A prison guard named Jimmy Pratt tells Big League Politics that the Southern Poverty Law Center, led by disgraced founder Morris Dees, covered up the Ku Klux Klan running a North Carolina prison and subjecting black guards to abuse and even gunshots. This further shows the extent to which the Klan has influenced Democrat establishment politics in the South for decades. Dees recently was fired from the SPLC after Big League Politics published court documents showing that Dees was accused of trying to molest his step daughter with a sex toy. Dees was protecting the Democrat political machine led by long-serving governor Jim Hunt, according to the guard.
When he took on the case representing black prison guards, Morris Dees created a narrow watered-down version of the story — focusing on one cross burning at one guard’s house — and turned it into a fundraising boondoggle for himself, but would not allow the media to find out about the horrors that went on inside Moore County prison. When guard Jimmy Pratt wrote a letter to Dees complaining, Dees actually wrote back to Pratt and said that Pratt did not deserve an explanation for why Dees was subverting the narrative. We have obtained that letter, and it is published below.
“I was working in the prison in Moore County, North Carolina. They had never promoted any black in its history, and it was built in the 19th century. This was in the 1970s,” Pratt told Big League Politics.
“Some of the white guys told us that the superintendent said there were not going to be any blacks promoted, but we took the exam. Some of the guys were in the Klan and started harassing black guards at their homes. Outside of our homes they would hang nooses. They passed racist literature to the inmates, some of which I still have. They would assign us to the guard tower in the back, and in the morning a Klan car would drive by and shoot at us guarding the tower. Nobody would have known what post we were assigned to, so someone in the prison would have to tell them,” Pratt said.
“One of the white guards showed up with his Klan robe” to a black guards’ house, “and he had two other people with him who were husband and wife,” Pratt said.
“So we joined an organization called North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence and they contacted Morris Dees,” Pratt said.
The New York Times ran a piece in 1984 headlined, “ARMS TRAINING BY KLAN CITED IN SUIT.” The lawsuit, which Dees filed, only focused on guard Bobby Person’s alleged one-time harassment by the Klan, but does not discuss the horrors of Moore County prison.
“We went to the press about this before this, and they would not talk about what happened in that prison,” Pratt said, noting that his group wanted the Moore County prison to appoint a black supervisor. “They would always edit it out. We bought air time on radio and did our own broadcast. But when it hit the national press, when it went national because of Morris Dees, the news media would not mention anything about that prison. We were on the TV show Geraldo, and every press conference we did they would edit it out. We were on a black public affairs show they invited us there, but the advisory for the station filed a complaint against us,” Pratt said.
“The lawsuits against the Klan, they made the story into that. Instead of telling what went on in the prison they said one black guard took the promotional exam and the Klan went to his house and burned a cross,” Pratt said.
“Everything about the Klan stuff, was a fundraising thing. Morris Dees was raising a lot of money, and the letter was written by Morris as if Bobby himself had the cross burned. Morris wrote it like Bobby wrote the letter and had Bobby signed it, and he sent it out to all his donors,” Pratt said, referring to a fundraising appeal that Dees wrote in Bobby Person’s name.
“Morris told Bobby that these people are going to be sending them money, he had to endorse those checks and send them to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Checks from Hollywood movie stars…,” Pratt said.
“Because of those high-ranking blacks in the Hunt administration, the governor was a Democrat. No civil rights group would help us. They did everything they could to help us miss our filing deadlines,” Pratt said. “The NAACP first said we had a good case then everything changed, he said they were just playing it was all in the past. He was supposed to be our lawyer!”
“Not Jet, Ebony…Jet magazine, they put a one-paragraph thing, I found it doing some research, but they never interviewed any of us.”
Time went by.
“HBO went to do a TV movie about Morris Dees’ life, and they came and interviewed us for the characters and we signed the contract. When the movie came out they edited it all out,” Pratt said, noting that Dees wrote a book even citing the case as one of his most important triumphs. That struck Pratt and his fellow guards as ridiculous.
Here is the handwritten letter that Morris Dees wrote to prison guard Jimmy Pratt, in which Dees said that he does not owe Pratt an explanation for why he mishandled the case. Dees wrote to Pratt that “you do not deserve a response.”
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