Professor Brian Ward of the University of Manchester says the Beatles tour stirred up fears and feelings about race relations and had links to the development of the Civil Rights movement:
There are some surprising links between the Beatles and the story of southern race relations and the civil rights movement…
Deejays Tommy Charles and Doug Layton of WAQY in Birmingham – the scene of major civil rights disturbances in the 1960s – were first to pick up on Lennon’s comments and initiate a Ban-the-Beatles Campaign. There was also conspicuous involvement of the Ku Klux Klan in the campaign against the Fab Four. In South Carolina, for example, the Klan Grand Dragon Bob Scoggins nailed a Beatles record to a large cross and set it on fire.
Other Klansmen justified their campaign on the grounds that not only were the Beatles blasphemous, but that they were not really white’ either.
Burning Beatles records in Waycross, Georgia, 1966.