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But such was the uniformity of Klan appeal to a particular demographic group nationwide that a detailed look at the Kansas City, Kansas, men who ed the order will—if not unmask individual Missouri members—at least sketch a recognizable silhouette. But the damage was done.
The first test of the competing factions came when school superintendent Matthew E. Pearson announced plans to integrate the annual spring ant parade. Much to the concern of white parents, Emerson School in the Argentine district accommodated more than Mexican children in its crowded classrooms. Certainly they were nothing like the Neo-Nazi skinhe who fill Klan ranks today. At first glance, the middle-class composition of the s KKK in Kansas City, Kansas, looks almost reassuring in contrast with the lynching and church bombings that appeared in the s and s.
Most of the prominent quitters found their way back to the doors of Wyandotte Klan No. Pearson later denied any visit from the Klan and asserted the change in plans was his idea.
Most Klansmen worked with at least one other Klan member. While some deserters formed rival Klans which abjured violence, their reform efforts failed.
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But the first 1, men who ed the Klan in KCK left a more detailed impression. Although Klan membership reached its zenith in that decade, the Invisible Empire is best remembered for the two most notorious phases of its history. The typical Klansman attended a mainline Protestant church. The official agreed and the issue faded for a time thanks to the diplomacy of the Klansman Haas and his counterpart, the wife of a Klan member.
No Klan members were discovered in the pews of fundamentalist churches such as the Church of the Nazarene or the Church of Christ. At least 88 Klansmen were related to another member. After the second resurgence in the s, the South saw another outbreak of Klan violence following the Second World War, as a response to civil rights demands and gains by African Americans.
No information on the women and boys who ed the Klan auxiliaries exists outside of the newspaper s. It is almost tempting to wonder whether the city was ever in real peril with such solid citizens behind the sheets.
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The three most common Klan occupations were small business owner, clerk, and railroad engineer. And yet like the Klan of today and its earlier eruptions, the folks who stocked the KKK in Kansas City also wrought violence and intimidation on their neighbors.
Who were the men, women, and children who roiled the city with their white robes, violent threats, prying eyes, and sequestered books? He owned his home. The Pearson affair split the chapter nearly in two as men disgusted with even the thought of overt violence quit the order. Chapters also formed in Rosedale Klan No. The chapter s represented the order each one was formed within the state. Most residents accepted the Sunday hours as a necessity.
Wyandotte Klan No. The quotient for those ineligible for Klan membership—Catholics, Jews, African Americans and the foreign born—was 19 percent. Allen dispatched undercover agents to collect information on Klan members for an ouster suit the state was preparing against the Invisible Empire.
Heavy infiltration by the Federal Bureau of Investigation helped bring this bloody chapter to an end. Another issue was the question of where to educate Mexican children as more Hispanic families arrived from the south in Kansas City.
But the tedious administrative nature of the klonvocation in Kansas City obscures the tumultuous history of the KKK in the greater Kansas City area during the interwar years. Native-born white men were closest to the Klan members with an MCQ of 49 percent. Ninety-five Klansmen shared an address with another member, half of whom shared a surname.
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Neighborhood leader Dr. Haas of the Argentine Activities Association and a female representative of the Parent Teachers Association approached the Mexican consulate in search of permission to build a separate school for the immigrant children. The Klan counted only a few thousand members in The club likely would have withered away without the aid of Edward Y. Simmons, an admittedly bad administrator, agreed. Scores in the mids prevail despite differences of geography and economy. Kansas City clergymen ed the Klan. When an organization controls the levers of power, physical violence is a convenient option but not a necessity.
Kansas City grocers and consumers had long ignored an city ordinance prohibiting the sale of foodstuffs on the Sabbath; Sunday to many Protestants. Colonel the title was strictly honorary William Joseph Simmons raised the order from its post-Civil War grave infulfilling hood dream to revive the KKK. A former Methodist circuit rider who made his living selling fraternal life insurance policies, Simmons lay recovering from an auto accident in an Atlanta hospital when a vision of Klansmen in flowing white robes stirred his imagination. But other Klansmen, impatient with the building of the segregated school, invoked the vigilante option and clashed with Mexican residents over the school question, showing once again the friction within the order over physical and other types of Klan violence.
Some Klansmen had as many as six Klan members on their block. Beatty promised to contact Klan leaders and verify if the hooded order was responsible for the threat or if other men were acting in its name.
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A more immediate question is, what did this new Klan do in Kansas City? Wyandotte county boys ed the Junior Klan. The Klan may have had southern roots, but the Kansas City chapter did not. He was married. Given the consistent 75 percent middle-class quotient across the country it is reasonable to assume the same percentage applied to Klan members in Kansas City, Missouri. Fifteen percent of members served in World War One. One elderly member had fought for the Union in the Civil War. Another claimed conscientious objector status on his World War One draft registration card.
The Klan marched in no parades and burned no crosses. The following list is therefore not exhaustive, and countless other Klan acts were likely committed in the Kansas City area in the s. His deal with Clarke and Tyler would loosen the Klan from its southern moorings for the first time and expanded its influence across the country. The local history of the KKK can best be understood in consideration of the national historical context of the Ku Klux Klan of the s. One exception to this is Arkansas native Thomas Y. Approximately one-third of Kansas City Klansmen had at least one foreign born parent.
The average member was 35 years old. Did the pattern prevail in Kansas City? The history of s-era Klan behavior included burning crosses, marching ominously down main streets, and intimidating enemies. The hooded order attracted numerous veterans. The MCQ grows in ificance when it is applied to case studies of Klan chapters across the country. Some of the Eastern States are today lost to true Americanism and must be re-won, but the American population of the Middle West [is] …left to do valiant battle.
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Led by King Kleagle George T. McCarron, a Missourian, a provisional chapter called the Sunflower Club was soon formed. This history includes the activities of Klan members from both sides of the state line who gathered to celebrate their shared white ethnic identity and transcend the historic divisions of the Kansas-Missouri border.
First founded by six former Confederate officers inthe post-Civil War KKK was dedicated to terrorizing African American freedmen and women back into submission and resisting the political Reconstruction efforts of the federal government. The message warned Summers to move before nightfall.
Federal, state, and local government employees ed up, too. He had a 50 percent chance of living on the same block as another Klansman. Fox, Junior Clerk Bina S. Quick Jr. Another set of s puts the Kansas City Klan in class perspective. How large was the threat? Twenty-five Klansmen employed a fellow member. Burcham, was accused of planning an attack on Pearson for his affront to white supremacy.
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But their known activities locally included:. Like a prairie fire, a revived Ku Klux Klan KKK spread quickly across the nation in the s, enrolling upwards of six million white, native-born Protestants into its ranks. Captain Stanley Beatty told the frightened man the city could not afford to station a police officer at his home. Intimidation could work just as well. The question can only be answered by newspaper s and the depositions taken during a state [Kansas] investigation of the order. Summers complained to police. One group favored the night-righting, horse-whipping style of earlier vigilantes, while another promoted the subtler art of persuasion, a friendly face of intimidation.
The amorphous character of the Klan of the s gave it the flexibility to adjust to whatever local conditions it found.