Daisy Douglas Barr

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Daisy Douglas Barr (September 2, 1875 – April 3, 1938)[1] was Imperial Empress (leader) of the Indiana Women's Ku Klux Klan (WKKK) in the early 1920s and an active member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Professionally, she was a Quaker minister in two prominent churches, First Friends Church of New Castle, Indiana and Friends Memorial Church in Muncie, Indiana.[2] She served as the vice-chair of the Republican Committee in Indiana as well as president of the Indiana War Mother's organization.

Daisy Douglas was born in Jonesboro, Indiana. However, she lived much of her life in Muncie, Indiana and Indianapolis. She was a devout Quaker and married Thomas Barr in 1893. The couple had one son, Thomas Jr. in 1895. By 1896, Barr was ordained a minister and began preaching. She was noted as an excellent preacher, which served her well when she began to speak on social issues.[3]

The first social issue that Barr promoted was prohibition. In 1911, she recruited many people to join the anti-liquor movement. Her speaking abilities were so profound that she was able to attract as many as 1600 people to a single meeting and began to travel around the states and speak at various forums against alcohol.[4] In addition to being against alcohol, Barr also preached for women’s right to vote. She saw women’s dependence on men as one of the key problems with alcohol abuse.[5] After years of hard work by Barr, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and other prohibitionists, the city of Muncie went dry in 1914.[6]

Shortly after this victory in Muncie, Barr fell ill and then resigned from the ministry.[7] By 1917, the family had relocated to Indianapolis, and in the 1920s Barr re-emerged as a political and religious leader. She became the president of the Indiana War Mothers and was the first woman vice-chair of the Republican Committee.[8] By 1923, both Barr and the Chair of the Republican Committee resigned when it became public that they were both active members of the Ku Klux Klan.[9] Because of this admission, Barr also resigned from Indiana War Mothers.[10]

In 1923, D.C. Stephenson chose Barr to head a woman’s order of the Klan. This group was called the Queens of the Golden Mask and would be composed of mothers, daughters, and wives of Klansmen. Barr became the Imperial Empress of this organization. Eventually, the Queens of the Golden Mask were absorbed into the Women of the Ku Klux Klan.[11] At this time, the Klan was a very popular organization in Indiana; estimates place the number of members between 125,000 and 500,000 men in Indiana.[12] The Klan was anti- liquor, anti-political corruption, anti- prostitution, and believed in nativism (they disliked immigrants and non-Protestants).[13]

However, in 1924, the Klan charged that Barr "had amassed a fortune off the dues of Klansmen."[14] Two years later, she was replaced in her leadership position in the WKKK by Lillian Sedwick who was a state official in the WCTU.[15][16]

Barr died on April 3, 1938 in Clark County, Indiana north of Jeffersonville after sustaining a broken neck in a head-on car collision on US Highway 31.[17]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2007.
  2. ^ Blee, Kathleen (Spring 1991). "Women in the 1920s' Ku Klux Klan Movement" (PDF). Feminist Studies. Feminist Studies Inc. 19 (1): 63. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Blee, 1991, p. 104-105
  4. ^ Blee, 1991, p. 105
  5. ^ Blee, 1991, p. 106
  6. ^ Hoover, 1991, p. 182
  7. ^ Hoover, 1991, p. 182-183
  8. ^ Hoover, 1991, p. 185
  9. ^ Hoover, 1991, p. 185
  10. ^ Hoover, 1991, p. 187
  11. ^ Blee, 1991, p. 27
  12. ^ Hoover, 1991, p. 186
  13. ^ Blee, 1991, p. 187
  14. ^ Lantzer, Jason. "Dark Beverage of Hell: The Transformation of Hamilton County's Dry Crusade, 1876-1936". Conner Prairie. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Blee, Kathleen (1991). Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. pp. 103–111. ISBN 0520078764. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Mrs. Sedwick Is New Klan Head,". Indianapolis Time. June 4, 1926. p. 1. 
  17. ^ "Daisy Barr is wreck victim". Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana). April 4, 1938. p. 1, column 4. 

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