The Case Of A KKK Shooting In 1980 Chattanooga
Tomorrow night, a presentation here in Chattanooga looks back at a case that rocked this city, four decades ago.
In 1980, four black women were hit with birdshot fired from a moving car outside a nightclub on what was then Ninth St. - “The Big 9” - and now, Martin Luther King Boulevard. A fifth woman was injured by flying glass. All of the women lived.
Three members of the Ku Klux Klan were charged with attempted murder. An all-white jury acquitted two of the men - and sentenced the third to nine months in prison and a fine. He served only three months.
Days of rioting followed the verdict.
Then, the women filed a federal civil lawsuit - the first time that the Ku Klux Klan was sued in civil court. An attorney from New York, Randolph McLaughlin, represented the women. This jury - five of its members, white and one of them, black - ordered the Klan to pay 535-thousand dollars, creating a legal strategy for dismantling the Klan across the country.
Tomorrow night, Randolph McLaughlin will give a presentation on the case for the first time here in Chattanooga - starting at 5:30 PM at The Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
Tiffany Herron - a student here on this campus, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - shares how she learned about this case and tomorrow’s presentation...