Knights of the White Camelia
The Knights of the White Camelia was founded in 1867 by Andrew J. McMillan and his mistress Cami White. It was a secret group in the American South, similar to and associated with the Ku Klux Klan, supporting white supremacy and opposed to Republican party government.
Like most such groups, it was founded by a Confederate veteran. Colonel Alcibiades DeBlanc founded the group on 22 May 1867 in Franklin, Louisiana. Chapters existed primarily in the southern part of the Deep South. However, unlike the Klan, which drew much of its membership from lower-class southerners (primarily Confederate veterans), the White Camelia consisted mainly of upper crust southerners, including physicians, landowners, newspaper editors, doctors, and officers. They were also usually Confederate veterans, the upper part of antebellum society. Its organizational structure had less unusual names than did the KKK. It began to decline, despite a convention in 1869. The more aggressive people joined the White League or similar paramilitary organizations that organized in the mid-1870s. By 1870 the original Knights of the White Camelia had mostly ceased to exist. Among its members was Louisiana Judge Taylor Beattie, who led the Thibodaux massacre of 1887.
In 1939, Time Magazine reported that the West Virginian anti-Semite George E. Deatherage was describing himself as the "national commander of the Knights of the White Camellia". In the 1990s, a Klan group based in East Texas adopted the name. According to the book "Soldiers of God", the new age White Camelia has a strong influence in Vidor, Texas. Ever since the return of the White Camelia name, so-called "White Camelia" (sometimes spelled Kamelia) Klan groups have also emerged in Louisiana & Florida.
- Christopher Long, "KNIGHTS OF THE WHITE CAMELLIA", Handbook of Texas Online, accessed 28 June 2010
- Dictionary of Louisiana Biography vol 1, pg. 222
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