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Ku Klux Klan Rally in Elizabethville Attracts More Than a Thousand, 1926

Posted By on June 12, 2017

In the souvenir book for the Elizabethville Sesquicentennial of 1967, page 131, the following brief mention is made of a Ku Klux Klan parade through that borough which took place on 28 August 1926:

KU KLUX KLAN

The Ku Klux Klan paraded through town on Saturday evening 28 August 1926; and after the parade a meeting was held in Memorial Park where a cross was burned.  Borough Council received a fee of $15.00 from the Klan.

This post is a continuation of the reporting on hate groups that were active in the Lykens Valley area in the years following the Civil War.  It was a widely known fact that the third iteration of the Ku Klux Klan had a significant presence in the Lykens Valley and adjacent valleys during the early years of the 20th Century.  This third iteration of the Klan was strongly white supremacist and was opposed to equal rights for African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and immigrants.

This Elizabethville event was announced in the Elizabethville Echo of 26 August 1926:

KLAN TO HOLD FIELD DAY HERE, SATURDAY

The Lykens Valley Klan Field Day will be held in the Memorial park at this place, Saturday afternoon and evening, 28 August 1926; ceremonies will start in early evening with a parade at 7:30.

Mr. C. B. Lewis, a state representative will be among the speakers, which program will be followed by naturalization of candidates by the Women’s K. K. K. and the Men’s order of the Ku Klux Klan.  It will be a public open air meeting.

A communication has come to the Echo office, asking citizens to display the American flag, as has been customary during parades of other orders, held in Elizabethville.

It appears from the above, that the Echo was asked to normalize the Klan by making it a legitimate “order” worthy of equal treatment to other groups that held parades in the borough.  At the time, the Klan was anything but normal, since it was the target of both state and federal investigations.

Following the event, the Elizabethville Echo reported the following in its 2 September 1926 edition:

KLAN DAY ATTRACTS CROWD

C. B. LEWIS, STATE HEAD, ADDRESSES GATHERING

SEVERAL HUNDRED IN IN PARADE IN FIRST EVENT OF KIND TO BE HELD HERE

It is estimated that more than a thousand members of the the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan gathered in the park here Saturday, for the Lykens Valley Field Day, the first event of its kind to be held in this town.

In the evening several hundred women and men of the order, masked and hooded, and following a float of the little red schoolhouse, moved through the main streets of town, with little demonstration, and returned to the grove to continue their program of events.  Mr. C. B. Lewis, the order’s state head, spoke to a very large audience that packed the grandstand and overflowed into the field surrounding the speaker’s stand to hear him explain the principles and ideals upheld by the order.

A fine display of fireworks at 10:30, closed the day’s program in which was also featured a band concert and the naturalization of candidates in the evening.

More information is sought about this event, including other newspaper reports as well as first-hand accounts from any persons who attended it.  One such report for this particular event can be found in the “Curtin News” column in the Elizabethville Echo of 2 September 1926:

Mr. Raymond Deibler attended the Ku Klux Klan parade at Elizabethville on Saturday evening.

However, more often, local gossip-type items appeared in the local and Harrisburg newspapers stating that certain individuals attended “festivities” or “parades,” and/or used other euphemistic ways to describe what it was the individuals were attending – without specifically mentioning that the event was K. K. K. sponsored.

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News articles are from Newspapers.com.


Comments

2 Responses to “Ku Klux Klan Rally in Elizabethville Attracts More Than a Thousand, 1926”

  1. Steve says:

    Is “naturalization of candidates” what they called the induction of New members?

  2. John Brant says:

    While the KKK in the 1920s continued to be anti-black, it was actually more morals oriented being in favor of prohibition and suppression of prostitution. The 1920s KKK was also very anti-immigration and anti-Catholic. Surprisingly, there were actually black members of the 1920s KKK in both Indiana and Pennsylvania. They were few in umber, but did exist. The KKK of the 1920s was also strongly anti-union. KKK members from Allegheny County, PA went to Cambria County and encountered striking italian coal miners. There are lots of books on the KKK in the 1920s they are quite interesting and reveal that there were lots of Methodist and Baptist minsters in the KKK, probably because of their moral stand on the social issues of the 1920s.l

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