BATON ROUGE, La., /PRNewswire/ — Journalist and award-winning television host Dianne Andrews’ investigative journey began at the LSU Cold Case Project through the 2008 Emmett Till Cold Case Act, inspired by a Klansman’s daughter seeking forgiveness for her father’s hate crimes and unsolved murders perpetrated by the Silver Dollar Group (SDG) of the Ku Klux Klan against Black people during the 1950s – 1970s.
Andrews’ documentary also exposes corruption and the December 9, 1964, murder of Ferriday shoe repair shop owner Frank Morris, who was murdered by arson, being barricaded in his business because he refused to repair the shoes of Ferriday Deputy Sherrif Frank DeLaughter for free any longer.
Known as the most heinous sect with only 15 to 20 members, SDG terrorized northeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. For her documentary writer /producer Andrews won the Audience Choice Award for “Silver Dollar Group, Ku Klux Klan” on July 30, 2023, at the National Whistleblowers Summit and Film Festival.
“My purpose was to seek justice and support forgiveness,” said Andrews. “Tremendous progress has been made in the past 50 years in racial relations with much more to be done. These victims and heroes’ legacies must not be forgotten.”
Andrews is working on her 6th book, has written and produced several documentaries capturing the attention of movie production companies, but says this one is the most important to date.
The Silver Dollar Group didn’t burn crosses or wear white hoods. Their symbol was a silver dollar that each member carried representing their birth year. Their drownings used barbed wire to hold the bodies down. They are credited with killing 7 black men and one white man because of his relationships with Blacks.
Andrews saw an article in The Advocate newspaper on Debra Taylor, daughter of SDG leader Sonny Taylor, seeking to locate victims and ask for forgiveness for her father’s actions. Andrews was moved to investigate and began searching for victims, like David Whatley, who was the first Black student to desegregated Ferriday High School, now a disabled veteran, who at the time he entered the school was assaulted, kicked, spat on, and pushed. Andrews took Whatley back for the first time in 50 years.
Whately recounted how Sonny Taylor and the SDG planted a bomb under his grandmother’s home with he, his grandmother, and a leader in The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Roy Innis, inside. The bomb failed to detonate, and they were sparred.
For the documentary, Andrews arranged a surprise meeting for Whatley and Taylor. In a heartfelt tearful conversation, Taylor asks Whatley for forgiveness for her father’s evil actions. He humbly accepted, saying she was not responsible for her father’s evil deeds.
A series of viewing events are now being planned to share the film. This documentary, Andrew’s biography, and links to her catalog of projects can be found at www.allofDianneAndrews.com.
SOURCE Dianne Andrews