Oldest women’s college in US – Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia – seeks to atone for Ku Klux Klan’s legacyBreaking News
tags: KKK, Ku Klux Klan, Wesleyan College
For more than a century, the nation’s oldest college chartered for women has had historical links to the Ku Klux Klan that have never been formally acknowledged. Its class names in 1909, 1913 and 1917 were the Ku Klux Klan. The 1913 yearbook is named the “Ku Klux.”
A sketch of a masked night rider on horseback galloping under crescent moon graces the title page. The 1910 yearbook contains a prominent sketch of a female figure in white hood and robe holding a burning cross.
The striking images signal the dawn of decades of overt racism at Wesleyan that belies the school’s identity today as one of the most diverse small colleges in the country. The school for years identified with the Klan through class names and fomented extreme hazing rituals and traditions that carried forward into the late 20th century, often involving racist symbolism such as nooses, hooded costumes, blackface and figures hung in effigy.
For decades, successive generations of school leaders seemed to downplay the troubling history, but now they are preparing to formally acknowledge Wesleyan’s Klan history, as well as ties to slavery.
The acknowledgement follows an incident in January where classes were canceled for a day after racist graffiti appeared on dorm walls. Someone wrote the N-word in black marker and targeted an international student with offensive language.
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