An elderly white Protestant woman from rural northern Indiana described her time in the Ku Klux Klan movement of the 1920s with remarkable nonchalance, as ‘just a celebration . . . a way of growing up.’ The Klan fit easily into her daily life, as it did for many white Protestants in Indiana. At most, it was an exceptional chapter in an otherwise ordinary life. Even in hindsight, she showed little remorse over the devastation left in the wake of the Klan’s crusade against Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and blacks. What she remembered with pride, not regret, was the social and cultural life of the Klan; the Klan as ‘a way to get together and enjoy.’
For thousands of native-born white Protestant women like this informant, the women’s Klan of the 1920s was not only a way to promote racist, intolerant, and xenophobic policies but also a social setting in which to enjoy their own racial and religious privileges. These women recall their membership in one of U.S. history’s most vicious campaigns of prejudice and hatred primarily as a time of friendship and solidarity among like-minded women.
Saturday, 30 April 2011
The first two paragraphs of the Introduction to Kathleen M. Blee, Women and the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s:
Posted by Nick Dean at 09:45