HATE IN AMERICA: Newspapers from the Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s

From its birth immediately following the Civil War to its re-awakening inspired by the film Birth of a Nation in 1915 through today’s fractured organizations using the Klan’s name, the Ku Klux Klan has occupied a persistent place in American society.  To understand today’s alt-right driven version of American nationalism, we need to go back to the 1920s when the Klan re-emerged as a slick and successful recruiting and marketing engine that appealed to the fears and aspirations of middle-aged, middle-income, white protestant men in the middle of America.  At its peak in 1924, Klan paid membership exceeded 4,000,000 and its national newspaper, the Imperial Night-Hawk, had a circulation larger than the New York Times.

Reveal Digital has uploaded a sample of one of the newspapers available for viewing here. This sample provides a startling look into the opinions and causes espoused by the Klan in March of 1924.

The goal of this project is to assemble a comprehensive and hopefully complete collection of KKK newspapers into a fully-searchable open access database.  The collection features national Klan publications (for example: the Imperial Night-Hawkand the Kourier) as well as regional and local Klan produced papers (i.e., Sgt. Dalton’s Weekly, Jayhawker American, and the Minnesota Fiery Cross).  The collection will also include a smaller set of papers sympathetic to the Klan (i.e., The Good Citizen and The Fellowship Forum) and a few important anti-Klan publications (Tolerance and The Record).

LYRASIS is the North American administrative agent for this project. For more information and tiered contribution levels, please see the Reveal Digital page on the LYRASIS website.

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