Wilcox, Laird M.

Alternative names
Birth 1900

Biographical notes:

In May 1961, retired Michigan professor Walter Bergman and his wife Frances joined eleven others in a racially integrated Freedom Ride of the South, as a challenge to segregation. At Birmingham, Alabama, their members were beaten with fists and clubs by Ku Klux Klansmen, causing Walter Bergman to suffer permanent injuries which confined him to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. He later filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, charging that it knew of the Klan's planned attack, but did nothing to prevent it. The Bergmans continued to work for civil rights, receiving honors from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and from the American Civil Liberties Union.

From the guide to the Walter Bergman, Freedom Rider collection, 1984, (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Wilcox Collection, Kansas Collection)

Laird Maurice Wilcox was born November 28, 1942 in San Francisco, California. From 1961 to 1962, he attended Washburn University of Topeka, Kansas, and from 1963 to 1965 attended the University of Kansas, where he was a leader in the radical student movement of the 1960s. He served as editor and publisher of the Kansas Free Press --the University's first radical student newspaper of that period.

In 1964, Wilcox's collection of political ephemera earned first prize in KU's student book collecting contest. Emerging from that nucleus, the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements was established at the University of Kansas in 1965, with Wilcox as its founder. Located in the University's Kenneth Spencer Research Library, with ongoing contributions by Wilcox, the collection has become one of the largest of its kind for the study of left-wing and right-wing political movements in the United States, containing thousands of books, pamphlets, serials, brochures, flyers, posters, and clippings, as well as correspondence and many audiotapes.

In 1966, Wilcox left the radical left but continued his avid research and publishing regarding political movements and ideologies. He has been widely featured by the media as an authority on the psychology of political extremism, ideological movements, mystical and religious belief systems, cults, and terrorism, including issues of civil liberties. Wilcox is an active member of Mensa and a fellow of the Augustan Society. His many publications include The Wilcox Report; Civil Liberties Review; Guide to the American Left; Guide to the American Right; Guide to the American Occult; Spectrum: A Guide to the Independent Press and Informative Organizations; and Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe; Political Extremism in America (co-authored with John George).

From the guide to the Laird M. Wilcox Papers, 1951-2009, (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Wilcox Collection, Kansas Collection)


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Ark ID:


  • Parapsychology--United States
  • Civil rights
  • Parapsychology
  • Conservatism--United States
  • Civil rights workers--United States
  • Occultism
  • Right-wing extremists--United States
  • Freedom of speech
  • Left-wing extremists--United States
  • Right-wing extremists
  • Liberalism--United States
  • Civil rights movements--Alabama--Birmingham
  • Left-wing extremists
  • Civil rights workers
  • Civil rights movement
  • Freedom Rides, 1961
  • Civil rights--United States
  • Occultism--United States
  • Liberalism
  • Wilcox, Laird M. Correspondence, reminiscences, etc
  • Conservatism
  • Freedom of speech--United States


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  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Alabama--Birmingham (as recorded)