Vietnamese Fishermen's Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Popular Name: 
Vietnamese Fishermen Case
Case Number: 
H-81-895
Court where filed: 
USDC Southern District of Texas
Date Filed: 
04/16/1981
Status: 
Closed
Plaintiffs: 
Vietnamese fishermen who were terrorized by armed members of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Defendants: 
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc.; Louis Beam, Grand Dragon, KKK; various other Klan members; and members of the American Fishermen's Coalition

Ending Klan intimidation
In 1981, armed Klansmen cruised Galveston Bay and practiced guerrilla tactics at secret paramilitary camps. They tried to destroy Vietnamese-Americans' fishing businesses by burning their boats and threatening their lives.

Fearful of competition from the Vietnamese, the white fishermen had invited the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, to send a message to the Vietnamese before the start of the shrimping season.

The Klan group trained in the use of grenades, explosives, weapons, techniques of ambush and hand-to-hand combat, all in preparation for what they believed was an impending "race war."

Klan Grand Dragon Louis Beam held several rallies and cross burnings in the Galveston Bay area. Then, on March 15, armed and hooded Klansmen embarked on "a boat ride" with a figure hung in effigy and a small cannon on board. The boat docked near the home of a Vietnamese man and terrorized his family.

Center attorneys filed a lawsuit that stopped the Klan's terror campaign and shut down its paramilitary training bases.

Date(s) of Disposition: 

07/15/1981: Preliminary Injunction issued against the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (518 F. Supp 993)
06/03/1982: Permanent Injunction issued and final order (543 F. Supp 198)