Stetson Kennedy

Southern Exposure Contributor

We tend to think of Stetson Kennedy as a sort of godfather, from whose pioneering book Southern Exposure we got not only our name but a number of excerpts which have appeared in our pages. Kennedy was part of the brave band of Southerners who stormed the ramparts in the ’30s and ’40s under such standards as the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, Southern Negro Youth Congress, Highlander Folk School and the CIO’s Operation Dixie. The bulk of his papers reflecting those decades of struggle were recently acquired by the Archive of Southern Labor History at Georgia State University. He spent more than a decade as an undercover agent inside the KKK, and the evidence he gathered not only appeared in his book The Klan Unmasked, but he was also used to good advantage by public prosecutors and journalists such as Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson. Another Kennedy book, Jim Crow Guide to the USA (Greenwood Press), is probably the most complete record of “the way it was” when segregation was an integral aspect of American life. He is now finishing off a documentary book to be entitled After Appomattox: How the South Won the War. (1980)

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