The most dangerous man in Georgia’s history went by the name of Billy. With a penchant for whiskey, bank robbing, and murder, his legacy still looms over a tiny town Georgia town just 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. And no one in Winder, Georgia had a better seat to witness his reign of terror than his own son. Now, Sean Kipe is telling this buried Southern story in “In the Red Clay.”
The Dixie Mafia
The Dixie Mafia was an organized crime syndicate in the southeastern United States. What started as a small, backwoods bootlegging operation turned into bank robberies, drug peddling, and homicide. From the early 1960s to the late 1980s, dozens across the South would be murdered by its members: typically ex-members and those threatened to testify against the group. But none were more notorious than Billy Sunday Birt, the Dixie Mafia hitman who had taken the lives of over 50 people.
Despite his crimes being well-known in the tiny town of Winder, Georgia, the less than 14,000 people who inhabited the area knew that to witness one of his crimes meant your imminent disappearance. But to understand why this story even happened, how the Dixie Mafia even came to be, requires background on the crackdown on illegal alcohol production and distribution.
Kipe found this story accidentally, actually, while he was working on HBO show The Outsider in the Barrow County township. As location manager, it was his job to get to know the town and it’s people, so he set off to meet as many as he could. In a small bookstore, he’s told that the son of Billy Sunday Birt, the leader of the Dixie Mafia, makes whiskey in town. And he’s also written a book about his infamous father. But Kipe only meets him by chance.
He ends up at Birt’s distillery while looking for a lot to store film equipment. When he knocks on the door to see the large figure of Billy Stonewall Birt, “In the Red Clay” was born. In this podcast, you’ll hear about the history of the Dixie Mafia and it’s ruthless leader Billy Birt, from what we know happened to his victims, and from his son, who had an inside look the Mafia cell as well.
“In the Red Clay” will blow you away
You’ll hear about the man whose mother raised him to be a preacher, hence the name Billy Sunday, who was a baseball player turned America’s most influential Evangelist in the early 20th century. You’ll hear the story exactly as his son knows it and tells it. Over the course of 12 chapters, “In The Red Clay” will suck you into the life of a bootlegging Mafia leader that terrorized the South for two decades.
And, once you’re done, a new episode of “In The Red Clay” will be dropping in the coming weeks. You can listen to more of Kipe’s work on “Fox Hunter,” his newest podcast.