THE KU KLUX IN THE CITY, 1915-1930 by Kenneth T. Jackson


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The popular stereotype of a Klansman is a redfaced, rednecked, red-dirt Southerner who spends his days chewing tobacco beside a crackerbarrel. Historians likewise have portrayed the Klan as a rural phenomenon. Mr. Jackson's thesis is that this was not entirely the case and he has produced a meticulously researched yet graphic record to prove it. His findings show that the Invisible Empire--at least at the peak of its influence in the mid-1920's--drew its membership as much from big cities as from small towns. Nor was it any stronger in the South than in the North; Atlanta, Dallas, Memphis, and Knoxville felt its shrouded weight, but so did Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Portland, and Indianapolis. There are detailed studies here of its activities in all of these cities, and colorful accounts of the men who used it for private gain and political power. The urban Klansman was a very political animal, and his effect on many local and state elections was profound; his hyper-Americanism was directed as much against Catholics, Jews, Communists, and other ""foreigners"" as against the Negro, and he could perpetrate as much injustice with the ballot box as he could with a torch or a rope. This is a solid, readable addition to Oxford's ""Urban Life in America"" Series, containing more than a few insights into a problem that is still very much with us today.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1967
Publisher: Oxford