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Ten Dollars to Hate

February 8, 2017 by pegjohnston

The Texas Man Who Fought the Klan

by Patricia Bernstein

Ten Dollars to Hate tells the story of the massive Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s—by far the most “successful” incarnation since its inception in the ashes of the Civil War—and the first prosecutor in the nation to successfully convict and jail Klan members. Dan Moody, a twenty-nine-year-old Texas district attorney, demonstrated that Klansmen could be punished for taking the law into their own hands—in this case, for the vicious flogging of a young World War I veteran.

The 1920s Klan numbered in the millions and infiltrated politics and law enforcement across the United States, not just in the Deep South. Several states elected Klan-sponsored governors and US senators. Klansmen engaged in extreme violence against whites as well as blacks, promoted outrageous bigotry against various ethnic groups, and boycotted non-Klan businesses.

A few courageous public officials tried to make Klansmen pay for their crimes, notably after Klan assaults in California and Texas and two torture-murders in Louisiana. All failed until September 1923 when Dan Moody convicted and won significant prison time for five Klansmen in a tense courtroom in Georgetown, Texas. Moody became a national sensation overnight and went on to become the youngest governor of Texas at the age of 33.

The Georgetown cases were the beginning of the end for this iteration of the Klan. Two years later, the head of the Klan in Indiana was convicted of murdering a young woman.  Membership dwindled almost as quickly as it had grown, but the Klan’s poisonous influence lingered through the decades that followed.  Ten Dollars to Hate explores this pivotal—and brutal—chapter in the history of America.PATRICIA BERNSTEIN is the author of The First Waco Horror: The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP and the president of Bernstein and Associates, a public relations firm in Houston. She has published articles in Texas Monthly, Smithsonian, and Cosmopolitan.

What Readers Are Saying:

"This book is an important examination of a dark episode in American history. It tells the story of how select individuals had the courage to stand up and oppose popular extremism from a diminutive mother home alone with her children to a brave lawyer, who used the legal system against those acting outside the law.  It reminds all of us to stand up for our convictions." — Fred Zeidman, chairman emeritus of the board of the US Holocaust Museum
 
“The Second Ku Klux Klan needed stopping, and the brave, successful prosecution by Dan Moody was flawless. The heart-stopping narrative by Patricia Bernstein is a winner.”—Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center
 
“A chilling story of how the KKK was on the march across the US and how Dan Moody, a Texas district attorney, fought the Klan, the most violent political organization in our history, brought them to justice, and broke their stranglehold on Texas’ power structure.  Patricia Bernstein’s dramatic book presents Dan Moody, Texas’ youngest governor, as a textbook study in political courage, demonstrating how eternal vigilance is still our safeguard against today’s threats from neo-Nazi and other 'white supremacy’ movements!”— Mark White, former governor of Texas
 
“Patricia Bernstein’s account of the Klan of a hundred years ago is a clarion call for vigilance today against all forms of bigotry that victimize those who are not considered 100% American because of their race, nationality, language, or religion.  The book deserves a large readership, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the history of the Klan and their pernicious bigotry.  It is also a valuable source for the many who have forgotten the disastrous influence of the Klan on American society and the fear and brutality it caused its many victims.”— Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston.

 

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