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5000 Attend Ku Klux Klan Demonstration at Gratz Fair Grounds, 1924

Posted By on January 12, 2018

On 4 October 1924, the Gratz Fair sponsored on its closing day, a Ku Klux Klan event that turned out to be the largest such event ever held in the Lykens Valley area.  The advertisement shown above, appeared two weeks in a row in the Lykens Standard.  The advertisement for the Fair was in the same style and published directly below the Klan ad.

K. K. K.

Saturday, 4 October [1924]

At Gratz Fair Grounds

From noon to midnight

KLAN SPEAKERS!

BIG NATURALIZATION

Men, Women and Boys at Nine o’clock P.M.

Klansmen, Klanswomen and Families and all Native Born, White, Protestant, Gentile American Citizens and Families are Invited

Refreshments and Lunch Will Be Sold on the Grounds

 

The copy of the ad that appeared on 3 October 1924 in the Lykens Standard also included the following:

Bus service between P. O. S. of A. Hall, Lykens and Fair Grounds.

In the Lykens Standard of 26 September 1924, a small front page story announced the event and attributed the sponsorship to the “K. K. K. Organization.”

KU KLUX KLAN MEETING AT GRATZ; OCT. 4

The K. K. K. organization will hold a celebration at Gratz Fair Grounds, Saturday, 4 October, beginning at noon and lasting until midnight.  A big naturalization of men, women and boys will be held at 9:00 P. M.   Fireworks are also scheduled.  Announcement and details are given elsewhere in this issue.

 

From the Gratz news column of the Lykens Standard, 1 August 1924:

The Ku Klux Klan had a large gathering on Saturday evening on the fair grounds. The grandstand was filled to overflowing.  It was estimated that there were about 5000 people present.  The writer didn’t get a report how many were initiated.

According to one life-long Gratz resident, these gatherings were held annually at the Gratz Fair Grounds for many years after this initial one in 1924.  She remembered cross-burnings which took place there and knew many folks who were active members of the Klan, including members of her own family.  Members of the board of the Gratz Fair were also active Klan members and encouraged use of the Fair facilities for Klan gatherings.

On 24 July 1925, the Lykens Standard published the following:

KLAN NATURALIZATION AT GRATZ TOMORROW

Dr. Taber of Texas, speaker of prominence, will address a gathering tomorrow afternoon and preside at Naturalization to be held in the evening at the Fair Grounds in Gratz.  The evening program will close with a display of fireworks.

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.

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News clipping from Newspapers.com.

 


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