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African-American History - Ku Klux Klan


The KKK Popularity in Indiana (Atlantic Monthly, 1923)

"Don't ya know that ever' time a boy baby is born in a Cath'lic' fam'ly they take and bury enough am'nition fer him to kill fifty people with!"

Such thinking "is part of the state of mind that accounts for the amazing growth of the Ku Klux Klan in the old Hoosier commonwealth; that enables Indiana to compete with Ohio for the distinction of having a larger Klan membership than any other state. It helped make possible the remarkable election results of last fall, when practically every candidate opposed by the Klan went down in defeat."

Written by Lowell Mellett (1886 - ?), hardy journalist and son of Indiana. Millett is primarily remembered for his W.W. II days serving at the helm of the U.S. government's Office of War Information's Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP).

 

Lofty Words Printed on Behalf of the Klan (The Literary Digest, 1923)

A collection of remarks made by Klansmen in their own defense as well as a smattering of similar statements made by newspaper editors and various other high-profiled swells of the day:

"This editor has repeatedly affirmed privately and publicly that he is not a member of the Ku Klux or any other secret organization. But when it comes to secret societies, he sees no difference absolutely between the Ku Klux and many others, the Knights of Columbus, for instance..."

Click here to learn about the origins of the term "Jim Crow".

 

The KKK Factor and the 1924 Elections (Literary Digest, 1924)

Written on the heels of the 1924 election, this article listed who among KKK candidates won or lost their respective contests. The journalist collected a number of opinions pulled from as many as twenty mid-western newspapers, including two Klan-owned papers: "The Oklahoma Fiery Cross" and "The Illinois Kourier".

 

The Klan Influence Within the Protestant Churches (Literary Digest, 1922)

"The zeal of the Ku Klux Klan to 'support the Church' has been displayed by many signs, and intimations multiply, we are told, that certain Protestant ministers are in its confidence and would seem on occasion to be directing it's activities. But to some ministers the Klan's mark of approval appears to be embarrassing, a favor which they would much prefer to do without. Scarcely a Sunday passes without the publication of the news that a Klan has visited a church in a body, simply to signify approval, or to remain decorously through the service."

 

The Klan in New York City (Literary Digest, 1922)

"The Klan has set New York by the ears; Mayor Hylan has ordered the police to investigate the activities of an accredited representative of the Invisible Empire, and, save in one instance reported in the press, the order has been denounced in Protestant, Catholic and Jewish circles alike...Exciting much comment was the accusation that Calvary Baptist Church, the largest of its denomination in New York, was a hotbed of Klan propaganda; but the charge was vigorously denied in a statement signed by leading members and by Dr. John Roach Straton, Pastor..."

 

The Modern Klan (Atlantic Monthly, 1922)

An ATLANTIC MONTHLY article by LeRoy Percy (1860 1929), a well-off planter who had successfully fought the spread of the KKK into Washington County, Mississippi. This article explains how the Klan operated in 1922. Their wide-spread appeal is also discussed.

"One of the strangest aberrations in American life since the war is the growth of the Ku Klux Klan. In the North that organization, when considered at all, has been thought of as a colossal buffoonery, a matter unworthy of the time or thought of intelligent folk; and indeed for the average American, with his common sense and his appreciation for the ridiculous, any other attitude of numbers would seem unlikely...The Klan excludes from membership Negroes, Jews, Catholics and foreign-born, whether citizens or not. In its own phrase, it is the only Gentile White Protestant American-born organization in the world. It is secret... When asked if he is a member, the custom is for a good Klansman to evade, more rarely to reply in the negative, but in any event not to avow his membership."

Click here to learn about the origins of the term "Jim Crow".

 


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