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Pennsylvania Railroad Offers Excursion from Lykens to K.K.K. Rally in Washington, 1926

Posted By on August 21, 2017

The Harrisburg Telegraph of 11 September 1926 advertised a special excursion rate of $6.00 by the Pennsylvania Railroad for anyone interested in attending the Ku Klux Klan “parade” to be held in Washington, D. C., on Monday, 13 September 1926.  The train was to leave Harrisburg at 2:00 A.M. on the 13th and return from Washington at 9 P.M. the same day.

But a better deal was available from Lykens, from which it was announced that the train returning to that place would not leave Washington until 11:50 P.M. in the evening, giving Lykens Valley passengers a longer stay in the capital for the same price.

From the Elizabethville Echo, 9 September 1926:

EXCURSION TO WASHINGTON

The Pennsylvania Railroad will run a Special Excursion Train to Washington, D. C., leaving Lykens at 12:05 A.M. Monday morning, September 13th and Elizabethville, about 12:19 A.M.; Millersburg, 12:50 A.M.  Tickets will be sold on the train at the rate of six dollars for the round trip.  Returning this train will leave Washington at 11:50 Monday night.  The Ku Klux Klan will hold a convention on September 13, 14, and 15, but anyone desiring to take advantage of this half fare rate can do so.

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.

The special excursion price seemed to normalize and enable a group that was under investigation at the time by both federal and state authorities for criminal behavior, including terroristic intimidation and murder.

It is not known how many people from the Lykens Valley took advantage of the special trains and traveled to Washington to participate in or support this march.

Many hundreds of photographs exist of the two “walks of hate” that took place on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D. C., in 1925 and 1926.  The images portray hooded men, women, and children!  Some of the photos may show residents of the Lykens Valley.

At the time of the Washington marches, the Klan boasted membership in the multi-millions and was able to influence legislation in many states, including states in the northeastern part of the country such as Pennsylvania.  It also had influence in major corporations, such as the Pennsylvania Railroad, which as a favor to the Klan and its members, provided the excursion rates described in the advertisement and article that appeared in the Telegraph and Echo.

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Newspaper clippings from Newspapers.com.  Photographic images from Library of Congress.

 


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