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Title: Oral History Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990. Interview A-0366. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Duke, Daniel, interviewee
Interview conducted by Egerton, John
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 136 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
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The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-12, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990. Interview A-0366. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0366)
Author: John Egerton
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990. Interview A-0366. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0366)
Author: Daniel Duke
Description: 172 Mb
Description: 45 p.
Note: Interview conducted on August 22, 1990, by John Egerton; recorded in Fairburn, Georgia.
Note: Transcribed by Jackie Gorman.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series A. Southern Politics, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990.
Interview A-0366. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Duke, Daniel, interviewee


Interview Participants

    DANIEL DUKE, interviewee
    JOHN EGERTON, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
DANIEL DUKE:
Properties that my great-grandfather owned . . . he was what they called a hard-shelled Baptist preacher. The old home sits over yonder on the corner of Fayette County, now Fulton County, and Coweta County.
JOHN EGERTON:
And it's still there, the house?
DANIEL DUKE:
The old house has been patched up and all that and the road runs right close to it now because at one time the old Campbell County which was merged with Fulton County, the three counties converged there and part of the house was in each county. Somewhere and I don't know exactly when they moved the county line about 300 feet South so now the old house sits in a place. There's a burial ground up there where they use rocks or cedar trees for the markers. There are a few people left in there. There was a little old fence around it. I've been over there.
JOHN EGERTON:
Are some of your people buried there?
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, some of them. There was a family, my grandmother's mother was named Head. There's some Heads way back in here now. I don't know them. My father was named Waymond Head Duke.
JOHN EGERTON:
This is your growing up place.
DANIEL DUKE:
This was part of the property. Now, after the Civil War a family of black people named Shropshire, pretty smart people, came into this part. I don't know exactly where they

Page 2
came from, I understand it might have been down around what is now Henry County, back in there. These black people, one or two of them were bright, articulate enough to be able to . . . They bought two or three hundred acres right in here. This is part of it. The Shropshire people, some of their names appear in the deed records here. Old man Shropshire, I think it was Otis Shropshire, died and he left two or three children. I know when I acquired this land afterwards I had to get a quit claim deed from Mrs. Gray who was a Shropshire, she was a very old woman, to state that her father after his wife died never remarried. When checking the title they wanted to know if he remarried because somebody would have been entitled to part of it when they administered the estate because he died intestate. So, I didn't need but one affidavit even though there were three or four of them. She said he was a very old man and she and her husband lived in his household until he died. He never remarried. That satisfied it. I put it on record over at Fayette County and it helped a lot of other people. The people across the road and up there. There were four pieces of it and I got a fourth of it.
I came into possession of this property in this manner.
A fellow named Frank Jones and his wife Lizzie Arnold Jones—Frank was a very mean, illiterate, warped minded man—Lizzie Arnold came from the Arnold black people that lived over on another place, their own land. Lizzie was a smart woman. He bought this from one of the Shropshire. They sold it to him and he paid the first note on a time basis. He had lived here about three or four years without paying any of the yearly notes or interest.

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He killed a man. They claimed that he and the fellow were making liquor down here and the old part of the still where they buried it was down there on my land. I found it down there. But, he killed him. He was a white man and at that time it was kind of like the plea of Englisbry in England, except in reverse order. They put Frank Jones in jail. There was a lot of prejudice here but the man that he killed was a bootlegger. A lot of grumbling, a lot of things going on.
JOHN EGERTON:
This would have been about when?
DANIEL DUKE:
Twenty-eight or twenty-nine years ago, before I got on the bench, of course. Lizzie came over there with her uncle whose name was Wright Knox. I had a big farm over in Fulton County and I had about 200 plus acres with a lake. It was a cattle farm which I later sold. She came over I remember on Sunday morning driving an old pick-up truck. She and Wright got out and she said, Frank needed somebody to represent him and he over there in Fayette County in jail. So I knew immediately Fayette County didn't have many blacks in it and those that they did didn't have much say so in anything. It would be a tough case to fool with even if he was justified in the murder. Being a black man a jury would say you ought to have some time.
I told her that. I said, "I don't see from what you tell me, Frank's in jail over there, they'll indict him for murder and I don't believe that he will be able to get freed." I said, "it will have to be a monumental case of self-defense." From what she told me it was not altogether justified. I'm not too sure it wasn't a cold-bloodied murder even today. I said, "what have

Page 4
ya'll got to pay me?" I knew it was like putting your arm in a gristmill. You get into some of those cases, you can be caught with something there and fight your way out. She said, "well, we don't anything much. They are running the foreclosures on that property that we own and it is to be sold next Tuesday." I said, how much do ya'll owe on it?" She said, "we paid a very small amount down and Frank never paid but one note. We're about three years behind." I said, "you'll have your advertising costs and the law fee that's built into the note." I said, "if you don't need to do anything with it and all, we'll just let it go. Let me check into it. I got Monday and I'll see what I can do and see if I can contact the owner." Her name was Shropshire too. I said, "I'll see whether it is of any value at all and try to do something about it. If it's worthy I'll stop the foreclosure. I'll talk to the other side and make them an offer and see if I can bring you out of it with something left for me for attorney fee." She said that would be fine.
I did check into it and it happened that a lawyer—he became a municipal judge in the General Ordinance Court—he was a pretty nice fellow. A black lawyer and he represented this lady. I called her and she said to refer it to him. I referred to him and I said, "listen, what do ya'll want for this place? Will you discount it any? Will you cut out some of that cost and the interest? He said, "let me call you back." He did and he said, "yes, we will cut off about three hundred dollars on the interest and we'll absorb the advertising cost if you want to buy it." I said, "well, I'm representing this man and I'll talk to his wife

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and to him and see what they'll do. I hope I can explain it to them. Sometimes they don't understand."
So I told them and I gave the fellow a check for the total amount owed and took the deeds from Frank and his wife. I've still got them over there. Just before the sale went off he accused me. In fact, the landowners around here were over there waiting for him to put it up in front of the courthouse door to buy it. They stood around and when they came out to make the public sales they didn't put that up. They went in and wanted to know what was up. They were told that the notes had been paid off and these people dismissed the foreclosure and they sold it to somebody. Well, they checked the records to see and I put it on record. They went to a lawyer and wanted to know what they could do because I had prevented a public sale. The lawyer said that I paid the note off which satisfied it and they couldn't sell something that they had already sold. That just stopped the sale and there's not anything that can be done about it. Just because they run an ad in the paper doesn't mean that they got to sell it if somebody satisfies the debt prior to the sale and that's what happened. That's the way I got the land.
Later, one of them, it was a big landowner, called me and wanted to know what I'd take for it. He knew, he had found out about what I had in it. He exaggerated, I didn't have quite as much out of pocket cash in the land as he thought. He just took the surface angle. I told him, I said well . . . I had a big farm over yonder about three hundred acres back over there. I said, "I'm not trying to sell it, I'll just hold it there." They

Page 6
had a house here, a wooden house, and I said I wouldn't think of taking less than so much for it. He said, "that's too much." I said, "well, if it's too much, I'm not mad about it but I want to keep it." The fences were down at the old house, not this one. It's where it stood. So, that's the way I came back into possession of it and I think I've had it about thirty years.
I later sold my other farm and some gamblers were in here one night and burned up the house. It wasn't anything to it. I fenced it and I had a few cattle here up till two years ago. I still have a horse or two out there.
JOHN EGERTON:
So that's how you came to end up back here so close . . . Were you actually born close to around here?
DANIEL DUKE:
I was born over here over at Palmetto which is about four or five miles from here.
JOHN EGERTON:
You went to Oglethorpe?
DANIEL DUKE:
I graduated there with second honors.
JOHN EGERTON:
Then you went to the Atlanta law school.
DANIEL DUKE:
I went to Emory Law School and got a Juris Doctorate Degree.
JOHN EGERTON:
But, did you go earlier to . . .
DANIEL DUKE:
I did. I passed the Georgia Bar before I finished law school and resigned the job as auditor with the telephone company and started practicing law. Young people have a lot of nerve. I didn't care about the other kind of life. I took the bar examination thinking there would be so many people flunking it that I'd take it first to know what it was like.
JOHN EGERTON:
You passed it.

Page 7
DANIEL DUKE:
I passed it and then I went to work as the Assistant District Attorney. It was called Solicitor General then.
JOHN EGERTON:
In Fulton County?
DANIEL DUKE:
In Fulton County, John Boykin, I was the youngest man in the office. I practiced about a year and a half and went through the campaign when Roosevelt tried to defeat Walter Judge for the Senate and Lawrence Camp . . .
JOHN EGERTON:
That was in '38 wasn't it?
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, Lawrence Camp was my good friend. I used to caddy for him on the golf course.
JOHN EGERTON:
Lawrence Camp was the one who ran against George?
DANIEL DUKE:
That's the one Roosevelt picked to run. Talmadge ran too and Talmadge almost got elected and it's very likely that Talmadge was really elected. It was very close and there were a few counties, and there were a lot of questions about it.
JOHN EGERTON:
That was a three way primary race?
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right and that's what Talmadge wanted. You voted under the old unit system. Counties had a unit system which was undemocratic and Fulton County with about a half million people had six votes and Fayette at that time had about twelve thousand and two. And Statesville, Georgia, down on the line, had two and they didn't have but about 1,500 people in that whole county.
JOHN EGERTON:
If Talmadge had gotten elected then he would have gone to the US Senate instead of ever being governor. He probably never would have been governor, would he?

Page 8
DANIEL DUKE:
Wouldn't have been, no, but he ran. You see, that was at the time they talked about John K. Rascob and the Liberty League or something in New York.
JOHN EGERTON:
Of course Talmadge had already been governor once before that. For a couple of terms.
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, he had a big group of people, very partisan people.
JOHN EGERTON:
But he lost the Senate race so then he ran again for governor.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right, then he ran later for governor and was re-elected and died before he took office.
JOHN EGERTON:
That was a horrible mess, wasn't it?
DANIEL DUKE:
Ellis Arnall was from down here at Newnan, and I knew him. When I was in college he would drive up the road there to Highway 29 and he'd pick me up there once in a while. He was, Ellis was a young lawyer, now he's about 85 or 86 years old now. But I was fearless and of course I was for Lawrence Camp. Lawrence Camp was a good fellow. He was a U.S. District Attorney here, he'd always been my friend and of course I was not too deep into the issues involved. I was always anti-Talmadge. I personally liked Gene Talmadge and Herman too, but I never was allied to that group, that was a very partisan group.
JOHN EGERTON:
Well, let me just keep you on that subject for a minute because I noticed that you were quoted in that article that I told you I saw saying that Gene Talmadge was not as wild as he'd been painted and that he was basically a pretty level-headed sensible man.

Page 9
DANIEL DUKE:
He was, yes.
JOHN EGERTON:
I would never get that impression reading the stuff that the man said and the things that he did. Was it just for show or what?
DANIEL DUKE:
A lot of it was for show. I'll give you another example. They've got a man now, he's recently had to resign from the Georgia bar because he's about 90 years old and he's senile. Named James R. Venable. The old Venable people own Stone Mountain and Jimmy still owns a lot of land out there. Jimmy was always a close friend of mine and there are things that he did to assist me that I will never reveal. He was a member of the Klu Klux Klan at that time. After we prosecuted, I was a prosecutor, we put deputy sheriffs, and people like that in the penitentiary. I alienated a lot of people even some of my own relatives, all in here, because they were pretty thick back in here. They were flogging people.
JOHN EGERTON:
Wasn't just a racial thing. They would take a white man out here and do it.
DANIEL DUKE:
The only ones we prosecuted them on except for one were white. Blacks, some of them came in and said, "We were flogged." But most of them wouldn't come in because they thought we were tied up with them. But the white people, we got them and they were flogging people. It magnifies the danger in that type of operation. They took a man named P.S. Tony who lived out in Scottdale, Georgia, and worked in the mill but he was a good man. He was in a church conflict with a man named Guffin who was a big Klan member out there. Tony was for moving the church and

Page 10
building a new one, but he wasn't a leader or anything. Guffin was opposed to any move, he belonged to the Klan. So he came from Scottdale over to East Point where the Klan Klavern met. He told them that Tony he was a Communist. Then, anybody who wanted to organize a labor union was a Communist in the minds of a lot of people.
JOHN EGERTON:
This would have been in the forties?
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, about the early forties.
JOHN EGERTON:
During the war?
DANIEL DUKE:
No, before the war. We had prosecuted him when I went to the Marine Corps after the war started. We had already prosecuted him and it had been in the Court of Appeals. That picture was made just before I went into the Marine Corps. Some of them said I shook it under his nose but the pictures didn't give him a complete . . . In the picture he was seated up there and I was way back here.
They went out then on that information, which was false, Tony didn't know anything about labor union or anything else, didn't care about it. But that's what they told the Klan and their committee met and they had to get after him so they went out with a fake warrant. They told him he was under arrest. They handcuffed his wrists to his ankles and carried him across the county lines out to East Point and flogged him. They almost killed him. Tony was a good unoffensive man, he exuded that, a loving type fellow to his family. So he came in, we indicted them all on his case along with several others.
JOHN EGERTON:
He came to you and told you this story.

Page 11
DANIEL DUKE:
Well, the way it was now, my father-in-law was city editor or editor or associate editor of the old Atlanta Georgia.
JOHN EGERTON:
Tarleton Collier.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right.
JOHN EGERTON:
That's your father-in-law?
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right.
JOHN EGERTON:
Lord have mercy.
DANIEL DUKE:
I married his only child. And Ralph McGill. Well, they talked to each other, I think. They said Ike Gaston was found dead out there where they flogged him. He was a white barber. Now the papers . . . I don't know what his people do. His nephew was sheriff over here in Carroll County, but the last account of it said he was a black barber. It, of course, was untrue. Ike was a drinker and he drank and he didn't look after his family but was a likeable fellow. The committee decided to discipline him for not looking after his family. So they carried him out there on March 3, 1940, I think. So the next morning they found his body partially frozen, it was cold, with this big whip with the Klan thing carved on it with cleats on it. When that happened Ralph McGill and Tarleton Collier, no doubt they talked, because Mr. Collier, they had run one or two hard articles on him.
Mr. Boykin, who was a good man, the last account said he had been a member of the Klan. He might have been but he was not a Klan man mentally or spiritually by any means just like a lot of others that got caught in that thing. He called me in and I remember he was a very stern fellow but I loved Mr. Boykin. He

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looked over and he said, "Duke, I'm going to give you Ernest Brewer, who's a good reporter," in other words a stenographer who had been on the Atlanta School Board but he had a drinking problem. He had stopped it and Mr. Boykin gave him a job as an investigator.
JOHN EGERTON:
Boykin was the district attorney?
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right and a good man and a powerful man.
JOHN EGERTON:
What was his first name?
DANIEL DUKE:
John A. Boykin. So Ernest and I and then he got a Captain Jordan on the county police force. He knew who to pick, he picked good people, Captain Jordan and a detective named John Carter. He said, "Captain Jordan and John Carter are going to help you. I want you to go down and call Paul Donahue who was the coroner. Paul was going to have a hearing down there in to the death of Ike Gaston. Mr. Boykin said, "I've called Paul Donahue and we don't have any right to go in there as a lawyer and ask questions. He said he'll let you come in there and let you ask some questions." There wasn't anything illegal about it. He said, "I want you to go down there and do that."
Of course, the press and all the papers were there. The Constitution and The Journal were separate papers then and The Atlanta Georgian. They had their cameras and they had everything there. Donahue put out a call that anybody that had been flogged to come to that hearing. Two or three people showed up. A fellow named Young, I'll always remember him because I was asking the questions and of course, they had the evidence of the KKK with the whip there and the pictures of Ike Gaston where they

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showed he had been beaten so severely, dead, they took it of his body. They put Young up there. Young said, "I was flogged with this whip." How do you know, Mr. Young? He said, "I can pull my britches down and I can show you the cleat marks." So he pulled his pants down right there and the cameras got him. They had a picture in the paper of his back end with those cleat marks. So that cut the thing loose.
The next day the papers . . . I did this, I remember Mr. Boykin said, "now, by gosh you told them this and it's put me on the spot and you'd better make this thing stick." I came out and we had two or three people and I said to the press—I was a young fellow and I didn't know what the hell I was doing and don't know if I would do any better now, I probably would do worse because I just let it flow out—I told them we had enough to get some indictments right then. Well, hell, we really didn't have it. I was affronted by what I saw and heard. I think it then that Mr. Boykin put Ernest Brewer with me and the police officers. I think up to that time the press hid it.
I also made a statement that the press quoted inviting anybody that had any information about floggings to come to a certain place at the courthouse and report it to me. Well, they came in, a few blacks came but most of them were white. Several whites came and they would be almost defiant and they'd say, "we don't believe you're going to do anything, we've done been down here."
One fellow in back of them was flogged over a girlfriend. He and his wife were divorced and he was living in a boarding house

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to try to pay child support. He would ride out to Eastpoint on Sunday afternoon to see this girl that he knew. He happened to get into the place where a fellow named Bryant, who had been running around with this girl—Bryant was a married man—so he got off at [inaudible] one Sunday afternoon and they grabbed him and they darn near killed him. He was a smart man. He came to the courthouse to report it. He was beat up then and he told me, "well, the man they had me reporting it to was in on the flogging. I recognized his voice, he was a tall man." So I called and wanted to know who was on that desk down there and they said it was [inaudible]. He fit the description. We wound up indicting three or four deputy sheriffs. We sent three of them to the penitentiary.
JOHN EGERTON:
This is big doings in Fulton County, wasn't it?
DANIEL DUKE:
Oh, yes, it was rough. They gave me a pistol. I never used it. I put it on the mantel. My home was up in Fairburn and I was later mayor of Fairburn. I wasn't mayor then, I was city attorney, I think, because you hold those kind of jobs, you can't do it now by statue. I still don't know if there's any great conflict of interest because all I did was advise a number of things. There wasn't much to it.
So, I hit the road and we'd investigate. I moved in on them pretty heavy. I finally got a doctor in Atlanta who had a brother who was a barber. He never had come there much but he was a pretty good fellow. Said his brother was not sleeping at night and was worried. He said he had been in some of these floggings. He didn't do any hitting but he went along. He's just worried to

Page 15
death and what can I do to help him? I said, "if he will come down here and give us everything he knows so we can hit these guys with facts." He did that and we outlined who was in which cars, which car was in the lead. See, they had a big cross on these cars, electrified. They would go through the black sections with that cross burning with their hoods on . . .
JOHN EGERTON:
Like a neon light?
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right. They would go in all these towns. Down here around Fairburn and all like that. There were a lot of people that resented the hell out of it. They didn't realize how much, even in Fairburn where there were a lot of them, sympathized with them. They thought they were going to keep the blacks in their place and were going to fight labor unions. We grabbed all the information from them. Without a warrant, I didn't ever go to the trouble to get warrants to search, I just sent them out and said get this and hell they got it.
Now, they'd probably want to put me in the penitentiary for violating Civil Rights. So we grabbed the records of the Imperial Wizard's palace. And by God, it showed that the Ford Motor Company had been subsidizing them, giving them money to fight unionization.
JOHN EGERTON:
Well, that's a good place for me to ask you a question. Here you are a young man, an attorney, taking on an organization that has a certain power in the community . . .
DANIEL DUKE:
Politically they gave me hell. I ran for district attorney, ran a hell of a good race, but all through my home section I lost it.

Page 16
JOHN EGERTON:
And it was for that reason?
DANIEL DUKE:
Why, of course the hell it was. Now those people would give me hell. Some of them today would say they'd never vote for me for anything. I put their cousin in the penitentiary, something like that. But, when they got in a jam many of them would come and hire me as their lawyer. They would say, "hire that damn fellow, he'll fight for you." That was the way it was.
JOHN EGERTON:
In your opinion was the Ku Klux Klan a poor man's organization or was it a bunch of poor men doing rich people's bidding? Who was the real power of it?
DANIEL DUKE:
I guess we can't be completely objective about anything. I can't be. People claim they are, but that's not true. I sat on the bench for many, many years and we tried to obtain objectivity and I think with training you do reach a certain degree of objectivity. But, when you come right down to it there are many subjective factors involved that we may not detect. Filtered through our intelligence are all of our social, political, emotional background, cultural background and that reflects itself in our judgments. And so trying to obtain complete objectivity, I doubt that has ever been done by anybody.
JOHN EGERTON:
I'll agree with that.
DANIEL DUKE:
It's like what Oscar Wilde said, "each painter of a portrait, if he has feeling in the sitter, he reflects his own image." I think that's true of us.
I didn't do this completely alone. I had a lot of help. A lot of people would secretly come and give me information and express their feelings about this kind of conduct. Bill

Page 17
Hartsfield was mayor of Atlanta. He was very interested in seeing that this thing was . . . One of his primary interests was to keep Atlanta with a good image. Therefore, he knew that this Klan activity would poison the image so he moved over and was terribly interested in getting them prosecuted. See, there again, you get the subjective values there. I doubt that he had much moral attitude toward it. He was a pretty well read man. Mr. Boykin and he would confer. Mr. Boykin and I were working night and day and got this information. When I got this statement from this man, I didn't let him sign a confession, I just told him, "if you'll give me everything you will never be mentioned."
JOHN EGERTON:
You agreed to protect his name?
DANIEL DUKE:
I sure did and I did. I didn't even tell Mr. Boykin. I later told him who it was and Boykin said that was a smart move. I said, "if you rely on me I'll tell you." He never was mentioned. I would take that thing and then I would call them in. I wore them out pretty well. I did things that the Federal Government today would say was wrong. I remember a little fellow named Bishop. I studied him. Bishop had an invalid son. He worked in the mill. Tall, pretty nice looking old fellow, some age. He lived over in a certain section of Eastpoint. He was poor but he kept his house. He looked after his boy and he loved his boy. About the only outlet he had was going to the Klan. He would go up when they had their meetings and he'd have fellowship with these people. Some of the neighbors of him said that Bishop's been mixed up in that thing and they'd seen him going

Page 18
up. So, I figured out that I would get Bishop, so we'd send out there after he got off work. I would say, "go out there and tell him to come in here, I want to talk to him." So, John Clarke . . . He could have told them to go to hell. They'd say go on up there, I want to talk to you. They'd bring him up there and nope he knew nothing about it. So, I brought him up two or three times and I'd say, "take him back," get him back home about eleven o'clock at night. I'd say, "go down the road and park about thirty or forty minutes, give him time to get his clothes off and get in bed and go back up there and knock on the door" and say, "we want you back." They'd do that and bring that old fellow in there. I took this document that I had with everything on it saying who was in which cars, who did the whipping. They had a fellow that would count, one, two, three, four. One side would whip on one side and one on the other. Take them with their ankles and hands cuffed together. They'd leave them there. Hell, they would struggle up.
JOHN EGERTON:
Practically beat them to death.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right. The Holiness preacher that was preaching to loud, they flogged him for preaching too loud and he said he prayed. We used as a witness, he was a pretty good fellow. He said he prayed and that was all that saved him. He put on a pretty good show for us. Grady Kent, he was a good man, but narrow minded, very, very prejudiced fellow according to my likes. It was all real to him. I'd bring them in one at a time and finally I documented all of this. I knew that one of the fellows had some money named Henry Cawthon. I had been telling

Page 19
him that Henry Cawthon and them would get by but you will be the one to go. Of course, he would think about his son and about him being a poor man. Henry drove the car.
JOHN EGERTON:
I can see how you'd really put it on them.
DANIEL DUKE:
I wasn't making any progress and I took that statement that this other fellow had given me and had somebody to sign—we never used this, there was never any intention to use it—but I created a fake confession. It had the details right but the name. We then had to sign Cawthon's name to this thing. I said, "now, I'm going to have Bishop in here and I'm going to read it over again. I would read it over to him; you were seated in such and such a place in the car. So and so was driving it. Henry Cawthon was driving the front car. The whips were in there and so and so was here. That's pretty powerful stuff for the fellow and then he'd say, "no, I don't know anything about it." So then I told him, "some of these fellows are going to get by and you'll be left holding the sack." We had that name signed on there. I said, "ya'll go out and call me and I'll leave the thing where he can read it." I would go out for fifteen or twenty minutes. Tell him to wait on me that I got a call. I'll get back and see what effect it has. So I did that.
JOHN EGERTON:
He got over there and looked at it.
DANIEL DUKE:
He looked at it and he saw Henry Cawthon's name on it. Of course, I immediately tore up the whole thing after that I had the other copies but not with the name on it. I destroyed that. Finally, he popped and he said yes. We got that confession.

Page 20
Well, I had that confession and it was a real confession. I mean hell he told it.
Then I got two others. A fellow named Floyd Lee and we didn't promise Floyd Lee anything. And a fellow named Luke Trimble. Luke was a pretty good highly respected man. Bishop, of course, I told Bishop that we'd prosecute him but we'd see that he didn't go to the penitentiary if he was cooperative. We were dealing with a conspiracy. They'd take this blood oath and hell, I don't know how you break through a thing like that unless you trick them or something. You get it open and once it opens then it begins to fall in place.
JOHN EGERTON:
How did you manage to use these confessions without having the individuals come forward? Didn't the other side say, "I want to be confronted by my accusers?"
DANIEL DUKE:
We had the individuals. We indicted Cawthon on eighteen counts and he was convicted on only two. There were a lot of people who we tried as best as we could to keep any Klan members off of the jury. But, they had such an oath, they'd lie about it. And too, they flogged a lot of sorry people, you see, in the viewpoint of a community where they believe in respect for parental rights, duties. So there were a lot of people, not the most wholesome people in the world. We got convictions in the Kent case, he was the preacher that they flogged. The Tony case, that was an egregious thing, and we got convictions in . . .
JOHN EGERTON:
What about the man that was killed?
DANIEL DUKE:
We never were able to break that. I had that one cornered with a fellow and I can't think of his name. He lived

Page 21
in Eastpoint. He was sick. They kept people down there at his house day and night. He died. We had a good case on him but before we could get him indicted he died. Well, that ended that. We never were able . . . I always thought that he came out of the crowd from Oakland City. We put a fellow named Foster and a fellow named Walden from the Oakland City Klavern in the penitentiary because they joined with some of them. I always had it pinpointed that this fellow from Eastpoint and that group were the group that killed Gaston. We never were able to do that.
On Hawthorne we had eighteen counts and eighteen different floggings and the jury convicted on two and he went to the penitentiary. He was convicted in the Kent case and in the Tony case.
JOHN EGERTON:
How many people altogether got prison terms out of all these?
DANIEL DUKE:
Thirteen.
JOHN EGERTON:
Thirteen people. From your perspective who were these people? Were they like your neighbors?
DANIEL DUKE:
The people who did the flogging?
JOHN EGERTON:
Yes, who were the powers in the Klan? Were they rich or poor folks? I don't mean rich but middle class.
DANIEL DUKE:
Let me put this in its proper perspective. There was a family, a good family of people, one of them is my neighbor up here. He didn't live in here then. He is the son of some of them. He's a fine man.
Some of them were young fellows just on a lark having a big time. They were people whose income was above the average.

Page 22
Educationally, high school, that's about all. Some of the older members of the Klan who believed in flogging people for not looking after their children, drinking too much liquor and stuff like that, they were what you'd call hard-liners that believed in this. I understand it and it has been a long time since I studied that. A lot of the people through all this region and north Georgia and North Carolina and all were Scotch-Irish people. There was a tradition of Scotch-Irish people . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

Page 23
DANIEL DUKE:
He was a deputy sheriff. He served in the courtroom. He was watching every move that was made. A fellow named Mont Aldridge was sheriff and we got him to move Scarborough. Finally, Scarborough had to resign. We didn't ever indict Scarborough because they couldn't every put him right in the middle. He tolerated this type thing. He had that viewpoint. He was a strict man, went to church on Sunday, paid his debts. He had a fine upstanding family. He believed that if a fellow would neglect his family it was better to go out here and give him a good beating and tell him to straighten up than it was to prosecute him or do something.
JOHN EGERTON:
Out of this Scotch-Irish tradition of internal enforcement of morality they saw this almost as a religious . . .
DANIEL DUKE:
I wouldn't go quite that far but there were one or two of the older people in it that tolerated it and all, that had that viewpoint. See, Warren Scarborough that I was talking about, was a man that I would believe him on almost anything. He paid his debts, he was an efficient man, he had a fine family, many of them still living here. This thing forced him out, he got out, they made him do it. There were others that I could name. They didn't sit down and direct these people. Somebody told them they could do it. It probably started out with flogging a few people that didn't live up to the moral code and then they saw the opportunity to wreak private vengeance on people. That's one of the evils of the thing. It's evil anytime

Page 24
you get outside the established system of the law, you're in deep water, because you put too much discretion and all that sort of thing.
JOHN EGERTON:
And certainly when it got to be a racial thing it got out of hand.
DANIEL DUKE:
Racial thing had a lot to do with it.
They had one old man named Allen. We convicted them on him. Allen today would be classified as having Alzheimer's Disease. He had a wife who was a vigorous woman and pretty smart and he had three or four daughters. He lived off over there somewhere and they were very poor because they had to fend for themselves. Old man Allen was not a bad fellow. He would sit outside in the sun. So these daughters were entertaining men, going in and out. Some of the neighbors said they were about like prostitutes. I don't know that they were, but in other words the neighbors said there was too much going on.
So they went over there and told old man Allen that he better stop that stuff and so, and so, and so. Allen was like a child. His daughters dominated him. He was passive. So they went over there and got that old fellow and almost killed him. It really made his wife mad. She took out after them. Of course, we couldn't use him except we used the family to show and we had a confession but he was too far gone to testify. The wife, I remember by george, she would come to every trial and she was really after them and his daughters were mad. But they [KKK] almost killed him.

Page 25
They accused a black man of insulting a white female. My God, he was a dead lead pipe cinch, you know. We figured out that there were, I think one time I figured as best we could find out through the records, you see, we grabbed all the records out there. We didn't have much but you did have about Mr. Guffin going over to tell them about Tony. We were able to put that in and show it was a damned lie, which helped enrage people. Ralph McGill was really hitting it. Furthermore, I think the old Atlanta Georgian merged with the Atlanta Journal about that time. My father-in-law went to—I don't know where he was—he was, the Courier Journal.
JOHN EGERTON:
In Louisville.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right. Ralph McGill wrote, he was really burnt it up. I remember Ralph would call me and he'd say, "What have you got?" Mr. Boykin said, "Don't talk to the press." You know he didn't want anybody talking to the press. But I recognized immediately the value of a fellow like McGill ringing that bell and frightening them to death. Ralph would call me and he'd say, "What have you got?" So after that I said "Well, I've got more than one confession." I'm not talking about that one that I got from the man whose name I wouldn't disclose. That had been torn up and I had a copy of it which outlined the facts but I've got two. But I said, "Now listen, don't you let Mr. Boykin know it, he'd get mad."
So they had Ralph down before the grand jury to know where he got his information cause he had a damn headline, editorial to back it up. Course they didn't realize it, but that's what

Page 26
helped. My God, they caved them in. Ralph McGill hitting them on one side and me grabbing them at night going over it, and then they'd read in the paper stuff that verified what I told them. It really wiped them out and so we had a lot of them coming in to make confessions. But when Floyd Lee went back on his confession, he finally repudiated it and wouldn't testify and we prosecuted him and he went to the penitentiary.
Old man Bishop, and Luke Tremple never did go. Bishop was a tall man, the papers had put his picture in the paper, it was really comical in a way. The old fellow, he looked after his child. You see, he was that type fellow. He would go to church on Sunday. It was a duality about a lot of these people.
Now there is another group, as I say the young bucks, having a big time and convincing themselves that they are doing a lot of good for the community. Then, you had another group, the Bishop crowd. Bishop as I said was a very poor man. He had no social outlet and he found a group of kindred souls and he could associate with these fellows if he put on a high economic and social plane. So he went along on that.
JOHN EGERTON:
When it came time to do the whipping, they would always find those poor guys they could put the whip in the hands of and the ones that were in the higher position, they could always if push came to shove, they could say, "Well, I didn't do the whipping."
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right. You know, I've often wondered under the law today but we didn't do that. We could have indicted some of these people for kidnapping. They went out to see this fellow

Page 27
Idson. We sent some of the deputy sheriffs to the penitentiary. Herb Idson was a tall fellow. Herb was a deputy sheriff and some of the Idson's still live out here. He would get these warrants out of the sheriff's office, he knew how to make them out. They were fake warrants. Nobody had a warrant to arrest anybody. They would get a fellow to go out with a fake warrant and they would put a thing over the license tag so they couldn't get a license number. We found two of the cloths that go over the licenses. It was easy to convince the jury that they were the ones running from the deputies at the sheriff's office because they didn't want it to appear . . . That was a conclusion, but that was a logical conclusion. There were various motivations for people being in this thing. There were a lot of people that tolerated that, that when it come out that they were some fellow because he had a personal grudge against someone would go to a Klavern and tell a lie on him and get him flogged. People that might have tolerated flogging a few blacks and a few what they call sorry white people, they got off the boat with them right quick.
People left the Klan, many of them. I remember the chief of police for the county police force came in there one day to see me and he said, "Listen, you've got something here." He said, "Let me tell you what happened. They used to put the heat on us to join. So I joined that thing one time and the first meeting after I went they had us all around a burning thing and they were giving all these lectures that were terrible. The old Koran they called it had these lectures in it. They were fiery as they

Page 28
could be. They were written by this fellow Clark from Tennessee, Eli clark. They were selling robes and stuff like that. Anyway, he said the second meeting he went to, they all had their hoods on. He said, "I was standing there and I pulled my hood off and a fellow on each side of me were men I'd arrested for burglary, and so I left and never went back." He said, "Now I didn't formally resign but I knew then that I wasn't going to fool with that crowd anymore." So you had a lot of people like that still belonged that really had left the thing, didn't intend to go back.
JOHN EGERTON:
Let me move you to just a different point in time here. After that successful prosecution, the war started and you went into the military. You came out and Ellis Arnall was governor. He got elected while you were in the service, I guess.
DANIEL DUKE:
No, just before I went in the service.
JOHN EGERTON:
In '42 or '41?
DANIEL DUKE:
I was very strong for him and most of the people in the courthouse were for Talmadge. He beat Eugene Talmadge. I was for Arnall, of course.
JOHN EGERTON:
Was that in the fall of '41 or of '42. That would have been '41 wouldn't it? And he took office in '42 that Arnall got elected.
DANIEL DUKE:
I don't know.
JOHN EGERTON:
Well, I can check that.
DANIEL DUKE:
I know that I went in the Marine Corps in September '41.
JOHN EGERTON:
And he won in that primary.

Page 29
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, he won. And Ellis called me and said, "Listen, I'm gonna be governor, so what do you want?" I said, "Well, Ellis is not anything that you can give me because I'm going to the Marine Corps." I said, however, "There is a good friend of mine who is an investigator down there, John Boykin, he's a young lawyer. His name is Bill Spence. He would make you a hell of a good man as head of the bureau of investigation for the state." I had carried Bill to see Ellis during the campaign before he was elected. Bill was from up around Alpharetta, the north end of the county, he worked for Ellis and Ellis knew it. So I said, "I would like to see you do something." Well, he appointed Bill Spence to be director of the GBI. And he went on and during the Arnall administration and he finally became the head of the whole bureau.
When I came back, I wasn't successful in the Marine Corps. I'd been thrown from a horse and under the intense training they'd given me, I had developed blood in my kidney. They would send me out there to the officer school and they'd take me over to the hospital. Finally, they'd let me out on a Form Y, as they called it. So I was in there about four months.
JOHN EGERTON:
So you came back to Atlanta.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right, I came back and Ellis gave me a job with Gene Cook. I went over to help Gene for a while and Grady Head went to Supreme Court and Gene Cook was made Attorney General and of course Gene swore me in right after that as assistant attorney general.

Page 30
JOHN EGERTON:
And you stayed in that job all the way through the administration?
DANIEL DUKE:
Well, about two years because two years had expired by that time.
JOHN EGERTON:
I see, this would have been about '43 or so and you stayed until the end of his term.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's right. Talmadge got elected by beating Jimmy Carmichael on the old unit system. Jimmy got 40,000 more votes than Talmadge but in the unit system Talmadge won it. I knew my days were numbered there. I had the first office as you come in. Talmadge was not a bad fellow. Where did you read that? I never saw anything like that?
JOHN EGERTON:
It was in the journal in 1981. It must have been about the time that you retired. There was a fairly long story about you, I saw a clipping of it in the Historical Society. That's where I saw it yesterday.
DANIEL DUKE:
Well, I've always said that Talmadge appealed to a certain group, but I was telling you about Venable who was the head of it. Venable the lawyer. His public image is that he would have liked to seen the Jews burned and tortured and all that. There is not a kindlier fellow in the world than Jimmy Venable. He represented black people for nothing. My God, but he would let them meet. He organized one of the very splinter groups. We took their [the Klan's] national charter, Ellis Arnall and I led that thing. So that meant they didn't have a national charter. Well, David Duke, who when Alabama was over one of them.

Page 31
JOHN EGERTON:
Not any kin to you is he?
DANIEL DUKE:
Not any relation of mine. I kid my boys, you know that Paul Duke is on the air and Dr. Redd Duke on that thing, and David Duke. I said, "Damn if the Duke boys aren't taking over." I said, "There is your cousin Paul and cousin Redd and your cousin David." No, not any of them kin to me. [laughter]
JOHN EGERTON:
You took the main boys and even in the . . .
DANIEL DUKE:
[inaudible] Scott was in. The old man Hiram Evans, you see, was the Imperial Wizard.
JOHN EGERTON:
Dr. Evans, they called him. Ya'll fought him all through that administration one way or another it seemed like.
DANIEL DUKE:
Well, yes, and I'll tell you something else. One night Tarleton Collier, that was right after this Ku Klux thing started, and when they flogged them and put me in charge of it. My wife and I were attending a dance or something at the old Henry Grady Hotel. Collier got the tipoff that the Klan was going to march that night and do this, that and the other. They were feeling their oats then. We had just started this, you see. So he called down there and had me come to the phone. He said, "when ya'll get out of that thing somebody will pick ya'll up. The Klan is going to be down there and they could be trying to pull something. I just don't want to see ya'll hurt." So they marched but they weren't going to do anything to me, I knew that. I would be the last one in the world they could affort to . . . but anyway, that's about the last march they had. They came on down the street putting on this display. [inaudible] and Ralph McGill hitting it and Collier was writing it.

Page 32
JOHN EGERTON:
You were already married to his daughter by then?
DANIEL DUKE:
Oh, yeah, I had been married, we married right after I finished college. Hell, yes, we had been married several years.
JOHN EGERTON:
When you were assistant attorney general and Arnall was still the governor but it was towards the end of his term when all that trouble, you know, when Herman was going to run . . .
DANIEL DUKE:
Well, he didn't run. His daddy won the race and died in Jacksonville before he could take office.
JOHN EGERTON:
That's right. Then Herman decided that he was the heir attorney.
DANIEL DUKE:
See, they knew old man Gene was in dying condition. They called Telfair County where he lived and they had a bunch of votes for Herman on the ballot. That was the wedge that they could get this thing before the legislature to elect him.
JOHN EGERTON:
In other words, they created a candidacy for him.
DANIEL DUKE:
They had it. They claimed he got six or seven hundred votes, write-in votes for governor. On that basis, they said that since his daddy was dead he would be the governor. Well, of course, the lieutenant governor thing, that was the first election they had. The constitution had been changed for the lieutenant governor to take over because of the governor's disability. But it didn't say anything about what happened if the governor died between the time he was elected and time he took office. So they got in between that hoping that they could say that Talmadge had the votes and therefore his son . . . Well, the legislature went along with that and they put him in—the legislature—said that Herman was the Governor. They came

Page 33
down there and took the doors off the governor's office and they were sitting back there.
JOHN EGERTON:
Ellis was still official.
DANIEL DUKE:
Oh, yes, he was the governor then.
JOHN EGERTON:
Until the inauguration, that's right. I remember that day because I was somewhere at Emory University for something and that night Mrs. Fellows, who was secretary for the governor, said, "we want you to be over here. The governor is in his office and he is not going to leave and we think there is going to be trouble. These people are coming in from all over the state, what we call the wool hat boys. They are out in the halls cussing and raising Cain." Ellis had told them he wasn't going to give it over. He turned the governorship over to Thompson. She said, "we want you, we've called several people. We would like to have you over here to be around." So I left and came and I remember as I came up the steps and came into the rotunda of the capitol there were a bunch of these fellows. Some of them said, "there's that Duke son of a bitch." I went on in the governor's office. The word came down from the legislature that they had elected Herman. The way it was, they framed this thing was, the highest two people would have to run it out in the legislature. So the way they got Herman in before the thing was to say he got these few votes in Telfair County. They later said that a lot of names were taken off of people that had been buried. Anyway, the legislature on that basis elected him. They came down to claim the office. I remember Roy Harris was Speaker of the House. I was in the front office. They had a tree that

Page 34
they had cut down and they were all holding it to knock the door down if they had too. They were throwing liquor bottles against the walls. I was in there along with a lot of other people.
JOHN EGERTON:
This would have been in 1945 if I'm not mistaken.
DANIEL DUKE:
That's probably right.
JOHN EGERTON:
What time of year would it have been?
DANIEL DUKE:
It was January. I would not be an assistant attorney general I knew after that day. I was in there and they came in there and they had this battering ram but they didn't do it. Somebody knew how to take the things off the hinges. They knocked that door down and they poured in there. They went in there and they didn't assault Ellis Arnall but they moved him out of his desk and put Herman in. Ellis went out in the rotunda and said he would preside as governor there and that he had the duty to stay on as governor until Thompson took the oath or the court said for him to move out. So Herman went in and moved into the Governor's Mansion and stayed in there about ninety days. Of course, the case was already framed, they knew what to do.
JOHN EGERTON:
Arnold moved out of the mansion, too.
DANIEL DUKE:
Oh, yes, he had moved out two or three days before because he knew he was gone. Anyway, the mansion was empty. They didn't have to throw anybody out.
JOHN EGERTON:
Is that building still there on the Prado?
DANIEL DUKE:
No, I think it's some condos over there now. See, old man Talmadge when he was Governor moved a cow up there to graze it in the front yard. [laughter] He was funny in a way. He wasn't near as bad as they made out. Hell, he was a reasonable

Page 35
man. You could talk to him and all. He didn't pardon the floggers, you see. They put this in there, well, this is the reason I answered this thing this way, Talmadge said when we shook those whips down there and I remember I said that you track a bull elephant through soft mud with this thing. Of course, they had the cameras set up there. Now, I know what caused it but I didn't know then, I didn't go over there with any plan to get pictures. I was doing what John Boykin and them told me to do. I later found out who it was that tipped them and told them, because he made a suggestion that I take the whips over there.
JOHN EGERTON:
Who was that?
DANIEL DUKE:
Bill Hartsfield.
JOHN EGERTON:
The mayor did?
DANIEL DUKE:
The mayor called John Boykin and he said, "send that young fellow over there. Tell him to take those whips and keep them wrapped, and at the right moment, show Talmadge." So Boykin called me in and said do that. So I wrapped them.
Hartsfield was a master of publicity, he knew how to do it. So, I am sure he called the press and said, "be set because they're gonna shake those whips at the governor." So they were ready for them. A lot of people thought that was staged by me and all that and I think some fellow in a little old newspaper said that I set all that up there. That's a bunch of crap, I didn't even have any understanding about it and didn't care anything about it. I'm sure Hartsfield and Boykin decided that that would be it. Boykin knew it would be powerful that way, but Hartsby understood the publicity value of it. Talmadge didn't do

Page 36
it but in the process after we showed him that, Talmadge said, "yeah, I was in a flogging one time." Didn't mean that he had whipped anybody, but he was along. Well, since then the press has picked it up now. They didn't do it right then but as time goes on they say Talmadge admitted he was a flogger and they stop right there. They told me that, thinking, I guess, I would want to and I said, "well, Talmadge wasn't a flogger, he never belonged to the Klan." He was not that type of fellow. He talked big like Venable.
Venable would have these meetings. He started up a little Klan and had his own group. He would have a yearly meeting out there at Stone Mountain where they would burn a cross up until a year or two ago. They would come from North Carolina, Alabama. They would have their own private Klan, but they would come here to that thing. He built a little old building down in his pasture. Venable would talk big about the Jews and all that crap. You would think he was a bloodthirsty man and he was a gentle fellow if I ever saw one.
But this facade they put on and Venable—I was in Paris with my wife after the thing was over, of course many years after that Venable had been up in Ohio. There was a Klansman making a speech about what they ought to do to the Jews. He was after the Jews and the blacks. Just raising hell. That stuff in print looked like he was advocating a bloodthirsty orgy of some kind.
When I picked up The Herald Tribune, which I would get every morning, published in Paris, pretty good paper. I looked in there and on one side about three columns there was Venable and a

Page 37
headline about the Jews, the Klan and all that. Of course they were an infinitesimal group then. On the other side though was Martin Luther King, Jr., which the impact of both stories being this way was that we were just in this country fixing to blow wide open. I read it and I said to Francis, my wife, "Francis, look here. Martin Luther King across this half of the paper and Jimmy Venable on the other. I bet you this story about Venable made about a paragraph in the Atlanta papers, probably not much more than that anywhere else. And Martin Luther King might have made it in the black press, The Atlanta Daily World and Pittsburgh Courier or some of them and The Chicago Defender. But I said he probably didn't even get mentioned in there." I said, "I'm going to write somebody and tell them to get those back issues and save them for me because I want to see. People over here reading this and think the country is fixing to blow up with racial tension and turmoil. And it's just as calm and placid as you please."
Sure enough, that's the way it was. With Venable, to know him and to see him, I've had in my court, I like the guy. He helped me during the Klan thing. He belonged, you see. He didn't like this thing, beating people, and he wasn't that kind of fellow. He carries the name today, some of the Jewish people in Atlanta just shutter when you mention his name.
I know a Jewish lawyer, a woman lawyer, she's a millionairess, she talks to me all the time, she's eighty some years old, a nice lady. She just shakes when you mention Venable's name and I say, "Mildred, Venable is good-hearted. He

Page 38
has helped black people, anybody, Jewish people. He would go into court."
JOHN EGERTON:
I guess that part of the reason for that is just say, for example, if you were black and you lived in Monroe, for example, you'd never get it out of your mind about that time they lynched those four people over there.
DANIEL DUKE:
Well, certainly not. The indignity of branding someone. It's an insensitive thing. It shows you the bifurcation, you might it, the attitude of many people, not only in the South. I found this out that it's up in Michigan and places like that. There are people, a lot of them are these fundamentalist Christians. They go to church on Sunday, they give money to charity, they go out if somebody dies, if somebody is poor they help them. And yet they stigmatize people that are a little different than they are. It's hard to explain all of that.
My son by my second wife—my first, Tarleton Collier's daughter, died when I was about forty-seven years old—I remarried a very much younger person and she was from down in here. She's got a brother. She's a bright woman and we were together and had three children right quick. After about eight or nine years I was so much older and had nothing in common with her we divorced. It was friendly in a way and then she remarried a fellow and went to Michigan. I didn't like that, I tried to keep my kids here and of course, they came to me as soon as they could. In fact, I got a note from her today. My brother died and she sent a card. She's got a brother whose a chief

Page 39
electrician at the Ford Plant on all these computers and all that. He is a strict Baptist and I would say he's a redneck, even though he is a high income man. He goes to church every Sunday and all that.
My son, the oldest one, is fixing to marry this girl who went to Allegheny College and in England, she's an underwriter here. My son is supervisor of Equivax, claims department. Well, he's assistant manager now. They just promoted him. He's a pretty liberal fellow, of course, a college man. He and Beth were over to see their grandmother, who's a friend with me, my wife's parents. Wayne is a pretty good fellow. So they were talking to Wayne and Wayne said, "hell he wasn't going to vote for Andy Young." Beth, Dan's friend, said she was going to vote for Andy Young. Daniel and she voted for him.
I didn't vote for him because I didn't think he had a chance and I didn't think it was good for Georgia at this particular time knowing how these rural counties are. It would have been a lot of turmoil here. That's an aspect of it that a lot of people feel like I felt. My real reason, I think Andy Young was probably a more capable man than the man they got but I didn't think he would have been good at this time.
Beth said that she was going to vote for Andy Young. Daniel kept quiet and Wayne said this, and Daniel got mad and told him off and got after him real strong. Wayne said he was a nigger lover. Oh, God, that made Daniel, Jr., mad.
[laughter]
He came home telling me about it and I said, "well, hell, I wouldn't have

Page 40
gotten in a discussion with Wayne about anything like that because I know where he is coming from."
Venable puts on that act and he had made a speech in Ohio that made the front page of The Herald Tribune and everybody in Europe thought we were fixing to blow up over here.
JOHN EGERTON:
Were you still in the Attorney General's office when that quadruple lynching happened over there in Monroe?
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, I was.
JOHN EGERTON:
Can you tell me some of the background of that?
DANIEL DUKE:
I don't know any of the background of it. See, we had no jurisdiction in a thing like that. Old man John Boykin, I remember, was living. Just before he died he called me. Bill Spence was head of the state patrol, both of us worked for him. He said, "ya'll get him over there on that thing and go after them." I didn't argue with him but I knew we couldn't.
But I did this. The people over there thought we had some legal authority in the matter. I would get in the office early in the morning. At that time the Attorney General's office, Gene Cook was a nice fellow but he drank a lot of liquor. I was first assistant and we had a lot of people that were appointed and they didn't come to work on time. We had two or three that were work horses. I would get in about eight o'clock every morning to get the work lined up and get busy. I remember that I had just gotten in the office and a telephone call came in from Monroe. Said, "ya'll better get over here and get to doing something. They have killed four people down here." They went on to say how

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bad it was. I said I would take this information and give it to the attorney general when he gets in.
I picked up the phone and by that time I was beginning to realize what a powerful thing the press is when they open things up. So, I called The Journal cuase I knew The Constitution, the morning paper . . . I called The Journal and I got the managing editor, Jones, and I said, "this is Daniel Duke, Assistant Attorney General and I'm going to give ya'll a tip but I'm not telling you that because we're involved," I said, "the Attorney General doesn't have any jurisdiction in this matter. The state patrol may have if the sheriff of the county and some of them call on the governor to put them in there." But I said, "we don't have any jurisdiction, I purely giving this as a friend. Ya'll may want to get somebody over to Monroe right quick." He said, "what is it?" I said, "well, they brutally killed four people over there and it's a racially motivated thing. I just got a call from Monroe and I'm letting you know it." So he picked up and sent somebody over there and hell they had a headline big and that really blew it.
The Journal people for many years were thankful to me for giving them that tip. They didn't say I had reported it because I told them, I said, "this is not an official thing but it's been a hell of note, it's probably a hell of a story over there." I had studied journalism in college and I had worked kind of as an extra man. Talmadge put the state under martial law.
JOHN EGERTON:
On that occasion?

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DANIEL DUKE:
No, this was way before that. That was my newspaper experience. They had a fellow over there that wanted to . . . everybody knew what he was going to do. They had their uniforms all laid out, they were going to throw the director of the highway board out. They gave me two or three dollars a day to watch it and that was as near as I ever came to being a news reporter. One of the reporters couldn't be in two or three places at one time. So later that day, by God, it happened. They put on their uniforms and went in there and took him out, threw him out. I didn't get to report it because by that time Talmadge had issued the order . . .
JOHN EGERTON:
But on this occasion, though, the state attorney general had no jurisdiction to investigate?
DANIEL DUKE:
No, the attorney general represents the executive offices of the state. As a matter of courtesy he gave legal opinions to the counties in Georgia but he didn't have really any responsibility. He represented the state of Georgia in appeals on capital cases. I remember I used to write for, from all over state. He had no jurisdiction and doesn't to this glad hour. That's a local proposition. The GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, now has broader powers. They can go in, but then they have to get a request for something. You see, if you have a murder in a country the attorney general doesn't have anything to do with it. Now, in some states I think they do, but not in Georgia.

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JOHN EGERTON:
In that particular case the investigation was done by the local district attorney and then the US Justice Department came into it.
DANIEL DUKE:
I never knew anything about what it was. Marshall Pollock was the solicitor general district attorney. He was a nice fellow.
JOHN EGERTON:
Is he still living?
DANIEL DUKE:
I doubt it. Marshall has been out of office for a long time. I don't know whether he was the district attorney. I think a fellow named West, who later became judge, was the district attorney, what would be the district attorney at that time.
I do remember some time later they had a big fracas and I represented a black man over there that they accused of burning a bunch of churches. They had him indicted for murder. He threw gas on his stepdaddy they said and set him on fire, named Grimes and he was nut. And hell, he did it. But they were about to lynch him or something over there. I went over there to try to save his life and I did. Some of the black people in Atlanta raised funds and paid me. I went over there and Marshall Pollock was a very reasonable man. I remember the crowd, the mob, was out there and they hit me in the chest when I went in the courthouse. I raised the issue, no blacks in the grand jury and I was able by raising that issue . . . It never went up because I talked to Marshall and I said, "well, Marshall, we're own our way and it will take us two or three years." He said, "yes, it will be very expensive." I said, "now, what can we do? Can we

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give him three or four years or commit him?" He said, "no, I can't do that but I will be reasonable." I plead him guilty and got all the cases out of the way for a five year sentence. He served about two years and they let him out. Hell, he did it and they isn't any doubt about that.
JOHN EGERTON:
In this other case, though, they never did . . .
DANIEL DUKE:
I don't think they did. They never could find out. But I asked Marshall, "Marshall, did ya'll ever get any real information on who killed these people?" I think he told me and I'm not sure about this and I don't want to be quoted this. I think he said, "well, it's generally knownts over here, they think they know who did it." They never were able to get sufficient information to indict them and prosecute. So that was the end of that.
I don't even remember today what they claimed these people did, how they offended the public's attitude toward the thing. I know it was right after Talmadge had won the election. He used the racial thing pretty heavy and it created a climate of opinion that justified this type of conduct. I remember I was in New York with a group up there. The press interviewed me and I stated, "that nobody would say that Talmadge was personally involved in these killings but the way he conducted campaign created a climate of opinion that justified it." Old man, some of the Talmadge people resented the hell out of that.
He had a fellow that drove for him and he was a pretty good friend of mine. He died after that. But they were in Texas and this little fellow that drove for him. He and his brother killed

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a man when they were about seventeen years old and they served in the penitentiary and Talmadge pardoned them. One of them was a good fellow, he married a judge's daughter. They were just kids when they got in this trouble. The other twin brother later became warden of a convict camp and the other one drove for Talmadge. He was with Talmadge in Texas.
A pretty good friend of mine, Ed, I think, told me that Talmadge read that in a San Antonio paper. Talmadge told him, said, "you know, this thing is going to get worse and worse about this racial thing. Look here, look what this young man has said." Ed told me that he didn't say anything and didn't argue with the old man because the old fellow didn't like him. He said I was exactly right, they created the climate on the pendulum.
END OF INTERVIEW