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1949_10_22--017_SP Truth About the Klan

ACME In their familiar garb, Klansmen gather before the traditional ignited cross at Knoxville, Tennessee, to "naturalize" some new dues-paying members. The Truth About the Klan Today By HAROLD H. MARTIN T HE dry bones of the Ku Klux Klan are rat- tling again in the South. In lodge halls, schoolhouses, churches, courthouses and sometimes in the open fields at night, Cyclopes, Kludds, Kladds and Nighthawks are thumbing through the Kloran, the secret book of the Klan, studying the sonorous prayers and passwords, the signs and long, low, whistle signals which make up the ritual of the order. Klokards, or lecturers, are going about again as they did in the early '20's, stirring with fiery oratory the fears and animosities which the native-born, white, gentile and Protestant populace inherit from their forebears. Organizers known as Kleagles follow these advance agents, collecting the ten-dollar initiation fee which allows the members to participate in the mysteries. The strange device that the Klan of,the '20's bore on its banner was "100 per cent Americanism." Today it reads "Fight Communism." The battle, though, is the same today as it was yesterday—the old crusade against Catholics, Negroes, foreign-born and Jews, with frequent digressions from the main mission by individual Klans as they ride out at night to discipline some rum-soaked wife beater or brier-patch prostitute whose deeds have scandalized the community. No trustworthy figures are available which would reveal how strong the Klan has grown since the spring night in 1946 when the late Dr. Samuel Green, an Atlanta obstetrician, revived the moribund organization at a public cross burning and " naturalization " ceremony atop Stone Mountain in Georgia. How serious is the threat of the newly reborn Ku Klux movement? Although the leaders publicly disavow violence, and voice love for all, experts say that the Klan must feed on terrorism — or die. Here's what aroused anti-Klan Southerners are doing to ward off disaster. Unlike the Klan of the '20's, whose nationwide membership of nearly 4,000,000 men owed fealty—and paid dues—only to Imperial Wizard Hiram Wesley Evans, a Dallas, Texas, dentist, today's Klansmen can shop around for a leader. (As this article was written, plans were under way for merging the two largest of four separate Klans into the Associated Klans of America, a pot designed ultimately to gather in all the brethren.) In Georgia, Wizard Samuel W. Roper, a retired Atlanta policeman who succeeded Doctor Green as head of the Association of Georgia Klans, says that hisorganizersare operating in ten states and that he has letters in his 17


1949_10_22--017_SP Truth About the Klan
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