Title: Oral History Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990. Interview A-0366.
Interviewer: Egerton, John
Interviewee: Duke, Daniel
Subjects: Lynching--Georgia--Monroe Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
Abstract: Daniel Duke was born in Palmetto, Georgia, in 1915, where his family had deep historical roots predating the Civil War as a landowning family. In the 1930s, Duke attended Oglethorpe University and Emory Law School. In the late 1930s, he became the solicitor general (the equivalent of an assistant district attorney) of Fulton County, Georgia. In this capacity, Duke presided over a prominent case against the Ku Klux Klan. In 1940, the flogging and subsequent death of Ike Gaston prompted an investigation into the Klan and its history of flogging. Duke helped to build the case against the Klan. Here, he explains how he was able to garner confessions and information from Klan members. Ultimately, Duke was responsible for the conviction of thirteen Klan members for the flogging of several people. In describing this process, Duke sheds light on the nature of the Klan in that area during the 1930s and 1940s. Although he acknowledges racial motivations often prompted the Klan's actions, this specific case primarily involved the flogging of whites. Through Duke's description, the Klan emerges as an organization that not only persecuted African Americans, but also as one that punished whites who failed to live up to the Klan's conception of morality. Duke also describes the Georgia gubernatorial election of 1945, his tenure as the assistant attorney general of Georgia from 1944 to 1946, and his reaction to the lynching of four African Americans in Monroe, Georgia.