DeForest H. Perkins

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Main article: Ku Klux Klan in Maine

Deforest H. Perkins was the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Maine from 1925 to 1928. This was the high period of the Klan's ascendency nationally, and in Maine. He resigned in 1928 after a Klan-backed Republican candidate for U.S. Senator, Owen Brewster, lost his primary contest to Sen. Frederick Hale, signalling the eclipse of the Klan as a force in Maine politics.

Perkins was well-educated, holding a PhD from the University of Maine and a law degree from the University of Illinois. He had also attended summer schools at the University of Chicago and Indiana University. Perkins became a teacher and then principal of Freedom Academy in Freedom, Maine, and then Superintendent of Schools first in Skowhegan & Madison, and then in Portland, the largest school district in the state. At one point he was also President of the Maine Teacher's Association, and a serious candidate for Maine's Superintendent of Schools.[1] In 1918 Perkins resigned his superintendency to become Executive Secretary of the Portland Chamber of Commerce. He was also President of the Portland Rotary Club

In 1926, Perkins was accused of conspiring with Republican Governor Owen Brewster and the Klan's Imperial Wizard, Hiram Evans in a Washington, D.C. Hotel Room, to sabotage the candidacy of a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Arthur R. Gould, who was running an anti-Klan campaign. Brewster and Perkins denied the charge, and Gould was elected with an overwhelming plurality. Brewster's subsequent primary loss to another anti-Klan candidate in the next senatorial election of 1928 spelled the end of the Klan as an effective political force.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewiston Evening Journal, Mar. 1, 1915, p. 9
  2. ^ David Mark Chalmers Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan (Duke U. Press) pp. 278-79.