When The KKK Was Mainstream

tags: KKK

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News.

Recently I tumbled on this story from Kansas Humanities — and an earlier post from Only A Game — about a 1925 baseball game between Wichita's African-American team, the Monrovians, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Wait a minute. The Ku Klux Klan once had a baseball team?

Imagine: There was a time when the KKK was an out-in-the-open, part-of-the-community organization. I had always envisioned the repugnant and reprehensible lawbreakers operating in the cowardly shadows. After all, it was known as the Invisible Empire.

So, I wondered, if the KKK fielded a baseball team, what were some of the group's other seemingly innocuous, All-American activities?

KKK Baby Contests

The 1920s were a bawdy, gaudy time in America: jazz wafting, flappers dancing, gangsters bootlegging, Wall Street rocking. And, as it turns out, the Ku Klux Klan was considered by many to be an accepted group in society.

In fact, the Klan was so mainstream in some parts of the country that local KKK groups "sponsored, in public, baseball teams, father-son outings, beautiful baby contests, weddings, baby christenings, junior leagues, road rallies, festivals," says Kathleen M. Blee. ...

Read entire article at NPR

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