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Sam Bowers Papers

Identifier: M538

Scope and Contents

The Sam Bowers Papers contain correspondence, documents, media, and essays relating to Samuel Holloway Bowers, Jr. Box 1, Folders 1-19, contain general and personal correspondence between Bowers and fellow members of the Klan, Congressmen, and various others. Folders 20-27 are comprised of documents relating to Bowers’ occupation at the Sambo Amusement Company, his convictions, and his social involvement in Laurel and the surrounding area. Folder 28 contains six floppy disks pertaining to Bowers, and folders 29-34 hold Bowers’ writings. Boxes 2 and 3 contain Bowers’ essays and responses to various topics.

Bowers used several pseudonyms throughout his writings. Those found in the collection include J. Worthington Bancroft, J. Randall Hankins, R. Bennland Johnson, and Clyde Champion James.


  • Creation: 1968
  • Creation: circa 1986-2006


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Samuel Holloway Bowers, Jr, was born August 25, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Samuel Bowers, Sr. and Evangeline Peyton Bowers. After attending high school in Jackson, Mississippi, he opened a small pinball and vending machine business in Laurel called Sambo Amusement Company. Bowers co-founded the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1964, and he was convicted of the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman in 1967. Released from prison in 1976, he was again convicted in 1998 for the 1966 murder of Vernon Dahmer and sentenced to life in prison. He died at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman Farm) in 2006.


1.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The Sam Bowers) Sam Papers include the correspondence and writings of Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard and convicted murderer, Samuel Holloway Bowers, Jr. Bowers’ correspondence contains information concerning the Ku Klux Klan, as well as Bowers’ personal religiosity and philosophy. The writings in the collection are on a variety of topics, including the Medgar Evers assassination and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. The collection is of particular interest for researchers studying secret societies, the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, and the philosophical perspectives of anti-Civil Rights leaders.


The collection is arranged into four series and divided by the following subjects: correspondence, documents, media, and writings.


Purchased from Jason Nix, 2011.

Related Materials

M99 Citizens Council/Civil Rights Collection

M250 Vernon F. Dahmer Collection

M410 Robert B. Helfrich Papers

M416 “The Ku Klux Klan in Jones County” by Eleanor B. Lang


Lee, Jennifer S. “Samuel Bowers, 82, Klan Leader, Convicted in Fatal Bombing, Dies.” The New York Times. 06 November 2006.

Marsh, Charles. God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Wexler, Stuart. “Mississippi Burning Killings: Religious Terrorism?” Clarion-Ledger. 08 July 2014.

Sam Bowers Papers
Collection processed and finding aid written by Jonathan Puckett
07 May 2019
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001