Regents of the White Shield
The Regents of the White Shield of the United States of America (R.W.S. of U.S.A.) was a white supremacist organization founded in 1896 by Orion Dozier, S. H. Harris, A. J. Brown, J. C. Miller, William Hunter, W. T. Dozier, and attorney J. W. Bush. The charter members included six former Confederates and six Union veterans of the Civil War. The group was described as being "largely composed of White Republicans."
The group's stated purpose was to, "unite the patriotic white men of America, without regard to section or sectarian influences, into a national order with the purpose of perpetuating the cardinal principles of the American government as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, and set forth in the Constitution of the United States." The order held that the United States was "a white man's country, and should be ruled and governed exclusively by white men." In addition, the organization hoped to foster fraternalism, promote philanthropy, and to protect, "the women of the country against the assaults of negroes," and the country's business interestes and "white men in general," against, "the negrophile, carpet bagger and scallawags." [sic]
Orion Dozier acted as Supreme Commander of the Head Conclave and oversaw the formation of subsidiary chapters in several Southern cities. The organization published a booklet of by-laws for affiliated conclaves. Hunter succeeded Dozier as Supreme Commander several years later.
The organization was formally chartered by the Alabama State Legislature on February 23, 1899. In 1900 Dozier wrote to anti-lynching activist Lillian Clayton Jewett of Boston on RWS letterhead, threatening her with hanging
After the Spanish-American War it was judged that, "the era of good feeling between the sections had firmly set in and with it a confidence among the people of the South that the white men of American would regulate and promote such laws as would maintain white supremacy in the United States." That confidence diminished the extent of the organization's spread, but it remained active locally.
In December 1916 Dozier invited Florida's Governor-elect, Sidney Catts, who was in Birmingham to visit his son, to address the group on the subject of how he, "Smashed the Machine," in Florida.
- Dozier, Orion (1896) Regents of the White Shield: Constitution and By-Laws for the Government of Subordinate Conclaves of the Regents of the White Shield of the United States Under the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Conclave RWS of USA. Birmingham: Leslie Brothers printers
- "Would Hang Miss Jewett: Boston Woman Invited to a 'Necktie' Party by Southern Whites." (August 11, 1900) Indianapolis Journal, Vol. 50, No. 223, p. 4
- Alderman, Edwin Anderson, Joel Chandler Harris & Charles William Kent, eds (1910) Library of Southern Literature: Biographical Dictionary of Authors. Atlanta, Georgia: Martin & Hoyt Company
- "Regents of the White Shield" in Thomas McAdory Owen & Marie Bankhead Owen (1921) History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Vol. 2, p. 1191