Skip to main content

About this collection

The first Ku Klux Klan emerged after the Civil War as a southern terrorist organization led by former Confederates aimed at opposing Reconstruction and suppressing African Americans with intimidation and violence.  The Klan that re-emerged in the 1920s invoked imagery of the first Klan to instill terror in its enemies, mainly Catholics and immigrants but also Jews and African Americans.  This second Klan was a nationwide, mainstream organization composed of average white Protestants born in the United States.  The Klan wrapped its nationalist, xenophobic, white supremacist message in patriotic language and symbolism.  Indiana Grand Dragon, David Curtis “D. C.” Stephenson, was influential in politics and grew wealthy by exploiting his influence. The Klan’s power peaked in 1924 with the election of a sympathetic candidate, Edward Jackson, as Governor of Indiana. 

 

The Klan’s popularity was diminished with the conviction of Stephenson for the rape and murder of Madge Oberholtzer.  However, the organization disbanded in large part because they achieved their nativist goals with the passage of the 1924 immigration act.

 

As a fringe terrorist group, the national organization was revived again during the Civil Rights era in the 1960s. The Klan grew increasingly violent toward African Americans and was responsible for bombings, shootings and harassment to anyone who supported Civil Rights. By the 1970s, much of the Klan’s membership dissipated as support waned and infighting caused members to join similar ideological groups elsewhere.

 

This collection includes materials concerning the Ku Klux Klan organization, its members and activities, particularly from the 1920s, or “second revival,” when the organization’s presence was strongest in Indiana.

 

Additional Resources

 

Glossary

Leadership Positions:

  • Imperial Wizard:     The leader of any one of the various national organizations.
  • Grand Dragon:     The leader of a Realm which usually means one state within the country.
  • Great Titan:     The leader of a Province, which usually represents a large geographical section of a state.
  • Exalted Cyclops:     The leader of the local chapter.
  • Imperial Representative:     The person appointed by the Imperial Wizard to organize a new Realm.
  • Kleagle:     The individual charged with the responsibility of recruiting new members.
 

Other Echelons:

All of the following titles are applied to each organizational level, whether it be national, state, province or local.

  • Klaliff:     Vice-President.
  • Klabee:     Treasurer.
  • Kladd:     Custodian of Klan property.
  • Klarogo:     An inner guard, the person who stands inside a meeting to keep order and ensure that outsider non-members do not disrupt order.
  • Klexter:     An outer guard, the person who stands outside the actual meeting place, who checks persons attempting to enter to ensure they are members and to prevent others from entering.
  • Kligrapp:     The secretary, who handles KKK correspondence, takes the minutes of meetings and handles assorted administrative matters.
  • Klokard:     The KKK member, usually a good speaker who has the assignment of giving lectures at meetings.
  • Klonsel:     The attorney. Usually this is a KKK member. There are not too many KKK groups that have Klonsels.
  • Kludd:     The chaplain, not necessarily a member of ~he clergy, who leads KKK groups in "prayer."
  • Nighthawk:     The person who acts as the courier, who hand carries or otherwise transmits messages among KKK personnel. However, his duties are limited because most of their communication is by telephone.
  • Klokan:     A member of the Board of Investigators (see Klokann).
  • Klokann:     This term is applied to the Board of Investigators, a group that can number from 3 to 10 KKK members, chosen by anyone of the top four personnel (Imperial Wizard, Grand Dragon, Great Titan, or Exalted Cyclops) to handle a specific inquiry. The function of the Klokann is to investigate any violation of KKK rules; i.e., background of prospective KKK member, a KKK member suspected of "wrongdoing," and any other matters which may jeopardize the integrity of the KKK organization.

 

Other terms:

  • Kloran:     A booklet which is given to each KKK member which explains the rules with which KKK members must comply, and describes the liturgy of various ceremonial rites. Each member is expected to commit this material to memory, but very few can do this. In any event, each KKK member is theoretically held accountable for knowing the contents of the Kloran.
  • Klonklave:     The name applied to denote a local level KKK meeting.
  • Klonverse:     The name applied to denote a KKK meeting of the Province.
  • Klorero:     The name applied to denote a KKK meeting of the Realm.
  • Klonvokation:     This term is applied only to the meeting of a KKK national organization.
  • Klectoken:     Denotes the monthly dues paid for KKK membership, preferably paid in advance but, in practicality, few members do. The usual amount is $2 or $3 monthly, but it varies depending upon the discretion of the particular national KKK organization.
  • Province:     This represents a large geographical area of a state, headed by a Great Titan. The Grand Dragon of the Realm has the discretion to decide upon how many Provinces there will be within the state.
  • Realm:     This is the term applied to a group, headed by a Grand Dragon. It always represents anyone of the 50 states within the United States where anyone of the KKK national organizations exists.

 

Source: Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission. Ku Klux Klan: A Report to the Illinois General Assembly. Chicago: October 1976. Accessed August 9, 2019. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/46433NCJRS.pdf.

 

Calendar (Klan Kalendar Key)  

Months:

(1)    Bloody –   January

(7)  Terrible –   July

(2)    Gloomy –   February

(8)  Horrible –   August

(3)    Hideous –   March

(9)  Mournful –   September

(4)    Fearful –   April

(10)  Sorrowful –   October

(5)    Furious –   May

(11)  Frightful –   November

(6)    Alarming –   June

(12)  Appalling –   December

 

Weeks:

Week 1 –   Woeful
Week 2 –   Weeping
Week 3 –   Wailing
Week 4 –   Wonderful
Week 5 –   Weird

 

Days:

Dark –   Sunday

Deadly –   Monday
Dismal –   Tuesday
Doleful –   Wednesday
Desolate –   Thursday
Dreadful –   Friday
Desperate –   Saturday

 

 
Select the collections to add or remove from your search
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
 
OK