Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949

By Glenn Feldman | Go to book overview

2
The Civic, Educational, and Progressive Klan

Today it seems contradictory, even awkward, to write of a civic or progressive Klan, given the blood-stained history of the order in American life. During the 1920s, though, the Klan not only was concerned with civic affairs and progressive matters but pursued these concerns actively and vigorously in Alabama and in most other states where it became active.

Civic and educational activity was largely the function of the revised order's vast heterogeneity and diversity. Because it encompassed virtually every aspect of middle-class life, a significant portion of its raison d'être was the perpetuation of old-stock middle-class American values--among them, hard work, patriotism, public education, temperance, and traditional forms of morality. The Klan spent much time, money, and energy in Alabama and elsewhere on patriotic, educational, and civic guidance and even made charitable contributions to the communities in which it flourished.

To say that the 1920s Klan had a strong civic, educational, and progressive component, however, does not for one moment discount its more insidious manifestations. It does not deny, lessen, or mitigate the fact that one of the Klan's components, especially in Alabama, was intensely violent and morally intolerant. When we speak of the civic Klan, we acknowledge that the 1920s order was complex in its composition and varied in its personality.


"100 PERCENT AMERICANISM"

One of the second Klan's central missions was the advocacy, propagation, and preservation of patriotism, a derivative of its slogan "100 percent Americanism." Alabama Knights spent a great deal of time promulgating the patriotic creed with which most of them had been raised. They dis

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Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Origins of the Revised Klan 11
  • 2 - The Civic, Educational, and Progressive Klan 21
  • 3 - The Moral and Religious Klan 37
  • 4 - The Racist and Nativist Klan 51
  • 5 - The Political Klan 63
  • 6 - The Year of the Whip 92
  • 7 - Elite War on the Klan 116
  • 8 - Limits of the Oligarchy's Campaign 137
  • 9 - Race Over Rum, Romans, and Republicans 160
  • 10 - Disloyalty, Revenge, and the End of an Era 193
  • 11 - 1930s Causes Celebres Scottsboro and Hugo Black 219
  • 12 - The Threat of Urban Radicalism 238
  • 13 - Farm, Factory, and Hooded Persistence 259
  • 14 - World War II and Postwar Alabama 285
  • 15 - Federal-State Interaction in the 1940s 305
  • Epilogue "To Wither Away" 325
  • Abbreviations 329
  • Notes 335
  • Bibliography 399
  • Index 427
  • About the Author 458
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