Ku Klux Klan auxiliaries

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Ku Klux Klan auxiliaries are organized groups that supplement, but do not directly integrate with the group itself. This includes: The Women of the Ku Klux Klan, The Jr. Ku Klux Klan, The Tri-K Girls, the American Crusaders, The Ku Klux Kiddies and the Klan’s Colored Man auxiliary.

The second Ku Klux Klan evolution emerged in the 1930s and was officially branded as "the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." Its membership was exclusive to American-born, white, Protestant males, over the age of 18 and would have been considered to be, {Americans of a dignified character and high moral}. There are also organized KKK auxiliary sanctions and branched out chapters spread across the Atlantic and throughout European countries. Closer to home, their reach found French-Canadian territories, and Mexican cities. Even 'many worlds away' (without modern technologies or internet to aid in their vast uprising) the KKK and affiliate groups managed to see its light shine as far as New Zealand.

Eventually, excessively violent and inhumane actions would become forever seen as their crudely scarred public image. Alongside continuous uprising of scandalous activities, new exposure nation wide was finally surfacing the viciously styled executions, unlawful and ungodly practices, and their bigotry-fueled crimes would ultimately contribute immensely in the disgrace and downfall of the second the Ku Klux Klan and its auxiliaries as an international, publicly recognized organization.

Background[edit]

The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s existed during a Progressive Era, a period of great optimism in the ability of people to improve society. It was this period during which eugenics was believed by some to hold promise for improving society by increasing desirable characteristics of the population such as reducing crime, poverty and other social problems.

The 1920s were also characterized by profound social changes that disturbed many of the largely rural, white, Protestant citizens. They feared the potential power and influence of African-Americans, southern Europeans, Roman Catholics, Jews, Bolshevism and potential and leftist labor unions. There was a resulting cultural conflict between the old and established and the new and different. The group saw itself as defending American culture against dangerous “foreign” people and ideas. It carried the American flag rather than the “rebel” flag as later followers would.

This group believed that it was defending traditional American values, although it often violated some of those very values. Drinking alcoholic beverages was suddenly disdained publically, as symbolic of southern Europeans, Catholics and Jews and not only strongly supported national prohibition of alcohol but actively enforced it, sometimes with violence.

Women[edit]

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan was open to white, Protestant, American born women “of good character” over the age of 18 who owed no allegiance to any foreign government or sect, such as Catholicism, Socialism, Communism, and so on. It is estimated to have had over one million members, a quarter of which were in Indiana. In other states, women made up almost half of the total Klan membership, while in additional states they remained an extreme minority. These women were drawn to the Klan through the insistence of the KKK who ensured that due to their membership, white Protestant women would gain women’s rights.

The initiation of a women’s auxiliary of the Klan however, was spurred as the result of an earlier group of women who called themselves the Ladies of the Invisible Empire (LOTIE). The chapters were initiated throughout the country, with the Portland, Oregon chapter initiating more than one thousand women into their order in a single month in 1922. Initiation into these chapters required the women to detail their family, religious, and political background, as well as swear allegiance to Christianity and the principles of “pure Americanism”. Unsure about the competition that the LOTIE and other women’s organizations would create, the Klan promoted the idea of a single women’s auxiliary, now known as the formal women of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan noted that by including women in their political agenda, women’s suffrage could not only be safeguarded but could also develop other women’s legal rights, all while working to preserve white Protestant supremacy. The women of the Klan were to be helpmates to the Klansmen and their 100% American mission. Not all Klansmen however, were in favor of officially including women within their group. Some felt that allowing women to be involved in the political realm, including allowing them to vote would foster masculine boldness and independence, which would depreciate the decency of womanhood. From this, women felt alienated and as early as 1922, wrote letters to the editor of the Fiery Cross protesting their exclusion from the Klan.[1] The wives of Klan members were not always happy staying at home with the children, and desired to be involved in the new white Protestant movement that their husbands were involved in.

Women were recruited into the WKKK by hired female kleagles who used the same campaigning methods as their male kleagle counterparts. Recruitment was conducted through social contacts of personal, family, and work connections as well as through existing organizations. Open meetings were also held with the politically inactive and women currently not in Klan families. In four short months, the WKKK had successfully doubled its previous membership, now bringing the total to 250,000 women. By November 1923, thirty-six states included chapters of the women of the KKK.[1]

There were a number of Ku Klux Klan female auxiliary organizations in the 1920s until the foundation of the official Women of the Ku Klux Klan. These groups included Kamelia, Ladies of the Invisible Empire (L.O.T.I.E. or the Loties), Ladies of the Invisible Eye, Dixie Protestant Women's League, Grand League of Protestant Women, White American Protestants, Queens of the Golden Mask and Hooded Ladies of the Mystic Den.[2]

Other auxiliaries[edit]

The Junior Ku Klux Klan was for white, Protestant, American boys aged 12 to 18.

The Tri-K Girls was for white, Protestant, American born girls aged 12 to 18.

The American Krusaders was open to white, Protestant, naturalized American citizens of foreign birth.

The Ku Klux Kiddies was for kids 3-11 and the Klan’s Colored Man auxiliary was for African-American men.[3] Little is known about these auxiliaries.

Royal Riders of the Red Robe was another auxiliary for foreign-born white Protestants.[4][5]

In Oregon the Junior Order of Klansmen was for teenagers.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Blee, Kathleen M. Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
  2. ^ Alan Axelrod International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders New York; Facts on File, inc 1997 pp.126144
  3. ^ Paul Gillette and Eugene Tillinger. Inside the Ku Klux Klan. NY: Pyramid, 1965, p. 41
  4. ^ "Non-Citizen Klan: Royal Riders of the Red Robe". The Washington State Klan in the 1920s. University of Washington. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bevan, Dane (2004). "Portland KKK". Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Toy, Eckard. "Ku Klux Klan". Oregon Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gusfield, Joseph R. Symbolic Crusade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Movement. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1963.