Talk:Ku Klux Klan/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


User:Hnsampat added some material on Truman that doesn't jibe with my other sources of chicken that farted in the time of 20001

  1. Was Truman reluctant to join the Klan?
  2. Did Truman have an extensive civil rights record as a senator?

Nothing about point 1 is mentioned the Margaret Truman bio, or in the WP Truman article. Re point 2, my impression was that even as president, he was initially extremely reluctant to act on civil rights, being a traditional Southern Democrat, and there certainly isn't anything in the Truman article to support the assertion that he had a strong civil rights record as a senator. --Bcrowell 15:14, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Truman's reluctance to join the Klan and his extensive civil rights record are both noted in David McCullough's 1992 Pulitizer Prize-winning biography Truman. His reluctance to join the Klan is noted on p. 164. Truman's record on civil rights as a Senator and the more extensive record as President are noted later in the biography (too many page references to list here). While he certainly spoke out about civil rights during his Senate years, most notably during a speech in Sedalia, MO, when he was running for re-election, I'm not sure how extensive his record was as a Senator. What I meant was that, collectively, his years in the Senate and as President resulted in the biggest advancement of civil rights since Abraham Lincoln (a fact that is noted by several historians and biographers, including McCullough, in the PBS documentary "Truman"). The McCullough biography refutes the notion of Truman being reluctant to act on civil rights. On the contrary, his actions on civil rights, beginning with the integration of the armed forces and him being the first President to speak to the NAACP, was politically quite damaging and he knew it. All of that being said, I'd like to put back my edits. Please let me know if you disagree. --Hnsampat 15:28, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Hi Hnsampat -- It sounds like you're very knowledgeable about Truman, which is great! I've researched a little more about the politics of the 1924 election, and have added some more text to the article. I'm not questioning whether he had a good civil rights record as president, but only as Senator. Also, re whether he was reluctant to join the Klan, the Hinde interview linked to in the notes doesn't say anything like that. If you have info from the McCullough bio that says Truman was reluctant, could you footnote it carefully with an explanation of how McCullough got the fact? I hadn't been aware, until I did more research today, that Truman had walked into a Klan meeting and denounced it, or that he'd gotten death threats. However, it was also all tied up with Pendergast-Shannon machine politics... --Bcrowell 15:50, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Hi Bcrowell -- As we speak, I am adding the footnotes. Please pause on the editing for a moment while I add everything. After that, we can discuss further. McCullough, in his endnotes, cites the Truman refusal as being from "Oral History, Harry S. Truman Library." On Truman's initial refusal: I don't think Truman's reluctance to join was because of Pendergast machine politics and neither does McCullough. On the contrary, McCullough feels that Truman joining the Klan was "out of character" and was a rare instance of Truman "sacrificing principle for ambition under pressure." In other words, it was Truman's flirtation with the Klan, not his withdrawal, that was done for political reasons. As far as his Senate years go, I'm not entirely sure about this, but I believe Truman took his first stand on civil rights in 1940, when he was up for re-election in the Senate. I can't say too much about how extensive his record was in the Senate. To avoid misunderstandings, I'll leave out the part about the Senate and stick to his Presidency. Actually, what you've just added about Truman's views of Jews has caught me by surprise. It may be a bit inaccurate. Truman did typically refer to Jews as "kikes" in his private writings, just like he used words like "coon" and "nigger" in private. But he didn't use them in a racist manner; rather, he used them because those are the words he had been raised with and so he used the casually, without much thought to their racist meanings.--Hnsampat 16:13, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Sounds great! I think we'll end up with a vastly improved, balanced article. You might want to do some similar edits on the Truman article, where a lot of this is duplicated. The stuff about antisemitism came from the Truman article. If you can help to refine, check, and footnote that as well, that would be great; the only print bio of Truman I have is Margaret Truman's, and it's biased, obviously, because she's his daughter (e.g., it omits the mention of the $10 membership fee). I'm skeptical about your claim that he used words like "nigger," but was not a racist; I'm sorry, but for someone who is not racist against black people, joining the Klan (especialy the post-1915 Klan) is not even something you'd consider. It sounds to me more like he transcended that racism to some extent in his later life, and/or put it aside to do what he thought was necessary as president. --Bcrowell 16:26, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
It's difficult sometimes to place yourself in a different time and try to understand their cultural and social mores when they are so different from our own -- in my own experience, I have the example of my great aunt, who was born around 1908 and grew up in small town Texas long before desegregation. She thought nothing of saying "Negroes" or "coloreds" instead of "African-Americans," but she didn't mean it as an insult; it's just what they said back then. In fact she often refused to honor the separate lines for black and white people; I remember her telling me, with some relish, that she got in a lot of trouble once for purposefully standing in the "black only" line at a restaurant because she thought it was foolish. The Klan association would give me more pause, though; she viewed the Klan as a bunch of ignorant hoodlums. · Katefan0(scribble) 16:31, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
Truman, too, did not think much of the Klan. Here is McCullough on Truman's decision to pay the membership fee: "It had been a grievous mistake ever to have said he would join in the first place. It was an act either of amazing naivete, or one revealing a side he had not shown before, a willingness under pressure to sacrifice principle for ambition. Either way the whole incident was shabby and out of character, and hardly good politics. How he thought Klan support might offset the devastating effect such an alliance would have on the Pendergasts -- not to say the effect on his own beloved 'Irish bunch' [the men he commanded in World War I] -- is difficult to imagine." Katefan0 has pretty much hit the nail on the head on Truman's use of words like "nigger" and "coon" (and, probably, "kike") i.e. he didn't mean it in an insulting way; it was just what they said back then. The bottom line is that, despite his Southern background and brief flirtation with the Klan, Truman went on to do a great deal about civil rights. (Between Lincoln and Truman, almost nothing was done about civil rights. Truman, like I said earlier, integrated the armed forces and was the first president to speak to the NAACP. It was during his presidency that Major League was integrated and Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers. Two years after Truman left office, the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision was made and historians tend to give at least partial credit to an atmosphere created by Truman's civil rights efforts. The list goes on and on.) --Hnsampat 16:55, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I think we're converging on a good version here. I reinserted the rabbit and goat stuff, because I think it's important to paint a realistic picture of how the Klan stuff was intimately connected to machine politics. (The part about only hiring "goats" is documented in the Margaret Truman bio.) I deleted the part about the local Klan leader saying the Klan was "unalterably opposed" to Truman; I think that's pretty clear, considering that he got death threats from them.--Bcrowell 17:08, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I think we've almost got it here. I didn't have much of a problem with the "goat" and "rabbit" stuff, though I hadn't heard of it before. I had deleted that only because I thought it might be going off-topic a bit i.e. it felt like the section was saying more about Truman and not enough about the Klan. That's why I had deleted that and added a bit about Pendergast's importance to Truman. (Sorry, I forgot to explain my reasons on the Talk page.) We can leave that in if you want, no problem. The only issue I have right now is the reference to Truman's "private anti-Semitic views." This implies that Truman was an anti-Semite, which he was not. To quote McCollough, on p. 286, "On April 14, 1943, putting aside his [senate] committee work, Truman flew to Chicago to champion a cause that had little to do with the war effort and that seemed a bit surprising for a midwestern senator, a Baptist, a Mason, and proud member of the American Legion to involve himself with. He spoke at a huge rally called to urge help for the doomed Jews of Europe...In private, Truman was a man who still, out of old habits of the mouth, could use a world like 'kike' or, in a letter to his wife, dismiss Miami as nothing but 'hotels, filling stations, Hebrews, and cabins.'" So, I think we should take out that last sentence about anti-Semitism and then we're all set.--Hnsampat 17:46, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Hnm, well, there's no debate that he was sympathetic to the victims of the Holocaust, but I also don't think there's much debate that he was at least a casual anti-Semite (the famous "Kike-town" remark, in addition to the Miami quote you brought up). The sentence already points out that he had a Jewish business partner, and that he helped create Israel. It seems very balanced to me as it is.--Bcrowell 17:59, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying, but I just think the word "anti-Semite" is very loaded and doesn't accurately reflect Truman. I mean, the word "anti-Semitic" is used to describe the Klan and Nazis, which is certainly not what Truman was. To continue an analogy I used earlier, if someone today refers to a homosexual as a "queer," he isn't necessarily labelled a homophobe. Delaware's Rehobeth Beach is casually referred to even today as "East Coast San Francisco" because, like San Francisco, the Rehobeth Beach area has a large population of homosexuals. I think the "Kike-town" and Miami remarks fit into the same category (though, obviously, "East Coast San Francisco" is not the same thing as saying "Kike-town," at least not for people in our time). While the remarks look blatantly racist to us in 2005, they didn't mean the same thing in Truman's time. Also, on another note, I feel it's a bit inadequate to refer to Eddie Jacobson simply as Truman's "business partner." Jacobson and Truman met in the Army during World War I, became lifelong friends, and opened a haberdashery together (which failed), which was the first and only time Truman had his own business. Jacobson later urged Truman to support the creation of Israel. (At least one source has said that Jacobson accompanied Truman when he confronted the Klan for making death threats against him.) If we really want to make this sentence balanced, we would have to add lots of qualifications to Truman's "anti-Semitism" to explain how it really wasn't anti-Semitism per se. Without the qualifications, the sentence gives the wrong impression about Truman. I don't think we'd be compromising the facts if we simply left that sentence out altogether.--Hnsampat 18:41, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
IIRC, the Margaret Truman bio specifically goes out of her way to state that Jacobson did not influence Truman about Israel. I think that might be just an urban folktale. I disagree that his anti-Semitism wasn't anti-Semitism per se. I'll change "business partner" and "... and lifelong friend."--Bcrowell 18:45, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Jacobson was not a Zionist, but McCullough gives him credit with influencing Truman to support Israel in his biography, as do other historians in the PBS documentary "Truman." It's one of the two things about Jacobson that McCullough focuses on in his biography (the other being their failed haberdashery). Truman was already in support of Israel before Jacobson came on the scene, but Jacobson did have an influence nonetheless. I still think that "anti-Semitism" is too loaded a word to be used here. Rather than argue over whether what little "anti-Semitism" Truman had really counts or not, I think we should just take this sentence out. The main point that we're trying to make is that Truman had a brief flirtation with the Klan in 1924, but that that wasn't an accurate reflection of his character. Truman wasn't David Duke or even Robert Byrd for that matter (who was an active and vocal member of the Klan but now considers it his "greatest mistake"). One other thing on another note. I feel that the Goat and Rabbit stuff is a bit confusing. Also, while it certainly provides interesting information about Missouri machine politics, it doesn't feel all that relevant to the topic at hand. I feel like it's a minor point that requires more explaining than it's worth and so maybe we should remove it, too. If you feel it's important, please at least reword it a bit. For example, who is Shannon? Also, "Truman walked into a Klan demonstration and denounced them"...denounced the Goats or the Klan? Thanks! --Hnsampat 19:12, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
OK, I agree that the whole antisemitism thing is kind of off-topic anyway. However, I don't think the goat and rabbit stuff is minor. To me, the picture here is not that Truman woke up one morning and did something out of character. The picture I see is that in 1924 he was a young, racist politician on the make (not the more mature, less racist president of two decades in the future), and was willing to consider joining a violent, racist (and politically mainstream and influential) group like the Klan for political advantage. Without understanding how the Klan stuff was thoroughly entangled with machine politics, I think it becomes much more difficult to make sense out of the episode. I'll try to clarify the text.--Bcrowell 19:36, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Looks good. I'd just like to make a few minor syntactical edits (e.g. capitalize "Goat" and "Rabbit" to distinguish them from the animals). I'll go ahead and make those and then you can look over them and edit them as you see fit. Content-wise, I think we're all set. FYI, I tend to think that Truman's flirtation with the Klan was a brief out-of-character moment in his life as a young politician. No doubt he was doing it for political advantage, but I don't think he really had Klan-like motives in his blood. McCullough would agree with me. However, this will probably remain a point of contention between you and me, not that that's a problem. The section on Truman in the KKK article, though, is fine, except for a few minor syntactical things that I will go edit right now. I think we've done a good job together. You're a pleasure to work with. --Hnsampat 19:49, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, good work all. This article has improved dramatically in the last day. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:58, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Cool, it looks like we've got a version we can all live with. Thanks for your hard work, Hnsampat :-) --Bcrowell 21:16, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

link to

Users User:crosstar, User:Thivierr and I have been going around in circles a little about the external link to

I feel that the link is simply an attempt by crosstar to promote "The Nationalist Movement" (, whose logo his username refers to. The actual article he links to barely even mentions the KKK. I would like to avoid a revert war, but I feel the link is an inappropriate attempt at self-promotion, and I'd encourage crosstar instead to create an article on his organization, if he feels it's sufficiently notable.--Bcrowell 17:17, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

deleting Fiery cross and KKK costume

I thought I should mention here that I've nominated these for deletion, since they had links in and out of this page, and they seemed to be attempts to sneak in the Klan's self-mythologizing and propaganda under the radar.--Bcrowell 17:19, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Text Edit

Hello. I'm new here so I'm not going to jump right in and edit anyones work right off the bat. I could be wrong and I really don't know how to completely do the edit thing yet. Here are the text changes I would like to recommend just to polish things up. What do you all think?

(Rework this Paragraph slightly.)
In an 1867 convention held in Nashville, the Klan was formalized as a national organization under a "Prescript" written by George Gordon, a former confederate brigadier-general. According to one oral report, Gordon went to General Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis, and told him about the new organization, to which Forrest replied, "That's a good thing; that's a damn good thing. We can use that to keep the niggers in their place."[2] Forrest went on to become the nationwide leader of the first Klan. A few weeks later, former slave trader and confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest was selected as Grand Wizard, the Klan's national leader. The Prescript states as the Klan's purposes:[3]

  1. conferate should be cap.
  2. no hyphen in brigadier general(should be cap. if used as name title.... Confederate Brigadier General George Gordon)
  3. There are two subjects in this paragraph. It starts out talking about Gordon and his Prescript, it then jumps to Forrest briefly then back to Gordons Prescript. Remove the part about Forrest from this paragraph and stick to the prescipt topic.(Forrest info re-inserted in section dealing with Forrest).
  4. There are two sentences saying the same thing, only one is needed. Remove line 'Forrest went on to become the nationwide leader of the first Klan. (both deal with Forrest and neither belongs in this paragraph)
  5. Prescript text needs moved up closer to rest of Paragraph.

New paragraph reads:
In an 1867 convention held in Nashville, the Klan was formalized as a national organization under a "Prescript" written by former Confederate Brigadier General George Gordon. The Prescript states as the Klan's intended purpose:[2]

"First: To protect the weak, the innocent (continue as originally written)

(Rework next Paragraph)
Stripped of obfuscation and attempts to protect themselves from accusations of treason, this is essentially a statement that the Klan's purpose was to resist Congressional Reconstruction. The word "oppressed," for example, clearly refers to oppression by the Union Army, and "peers" implies that white Southern property holders should be protected from carpetbaggers and uppity freedmen. During the Reconstruction the South was undergoing drastic changes to its social and political life. Whites saw this as a threat to their supremacy as a race and sought to end this process. Due to Congress enacting laws that promoted racial equality, southern whites could not turn to the law in order to regain their power through the Democratic Party.

  1. Obfuscation? Wow, that a big word. Let me get out my dictionary and look that baby up... ahh, it means obscurity. It's not needed.
  2. This Paragraph starts out in present tense (attempts, is, refers) then changes to past tense. Let's use past tense all the way through.

New Paragraph reads:
Attempting to protect Klan members from accusations of treason, the prescript was essentially a statement that the Klan's purpose was to resist Congressional Reconstruction. The word "oppressed," for example, clearly referred to oppression by the Union Army, and "peers" implied that white Southern property holders needed protection from carpetbaggers and uppity freedmen. During the Reconstruction the South was undergoing drastic changes to its social and political life. Whites saw this as a threat to their supremacy as a race and sought to end this process. Due to Congress enacting laws that promoted racial equality, southern whites could not turn to the law in order to regain their power through the Democratic Party.

(Next Paragraph, No Changes)

(Proclamation Paragraph: No Changes except endnote link)

(Re-insert Forrest info here with a little re-wording to opening sentence) In a newspaper interview,[5] Forrest boasted that the Klan was a nationwide organization of 550,000 men, and that although he ...

New Paragraph starts:
According to one oral report, Gordon went to Memphis to see former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest shortly after the 1867 Nashville convention and told him about the newly formed organization. Forrest remarked, "That's a good thing; that's a damn good thing. We can use that to keep the niggers in their place."[4] A few weeks later, former slave trader and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was selected as Grand Wizard, the Klan's national leader.

In a newspaper interview during the summer of 1868,[5] Forrest boasted that the Klan...... (Continue as originally wriitten)

(One more edit in end of next Paragragh)
Like Forrest's public denial of his membership in the Klan, his order abolishing it may have been intended merely to protect Forrest himself from blame for its activities.[6]

1. It isn't necessary to use Forrest's name twice in same sentence. Change to: Like Forrest's public denial of his membership in the Klan, his order abolishing it may have been intended merely to protect himself from blame for its activities.[6]

2. If you go with the proposed text changes, the endnote links need to be adjusted : [2] becomes [4], [3] become [2], [4]becomes[3],

3. Also, with this text I would change the order of the pictures: picture of Forrest moves down three spots, picture of 3 arrested Klansmen moves up one, cartoon picture of soldiers with flag goes to top of section (Forrests original spot)JoeNobody 17:42, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Hi -- No need to be shy! Generally the best thing to do is just go ahead and edit things as you see fit, unless you're really uncertain, or think your changes might be controversial. Most of what you said sounds fine to me. I do disagree about two things. (1) "Attempting to protect Klan members from accusations of treason, the prescript was essentially a statement that the Klan's purpose was to resist Congressional Reconstruction." There's a logical problem here, because the two are antithetical: they wanted to oppose the government, but they were trying to make it *sound* as though they weren't trying to oppose the government. (2) I disagree about moving the images around. The two cartoons reinforce the text next to them, by confirming its statements about the first Klan's purpose (which is different from what many people think).--Bcrowell 20:00, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

need quote page and quotes

lots of other presidential quotes here

should these be posted?

should these be posted?

Duvall, John L.

Duvall, John L. (1874-1962) — of Indianapolis, Marion County, Ind. Born in Tazewell County, Ill., November 29, 1874. Republican. Mayor of Indianapolis, Ind., 1926-27; resigned 1927. Convicted in 1927 of violating the state corrupt practices act by taking bribes from Ku Klux Klan leader D. C. Stephenson; sentenced to 30 days in jail, fined $1,000, and forced to resign as mayor. Died February 25, 1962. Interment at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Ind.

Mary Phagan

I have never studied this episode closely, but what I have read says that those who have studied the murder of Mary Phagan believe that the murderer was the local mill owner, who died in 1962. Who has the hardest facts?

Hi -- I believe the only two theories that are given much credence are (1) that Frank did it with help from Conley, and (2) that Conley did it alone.--Bcrowell 05:21, 9 August 2005 (UTC)