Sam Bowers

Mr. Sam Bowers

As Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Bowers ruled over a four-year campaign of pervasive white terrorism during which he was suspected of orchestrating at least nine murders, seventy-five bombings of black churches, and three hundred assaults, bombings, and beatings. From 1964 until his conviction in 1967 on federal civil rights violations in the triple murder of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, Bowers was the animating force behind white Mississippi's journey into the heart of militant rage of the anti-civil rights movement. At age 73 in August 1988, Bowers was convicted for the murder of Vernon Dahmer. On November 5, 2006, Bowers died in a hospital in Parchman Prison. His body lay unclaimed for several days until an out-of-state relative, wishing to remain anonymous, came for his remains.

Quotes from interviews with this actor are listed below. To see excerpts from interview transcripts, click on the associated Excerpts link below each quote.

"It is my hope that the pagan media and academic establishment will implode on the force of its own corruption and stagnation."
"The civil rights movement was devoid of grace; it was using some unfortunate people as means to a communistic end."
"I think I came here as a priest… The priest is more concerned with heresy than with sin; sins can be forgiven; heresy must be eliminated."

Find below primary and secondary resources located in the Project on Lived Theology's Civil Rights Archive associated with this Actor. Click on a title to see the full record.

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2001 Charles Marsh Ken Dean, Interview Notes - April 12, 2001
2000 Jerry Mitchell Stringer Recalls "Elimination" Plan
2000 Staff Writer State Considers Pursuing Murder Charges in Case
1998 Unknown Laurel Leader-Call 1968 Article Call Sheet
1998 Jerry Mitchell Dahmer's Files Turned Over to Authorities
1998 Curtis Wilkie Klansman's Defense Accuses State of Leading 'A Persecution Mississippi Trial Revisits 1966 Case
1998 Unknown Laurel Leader-Call 1968 Article Call Sheet: April-July
1998 Jerry Mitchell Spy Records Sought in Dahmer's Death: Files Requested on 25 People in Killing of Civil Rights Activist
1998 Jerry Mitchell Dahmer Witness Fears for Life: Billy Roy Pitts Still at Large; Officials Hope He'll Cooperate in Reopened Probe
1998 Jerry Mitchell Authorities Study Bowers Transcripts: '80s Interviews May Show Klansman's Role in Vernon Dahmer Death
1998 JMC Ledger J. Mitchell Pieces
1998 Jerry Mitchell Dahmer Case Attracts International Media: News Outlets from Around World Show Interest in Possible Bowers Retrial
1998 Jerry Mitchell Pitts Saga Baffles Justice Experts: Expert 'Never Heard of' Convict Walking Away from a Life Sentence
1998 Jerry Mitchell Notes Link Former DA to Release of Pitts: Convicted Dahmer Killer Told to Steer Clear of Mississippi, Notes Claim
1998 Jerry Mitchell Klansman's Interviews Subpoenaed in Dahmer Case: Tape Recordings of Sam Bowers Are in State Archives Library
1998 Jerry Mitchell Pitts Plans to Surrender Soon: In Tape left at Clarion-Ledger, Former Klansman Apologizes for Violence
1998 Jerry Mitchell Ex-Klansman Pitts Surrenders: Convicted in Killing of Vernon Dahmer, Pitts Has Not Served State Sentence
1998 Jerry Mitchell Authorities Discover Missing Dahmer Trial Transcript: State Law Allows Transcript Testimony to be Used in New Trials
1998 Curtis Wilkie Ex-Member Casts Klan Activities as 'Benevolent' Testifies in Trial on 1966 Arson Killing
1998 Jerry Mitchell Bowers Admitted Jury Tampering, Documents Show: Intimidation, Contact by Klan Used to Sway Jurors, FBI Notes Say
1998 Curtis Wilkie Ex-Klansman Details Fiery 1966 Attack Civil Rights
Jerry Mitchell
Beverly Pettigrew Kraft
Do Klansman's Memoirs Tell 'Truth' on Killings?: Sam Bower's Manuscript Supposedly Tells Who Really Killed King and Evers
1997 Jerry Mitchell Notes Threaten to Shed Light on Activists' Deaths: Friend of Sam Bowers Claims Book Names "Real" Killers of Civil Rights Leaders
1997 Jerry Mitchell Capone's, Bowers' Stories Run Parallel, Perhaps Even to Ending: If Charges Emerge from Gaming Probe, Bowers May Join famous Gangster in Slip-Up
Charles Marsh
Bob Zellner
Bob Zellner Interview, New York City, NY, 10/29/97
1997 Jerry Mitchell Bowers Suspected in Illegal Gaming Operation: Renewed Probe of 1966 Firebombing Leads to Scrutiny of Ex-Klansman's Activities
Charles Marsh
Bob Zellner
Interview with Bob Zellner, 3/29/1995
Charles Marsh
Sam Bowers
Interview with Sam H. Bowers, Jr., 8/26/1994: Uncle Roy's Home Cookin and Strick's Barbecue
1994 Charles Marsh In Search of Sam Bowers
1994 Charles Marsh Kenneth Christopherson, Interview Notes 7/19/1994
Charles Marsh
Spencer Perkins
Spencer Perkins Interview
Charles Marsh
Sam Bowers
Interview with Sam H. Bowers, Jr., 8/21/1994: Stick's Barbecue Restaurant
Charles Marsh
Ed King
Ed King Interview, Philadelphia, MS, 8/24/1994
1994 Charles Marsh Charles Pickering, Interview Notes 8/8/1994, Big Creek, MS
Charles Marsh
Sam Bowers
Interview with Sam Bowers, 8/28/1994: Strick's Barbecue
1994 Ken H. Fortenberry Secrets in Dahmer Firebombing Didn't Die with Hero
1993 Charles Marsh Letter From Charles Marsh to Jack Nelson
1993 Sam Bowers Sam Bowers to Charles Marsh
Charles Marsh
Will Campbell
Will Campbell Interview, 7/6/1993
1988 Unknown Kill 1, Wound 3 in Bomb Attempt: Link Action to Ku Klux
1981 Sam Bowers Letter from Sam Bowers to Jack Nelson
1980 Gary McElroy Church Preaches Gospel of Race
1968 Unknown Jury Still Out in Bowers Case
1968 Unknown Jackson Bombing: Hinds Jury Indicts Ten
1968 Unknown In Dahmer Case: Sessum's Trial Starts Monday
1968 Elliott Chaze At Hattiesburg: Bowers Trial Nearing Jury
1968 Unknown Buckley Awaits Kidnap Sentence
1968 Unknown Former Klan Chief Begins Prison Term
1968 Charles Marsh Notes on a May 1968 Clarion-Ledger Article Concerning Sam Bowers (Untitled Document)
1968 Unknown At Hattiesburg: Places Bowers in Dahmer Case
1968 Unknown Jury Indicts 16 in Dahmer Case
1968 Unknown Jury Finds Buckley Guilty of Kidnap: May Get 10 Years
1968 Unknown Court Sets Bond for 4 Jailed in Dahmer Case
1968 Charles Marsh Notes on a May 1968 Clarion-Ledger Article Concerning Sam Bowers (Untitled Document)
1968 Unknown Overrules Motion: Begin Selection of Bowers Jury
1968 Eliott Chaze State Rests on DeBoxtel
1968 Unknown Pitts Relates 'Plot' of Klan
1968 Unknown Jury Jails Bowers
1968 Charles Marsh Notes on a January 1968 Clarion Ledger Article Concerning Sam Bowers (Untitled Document)
1968 Unknown Witness Relates DeBoxtel's Role: Rogers Tells of Activity
1968 Unknown Jail Buckley For Contempt
1968 Unknown Jury Deadlocks: Enter Mistrial in Lyons' Case
1968 Unknown 16 Plead Not Guilty
1968 Unknown DeBoxtel Jury is Incomplete
1968 Unknown Bowers, 9 Others Remain In Jail
1968 Unknown Bowers, 'Knights' Targets of Suits
1968 Unknown Tuesday, May 14, Trial For Bowers' Arson Case
1968 Unknown Pitts Testifies in Dahmer Case: He's Last for State
1968 Unknown 'Break' Brings 12 Indictments
1968 Unknown Pitts Testifies Against Wilson
1968 Kenneth Fairly Explosives Found in Bombing Probe: Klan Chief Bowers Among 10 Indicted
1968 Unknown Will Appeal: Buckley Gets 10-Year Term
1968 Eliott Chaze Selection of Sessum Jury Near Complete: Death Chair to be Sought?
1968 Unknown Forrest County Jury Jails Bowers, Plus 10: File Murder, Arson Counts
1968 Unknown Work on Jury in Smith Trial
1968 Unknown Court Awaits Buckley Report
1968 Eliott Chaze Alleged Kleagle Goes On Trial: First Case for 12 Men
1968 Unknown Jury Frees Sam Bowers
1968 Unknown Bowers, 9 Others Plead Not Guilty
1968 Unknown Close Guard Over Pitts
1968 Unknown "Not Guilty" Bowers Plea At Collins
1968 Unknown Lone Juror Gets Bowers Mistrial
1968 Unknown Charge Bowers in '67 Bombing
1968 Eliott Chaze State's Ace Card is Billy R. Pitts: His Warrant Kept Secret
1966 Arlie Schardt A Mississippi Mayor Fights the Klan
Unknown List of White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi
Unknown Notes on MFDP, Sam Bowers and Fannie Lou Hamer (Untitled Document)
Charles Marsh Dahmer Murder and the Response of the Church, Field Notes