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Ira Grupper and Bob Beech Civil Rights Collection

Identifier: M555

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the Klan recruitment poster nailed to a tree on the Vernon Dahmer property in 1965, as well as photocopies of two envelopes addressed to Grupper that are examples of the mail-tampering of the sixties. Also in the collection is an article by Ira Grupper from March 2002 called “The Fairgrounds Motel,” which details his and other activists’ imprisonment in Mississippi in June 1965.


  • Majority of material found within 1960s
  • 2002


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

Ira Grupper was a member of the research staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s and Rev. Robert L. “Bob” Beech was Director of the Hattiesburg Ministers Union from 1964 to 1966. The Union was part of a national effort of ministers from all over the United States who volunteered under the auspices of the National Council of Churches to assist African Americans in the South to register to vote. In the spring of 1965 Mr. Grupper and Rev. Beech visited Vernon Dahmer at his home in the Kelly Settlement just north of Hattiesburg. Mr. Dahmer, an African American businessman, was a prominent civil rights leader whom the Ku Klux Klan frequently threatened. At the time of their visit, the Klan had nailed to a tree on the Dahmer property a 10x13 red, white, and blue poster of an Uncle Sam figure pointing at the viewer with the caption “The Klan Wants You!” Mr. Dahmer gave the poster to Mr. Grupper and Rev. Beech. Mr. Grupper preserved the poster and presented it to the USM Archives in June 1999, when he attended the University’s 35th anniversary in commemoration of Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964. In January 1966, Vernon Dahmer was killed when his house was firebombed by the Klan. Ira Gupper moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1969. Rev. Bob Beech died in 2008.


4 Items (1 Oversized Folder) : MC2/D19

Language of Materials



The Ira Grupper and Bob Beech Civil Rights Collection contains a Klan recruitment poster as well as information on Grupper’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This collection is of particular interest to researchers studying the Civil Rights Movement, the Ku Klux Klan, Vernon Dahmer, and Mississippi history.


This collection consists of one oversized folder.

Related Materials

Historical Manuscript Collections M365 and M328 contain letters and other materials written by Rev. Bob Beech. M250, the Dahmer Collection, directly relates to the Klan poster located in this collection. M351 contains photographs of Rev. Beech and other activists.

M250 Vernon F. Dahmer Collection

M328 Jill Wakeman Goodman Civil Rights Collection

M351 Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs

M365 Rabbi David Z. Ben-Ami Papers


M555, Ira Grupper and Bob Beech Civil Rights Collection, Historical Manuscripts, Special Collections, The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.

For other sources, see External Documents below.


Donated by Mr. Ira Grupper and Rev. Bob Beech.
Ira Grupper and Bob Beech Civil Rights Collection
Collection processed and finding aid written by Jonathan Puckett
27 August 2019
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001