Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

March 19, 2003

Robert M. Shelton, 73, longtime head of a Ku Klux Klan faction that once claimed 40,000 members, died Monday at a hospital in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

He was once imperial wizard of United Klans of America Inc., considered the largest Klan faction in its heyday. He traveled the South in cars and planes speaking to white supremacist groups. He briefly went to federal prison in 1969 for refusing to release Klan membership rolls to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

In 1979, 20 members of his United Klans were indicted in connection with racial violence in east Alabama, resulting in 13 convictions, according to a history of the organization compiled by the Anti-Defamation League.

The group later was bankrupted by a $7 million verdict in a lawsuit stemming from the 1981 murder of Michael Donald, a black teen-ager.

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