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Opinion: What We Can Learn From the Midwestern War Against the Klan 100 Years Ago

Nowhere was the Klan more popular than Indiana

When at least 35,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in August 1925, the surprise was not just the size of the crowd but the people in the parade. They were shopkeepers, clergy, bankers and teachers — and most were from the Midwest or North, not the heart of the Old Confederacy.

It’s an astonishment — still — that the visible face of the “Invisible Empire” at the height of its power was Main Street. And nowhere was the Klan more popular than Indiana, where 1 in 3 White males took an oath to “forever uphold white supremacy.”

The man leading the Klan’s takeover in the Midwest was a gifted charlatan named D.C. Stephenson. He controlled the Indiana governor, the state legislature and had his eyes on a vacant Senate seat. Few doubted his boast that, in Indiana, “I am the law.”

Please select this link to read the complete op-ed from The Washington Post.

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