hearing my relatives complain that Mississippi’s “back roads” weren’t paved because county supervisors got kickbacks from the purchase of dump trucks and road graders. Dirt roads require frequent smoothing and graveling. The equipment wore out in a few years and so had to be constantly replaced. The only road guaranteed to be paved, so they asserted, was the one from the supervisor’s home to his office. The Constitution of 1890 (hereafter referred to as c1890) is usually sited as being the progenitor of Mississippi’s infamous corruption. In Part 1, we recounted the power struggles of early state history and how Reconstruction politically disenfranchised ex-Confederates. Sidebar Sowing The Seeds Of Corruption Mississippi’s Constitution of 1890 Was Not Written In A Vacuum. Many Sections Were Written In Direct Reaction To The Experience Of Reconstruction. By Perry Hicks Republicans Fight for Dominance If the Confederates returned home to a world turned upside down, the victorious Republicans had been having troubles of their own. When the first seven states seceded in 1861, the halls of congress were not left to Republicans alone. With them were northern Democrats divided into two factions; pro-war and peace-at-any-cost. Continued...Click Here Here, in Part 2, we will look at how desperation drove the disenfranchised to seize power by any means necessary and how those lawless means were later made “respectable” by c1890. We will then look at the mechanisms that have enabled such pervasive levels of official corruption to flourish to this very day. Run-up to c1890 History narratives can mislead readers if the focus lacks sufficient resolution to explain why events happen. For example, most American history texts of moderate depth will mention the race riots in New Orleans, Memphis, Yazoo City, and Clinton following the end of the “Civil War”. Not mentioned are the escalating property taxes that drove southerners from their farms. In 1869, land tax was only 10 cents on each dollar of accessed value. By 1875, that tax had risen to $1.40 and 27% of Mississippi’s total land mass had been forfeited in taxes. Thus, the “race riots” actually began as tax revolt riots precipitated by the government’s attempt to sell forfeited land. Prior to the war, Mississippi’s aristocracy had belonged to the Whig Party. Whigs did not favor secession from the Union principally because it threatened their economic interests. Whigs were big planters, bankers, and later, railroad promoters. Owing to their education and organizational skills, the Whigs ascended to leadership in both state government and military leadership. Although in steep decline, the election of Abraham Lincoln and the outbreak of the war effectively ended the Whig Party. After the war, former Whigs found themselves unable to align themselves with the majority Democrat viewpoint favoring agriculture over industrialization. As would be expected, the Whigs enjoined themselves with the Republican Party. However, when the ex-Whigs saw that cooperation with the northern Republicans would never be beneficial to the South, they abandoned the party of Lincoln and, like prodigal sons, crossed over to the Democrats. By 1875, not only had the cross-over been complete, the Whigs had effectively taken control of the Democrat Party. Where resistance to Reconstruction had previously been sporadic and disorganized, Whig leadership concocted the Mississippi Plan to take back government. The plan was multi-pronged but do-able: Where possible, influence blacks to vote Democrat; where not possible, intimidate; stuff ballot boxes; switch ballots for the illiterate; murder opponents if necessary. When the votes were counted, the Republicans were all but swept from power. This methodology was adopted all across the south. Of course, the Army would not have permitted the Democrats to retain power earlier in Reconstruction. However, Republican excesses had finally caught up with them 15 years after the war and, at the national level, they found their power waning; Republicans were in a dead heat with Democrats in the race for the White House. In the 1876 election, the Democrat presidential candidate, Samuel Tilden, had actually pulled about 250,000 more votes than Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. However, the two had tied for Electoral votes. Furthermore, while the Republicans held the Senate, the Democrats held the House. If Hayes were to be president, he would have to cut a deal with the Southern States. The deal was simple: In trade for House Democrats allowing a Federal Electoral Commission report favoring Hayes, the new president would abide by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and end Federal interference in state affairs. Federal troops would withdraw from the South. Hayes took power and good to his word, ordered Federal occupational troops out. By 1877, the last southern Republican governments collapsed. By the 1890s, much of Mississippi’s political power had been exchanged between generations. The ex-Confederates were growing old but their sons, unencumbered by the 13th Amendment, had been able to assume office. However, the old days of southern solidarity were gone. Whites no longer formed a unified bloc. The same Mississippi Plan tactics used to suppress blacks were now being used on other Democrats. Effects of c1890 "Sir, it is no secret that there has not been a full vote and a fair count in Mississippi since 1875, that we have been preserving the ascendancy of the white people by revolutionary measures. In other words, we have been stuffing ballot boxes, committing perjury, and here and there in the state carrying the elections by fraud and violence. The public conscience revolted, thoughtful men everywhere foresaw that there was disaster somewhere along the line of such a policy as certainly there is a righteous judgment for nations as well as men. No man can be in favor of perpetuating the elections methods which have prevailed in Mississippi since 1875 who is not a moral idiot." Judge Chrisman “Moral idiot” was an unfortunate selection of words in that there was no sentiment for resuming free and fair elections. On the contrary, c1890 was written specifically to insure white supremacy. The intention was that the disenfranchisement of African-Americans would be made legitimate by the supreme legal document of state government. The method to suppress black participation was deceptively simple: Levy a poll tax and require voters to interpret any section of the state constitution. Of course, the judge as to the voter’s ability was the registrar. As would be expected, the number of qualified black voters plummeted. In 1890, Mississippi actually had about 70,000 more black voters than white ones. By 1892, that number had dwindled to only 8,615. What would not be expected is that the number of white voters was also dramatically reduced. Where in 1890 there had been about 120,000 voters, in 1892 there were only about 68,000. In other words, the white voter rolls had been nearly cut in half. The poll tax had an accumulative effect on reducing the number of eligible voters. Although a tax of only 2 dollars per year would sound benign by today’s standards, it was substantial as most Mississippi farmers only earned about $411 per year. Because the tax had to be paid for two years prior to voting, if the voter fell behind the cost of catching up could become quite high. By 1901, only 30,000 white voters cast ballots out of a potential pool of 140,000. This decline in voter participation may have enabled corrupt politicians to run state government solely for their personal benefit. Indeed, some politicians came to look on state office with some sense of personal entitlement. Finding themselves with no voice in government, small farmers increasing looked toward movements like The Grange and The Farmer’s Alliance to press populist agendas on the legislature. It wasn’t until 1903 that Mississippi began the party primary system. Never the less, party machinery kept elite politicians in power, and blacks and poor whites disenfranchised. For more history on the political landscape of The War Between the States, see the companion piece: Sowing the Seeds of Corruption. [link] Features of c1890 Without question, Article 3 (Bill of Rights) Sections 5 and 6 is the most salient portion of Mississippi’s Constitution. These sections make it manifestly clear that all government exists at the people’s pleasure. If one compares the various constitutional sections to Mississippi’s Reconstruction period, the reason for c1890’s language can be readily discerned. Every effort was made to disperse power away from central authority. Section 5. All political power is vested in, and derived from, the people; all government of right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Section 6. The people of this State have the inherent, sole and exclusive right to regulate the internal government and police thereof, and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness; provided, such change be not repugnant to the constitution of the United States. As would be expected, the representatives of the people (legislature) retain the most power and control over the machinery of government. Indeed, the governor is little more than the commander-n-chief of the militia and naval forces. Section 139. The legislature may empower the governor to remove and appoint officers, in any county or counties or municipal corporations, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law. The governor does not have the power to remove or appoint county or municipal officers at his or her discretion. The governor must seek that power from the legislature. As might be imagined, seeking the removal of a county supervisor would likely become a political football. Without discretionary power to remove, the governor will not get respect from officials at the municipal or county level. In this way, 55 county supervisors were able to defraud tax payers for years before being caught in the web of Operation Pretense. Voters may be assured that wrong doing had been going on for decades. An interesting note is that the governor does have the power to suspend defaulting state and local treasurers and tax collectors. As long as the tax money is collected, the machinery of government runs just fine. A common political defense is for the voter to “throw the rascals out.” The problem here is that seldom are politicians given the heave-ho. Political maneuverings, buy-offs, and outright lying to a gullible public usually keeps the rascals in power. In the case of my cousins and uncles (and every other voter) being certain that supervisors were getting kick-backs was not enough to defeat the supervisors at the polls. When the voter pool is reduced in size to a select few, the few can be manipulated into re-electing the elite. That is, of course, if the election was run honestly. Then there is the matter of how much oversight the legislature can bring to bear on local government. Some states have had to rely on a doctrine established in 1868 Iowa by Judge John F. Dillon. The opinion is called the Dillon’s Rule: Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from the Legislature. It breathes into them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates, so it may destroy. If it may destroy, it may abridge and control. Mississippi is not a Dillon’s Rule state so the judiciary has evidently not evoked the Dillon’s Rule in regard to abridgement and oversight of local affairs. Within the limits of fairly wide boundaries, it would appear that county supervisors are almost autonomous. [Note: The notion that the judiciary can take an activist stance and dictate to the other two branches of government goes back to the 1803 federal Marbury vs. Madison case; a 1789 law regarding the judiciary was struck down. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall argued that while it is the jurisdiction of Congress to make laws, it is the jurisdiction of the courts to interpret them.] Not only does the governor not have the power to remove or appoint local officers, Article 8 sets the sets the public education system outside the purview of the governor. Section 202. There shall be a superintendent of public education elected at the same time and in the same manner as the governor, who shall have the qualifications required of the secretary of state, and hold his office for four years and until his successor shall be elected and qualified, who shall have the general supervision of the common schools, and of the educational interests of the State, and who shall perform such other duties and receive such compensation, as shall be prescribed by law. Section 203. There shall be a board of education, consisting of the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the superintendent of public education, for the management and investment of the school funds, according to law, and for the performance of such other duties as may be prescribed. The superintendent and one other of said board shall constitute a quorum. Section 204. There shall be a superintendent of public education in each county, who shall be appointed by the board of education by and with the advice and consent of the senate, whose term of office shall be four years, and whose qualifications, compensation and duties, shall be prescribed by law; provided, that the legislature shall have power to make the office of county school superintendent of the several counties elective, or may otherwise provide for the discharge of the duties of county superintendent, or abolish said office. With the state superintendent of public education directly elected by the people and the state school board composed of the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the superintendent of public education, the administration of Mississippi’s schools also lack the accountability inherent in traditional checks and balances. Again, one could argue that if the school systems were doing something to displease the public, a majority of voters could simply turn them out at the next election. However, this hardly ever happens for a variety of reasons. One is the lack of information reported to the public about internal educational affairs. The taxpayer’s fiduciary protection stems from Article 4, Section 80 where a provision is made to prevent abuse through general laws. No oversight is afforded to the governor. Section 80. Provision shall be made by general laws to prevent the abuse by cities, towns and other municipal corporations of their powers of assessment, taxation, borrowing money and contracting debts. Separation of Powers One interesting, if self evident, declaration is the separation of powers as lined out in Article 1, Section 2. Explicitly spelled out is the forbidding of members of one branch of government functioning or otherwise acting within the jurisdiction of another. Section 2. No person or collection of persons, being one, or belonging to one, of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others. The acceptance of an office in either of said departments shall, of itself, and at once, vacate any and all offices held by the person so accepting in either of the other departments. Despite the clear prohibition of one branch’s members serving in the capacity of another, in the early 1980s, then Attorney General Bill Allain had to take the matter before the state Supreme Court to stop the practice. Of course, Allain won and this resulted in the Administration Reorganization Act of 1984. Allain continued to press for constitutional reform after he took office as governor in 1984. He appointed a 350 member commission to study c1890 and a revision constitution was submitted to the legislature. Sadly, no action was taken. The legislature was simply not going to give up control to strengthen the oversight powers of the executive branch. Later, amendments to c1890 did restructure the state board of education making the superintendent an appointment made by the governor. It also provided for a 9 member state board of education that is also appointed. Responsibility of the Press Regardless of apparent voter apathy, the press bears the responsibility to keep the public informed as to current events in government’s internal workings. Strangely though, this information is not always forthcoming. Small weekly local papers usually do the best job but also tend to do so in excruciatingly fine detail. They can also lack the resources to investigate and collect hard to get facts; so while they may report mind numbing minutia, big, and particularly difficult stories can escape them. Today, it is the large dailies, and television news operations that can have the financial resources and political clout to not just get at facts but skillfully report them in an attention getting manner. Unfortunately, too often this does not happen. There is no reason that a prominent feature like the separation of powers would be violated for decades and the media not hammer the story home until the practice was stopped. There is no reason why tax payer money would be wasted- or the financial reports hidden- without a constant drumbeat of reporting until the facts were known and corrections were made. Yet, the press, either in partnership with, or desirous of access to high government officials, often fails to report to the public how government programs fail to serve the public. In that failure, both the government, and the press, is in partnership Genesis of Corruption Part I Sidebar Story - The Seeds of Corruption Related: Report Says Mississippi Most Corrupt State in Nation-corporatecrimereporter.com Guest Opinion -Mississippi’s Open Wound -Archaic Government Must End for Coast and State to be Successful in Economic Development - By Royce Hignight Perry Hicks is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics, and is a former Ford Motor Company technical trainer. He currently works as an Associate Professor of Automotive Technology at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA.