April 25, 2011

1924: KKK Asks Cincinnati Reds For "Klan Day"

Deadspin has posted a 1924 letter from the Ku Klux Klan to August Herrmann, the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, requesting that the team designate July 20 as "Klan Day" at Redland Field.
From the three-page letter:
At the request of Imperial Officials of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan I am writing you to inquire whether your club will extend to our organization the priviledge of designating Sunday, July 20th, as Klan Day at Redland Field. ...

I am sure that I need not remind you that this request comes from one of the city's fastest growing organizations ... I believe that I am safe in saying that the combine membership of our organization in the above mentioned Klaverns [local Klan groups] exceeds 100,000. The greater majority of this number may be counted as loyal Red fans ...

Our plan for the day if the priveledge is granted would be to present a special boquet to each of the managers of the two teams and a bouquet to each of the members of the two teamns, thus making no distinction and discriminating against no individual. ...
The Reds declined the proposal.

According to Wikipedia, there were three distinct organizations calling themselves the Klu Klux Klan. The second group (1915-1944) "was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure. At its peak in the mid-1920s, the organization claimed to include about 15% of the nation's eligible population, approximately 4–5 million men."

19 comments:

allan said...

Deadspin commenter snoop-a-loop:
"If they had waited until the 1980's, I have a feeling Marge Schott would have been more receptive."

tim said...

Hmm, I think this reques may have actually come to fruition. Does anyone know if any MLB team is hosting a "Tea Party" Day at all this season?

laura k said...

From the myth-busting files:

I don't know if this is still true, but for a long time, the US state with the most KKK members, based on percentage of population, was Connecticut.

andy said...

So the Tea Party is Klan 4G.

Jere said...

Well, I did what I could researching the CT thing, and I read that the klan peaked in CT around 1925 with 15,000 members. Based on the 1920 and 1930 census numbers, the population of CT in 1925 would have been right around 1.5 million. So that's 1%. I also read that around that time, for example, 30% of Indiana's white male population were members.

As for today, I read that about 2/3rd of these fuckwads are based in the south, and another 1/3 in the midwest.

States like Arkansas and Mississippi are the closest southern states in population to CT, and have been for much of the last century--I would think those states have traditionally had a lot more total members and therefore a greater percentage of Tea Partiers than Connecticut. Did I say Tea Partiers? My fingers must have slipped, I meant klansmen.

scabtheverse said...

Something is going on with pro sports in Cincinnati. It seems like every player on the Bengals has a run-in with the law. Then we have the odd Mike Leake story and don't forget about the Dernell Stenson case either. Whenever I see the media crushing someone (which seems to be every athlete in Cinn) - I always think "gambling." Look, they say, we control the media so you either help us... or we crush you.

And now this KKK thing (which, unfortunately is not surprising).. in 80 years... will the Padres and Jeff Moorad be remembered at the team that dressed up their players as colonial soldiers?

laura k said...

And now this KKK thing

It's from 1924.

laura k said...

States like Arkansas and Mississippi are the closest southern states in population to CT, and have been for much of the last century--I would think those states have traditionally had a lot more total members and therefore a greater percentage

You would think so, which is why the factoid about Connecticut is a myth-buster. The info comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dee's outfit, which is dedicated to fighting right-wing extremism, especially white supremacy groups.

In the 90s I wrote an educational video for kids/teens on bigotry and tolerance, and had a lot of info from SPLC. According to their figures, Connecticut was the winner based on percentage of population.

laura k said...

Oops, that should be Morris Dees' not Morris Dee's. I forgot his name comes with an S at the end.

laura k said...

If anyone is interested in more: SPLC, "What we do". You can follow links from hate/extremism to articles, lawsuits, essays on the Klan.

scabtheverse said...

Laura,

The universe works in strange ways - the timing and synchronicity of this letter is significant on many levels. (perhaps more on a personal level and the research I'm doing)

johngoldfine said...

The second group (1915-1944) "was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure.

Like the Elks and Masons and Rotary?

Nonsense!

The KKK reached its peak in Maine in the 1920s and was then what it always had been: an organized hate group. The hate in Maine was directed against immigrants and Catholics, particularly French-Canadians who immigrated to work in the mills and the woods. The Klan certainly disliked the Italian immigrants over to build the mills, quarry the granite, and gut the fish. And no Irish need ever apply at a KKK bash.

The Klan in Maine saw the cities and milltowns as threats to decency, good order, sobriety, Prohibition, agrarian folkways, small town virtues and values, the Yankee ascendancy, and so on.

Not Mississippi--different state, different circumstances, but the same old story.

andy said...

Racism seems to be tied to Protestantism. Its like their whole schtick is to debase everyone else and they also think they decide who gets into heaven. Its sad that we still can't acceptdoijg blacks as a whole. Its obvious what the tea party really stands for which is a shame. We really could use some people who will hold elected officials accountable and not just to the principles of continuing a racist agenda and letting corporate America take advantage of themselves. Its all a social agenda with them not Constitutionality. They are just using the same strong arm tactics as always.

johngoldfine said...

Andy--I certainly did not mean to slag any religious group in this JOS venue.

Maine was the first governmental entity in the world to institute statewide Prohibition--that was in the 1840s, I believe, and the agitation for Prohibition elsewhere always referred to the 'Maine law' as a model.

From the beginning the Maine law had a double thrust--it was concerned about demon rum, but it was also equally concerned with the people who consumed it, who were always imagined to be irresponsible Irish immigrants who drank their family's livelihoods away every Saturday night.

Here's a 1923 photo of what was claimed to be the first daylight parade of the KKK in the USA. It was taken in Milo Maine, whose notoriety then is matched only by its derelict quality now.

http://www.examiner.com/african-american-history-in-dallas/kkk-photos-from-1923-picture?slide=28608506

laura k said...

Racism seems to be tied to Protestantism.

Really? Tell that to ultra-Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Catholics, fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Hindus, all of whom encourage and engage in violence against people of other religions and backgrounds, or people of the same religion and background who are not "pure" enough for their standards.

Linking racism and hatred to any one group is an extremely selective reading of history - and the present!

allan said...

Most accurate:

"Racism seems to be tied to being human."

laura k said...

"Racism seems to be tied to being human."

Oh, absolutely. It's certainly not the exclusive province of the religious. But within the religious world, it's not the exclusive province of anybody.

h20nrd said...

I've wondered for a long time, but never paid enough attention to this. When people put up those K signs at ball parks, what do they do between the third and fourth strikeouts?

Michael Holloway said...

The web is good for research and for spreading links that ones comes across in doing that research.

Thanks to Laura k for the un-attributed myth buster file, and to Jere for trying to track it down.

I think I'm pretty good with a search engine - so I thought I'd give it a go...

The 1924 Democratic National Convention seemed to mark the peak, nationally of the new (1915) KKK. It was the beginning though of a back-lash by progressives against the hate group embodied in the "KKK platform plank" debate (which the Klan delegates DEFEATED!!!)

The new KKK's first rallying point was prohibition (National Prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. ---> 1920 to 1933), and as such they're reactionary back t the better past platform hit a cord with many other activist groups including ironically, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) - see: http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/Controversies/KKK-and-WCTU-Partners-in-Prohibition.html

In many States, as soon as the extremism of the KKK was seen the groups suffered catastrophic drops in membership

(see: The Southern Poverty Law Center - Ku Klux Klan: A History of Racism - http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/publication/Ku-Klux-Klan-A-History-of-Racism.pdf)