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Whistleblowers! Is presented in co-ordination with Marcel Reid and the Whistleblowers Annual Summit in Washington D.C.
Our Guests: Diane Andrews, Debra Taylor, David Whatley
David Whatley, now 70, and Sonny Taylor’s daughter, Debra, 63, met for the first time in Ferriday in February. It was Taylor’s idea. She had been asked to be on a Louisiana cable TV show, “Dianne Andrews In Black and White,” along with Whatley, to discuss the incident.
By Kayla Hampton -Manship School News Service
“FERRIDAY, Louisiana – On the night of Jan. 30, 1966, in the racially troubled city of Ferriday, David Whatley, the first African American to attend the town’s all-white high school, awoke to an attempted firebombing of his grandmother’s house in which he was staying by a particularly violent division of the Ku Klux Klan, known as the Silver Dollar Group (SDG).
Whatley and his family knew that trouble was just around the corner because of his audacity. They would take turns watching and guarding their home from KKK intimidation.
After his shift on-watch that night, Whatley went to bed so he could wake ready for school the following day.
According to Whatley, his first cousin, Joe Davis, fell asleep while on duty around midnight, at the very moment when the Silver Dollar Group came calling. Klan members tossed a high explosive bomb into the front yard, near Whatley’s bedroom window.
Luckily, the explosives were faulty and failed to detonate properly, causing damage only to the yard.
Nealry 51 years to the month after the attempted violence, Whatley would find himself embracing the daughter of James (Sonny) Taylor, one of the Klansmen who tried to harm him and his extended family that night.”