“He [De La Beckwith] always played the role of the true Southern gentleman, greeting the ladies with a bow and ‘Howdy, Ma’am’ and always saying ‘Sir’ to the men. He liked to dress in white and once when he met Howard Bartling [Sara’s brother-in-law], who was wearing white shoes, he gave him his card and commented ‘I like those shoes. I always wear white shoes because white is right.’
“De La was proud of his membership in various organizations such as Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Shrine, American Legion and VFW, but especially he was proud of being a member of the Citizens Council. And it was some of the leaders of the Citizens Council who stood behind him along with the Klan members. Hardy Lott was his attorney and had two Greenwood police officers testify that they saw De La in Greenwood at the time of the murder.
“A legal fund was started to help with his defense. It was called ‘The White Citizens Legal Fund,’ and a spokesman for the group said: ‘Monies collected for this fund initially will be used to provide legal counsel for Mr. Beckwith if he is found to be in need of funds. The fund will be administered by a committee of prominent Greenwood citizens who will make any decision necessary as to disbursements from the fund.’ We fussed at Mama for sending $5 to the fund, but she said she was just remembering De La as that little boy whose mother died when he was very young and who played ball on the vacant lot across the street.”