"The Bitter and The Sweet," Minutes from the LaGrande KKK meeting, January 26, 1923

Klu Klux Klan class initiation, Woodland, WA

The Ku Klux Klan was a powerful group in America, growing in the 1920s to three million members. The Oregon Klan had 14,000 members including the mayor of Portland, many politicians, and police officers. Imperial Representative Fred Gifford of Portland expressed the Klan's three objectives as: opposition to control of public affairs by "aliens" (foreign-born) of any kind, opposition to "alien" land ownership, and establishing a genuine compulsory education. Below are the minutes from the LaGrande, Oregon Konclave (Klan meeting) of January 26, 1923.

"The Bitter and The Sweet," Minutes from the LaGrande KKK meeting, January 26, 1923

Questions:

  • In your view, what was the educational background of the writer? What evidence leads you to this conclusion? What types of jobs did the assembled Klansmen have?
  • What kinds of activities were described in the document? Why might individuals and families want to belong to the Ku Klux Klan? What was the purpose of the Klan?
  • Why did the author of the report oppose the reinstatement of Mrs. Newlin? In the opinion of the writer, what threat did she and her husband pose? What threat did George Noble pose?
  • What is the general tone of the report? What role did its author see the Ku Klux Klan playing in the maintenance of American democracy?

 

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