Archive for the ‘Ku Klux Klan’ Category

Priest takes leave after disclosing past in the Ku Klux Klan – Paradise Post

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) A Virginia priest is taking a leave of absence after disclosing he once was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Father William Aitcheson, a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, wrote about his past Klan affiliation Monday in The Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocese’s newspaper.

The 62-year-old Aitcheson said that 40 years have passed since he was in the Klan.

He apologized for his participation and said the images from this month’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville reminded him of a period in his life he’d prefer to forget.

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In a statement, Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge called Aitcheson’s past with the Klan troubling, but said he hopes his story will help others turn away from hate.

Aitcheson had been serving at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax.

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‘My actions were despicable’: Catholic priest steps down after revealing he was a Ku Klux Klan member decades ago – Washington Post

A Catholic priest in Arlington, Va., is temporarily stepping down after revealing he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and burned crosses more than 40 years ago before joining the clergy.

In an editorial published Monday in the Arlington Catholic Herald, the Rev. William Aitcheson describedhimself as an impressionable young man when he became a member of the hate group. He wrote that images from the deadly white supremacist and white nationalist rally in Charlottesville brought back memories of a bleak period in my life that I would have preferred to forget.

My actions were despicable, wrote Aitcheson, 62. When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else. Its hard to believe that was me.

In a statement, Catholic Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge called Aitchesons past with the Ku Klux Klan sad and deeply troubling.

Aitcheson served with the Catholic church in Nevadabefore being transferred to Arlington, where he is originally from, church officials said in a statement. He was ordained in 1988 and has served in a variety of positions at parishes in Nevada; Arlington; Fredericksburg, Va.; and Woodstock, Md. His latest assignment was as parochial vicar, or assistant to the pastor, at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax City.

The Arlington diocese said Aitcheson would not be available for comment. Attempts to reach him Tuesday were unsuccessful.

According to a March 1977 story in The Washington Post, Aitcheson, then a 23-year-old University of Maryland student, was identified as an exalted cyclops of a KKK lodge. He was charged in several cross-burnings in Prince Georges County, Md., and other counts, including making bomb threats and manufacturing pipe bombs.

[From 1977: Maryland student charged in 6 cross burnings]

According to the 1977 Post story, state police in Maryland said Aitcheson was a leader of the Robert E. Lee Lodge of the Maryland Knights of the KKK, which had planned to recruit people to blow up facilities at Fort Meade near Laurel.

When officers searched his home in the 1970s,they found nine pounds of black powder, weapons and bomb parts in Aitchesons bedroom and basement. His parents told authorities they didnt know the explosives and weapons were in their home.

At the time of his arrest, Aitchesons father, William W. Aitcheson, said his son was a member of the hate group, adding, My son, along with others, are just caught up in it. I dont know what their thoughts are.

Aitcheson pleaded guilty to several cross burnings, including one in the front yard of an African American family in the College Park Woods neighborhood and others at Bnai Brith Hillel at the University of Maryland and the Beth Torah Congregation in Hyattsville. He was convicted and sentenced to 90 days, and ordered to pay a judgment of about$20,000.

The African American couple, who were newlyweds at the time of the incident, declined to talk Tuesday about the burning cross from 40 years ago. A woman who answered the door at their Silver Spring home said it was so long ago, and thinking about it would bring backdifficult memories.

Five years after Aitchesons involvement in the cross-burning incident at their home, President Ronald Reagan visited the couple and their young daughter, saying the incident is not something that should have happened in America, according to a May 4, 1982, article in the Post.

[A Familys Long Ordeal]

Aitcheson also pleaded guilty to charges that hethreatened to kill Coretta King, the widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Hetold a U.S. District Court judge that he wrote to King in February 1976, telling her to stay off the University of Maryland campus or you will die. According to a Post story, investigators said he wroteAfrica or death by lynching, take your pick, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Hewas a U-Md.student studying broadcasting at the time.

Aitcheson was described in a 1977 Post article as speaking calmly, with his head bowed slightly at a hearing on the King case. He told a judge he was pleading guilty because well, ah, because Im guilty. He also faced charges in Marylands Howard and Carroll counties of illegal possession of firearms and manufacturing explosives.

He was convicted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore of mailing threatening communications. A judge sentenced him to 60 days in prison and four years of probation.

In his editorial published this week, Aitcheson apologized and said the recent violence in Charlottesville prompted him to share information abouthis past. Hecalled the images from Charlottesville embarrassing, adding that for those who have repented from a damaging and destructive past, the images should bring us to our knees in prayer.

[Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death]

Aitcheson went on: Racists have polluted minds, twisted by an ideology that reinforces the false belief that they are superior to others. Aitcheson alsowrote that the irony that he left an anti-Catholic hate group to rejoin the Catholic Church is not lost on me.

It is a reminder of the radical transformation possible through Jesus Christ in his mercy, he wrote.

Billy Atwell, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, said the diocese had received information about Aitchesons history when he was accepted for ministry under Bishop John Keating. He didnt provide details on what information was known.

Aitcheson attended seminary at the North American College in Rome from 1984 to 1988, according to the diocese.

Atwell said he didnt know if a criminal-background check wasconducted when Aitcheson came to the Arlington diocese in 1993, although he said more in-depth background reviews have been done routinely on staff and priests since the mid-2000s.

Since the mid-2000s all staff and clergy have had in-depth background checks under policies of the Virginia State Police, according to Atwell. The checks are also done using a national criminal check system of the FBI and fingerprinting tracking databases. It wasnt clear if his criminal record would have eliminated his ability to become a priest, either in Nevada or Virginia.

Atwell said Tuesday that Aitchesons story of repentance is authentic.

Al Leightley, head usher at Saint Leo the Great, said Aitcheson never discussed his past involvement with the KKK. Leightley found out about hispast Tuesday morning, but saidAitchesonrepented appropriately in his Monday letter.

He is a very good priest, very dedicated to his profession, he said. Its hard to see all the commotion going on with the gentleman.

Some public Catholic figures began speaking out on Aitcheson on Tuesday, including conservative legal scholar Matthew Franck, a Princeton University lecturer.

I hope this evidently good man returns to active ministry, Franck tweeted. He could do important work, especially with his history.

On the dioceses Facebook page, multiple supporters of the priest praised his decision to go public, and called him a gifted pastor. A true story of redemption. May God continue to work in and through Fr. Aitcheson, one wrote.

In a phone interview, Franck said, Sometimes people get involved in a hate group and then have been reborn, and have an interesting story to tell It would be a loss for him to just vanish.

A note at the bottom of Aitchesons editorial on Monday said he had voluntarily asked to step away from public ministry, for the well being of the Church and parish community.

Burbidge said there have been no accusations of racism or bigotry against [Aitcheson] at the Arlington diocese during his time. He said Aitchesons request to step away from public ministry was approved.

Peter Hermann, Ellie Silverman, Justin Jouvenal and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

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‘My actions were despicable’: Catholic priest steps down after revealing he was a Ku Klux Klan member decades ago – Washington Post

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NEW: Ku Klux Klan’s profile in Palm Beach County shrank through years – Palm Beach Post

The governor of Florida had no patience for the Ku Klux Klan. He called them covered cowards, hooded hoodlums, sheeted jerks.

Fuller Warren could afford to go after the shadowy group. It was 1951, and Florida didnt need the Klan to press Jim Crow. It was the law of the land.

With this months events in Charlottesville, Va., placing the spotlight on extremist groups nationwide, people at times are surprised to learn that Florida, the place that now is the most northern of the southern states, once was a hotbed of racism. Many will argue theres still plenty of it between Pensacola and Key West including in Palm Beach County.

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NEW: Ku Klux Klan’s profile in Palm Beach County shrank through years – Palm Beach Post

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Rebecca Blank: UW-Madison group will research Ku Klux Klan’s history on campus – Madison.com

Just over a week after a gathering of white supremacy groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, left three dead and led to the quick removal of Confederate memorials across the country, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Monday she has formed a committee to examine the history of student groups affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan.

In the 1924 edition of the Badger yearbook, a student organization called the Ku Klux Klan’s roster included actor Fredric March (then Fred Bickel) and longtime Memorial Union director Porter Butts, who are memorialized today with the Fredric March Play Circle and Porter Butts Gallery at the Union. Other members of UW’s KKK included Thomas E. Brittingham Jr., who would become a financier and co-founder of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the patent and licensing organization of UW-Madison; and Philip Falk, later a long-time Madison schools superintendent.

Stories of the groups existence in the early 1920s have cropped up from time to time in the intervening decades, stirring controversy over whether it was affiliated with the notorious white-sheeted Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan out of Georgia.

“In the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, it is time to take a fresh look at our history to ensure that we fully understand and appropriately acknowledge the activities of members of the campus community during this time period,” Blank said a statement Monday. “To that end, I am asking an ad-hoc study group to research the history of these student organizations, including the extent to which they were affiliated with the national KKK movement, their actions and legacies. ”

The group will be co-chaired by history professor Stephen Kantrowitz, who has been involved in the Justified Anger Coalition’s African-American history courses, and Floyd Rose, president of 100 Black Men of Madison. In the statement, Blank said she will ask the group to advise “how best the campus can acknowledge and respond to this history” by Dec. 1.

“In addition, I am asking the leadership of the Wisconsin Union to begin to identify space within the renovated Memorial Union building that could be used to document the history of these student ogranizations on campus, using the knowledge produced by this study group,” Blank said.

As a UW-Madison graduate student, Timothy Messer-Kruse wrote in a 1993 article published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin that he could find no evidence of a direct link between the KKK at UW-Madison and the Invisible Empire, but found the organization shared many of the racist and nativist attitudes of the other, more dangerous Ku Klux Klan.

The story of the UW campus Klan is historically instructive, because it serves well as a barometer of the cultural and ideological climate of Madison and the university campus in the 1920s, Messer-Kruse wrote for the Wisconsin Magazine of History. He is now a professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

The UW KKK was founded and quickly became prominent at a time when the Invisible Empire was organizing in many cities, including Madison, where it had considerable if brief success.

The campus Klan was an interfraternity honorary society, an all-white, all-male group officially chartered in January, 1920, and made up of the most accomplished representatives from campus fraternities.

Members of the campus Klan served in or on the student senate, student court, alumni committee, prom and homecoming committees and were directors of the Daily Cardinal board of control, athletic board, the YMCA cabinet, Student Union board, and Memorial Union fund-raising committee, local historian Stuart Levitan wrote in Madison: The Illustrated Sesquicentennial History, Volume 1, published in 2006.

Levitan posted an image from his book last week on Facebook, noting the Memorial Union facilities named for members of the group. But Levitan said he is not suggesting the names of the facilities be changed.

The rooms were named in their honor for what they did as grown men, not for who they were as students,” he said. “I believe in growth and redemption.”

In his book, Levitan noted that the “honorary” Klan was diminished when the “authentic” Klan began recruiting on campus in 1922. While the former was made up primarily of out-of-state liberal arts majors, the latter recruited engineering majors from Wisconsin.

“The members of the honorary Klan didn’t so much object to the philosophy or activities of the new group as disdain them on a class basis,” Levitan wrote.

While the UW campus Klan may not have been affiliated with the national Klan, its members likely knew of the growing national group and the associations the name insinuated, Messer-Kruse argued.

The Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan was formed in Georgia in 1915, the year of the premier of D.W. Griffiths popular film The Birth of a Nation, which synthesized a number of racist and nationalistic stereotypes in depicting the heroic riders of the Ku Klux Klan saving the South, white womanhood and the nation.

A page from the 1923 edition of the Badger yearbook dedicated to a campus organization called the Ku Klux Klan.

By adopting the name Ku Klux Klan in such a climate, students draped themselves in the flag, Messer-Kruse wrote. Approval of a group calling itself the Ku Klux Klan raised not a ripple of concern on campus, he said. Yet there is evidence of broad familiarity with Klan imagery from the earliest days of the honorary society. A Daily Cardinal item on an October 1919 meeting of the group wondered wryly what the members wore: Dya spose that they attend in sheet with eyes cut outMasquerades ought to be easy for that crowd.

Hinted associations between the groups raised no concern at the time, as a culture of intolerance permeated the UW campus, the Madison community and white America generally, Messer-Kruse wrote.

For example, the 1920 homecoming celebration included a regular old-fashioned n—– Jubilee, according to a souvenir program, featuring white performers smeared in burnt cork. The honorary Klan played a central role in producing the program, according to Messer-Kruse.

There were almost no African-American students enrolled at UW at the time; three in the freshman class of 1923 and a total of six enrolled in 1927. There were at least 550 Jewish students on campus in 1926, although they were shut out of many campus activities. For example, fraternities at UW, like many others across the country, restricted membership to males who were white or not Semitic.

The charters of fraternities at UW were approved by the dean of students and student senate, which was dominated by the honorary Ku Klux Klan, according to Messer-Kruse.

The issue of the UW KKK was raised in December 1953 during anti-Communist hearings convened by Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. The Capital Times reproduced the Ku Klux Klan’s 1924 yearbook page under the headline U.W. Had Ku Klux Klan in 1920s! The story noted that Madison superintendent Philip Falk and UW athletic director Guy Sundt had been members.

But Dont Get Too Excited, Because It Was Just In Fun, read the headline of an accompanying story that explained that while such news could be damaging in these days of fear and guilt by association, the campus Klan existed to volunteer for campus projects. The reason the group took the name KKK is lost in the annals of the University and in the memories of its surviving members, reads the newspaper clip included in a file on the campus KKK at the UW-Madison Archives at Steenbock Library on campus.

The authentic KKK fraternity, Kappa Beta Lambda whose initials stood for Klans-men Be Loyal chartered in 1924, drew heavily from the army cadet corps. Less influential, unsocial and secretive, its members also ranked low academically. The elite of the interfraternity group had no wish to share the name of Ku Klux Klan with the hoi poloi, Messer-Kruse wrote. The KKKs Kappa Beta Lambda, in turn, changed its name in early 1927, after its application to use the Field House for a Klan rally had been rejected by the Board of Regents the prior semester.

The historical existence of the UW KKK was publicized again in 1970, during a time of sometimes violent protests against the Vietnam War culminating in the Aug. 24 bombing of Sterling Hall that killed a physics researcher.

Six weeks later, the Daily Cardinal reprinted the campus Klans 1924 yearbook page, with the remark: The Good Old Days, No Strikes, No Riots, No Dope: The Board of Regents would have loved it. Just good wholesome fun with only the occasional flaming cross.

The inference was obvious, replied Earl Settlemyer, then coordinator for fraternity affairs, in a tart press release that chided the Cardinal for not researching the issue.

The KKK was one of several interfraternity social and leadership societies of the era, Settlemyer wrote. It was not part of the national Klan and had entirely different purposes and beliefs. The men in those societies played a major part in a fund-raising project to build the Union, which produced donations of $50 from one out of every two undergraduates on campus, Settlemyer said.

The campus honorary KKK made the news again in 1992, when Isthmus reported on it, challenging UW officials assertion that the group was not affiliated with the national white supremacist group.

The Madison School District told the Wisconsin State Journal then that Falk, who had been superintendent for 1939 to 1962, was not tied to the national KKK.

News editor Bill Lueders and J. Frank Cook, then director of the UW Archives, argued over a connection between the campus and national groups in correspondence preserved in the archives.

Wrote Lueders: I still think the weight of the evidence and rationality support the conclusion that the students who formed and affiliated with the campus Ku Klux Klan must have known about, and not been uncomfortable with, the groups white supremacist bias.

Cook argued at length that there was no affiliation, but also stated: Racism and hatred of certain ethnic and religious groups was rampant in the U.S. in the 1920s and there is no reason to assume that this climate did not exist on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.

Messer-Kruse made a similar observation.

“The same conditions of rapid social, cultural and economic change in America that had bred an atmosphere of fear, distrust and xenophobia,” and led to a resurgence of KKK in towns across America also affected students on the UW campus, he wrote.

Nearly a century later, communities facing a new wave of fear, distrust and xenophobia are grappling with how to deal with their histories.

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Rebecca Blank: UW-Madison group will research Ku Klux Klan’s history on campus – Madison.com

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How One Man Convinced 200 Ku Klux Klan Members To Give Up Their Robes – NPR

For 30 years, Daryl Davis has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan. He says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes after talking with him. Courtesy of Daryl Davis hide caption

For 30 years, Daryl Davis has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan. He says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes after talking with him.

Daryl Davis is a blues musician, but he also has what some might call an interesting hobby. For the past 30 years, Davis, a black man, has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan.

He says once the friendship blossoms, the Klansmen realize that their hate may be misguided. Since Davis started talking with these members, he says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes. When that happens, Davis collects the robes and keeps them in his home as a reminder of the dent he has made in racism by simply sitting down and having dinner with people.

On the first time he befriended a member of the Ku Klux Klan

I was playing music it was my first time playing in this particular bar called the Silver Dollar Lounge and this white gentleman approached me and he says, “I really enjoy you all’s music.” I thanked him, shook his hand and he says, “You know this is the first time I ever heard a black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.” I was kind of surprised that he did not know the origin of that kind of music and I said, “Well, where do you think Jerry Lee Lewis learned how to play that kind of style?” He’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” I said, “He learned it from the same place I did. Black, blues, and boogie-woogie piano players.” That’s what that rockabilly, rock ‘n roll style came from.” He said, “Oh, no! Jerry Lee invented that. I ain’t ever heard no black man except for you play like that.” So I’m thinking this guy has never heard Fats Domino or Little Richard and then he says, “You know, this is the first time I ever sat down and had a drink with a black man?”

Daryl Davis first befriended a member of the Ku Klux Klan in a bar where he was performing. He says they bonded over liking the same type of music. Courtesy of Jonathan Timmes hide caption

Daryl Davis first befriended a member of the Ku Klux Klan in a bar where he was performing. He says they bonded over liking the same type of music.

Well, now I’m getting curious. I’m trying to figure out, now how is it that in my 25 years on the face of this earth that I have sat down, literally, with thousands of white people, had a beverage, a meal, a conversation or anybody else, and this guy is 15 to 20 years older than me and he’s never sat down with a black guy before and had a drink. I said, “How is that? Why?” At first, he didn’t answer me and he had a friend sitting next to him and he elbowed him and said, “Tell him, tell him, tell him,” and he finally said, “I’m a member of the Ku Klux Klan.”

On his reaction on hearing he was talking a member of the Klan

I just burst out laughing because I really did not believe him. I thought he was pulling my leg. As I was laughing, he pulled out his wallet, flipped through his credit cards and pictures and produced his Klan card and handed it to me. Immediately, I stopped laughing. I recognized the logo on there, the Klan symbol and I realized this was for real, this guy wasn’t joking. And now I’m wondering, why am I sitting by a Klansman?

But he was very friendly, it was the music that brought us together. He wanted me to call him and let him know anytime I was to return to this bar with this band. The fact that a Klansman and black person could sit down at the same table and enjoy the same music, that was a seed planted. So what do you do when you plant a seed? You nourish it. That was the impetus for me to write a book. I decided to go around the country and sit down with Klan leaders and Klan members to find out: How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?

On what he says to a Klansman

The best thing you do is you study up on the subject as much as you can. I went in armed, not with a weapon, but with knowledge. I knew as much about the Klan, if not more than many of the Klan people that I interviewed. When they see that you know about their organization, their belief system, they respect you. Whether they like you or not, they respect the fact that you’ve done your homework. Just like any good salesman, you want a return visit and they recognized that I’d done my homework, which allowed me to come back again.

That began to chip away at their ideology because when two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. It’s when the talking ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. If you spend five minutes with your worst enemy it doesn’t have to be about race, it could be about anything…you will find that you both have something in common. As you build upon those commonalities, you’re forming a relationship and as you build about that relationship, you’re forming a friendship. That’s what would happen. I didn’t convert anybody. They saw the light and converted themselves.

On what the Klansmen thought when he asked them why they hated him

Initially, they feel that if you’re not white, you are inferior. [They believe] that black people have smaller brains, we’re incapable of higher achievement. I’ll give you an example of one. This guy was an exalted cyclops sitting in my car in my passenger seat. He made the statement, which I’d heard before, “Well we all know that all black people have within them a gene that makes them violent.” I turned to him and I’m driving and I said, “Wait a minute. I’m as black as anybody you’ve ever seen. I have never done a carjacking or a driveby, how do you explain that?” He didn’t even pause to think about it. He said, “Your gene is latent. It hasn’t come out yet.”

So how do you argue with somebody who is that far out in left field? I was dumbfounded. I’m just driving along. He’s sitting over here all smug and secure, like “See you have no response?” And I thought about it for a minute. Then I used his point of reference. I said, “Well, we all know that all white people have a gene within them that makes them a serial killer.” He says, “What do you mean?” And I said,”Well, name me three black serial killers.” He thought about it he could not do it. I said, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy. All whites. I said, “Son, you are a serial killer.” He says “Daryl, I’ve never killed anybody.” I said, “Your gene is latent. It hasn’t come out yet.” He goes, “Well, that’s stupid!” I said, “Well, duh. Yes, but you know what, you’re right. What I said was stupid, but no more stupid than what you said you me.” Then he got very, very quiet and changed the subject. Five months later, based on that conversation he left the Klan. His robe was the first robe I ever got.

Matthew Schwartz produced the audio for this story. Wynne Davis adapted it for web.

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KKK leader threatens to ‘burn’ Latina journalist, the first black person on his property – Washington Post

A leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Pelham, N.C., called Univision reporter Ilia Caldern the n-word and threatened to “burn” her while she conducted an interview. (Univision)

Christopher Barker, a leader of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in North Carolina, agreed to meet for an interview at his homelate last month with Ilia Caldern, a Colombian news anchor for Univision based in Miami. He was told the interview would be conducted by a Hispanic woman of color.

But when Barker saw Caldern step out of a car and onto his property near Yanceyville, N.C., the KKK leader appeared taken aback, according toCaldern and her producer,Mara Martnez-Guzmn. Hehad expected someone like the rest of the predominately Hispanic, lighter-skinned news crew, theysaid.

ButCaldern isblack.Barker told her she was the first black person to step on his landin his 20 years of living there.

Barker is the imperial wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK in Pelham, N.C., a group that would later participate in a deadlywhite supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Caldern isa U.S. citizen and Colombian immigrant.

Univision planned the interview with Barker and his wife, Amanda Barker,months in advanceto provide viewers with an up-close look into a white supremacists views, Caldern told The Washington Post.

It was an interview that quickly turned hostile.

AsCaldern pressed Barker on his views, he called herthe n-word and told her to go back to her country. He also appeared to threaten her.

Why dont you go back? Barker said in the interview, which Univisionaired Sunday night. We have nothing here in America, yall keep flooding it. Were going to chase you out of here.

Are you going to chase me out of here?Caldern responded.

No, were going to burn you out, he said.

How are you gonna do it? she retorted.

At one point, she asked him how he would burn outthe 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.

Dont matter, Barker said. We killed sixmillion Jews the last time. Elevenmillion is nothing.

Youre telling me youre going to burn me, Caldern also said, to which he responded: Yeah, youre sitting on my property now.

At times, Caldern said she feared for her safety, though Barker never followed through with any of his threats.

The program, broadcastin Spanish on Univisions Aqui y Ahora, spurred a slew of reactions on social media. Many viewers praisedCaldern for her courage and professionalism, and commended the Spanish-language media companyfor shedding light on the KKKs disgusting views. But others criticized Univision for the interview, calling it sensationalized and claiming the network madeCaldern appear a victim in an attempt to get ratings.

Last week,Randy Falco, chief executiveof Univision Communications,wrote a memo to staffers calling for stronger leadership in light of the violence in Charlottesville, and Trumps muted responses to it. Falcocondemned attacks on immigrants, the LGBT community, the media and those who espouse racist and hateful views, Variety reported.

Caldern told The Postshe had volunteered to do the interview, in order to show her Latino viewers that these groups are alive. She had been nervous to meet Barker, but she had never expected to feel as insulted and threatened as she did during the encounter.

I represent the things that they hate: I am black, I am Hispanic, I am an immigrant, she said. Her own family reflects a merging of cultures. The Colombian native moved to the U.S. 16 years ago, and has since married a Korean American physical therapist. Their young daughter, Anna, is multiracial.

Caldern told The Post she struggled at times to understandBarker, partly becauseEnglish is her second language and because of his accent. She didnt initially understand one of the terms he called her: mongrel.

Ive been here over 20 years and weve never had a black person or whatever you want to call yourself, youre a mongrel to me, Barker said. Weve never had one. We dont let them around.

Caldern frequently pushed back on his views, and told himshe found his language offensive. My skin color doesnt define me, she said.

Im way more superior than youll ever be, Barker said.

As the Univision crew filmed, othermembers of the Loyal White Knights joined the Barkers to perform a cross-burning ceremony. They held torches and circled a cross, chanting For race, for God, for nation, for the Ku Klux Klan.

At one point during the interview, Caldern asked him if, hypothetically, he would be willing to accept an organ donation from her to one of his children, if she was deemed a match. He told her it was not possible, Caldern recalled, claimingthat his blood was not the same as hers because of their different races.

Barker denied that he led a hate group. Both he and his wife said they dont hate anyone, werenot racist and do notcondone violence.

A few weeks after the interview, the Barkers confirmed to Univision that they attended the Charlottesville rally. In an interview with North Carolina television station WBTV, the couple praised the man accused ofdriving a carinto crowds, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

I really hate that that girl died, but she had a choice to be there that day, Amanda Barker told WBTV.

Her husband disagreed: I dont hate that she died, because shes a Communist, Christopher Barker said. He blamed the violence on the antifascists and on the lack of security at the protests.

When a couple of them die, it doesnt bother us, hetold the station. Theyre always attacking and messing with our rallies.

More from Morning Mix

Former Philly mayor Frank Rizzo was no Confederate. But its open season on his statue.

Robert E. Lee discouraged monuments. They keep open the sores of war, he wrote.

Tina Fey urges Americans: Stay home from neo-Nazi rallies. Eat a sheet cake instead.

Foxs James Murdoch blasts Trump on Charlottesville: There are no good Nazis

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KKK leader threatens to ‘burn’ Latina journalist, the first black person on his property – Washington Post

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Madge Oberholtzer: The murder that brought down the Ku Klux Klan – WRTV Indianapolis


WRTV Indianapolis
Madge Oberholtzer: The murder that brought down the Ku Klux Klan
WRTV Indianapolis
He was the former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana an organization he had grown from a membership of just a few thousand to one, by 1925, that had swelled in some estimates to more than half a million Hoosiers. In the previous election, …

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Madge Oberholtzer: The murder that brought down the Ku Klux Klan – WRTV Indianapolis

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Austin protesters moon Ku Klux Klan at Texas Capitol in 1993

Austin is well known for its protests and for itsKeep Austin Weird motto. Those two often intertwine one recent example is2016sCocks Not Glocks campus carry protest at the University of Texas, where sex toys were proudly displayed on the schools mall.

But back in 1993, when the Ku Klux Klan staged a rally at the Texas Capitol grounds, Austin protesters fought back by turning the other cheek, in a way. Amass mooning of the Klan was staged on Jan. 16, 1993. (Jan. 16 is also the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.s birthday, for those keeping score at home.)

In addition to the bevy of bare butts that day, there was also a march by The People’s Anti-Racism Coalition in honor of Kings birthday, a city-sponsored Peoples Parade to celebrate the city’s racial and cultural diversity, and a multitude of other events citywide to honor Kings legacy, according to American-Statesman archives.

A video from the When We Were Live project documenting the full mooning has resurfaced on Reddit in thewake of recent eventsinvolving violence connectedto whitesupremacist rallies. In the video, you can see protesters yelling at the Klan, as well as peaceful protesters standing nearby.

Oh, and you can see lots of butts. Human butts, dog butts, white butts, tan butts, bare butts, long-john-covered butts, male butts, female butts, just all kinds of butts coming together to show the racists members of the Klan the proper disrespect.

WARNING: This clips contains partial nudity.(Also, theres a sign with a profanity printed on it. Be warned.)

According to the American-Statesman archives, about 5,000 protesters showed up to counter the 40 Klansmen that arrived at the Capitol grounds. About 75 of those protesters were mooners.

The mass mooning event was first written about in print by the American-Statesmans late, great humor columnist, John Kelso. Read his Jan. 9, 1993, column about the idea behind the showing of behinds:

When Ku Klux Klan members rally at the Capitol a week from today, they may see something they’ll never forget – a mass mooning.

This mind-boggling and completely unusual proposal is the brainchild of Austin musician Steve Fromholz. If you want to moon the Klan, just show up and join in with Fromholz. You don’t even need a ticket. No place but Austin.

“I can see the bumper stickers now – I mooned the Klan, Austin ’93,” says Fromholz, who to date has only a half dozen or so friends lined up for the extravaganza. But he expects many volunteers will make plans to attend, once the word gets out.

“I’m certain there are a lot of people in Austin who would leap at the opportunity to moon the Klan,” Fromholz says. “There are some in the community who would worry about their place in the community, or about losing their job. But there are some of us who don’t have to worry about that.”

Fromholz likes this idea because he sees it as a peaceful way to show the Klan that it isn’t appreciated around these parts. It would be nice to completely ignore the Klan, but you know that won’t happen.

Soooo, instead of getting all worked up and cussing and blowing your top, drop your britches, pull them up, then walk off, Fromholz suggests.

“It’s a way to say, We don’t need you, go someplace else to get mooned,'” Fromholz said. “It’s a very simple way of saying, `I hold the Klan in total disrespect.’ Just moon them and walk away and go back to work. Just laugh at them. Don’t shout at them and shoot them the finger.”

Fromholz is so serious about this that he called Travis County Sheriff Terry Keel to ask if a group mooning is legal. Imagine calling the sheriff’s office and asking that question. I’ll bet you would get transferred a bunch, huh?

“I had a nice conversation with Steve about that,” Keel said. He says a group mooning is legal as long as the participants don’t get too explicit, you might say. He says the law regarding this activity does not address “the subject of cheeks.”

Keel also said that though he couldn’t give the group mooning his “official blessing or clearance, he thought it was a good concept. “Steve has the right approach,” he said. “People counterdemonstrate, which is the wrong way to handle it.”

Anyway, it must have been an interesting conversation.

“It’s hilarious and he was all excited when he talked to me about it,” Keel recalled. “What was the word he used? It was as if a vision came to him.”

“It came to me as in a flash of light, ” said Fromholz, who even has his outfit picked out for the affair – a pair of jeans over red long johns.

“You got to believe,” he said. “It’s like keeping Tinkerbell alive. But I can picturalize it, and if I can picturalize it, it will usually happen.”

So what should you do if you want to involve your civic group in this mass mooning of the Klan? Simply come around and go for it. Junior Leaguers, Lions, SOS’ers, developers – come one, come all. Fromholz sees this as a community thing, although I think there are some of y’all who should stay in the house. I won’t name any names, though. I don’t need the aggravation.

OK. So I’ll name one. Radio guy Bob Cole.

“It has great possibilities if the Optimists would come out, and the VFW and the American Legion, and perhaps the Legislature,” Fromholz said. “They showed their (fannies) all the way through this last session.”

Fromholz advises anyone taking part to keep his distance from the Klan members, though mooning a rally is a lot different than mooning a parade, he explained. “The thing is you’ve got to be careful with a rally. They’re not marching by, so they might kick you in the moon, and they’re notorious moon-kickers.”

No matter what you think about this, it sure is unique.

“I don’t think anyone’s ever mooned the Klan before, at least not en masse, ” Fromholz said. “But it’s an idea whose time has come. And I think Martin Luther King would approve. This is nonviolent protest at its best.”

Maybe so. But I wonder how they’ll handle it on CNN?

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Austin protesters moon Ku Klux Klan at Texas Capitol in 1993

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The Day Notre Dame Students Pummeled the Ku Klux Klan – Mental Floss

At first glance, there was nothing unusual about the men who stepped off the train in South Bend, Indiana on the morning of May 17, 1924. Dapper and mannered, they drifted from the station to the downtown area. Some headed for a nearby office that sported a red cross made out of light bulbs stationed in the window. Others roamed around looking for Island Park, the site of a planned social gathering.

A closer look at these visitors revealed one common trait: Many were carrying a folded white robe under their arm. Those who had arrived earlier were fully clothed in their uniform and hood, directing automobile traffic to the park.

The Ku Klux Klan had arrived in town.

Fresh off a controversial leadership election in Indianapolis, Indiana, there was no reason for Klansmen to have any apprehension about holding a morale booster in South Bend. Indiana was Klan territory, with an estimated one in three native born white men sworn members within state lines. Just a few months later, Klansman Ed Jackson would be elected governor.

It was only when Klansmen found themselves guided into alleys and surrounded by an irate gang of Catholic students from nearby Notre Dame University that they realized mobilizing in South Bend may have been a very bad idea.

The Klan wanted a rally. What they got was a full-scale riot.

Politically-endorsed prejudice was the order of the day in the early part of the 20th century, when the Klanfirst created in 1866 to oppose Republican Reconstruction with violent racial enmity and then revived in 1915expanded its tentacles to reach law enforcement and civil service. No longer targeting people of color exclusively, the KKK took issue with Catholics, the Jewish faith, and immigrants. An estimated 4 million Americans belonged to the Klan in the 1920s, all echoing the groups philosophy that only white, God-fearing citizens were worthy of respect.

Under the guidance of Indiana’s Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson, the group had attempted to shift public perception from the lynch mobs of the past to an orderly and articulate assembly. Rallies were held in KKK-friendly areas; propaganda material was becoming an effective weapon for their cause. Acceptance of the Klans ideology seeped into political office; Stephenson was a prominent Indiana politician.

To help continue that indoctrination, the Klan made plans for a parade in South Bend to be held on May 17, 1924. That it would be in close proximity to the Notre Dame campus was no mistake: At the time, 75 percent of the school’s nearly 2000 students were Catholic, a religion the Klan found abhorrent. By pledging allegiance to the Vatican, their reasoning went, Catholics were acknowledging a foreign power. In the fall of 1923, they had persisted in setting crosses on fire near the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, a predominantly Catholic college, and were frequently chased off by angered football players. That December, the Klan set off firebombs in Dayton during Christmas break. While no one was seriously injured, the intent was to send a messageone they wanted to spread to Indiana.

In the weeks and months leading up to the parade, both students and faculty began to get a taste of that perspective. Copies of the Fiery Cross, the official Klan newspaper, circulated on campus; one Klansman showed up at an auditorium to broadcast that Catholics were not good Americans. He exited the stage when attendees began throwing potatoes at him.

If that public response was foreshadowing, the Klan either ignored or failed to heed the warning. Members began arriving the Friday evening prior to the rally and were met at the train station by irritated students, who scuffled with the early arrivals by ripping their robes. By Saturday morning, when more Klansmen arrived, hundreds of students were in town, a loosely organized anti-Klan task force.

Klan members were used to breezing into towns without incident. Here, they were immediately confronted by young, ornery college kids proud of their Catholicism. Klansmen were led into alleys and tossed into walls; students who played for the schools legendary football squad formed wedges, the offensive line-ups found on the field, and plowed into groups of Klan members like they were challenging for a state title.

The violence, swift and sudden, prompted the Klan to retreat to their headquarters in South Bend. The students followed, their blood pumping hot at the sight of the red cross lit in the office window. Below it stood a grocery store with barrels of fresh potatoes. The students lobbed them at the glass, smashing the bulbs inside.

The conflict had been uninterrupted by law enforcement, but not for lack of trying. Deputy Sheriff John Cully, himself a Klansman, tried to enlist the National Guard but was shot down by officials. Notre Dame president Matthew Walsh had already implored students not to go into town, but his words went unheeded.

Unencumbered by authority, the 100 or so students idling near the Klans office decided they wanted to seize the hideout. Dozens began running up the stairs but were greeted by a Klan member who produced a gun. Unarmed, the students backed off. Four seniors went back and came to an impromptu truce: The student body would disperse if the Klan agreed to hold their rally without weapons or their robes.

The agreement seemed to placate both sides until Stephenson finally arrived in town before the parades scheduled 6:30 p.m. start. Assessing the roughed-up Klansmen and their skittish behavior, he complained to the police, who posted officers on horseback around their assembly at Island Park.

But there would be no rally: A heavy downpour prompted Stephenson to call it off, although the potential for further violence likely weighed on his mind. Lingering students who still hadnt returned to campus met departing Klansmen as they attempted to drive out of town, smashing windows and even tipping over one car.

By Sunday, things seemed to have settled down. Walsh cringed at newspaper reports of the incidents, fearing it would portray the students as thugs.

Unfortunately, neither side was done protesting. And when they met a second time, the robed men would be backed up by lawman Cully and a squad of 30 deputized Klansmen.

Students back on campus Monday had taken to hanging up seized Klan robes and hoods on their walls like trophies. It had been a rout, with the Klan barely putting up a fight.

Now, word was spreading through the halls that the Klan had captured or perhaps had even killed a Notre Dame student. Roughly 500 students jogged the two miles back into South Bend, eager for another confrontation.

When they arrived at the Klans headquarters, the light bulb cross had been rebuilt. It was an act of defiance, and the students moved forward. But the Klan was prepared: Many had been deputized, and uniformed officers joined the melee. Axe handles and bottles were brandished, and blood began to stain the street. It was a clash, with parties on both sides laid out.

When he got word of the conflict, Walsh rushed to the site and climbed on top of a cannon that was part of a monument. Shouting to be heard, he implored students to return to campus. His voice cut through the sounds of breaking glass, snapping the students out of their reverie. They returned to the school.

Absent any opposition, the Klan did the same. Stragglers from out of town returned home. With bombastic prose, writers for the Fiery Cross later recapped the event by accusing Notre Dame students of beating women and children. Later that summer, they declared theyd be returning to South Bend in greater number.

It never happened. Although the Klan maintained an aura of strength for several more years, the conviction of Stephenson for raping and murdering a woman in November 1925 extinguished one of their most enthusiastic leaders; the Depression dampened the ability of new recruits to pay dues. By 1930, the Klan was down to an estimated 45,000 members.

While Walsh never condoned the vigilante justice exacted that weekend, he never disciplined a single student for it.

Additional Sources: Notre Dame vs. the Klan, by Todd Tucker (Loyola Press, 2004) “Hearing the Silence: The University of Dayton, the Ku Klux Klan, and Catholic Universities and Colleges in the 1920s” [PDF], by William Vance Trollinger

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Priest takes leave after disclosing past in the Ku Klux Klan – Paradise Post

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) A Virginia priest is taking a leave of absence after disclosing he once was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Father William Aitcheson, a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, wrote about his past Klan affiliation Monday in The Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocese’s newspaper. The 62-year-old Aitcheson said that 40 years have passed since he was in the Klan. He apologized for his participation and said the images from this month’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville reminded him of a period in his life he’d prefer to forget. Advertisement In a statement, Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge called Aitcheson’s past with the Klan troubling, but said he hopes his story will help others turn away from hate. Aitcheson had been serving at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax.

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‘My actions were despicable’: Catholic priest steps down after revealing he was a Ku Klux Klan member decades ago – Washington Post

A Catholic priest in Arlington, Va., is temporarily stepping down after revealing he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and burned crosses more than 40 years ago before joining the clergy. In an editorial published Monday in the Arlington Catholic Herald, the Rev. William Aitcheson describedhimself as an impressionable young man when he became a member of the hate group. He wrote that images from the deadly white supremacist and white nationalist rally in Charlottesville brought back memories of a bleak period in my life that I would have preferred to forget. My actions were despicable, wrote Aitcheson, 62. When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else. Its hard to believe that was me. In a statement, Catholic Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge called Aitchesons past with the Ku Klux Klan sad and deeply troubling. Aitcheson served with the Catholic church in Nevadabefore being transferred to Arlington, where he is originally from, church officials said in a statement. He was ordained in 1988 and has served in a variety of positions at parishes in Nevada; Arlington; Fredericksburg, Va.; and Woodstock, Md. His latest assignment was as parochial vicar, or assistant to the pastor, at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax City. The Arlington diocese said Aitcheson would not be available for comment. Attempts to reach him Tuesday were unsuccessful. According to a March 1977 story in The Washington Post, Aitcheson, then a 23-year-old University of Maryland student, was identified as an exalted cyclops of a KKK lodge. He was charged in several cross-burnings in Prince Georges County, Md., and other counts, including making bomb threats and manufacturing pipe bombs. [From 1977: Maryland student charged in 6 cross burnings] According to the 1977 Post story, state police in Maryland said Aitcheson was a leader of the Robert E. Lee Lodge of the Maryland Knights of the KKK, which had planned to recruit people to blow up facilities at Fort Meade near Laurel. When officers searched his home in the 1970s,they found nine pounds of black powder, weapons and bomb parts in Aitchesons bedroom and basement. His parents told authorities they didnt know the explosives and weapons were in their home. At the time of his arrest, Aitchesons father, William W. Aitcheson, said his son was a member of the hate group, adding, My son, along with others, are just caught up in it. I dont know what their thoughts are. Aitcheson pleaded guilty to several cross burnings, including one in the front yard of an African American family in the College Park Woods neighborhood and others at Bnai Brith Hillel at the University of Maryland and the Beth Torah Congregation in Hyattsville. He was convicted and sentenced to 90 days, and ordered to pay a judgment of about$20,000. The African American couple, who were newlyweds at the time of the incident, declined to talk Tuesday about the burning cross from 40 years ago. A woman who answered the door at their Silver Spring home said it was so long ago, and thinking about it would bring backdifficult memories. Five years after Aitchesons involvement in the cross-burning incident at their home, President Ronald Reagan visited the couple and their young daughter, saying the incident is not something that should have happened in America, according to a May 4, 1982, article in the Post. [A Familys Long Ordeal] Aitcheson also pleaded guilty to charges that hethreatened to kill Coretta King, the widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Hetold a U.S. District Court judge that he wrote to King in February 1976, telling her to stay off the University of Maryland campus or you will die. According to a Post story, investigators said he wroteAfrica or death by lynching, take your pick, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Hewas a U-Md.student studying broadcasting at the time. Aitcheson was described in a 1977 Post article as speaking calmly, with his head bowed slightly at a hearing on the King case. He told a judge he was pleading guilty because well, ah, because Im guilty. He also faced charges in Marylands Howard and Carroll counties of illegal possession of firearms and manufacturing explosives. He was convicted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore of mailing threatening communications. A judge sentenced him to 60 days in prison and four years of probation. In his editorial published this week, Aitcheson apologized and said the recent violence in Charlottesville prompted him to share information abouthis past. Hecalled the images from Charlottesville embarrassing, adding that for those who have repented from a damaging and destructive past, the images should bring us to our knees in prayer. [Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death] Aitcheson went on: Racists have polluted minds, twisted by an ideology that reinforces the false belief that they are superior to others. Aitcheson alsowrote that the irony that he left an anti-Catholic hate group to rejoin the Catholic Church is not lost on me. It is a reminder of the radical transformation possible through Jesus Christ in his mercy, he wrote. Billy Atwell, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, said the diocese had received information about Aitchesons history when he was accepted for ministry under Bishop John Keating. He didnt provide details on what information was known. Aitcheson attended seminary at the North American College in Rome from 1984 to 1988, according to the diocese. Atwell said he didnt know if a criminal-background check wasconducted when Aitcheson came to the Arlington diocese in 1993, although he said more in-depth background reviews have been done routinely on staff and priests since the mid-2000s. Since the mid-2000s all staff and clergy have had in-depth background checks under policies of the Virginia State Police, according to Atwell. The checks are also done using a national criminal check system of the FBI and fingerprinting tracking databases. It wasnt clear if his criminal record would have eliminated his ability to become a priest, either in Nevada or Virginia. Atwell said Tuesday that Aitchesons story of repentance is authentic. Al Leightley, head usher at Saint Leo the Great, said Aitcheson never discussed his past involvement with the KKK. Leightley found out about hispast Tuesday morning, but saidAitchesonrepented appropriately in his Monday letter. He is a very good priest, very dedicated to his profession, he said. Its hard to see all the commotion going on with the gentleman. Some public Catholic figures began speaking out on Aitcheson on Tuesday, including conservative legal scholar Matthew Franck, a Princeton University lecturer. I hope this evidently good man returns to active ministry, Franck tweeted. He could do important work, especially with his history. On the dioceses Facebook page, multiple supporters of the priest praised his decision to go public, and called him a gifted pastor. A true story of redemption. May God continue to work in and through Fr. Aitcheson, one wrote. In a phone interview, Franck said, Sometimes people get involved in a hate group and then have been reborn, and have an interesting story to tell It would be a loss for him to just vanish. A note at the bottom of Aitchesons editorial on Monday said he had voluntarily asked to step away from public ministry, for the well being of the Church and parish community. Burbidge said there have been no accusations of racism or bigotry against [Aitcheson] at the Arlington diocese during his time. He said Aitchesons request to step away from public ministry was approved. Peter Hermann, Ellie Silverman, Justin Jouvenal and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

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NEW: Ku Klux Klan’s profile in Palm Beach County shrank through years – Palm Beach Post

The governor of Florida had no patience for the Ku Klux Klan. He called them covered cowards, hooded hoodlums, sheeted jerks. Fuller Warren could afford to go after the shadowy group. It was 1951, and Florida didnt need the Klan to press Jim Crow. It was the law of the land. With this months events in Charlottesville, Va., placing the spotlight on extremist groups nationwide, people at times are surprised to learn that Florida, the place that now is the most northern of the southern states, once was a hotbed of racism. Many will argue theres still plenty of it between Pensacola and Key West including in Palm Beach County.

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Rebecca Blank: UW-Madison group will research Ku Klux Klan’s history on campus – Madison.com

Just over a week after a gathering of white supremacy groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, left three dead and led to the quick removal of Confederate memorials across the country, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Monday she has formed a committee to examine the history of student groups affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan. In the 1924 edition of the Badger yearbook, a student organization called the Ku Klux Klan’s roster included actor Fredric March (then Fred Bickel) and longtime Memorial Union director Porter Butts, who are memorialized today with the Fredric March Play Circle and Porter Butts Gallery at the Union. Other members of UW’s KKK included Thomas E. Brittingham Jr., who would become a financier and co-founder of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the patent and licensing organization of UW-Madison; and Philip Falk, later a long-time Madison schools superintendent. Stories of the groups existence in the early 1920s have cropped up from time to time in the intervening decades, stirring controversy over whether it was affiliated with the notorious white-sheeted Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan out of Georgia. “In the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, it is time to take a fresh look at our history to ensure that we fully understand and appropriately acknowledge the activities of members of the campus community during this time period,” Blank said a statement Monday. “To that end, I am asking an ad-hoc study group to research the history of these student organizations, including the extent to which they were affiliated with the national KKK movement, their actions and legacies. ” The group will be co-chaired by history professor Stephen Kantrowitz, who has been involved in the Justified Anger Coalition’s African-American history courses, and Floyd Rose, president of 100 Black Men of Madison. In the statement, Blank said she will ask the group to advise “how best the campus can acknowledge and respond to this history” by Dec. 1. “In addition, I am asking the leadership of the Wisconsin Union to begin to identify space within the renovated Memorial Union building that could be used to document the history of these student ogranizations on campus, using the knowledge produced by this study group,” Blank said. As a UW-Madison graduate student, Timothy Messer-Kruse wrote in a 1993 article published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin that he could find no evidence of a direct link between the KKK at UW-Madison and the Invisible Empire, but found the organization shared many of the racist and nativist attitudes of the other, more dangerous Ku Klux Klan. The story of the UW campus Klan is historically instructive, because it serves well as a barometer of the cultural and ideological climate of Madison and the university campus in the 1920s, Messer-Kruse wrote for the Wisconsin Magazine of History. He is now a professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The UW KKK was founded and quickly became prominent at a time when the Invisible Empire was organizing in many cities, including Madison, where it had considerable if brief success. The campus Klan was an interfraternity honorary society, an all-white, all-male group officially chartered in January, 1920, and made up of the most accomplished representatives from campus fraternities. Members of the campus Klan served in or on the student senate, student court, alumni committee, prom and homecoming committees and were directors of the Daily Cardinal board of control, athletic board, the YMCA cabinet, Student Union board, and Memorial Union fund-raising committee, local historian Stuart Levitan wrote in Madison: The Illustrated Sesquicentennial History, Volume 1, published in 2006. Levitan posted an image from his book last week on Facebook, noting the Memorial Union facilities named for members of the group. But Levitan said he is not suggesting the names of the facilities be changed. The rooms were named in their honor for what they did as grown men, not for who they were as students,” he said. “I believe in growth and redemption.” In his book, Levitan noted that the “honorary” Klan was diminished when the “authentic” Klan began recruiting on campus in 1922. While the former was made up primarily of out-of-state liberal arts majors, the latter recruited engineering majors from Wisconsin. “The members of the honorary Klan didn’t so much object to the philosophy or activities of the new group as disdain them on a class basis,” Levitan wrote. While the UW campus Klan may not have been affiliated with the national Klan, its members likely knew of the growing national group and the associations the name insinuated, Messer-Kruse argued. The Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan was formed in Georgia in 1915, the year of the premier of D.W. Griffiths popular film The Birth of a Nation, which synthesized a number of racist and nationalistic stereotypes in depicting the heroic riders of the Ku Klux Klan saving the South, white womanhood and the nation. A page from the 1923 edition of the Badger yearbook dedicated to a campus organization called the Ku Klux Klan. By adopting the name Ku Klux Klan in such a climate, students draped themselves in the flag, Messer-Kruse wrote. Approval of a group calling itself the Ku Klux Klan raised not a ripple of concern on campus, he said. Yet there is evidence of broad familiarity with Klan imagery from the earliest days of the honorary society. A Daily Cardinal item on an October 1919 meeting of the group wondered wryly what the members wore: Dya spose that they attend in sheet with eyes cut outMasquerades ought to be easy for that crowd. Hinted associations between the groups raised no concern at the time, as a culture of intolerance permeated the UW campus, the Madison community and white America generally, Messer-Kruse wrote. For example, the 1920 homecoming celebration included a regular old-fashioned n—– Jubilee, according to a souvenir program, featuring white performers smeared in burnt cork. The honorary Klan played a central role in producing the program, according to Messer-Kruse. There were almost no African-American students enrolled at UW at the time; three in the freshman class of 1923 and a total of six enrolled in 1927. There were at least 550 Jewish students on campus in 1926, although they were shut out of many campus activities. For example, fraternities at UW, like many others across the country, restricted membership to males who were white or not Semitic. The charters of fraternities at UW were approved by the dean of students and student senate, which was dominated by the honorary Ku Klux Klan, according to Messer-Kruse. The issue of the UW KKK was raised in December 1953 during anti-Communist hearings convened by Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. The Capital Times reproduced the Ku Klux Klan’s 1924 yearbook page under the headline U.W. Had Ku Klux Klan in 1920s! The story noted that Madison superintendent Philip Falk and UW athletic director Guy Sundt had been members. But Dont Get Too Excited, Because It Was Just In Fun, read the headline of an accompanying story that explained that while such news could be damaging in these days of fear and guilt by association, the campus Klan existed to volunteer for campus projects. The reason the group took the name KKK is lost in the annals of the University and in the memories of its surviving members, reads the newspaper clip included in a file on the campus KKK at the UW-Madison Archives at Steenbock Library on campus. The authentic KKK fraternity, Kappa Beta Lambda whose initials stood for Klans-men Be Loyal chartered in 1924, drew heavily from the army cadet corps. Less influential, unsocial and secretive, its members also ranked low academically. The elite of the interfraternity group had no wish to share the name of Ku Klux Klan with the hoi poloi, Messer-Kruse wrote. The KKKs Kappa Beta Lambda, in turn, changed its name in early 1927, after its application to use the Field House for a Klan rally had been rejected by the Board of Regents the prior semester. The historical existence of the UW KKK was publicized again in 1970, during a time of sometimes violent protests against the Vietnam War culminating in the Aug. 24 bombing of Sterling Hall that killed a physics researcher. Six weeks later, the Daily Cardinal reprinted the campus Klans 1924 yearbook page, with the remark: The Good Old Days, No Strikes, No Riots, No Dope: The Board of Regents would have loved it. Just good wholesome fun with only the occasional flaming cross. The inference was obvious, replied Earl Settlemyer, then coordinator for fraternity affairs, in a tart press release that chided the Cardinal for not researching the issue. The KKK was one of several interfraternity social and leadership societies of the era, Settlemyer wrote. It was not part of the national Klan and had entirely different purposes and beliefs. The men in those societies played a major part in a fund-raising project to build the Union, which produced donations of $50 from one out of every two undergraduates on campus, Settlemyer said. The campus honorary KKK made the news again in 1992, when Isthmus reported on it, challenging UW officials assertion that the group was not affiliated with the national white supremacist group. The Madison School District told the Wisconsin State Journal then that Falk, who had been superintendent for 1939 to 1962, was not tied to the national KKK. News editor Bill Lueders and J. Frank Cook, then director of the UW Archives, argued over a connection between the campus and national groups in correspondence preserved in the archives. Wrote Lueders: I still think the weight of the evidence and rationality support the conclusion that the students who formed and affiliated with the campus Ku Klux Klan must have known about, and not been uncomfortable with, the groups white supremacist bias. Cook argued at length that there was no affiliation, but also stated: Racism and hatred of certain ethnic and religious groups was rampant in the U.S. in the 1920s and there is no reason to assume that this climate did not exist on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. Messer-Kruse made a similar observation. “The same conditions of rapid social, cultural and economic change in America that had bred an atmosphere of fear, distrust and xenophobia,” and led to a resurgence of KKK in towns across America also affected students on the UW campus, he wrote. Nearly a century later, communities facing a new wave of fear, distrust and xenophobia are grappling with how to deal with their histories.

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How One Man Convinced 200 Ku Klux Klan Members To Give Up Their Robes – NPR

For 30 years, Daryl Davis has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan. He says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes after talking with him. Courtesy of Daryl Davis hide caption For 30 years, Daryl Davis has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan. He says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes after talking with him. Daryl Davis is a blues musician, but he also has what some might call an interesting hobby. For the past 30 years, Davis, a black man, has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan. He says once the friendship blossoms, the Klansmen realize that their hate may be misguided. Since Davis started talking with these members, he says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes. When that happens, Davis collects the robes and keeps them in his home as a reminder of the dent he has made in racism by simply sitting down and having dinner with people. On the first time he befriended a member of the Ku Klux Klan I was playing music it was my first time playing in this particular bar called the Silver Dollar Lounge and this white gentleman approached me and he says, “I really enjoy you all’s music.” I thanked him, shook his hand and he says, “You know this is the first time I ever heard a black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.” I was kind of surprised that he did not know the origin of that kind of music and I said, “Well, where do you think Jerry Lee Lewis learned how to play that kind of style?” He’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” I said, “He learned it from the same place I did. Black, blues, and boogie-woogie piano players.” That’s what that rockabilly, rock ‘n roll style came from.” He said, “Oh, no! Jerry Lee invented that. I ain’t ever heard no black man except for you play like that.” So I’m thinking this guy has never heard Fats Domino or Little Richard and then he says, “You know, this is the first time I ever sat down and had a drink with a black man?” Daryl Davis first befriended a member of the Ku Klux Klan in a bar where he was performing. He says they bonded over liking the same type of music. Courtesy of Jonathan Timmes hide caption Daryl Davis first befriended a member of the Ku Klux Klan in a bar where he was performing. He says they bonded over liking the same type of music. Well, now I’m getting curious. I’m trying to figure out, now how is it that in my 25 years on the face of this earth that I have sat down, literally, with thousands of white people, had a beverage, a meal, a conversation or anybody else, and this guy is 15 to 20 years older than me and he’s never sat down with a black guy before and had a drink. I said, “How is that? Why?” At first, he didn’t answer me and he had a friend sitting next to him and he elbowed him and said, “Tell him, tell him, tell him,” and he finally said, “I’m a member of the Ku Klux Klan.” On his reaction on hearing he was talking a member of the Klan I just burst out laughing because I really did not believe him. I thought he was pulling my leg. As I was laughing, he pulled out his wallet, flipped through his credit cards and pictures and produced his Klan card and handed it to me. Immediately, I stopped laughing. I recognized the logo on there, the Klan symbol and I realized this was for real, this guy wasn’t joking. And now I’m wondering, why am I sitting by a Klansman? But he was very friendly, it was the music that brought us together. He wanted me to call him and let him know anytime I was to return to this bar with this band. The fact that a Klansman and black person could sit down at the same table and enjoy the same music, that was a seed planted. So what do you do when you plant a seed? You nourish it. That was the impetus for me to write a book. I decided to go around the country and sit down with Klan leaders and Klan members to find out: How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? On what he says to a Klansman The best thing you do is you study up on the subject as much as you can. I went in armed, not with a weapon, but with knowledge. I knew as much about the Klan, if not more than many of the Klan people that I interviewed. When they see that you know about their organization, their belief system, they respect you. Whether they like you or not, they respect the fact that you’ve done your homework. Just like any good salesman, you want a return visit and they recognized that I’d done my homework, which allowed me to come back again. That began to chip away at their ideology because when two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. It’s when the talking ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. If you spend five minutes with your worst enemy it doesn’t have to be about race, it could be about anything…you will find that you both have something in common. As you build upon those commonalities, you’re forming a relationship and as you build about that relationship, you’re forming a friendship. That’s what would happen. I didn’t convert anybody. They saw the light and converted themselves. On what the Klansmen thought when he asked them why they hated him Initially, they feel that if you’re not white, you are inferior. [They believe] that black people have smaller brains, we’re incapable of higher achievement. I’ll give you an example of one. This guy was an exalted cyclops sitting in my car in my passenger seat. He made the statement, which I’d heard before, “Well we all know that all black people have within them a gene that makes them violent.” I turned to him and I’m driving and I said, “Wait a minute. I’m as black as anybody you’ve ever seen. I have never done a carjacking or a driveby, how do you explain that?” He didn’t even pause to think about it. He said, “Your gene is latent. It hasn’t come out yet.” So how do you argue with somebody who is that far out in left field? I was dumbfounded. I’m just driving along. He’s sitting over here all smug and secure, like “See you have no response?” And I thought about it for a minute. Then I used his point of reference. I said, “Well, we all know that all white people have a gene within them that makes them a serial killer.” He says, “What do you mean?” And I said,”Well, name me three black serial killers.” He thought about it he could not do it. I said, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy. All whites. I said, “Son, you are a serial killer.” He says “Daryl, I’ve never killed anybody.” I said, “Your gene is latent. It hasn’t come out yet.” He goes, “Well, that’s stupid!” I said, “Well, duh. Yes, but you know what, you’re right. What I said was stupid, but no more stupid than what you said you me.” Then he got very, very quiet and changed the subject. Five months later, based on that conversation he left the Klan. His robe was the first robe I ever got. Matthew Schwartz produced the audio for this story. Wynne Davis adapted it for web.

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KKK leader threatens to ‘burn’ Latina journalist, the first black person on his property – Washington Post

A leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Pelham, N.C., called Univision reporter Ilia Caldern the n-word and threatened to “burn” her while she conducted an interview. (Univision) Christopher Barker, a leader of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in North Carolina, agreed to meet for an interview at his homelate last month with Ilia Caldern, a Colombian news anchor for Univision based in Miami. He was told the interview would be conducted by a Hispanic woman of color. But when Barker saw Caldern step out of a car and onto his property near Yanceyville, N.C., the KKK leader appeared taken aback, according toCaldern and her producer,Mara Martnez-Guzmn. Hehad expected someone like the rest of the predominately Hispanic, lighter-skinned news crew, theysaid. ButCaldern isblack.Barker told her she was the first black person to step on his landin his 20 years of living there. Barker is the imperial wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK in Pelham, N.C., a group that would later participate in a deadlywhite supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Caldern isa U.S. citizen and Colombian immigrant. Univision planned the interview with Barker and his wife, Amanda Barker,months in advanceto provide viewers with an up-close look into a white supremacists views, Caldern told The Washington Post. It was an interview that quickly turned hostile. AsCaldern pressed Barker on his views, he called herthe n-word and told her to go back to her country. He also appeared to threaten her. Why dont you go back? Barker said in the interview, which Univisionaired Sunday night. We have nothing here in America, yall keep flooding it. Were going to chase you out of here. Are you going to chase me out of here?Caldern responded. No, were going to burn you out, he said. How are you gonna do it? she retorted. At one point, she asked him how he would burn outthe 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country. Dont matter, Barker said. We killed sixmillion Jews the last time. Elevenmillion is nothing. Youre telling me youre going to burn me, Caldern also said, to which he responded: Yeah, youre sitting on my property now. At times, Caldern said she feared for her safety, though Barker never followed through with any of his threats. The program, broadcastin Spanish on Univisions Aqui y Ahora, spurred a slew of reactions on social media. Many viewers praisedCaldern for her courage and professionalism, and commended the Spanish-language media companyfor shedding light on the KKKs disgusting views. But others criticized Univision for the interview, calling it sensationalized and claiming the network madeCaldern appear a victim in an attempt to get ratings. Last week,Randy Falco, chief executiveof Univision Communications,wrote a memo to staffers calling for stronger leadership in light of the violence in Charlottesville, and Trumps muted responses to it. Falcocondemned attacks on immigrants, the LGBT community, the media and those who espouse racist and hateful views, Variety reported. Caldern told The Postshe had volunteered to do the interview, in order to show her Latino viewers that these groups are alive. She had been nervous to meet Barker, but she had never expected to feel as insulted and threatened as she did during the encounter. I represent the things that they hate: I am black, I am Hispanic, I am an immigrant, she said. Her own family reflects a merging of cultures. The Colombian native moved to the U.S. 16 years ago, and has since married a Korean American physical therapist. Their young daughter, Anna, is multiracial. Caldern told The Post she struggled at times to understandBarker, partly becauseEnglish is her second language and because of his accent. She didnt initially understand one of the terms he called her: mongrel. Ive been here over 20 years and weve never had a black person or whatever you want to call yourself, youre a mongrel to me, Barker said. Weve never had one. We dont let them around. Caldern frequently pushed back on his views, and told himshe found his language offensive. My skin color doesnt define me, she said. Im way more superior than youll ever be, Barker said. As the Univision crew filmed, othermembers of the Loyal White Knights joined the Barkers to perform a cross-burning ceremony. They held torches and circled a cross, chanting For race, for God, for nation, for the Ku Klux Klan. At one point during the interview, Caldern asked him if, hypothetically, he would be willing to accept an organ donation from her to one of his children, if she was deemed a match. He told her it was not possible, Caldern recalled, claimingthat his blood was not the same as hers because of their different races. Barker denied that he led a hate group. Both he and his wife said they dont hate anyone, werenot racist and do notcondone violence. A few weeks after the interview, the Barkers confirmed to Univision that they attended the Charlottesville rally. In an interview with North Carolina television station WBTV, the couple praised the man accused ofdriving a carinto crowds, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. I really hate that that girl died, but she had a choice to be there that day, Amanda Barker told WBTV. Her husband disagreed: I dont hate that she died, because shes a Communist, Christopher Barker said. He blamed the violence on the antifascists and on the lack of security at the protests. When a couple of them die, it doesnt bother us, hetold the station. Theyre always attacking and messing with our rallies. More from Morning Mix Former Philly mayor Frank Rizzo was no Confederate. But its open season on his statue. Robert E. Lee discouraged monuments. They keep open the sores of war, he wrote. Tina Fey urges Americans: Stay home from neo-Nazi rallies. Eat a sheet cake instead. Foxs James Murdoch blasts Trump on Charlottesville: There are no good Nazis

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Madge Oberholtzer: The murder that brought down the Ku Klux Klan – WRTV Indianapolis

WRTV Indianapolis Madge Oberholtzer: The murder that brought down the Ku Klux Klan WRTV Indianapolis He was the former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana an organization he had grown from a membership of just a few thousand to one, by 1925, that had swelled in some estimates to more than half a million Hoosiers. In the previous election, …

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Austin protesters moon Ku Klux Klan at Texas Capitol in 1993

Austin is well known for its protests and for itsKeep Austin Weird motto. Those two often intertwine one recent example is2016sCocks Not Glocks campus carry protest at the University of Texas, where sex toys were proudly displayed on the schools mall. But back in 1993, when the Ku Klux Klan staged a rally at the Texas Capitol grounds, Austin protesters fought back by turning the other cheek, in a way. Amass mooning of the Klan was staged on Jan. 16, 1993. (Jan. 16 is also the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.s birthday, for those keeping score at home.) In addition to the bevy of bare butts that day, there was also a march by The People’s Anti-Racism Coalition in honor of Kings birthday, a city-sponsored Peoples Parade to celebrate the city’s racial and cultural diversity, and a multitude of other events citywide to honor Kings legacy, according to American-Statesman archives. A video from the When We Were Live project documenting the full mooning has resurfaced on Reddit in thewake of recent eventsinvolving violence connectedto whitesupremacist rallies. In the video, you can see protesters yelling at the Klan, as well as peaceful protesters standing nearby. Oh, and you can see lots of butts. Human butts, dog butts, white butts, tan butts, bare butts, long-john-covered butts, male butts, female butts, just all kinds of butts coming together to show the racists members of the Klan the proper disrespect. WARNING: This clips contains partial nudity.(Also, theres a sign with a profanity printed on it. Be warned.) According to the American-Statesman archives, about 5,000 protesters showed up to counter the 40 Klansmen that arrived at the Capitol grounds. About 75 of those protesters were mooners. The mass mooning event was first written about in print by the American-Statesmans late, great humor columnist, John Kelso. Read his Jan. 9, 1993, column about the idea behind the showing of behinds: When Ku Klux Klan members rally at the Capitol a week from today, they may see something they’ll never forget – a mass mooning. This mind-boggling and completely unusual proposal is the brainchild of Austin musician Steve Fromholz. If you want to moon the Klan, just show up and join in with Fromholz. You don’t even need a ticket. No place but Austin. “I can see the bumper stickers now – I mooned the Klan, Austin ’93,” says Fromholz, who to date has only a half dozen or so friends lined up for the extravaganza. But he expects many volunteers will make plans to attend, once the word gets out. “I’m certain there are a lot of people in Austin who would leap at the opportunity to moon the Klan,” Fromholz says. “There are some in the community who would worry about their place in the community, or about losing their job. But there are some of us who don’t have to worry about that.” Fromholz likes this idea because he sees it as a peaceful way to show the Klan that it isn’t appreciated around these parts. It would be nice to completely ignore the Klan, but you know that won’t happen. Soooo, instead of getting all worked up and cussing and blowing your top, drop your britches, pull them up, then walk off, Fromholz suggests. “It’s a way to say, We don’t need you, go someplace else to get mooned,'” Fromholz said. “It’s a very simple way of saying, `I hold the Klan in total disrespect.’ Just moon them and walk away and go back to work. Just laugh at them. Don’t shout at them and shoot them the finger.” Fromholz is so serious about this that he called Travis County Sheriff Terry Keel to ask if a group mooning is legal. Imagine calling the sheriff’s office and asking that question. I’ll bet you would get transferred a bunch, huh? “I had a nice conversation with Steve about that,” Keel said. He says a group mooning is legal as long as the participants don’t get too explicit, you might say. He says the law regarding this activity does not address “the subject of cheeks.” Keel also said that though he couldn’t give the group mooning his “official blessing or clearance, he thought it was a good concept. “Steve has the right approach,” he said. “People counterdemonstrate, which is the wrong way to handle it.” Anyway, it must have been an interesting conversation. “It’s hilarious and he was all excited when he talked to me about it,” Keel recalled. “What was the word he used? It was as if a vision came to him.” “It came to me as in a flash of light, ” said Fromholz, who even has his outfit picked out for the affair – a pair of jeans over red long johns. “You got to believe,” he said. “It’s like keeping Tinkerbell alive. But I can picturalize it, and if I can picturalize it, it will usually happen.” So what should you do if you want to involve your civic group in this mass mooning of the Klan? Simply come around and go for it. Junior Leaguers, Lions, SOS’ers, developers – come one, come all. Fromholz sees this as a community thing, although I think there are some of y’all who should stay in the house. I won’t name any names, though. I don’t need the aggravation. OK. So I’ll name one. Radio guy Bob Cole. “It has great possibilities if the Optimists would come out, and the VFW and the American Legion, and perhaps the Legislature,” Fromholz said. “They showed their (fannies) all the way through this last session.” Fromholz advises anyone taking part to keep his distance from the Klan members, though mooning a rally is a lot different than mooning a parade, he explained. “The thing is you’ve got to be careful with a rally. They’re not marching by, so they might kick you in the moon, and they’re notorious moon-kickers.” No matter what you think about this, it sure is unique. “I don’t think anyone’s ever mooned the Klan before, at least not en masse, ” Fromholz said. “But it’s an idea whose time has come. And I think Martin Luther King would approve. This is nonviolent protest at its best.” Maybe so. But I wonder how they’ll handle it on CNN?

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The Day Notre Dame Students Pummeled the Ku Klux Klan – Mental Floss

At first glance, there was nothing unusual about the men who stepped off the train in South Bend, Indiana on the morning of May 17, 1924. Dapper and mannered, they drifted from the station to the downtown area. Some headed for a nearby office that sported a red cross made out of light bulbs stationed in the window. Others roamed around looking for Island Park, the site of a planned social gathering. A closer look at these visitors revealed one common trait: Many were carrying a folded white robe under their arm. Those who had arrived earlier were fully clothed in their uniform and hood, directing automobile traffic to the park. The Ku Klux Klan had arrived in town. Fresh off a controversial leadership election in Indianapolis, Indiana, there was no reason for Klansmen to have any apprehension about holding a morale booster in South Bend. Indiana was Klan territory, with an estimated one in three native born white men sworn members within state lines. Just a few months later, Klansman Ed Jackson would be elected governor. It was only when Klansmen found themselves guided into alleys and surrounded by an irate gang of Catholic students from nearby Notre Dame University that they realized mobilizing in South Bend may have been a very bad idea. The Klan wanted a rally. What they got was a full-scale riot. Politically-endorsed prejudice was the order of the day in the early part of the 20th century, when the Klanfirst created in 1866 to oppose Republican Reconstruction with violent racial enmity and then revived in 1915expanded its tentacles to reach law enforcement and civil service. No longer targeting people of color exclusively, the KKK took issue with Catholics, the Jewish faith, and immigrants. An estimated 4 million Americans belonged to the Klan in the 1920s, all echoing the groups philosophy that only white, God-fearing citizens were worthy of respect. Under the guidance of Indiana’s Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson, the group had attempted to shift public perception from the lynch mobs of the past to an orderly and articulate assembly. Rallies were held in KKK-friendly areas; propaganda material was becoming an effective weapon for their cause. Acceptance of the Klans ideology seeped into political office; Stephenson was a prominent Indiana politician. To help continue that indoctrination, the Klan made plans for a parade in South Bend to be held on May 17, 1924. That it would be in close proximity to the Notre Dame campus was no mistake: At the time, 75 percent of the school’s nearly 2000 students were Catholic, a religion the Klan found abhorrent. By pledging allegiance to the Vatican, their reasoning went, Catholics were acknowledging a foreign power. In the fall of 1923, they had persisted in setting crosses on fire near the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, a predominantly Catholic college, and were frequently chased off by angered football players. That December, the Klan set off firebombs in Dayton during Christmas break. While no one was seriously injured, the intent was to send a messageone they wanted to spread to Indiana. In the weeks and months leading up to the parade, both students and faculty began to get a taste of that perspective. Copies of the Fiery Cross, the official Klan newspaper, circulated on campus; one Klansman showed up at an auditorium to broadcast that Catholics were not good Americans. He exited the stage when attendees began throwing potatoes at him. If that public response was foreshadowing, the Klan either ignored or failed to heed the warning. Members began arriving the Friday evening prior to the rally and were met at the train station by irritated students, who scuffled with the early arrivals by ripping their robes. By Saturday morning, when more Klansmen arrived, hundreds of students were in town, a loosely organized anti-Klan task force. Klan members were used to breezing into towns without incident. Here, they were immediately confronted by young, ornery college kids proud of their Catholicism. Klansmen were led into alleys and tossed into walls; students who played for the schools legendary football squad formed wedges, the offensive line-ups found on the field, and plowed into groups of Klan members like they were challenging for a state title. The violence, swift and sudden, prompted the Klan to retreat to their headquarters in South Bend. The students followed, their blood pumping hot at the sight of the red cross lit in the office window. Below it stood a grocery store with barrels of fresh potatoes. The students lobbed them at the glass, smashing the bulbs inside. The conflict had been uninterrupted by law enforcement, but not for lack of trying. Deputy Sheriff John Cully, himself a Klansman, tried to enlist the National Guard but was shot down by officials. Notre Dame president Matthew Walsh had already implored students not to go into town, but his words went unheeded. Unencumbered by authority, the 100 or so students idling near the Klans office decided they wanted to seize the hideout. Dozens began running up the stairs but were greeted by a Klan member who produced a gun. Unarmed, the students backed off. Four seniors went back and came to an impromptu truce: The student body would disperse if the Klan agreed to hold their rally without weapons or their robes. The agreement seemed to placate both sides until Stephenson finally arrived in town before the parades scheduled 6:30 p.m. start. Assessing the roughed-up Klansmen and their skittish behavior, he complained to the police, who posted officers on horseback around their assembly at Island Park. But there would be no rally: A heavy downpour prompted Stephenson to call it off, although the potential for further violence likely weighed on his mind. Lingering students who still hadnt returned to campus met departing Klansmen as they attempted to drive out of town, smashing windows and even tipping over one car. By Sunday, things seemed to have settled down. Walsh cringed at newspaper reports of the incidents, fearing it would portray the students as thugs. Unfortunately, neither side was done protesting. And when they met a second time, the robed men would be backed up by lawman Cully and a squad of 30 deputized Klansmen. Students back on campus Monday had taken to hanging up seized Klan robes and hoods on their walls like trophies. It had been a rout, with the Klan barely putting up a fight. Now, word was spreading through the halls that the Klan had captured or perhaps had even killed a Notre Dame student. Roughly 500 students jogged the two miles back into South Bend, eager for another confrontation. When they arrived at the Klans headquarters, the light bulb cross had been rebuilt. It was an act of defiance, and the students moved forward. But the Klan was prepared: Many had been deputized, and uniformed officers joined the melee. Axe handles and bottles were brandished, and blood began to stain the street. It was a clash, with parties on both sides laid out. When he got word of the conflict, Walsh rushed to the site and climbed on top of a cannon that was part of a monument. Shouting to be heard, he implored students to return to campus. His voice cut through the sounds of breaking glass, snapping the students out of their reverie. They returned to the school. Absent any opposition, the Klan did the same. Stragglers from out of town returned home. With bombastic prose, writers for the Fiery Cross later recapped the event by accusing Notre Dame students of beating women and children. Later that summer, they declared theyd be returning to South Bend in greater number. It never happened. Although the Klan maintained an aura of strength for several more years, the conviction of Stephenson for raping and murdering a woman in November 1925 extinguished one of their most enthusiastic leaders; the Depression dampened the ability of new recruits to pay dues. By 1930, the Klan was down to an estimated 45,000 members. While Walsh never condoned the vigilante justice exacted that weekend, he never disciplined a single student for it. Additional Sources: Notre Dame vs. the Klan, by Todd Tucker (Loyola Press, 2004) “Hearing the Silence: The University of Dayton, the Ku Klux Klan, and Catholic Universities and Colleges in the 1920s” [PDF], by William Vance Trollinger

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