The Klan appealed to few Canadians and remained relatively obscure, except in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan organization regrouped and, at its height in the late s, boasted having 40, members. In the provincial election, the Klan's influence helped end 24 years of Liberal rule in Saskatchewan, with the defeat of Liberal Premier J. Gardiner by Conservative leader J. In the decades that followed, the Saskatchewan Klan declined rapidly, as did the organization in the rest of Canada.
In the late s, the Klan attempted once more to organize in Canada, notably in Ontario , Alberta and British Columbia. The organization's avowed white-supremacist stance, and further crimes committed by the American Klan during this period, have done little either to increase membership or to establish the Klan's credibility in the eyes of the Canadian public.
Today the Klan has a fringe, underground following by members of some white supremacist groups. See also Prejudice and Discrimination. A few negroes and Japanese were in the audience. Rovig, who sat onstage with Klan organizers, Mayor Rovig later declared that there was no need for the Klan, and the Yakima Morning Herald provided significant coverage of Klan opponents in the community. The following year, this dynamic of generating interest through media controversy was expanded on a much wider scale. Vance farm when the State government rescinded its permission for the Klan to use its property.
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Partly as a result, roughly 50, people showed up to the event. It featured 1, robed Klan members, and the initiation of over new ones. Vail, state Klan leaders from Seattle Rev. Archie MacDonald, John A.
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Jeffrey, and Arthur E. Carr , and Oregon Klan leader Fred Gifford. In the meantime, the small town of Wapato elected Frank Sutton Director of its school system on the strength of a Klan campaign against his incumbent opponent. By May 17, for reasons likely related to frustration over steep membership costs and chapter obligations, the Yakima Valley Klan dissolved, and former head Tyler Rogers led the creation of an independent group, the National Organization of the Allied Patmos Patriots.
Such instability suggests that the residents of Yakima Valley used the Ku Klux Klan to express their patriotism and their anxieties about foreigners, not the other way around.
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What effect the interaction had upon the two is difficult to discern. Vigilantism was certainly not new to Yakima Valley. These vigilante groups, often composed of farmers and businessmen, were organized in three different counties. They beat union organizers, took them from jail in an unsuccessful attempt to pack them onto trains leaving town, assisted local police officers with arrests, and helped lay the foundation for associating patriotism and self-government in the valley with extra-legal, violent acts against supposed outsiders.
Similar tactics were used to defeat another Wobbly organizing drive in Bob Jones' Carolina Klan came the closest to winning such influence, with mainstream candidates currying favor sometimes publicly, and more often covertly at Klan rallies and other events with Jones and other leaders in and But that effort appeared short-lived, with both Jones and the Carolina Klan all but disappearing by the early s.
More generally, the KKK's commitment to white supremacy, most clearly realized through Jim Crow-style segregation that endured for decades in the South, has by any formal measure receded as a real possibility in the U. However, in less overt ways, the KKK's impact can still be felt. Recent studies that I've undertaken with fellow sociologists Rory McVeigh and Justin Farrell have demonstrated how counties in which the KKK was active during the s differ from those in which the Klan never gained a foothold in two important ways. First, counties in which the Klan was present during the civil rights era continue to exhibit higher rates of violent crime.
This difference endures even 40 years after the movement itself disappeared, and certainly isn't explained by the fact that former Klansmen themselves commit more crimes. Instead, the Klan's impact operates more broadly, through the corrosive effect that organized vigilantism has on the overall community.
By flouting law and order, a culture of vigilantism calls into question the legitimacy of established authorities and weakens bonds that normally serve to maintain respect and order among community members. Once fractured, such bonds are difficult to repair, which explains why even today we see elevated rates of violent crime in former KKK strongholds.
The Ku Klux Klan and Vigilante Culture in Yakima Valley
Second, past Klan presence also helps to explain the most significant shift in regional voting patterns since While support for Republican candidates has grown region-wide since the s, we find that such shifts have been significantly more pronounced in areas in which the KKK was active. The Klan helped to produce this effect by encouraging voters to move away from Democratic candidates who were increasingly supporting civil rights reforms, and also by pushing racial conflicts to the fore and more clearly aligning those issues with party platforms.
As a result, by the s, racially-conservative attitudes among southerners strongly correlates with Republican support, but only in areas where the KKK had been active. Is the KKK a movement mostly in the rural South? While many of the Klan's most infamous acts of deadly violence -- including the Freedom Summer killings , the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, and the lynching of Michael Donald that led to the lawsuit that ultimately put the United Klans of America out of business for good -- occurred in the Deep South, during the s the KKK was truly a national movement, with urban centers like Detroit, Portland, Denver, and Indianapolis boasting tens of thousands of members and significant political influence.
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Even in the s, when the KKK's public persona seemed synonymous with Mississippi and Alabama , more dues-paying Klan members resided in North Carolina than the rest of the South combined. KKK leaders found the Tar Heel State fertile recruiting ground, despite -- or perhaps because of -- the state's progressive image, which enabled the Klan to claim that they were the only group that would defend white North Carolinians against rising civil rights pressures.
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While this message resonated in rural areas across the state's eastern coastal plain, the KKK built a significant following in cities like Greensboro and Raleigh as well. Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports active KKK groups in 41 states, though nearly all of those groups remain marginal with tiny memberships. So, while the KKK originated after the Civil War as a distinctly southern effort to preserve the antebellum racial order, its presence has extended well beyond that region throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Why do KKK members wear white hoods and burn crosses?
Some of the most recognizable Klan symbols date back to the group's origins following the Civil War. The KKK's white hoods and robes evolved from early efforts to pose as ghosts or "spectral" figures, drawing on then-resonant symbols in folklore to play "pranks" against African-Americans and others. Such tricks quickly took on more politically sinister overtones, as sheeted Klansmen would commonly terrorize their targets, using hoods and masks to disguise their identities when carrying out acts of violence under the cover of darkness.