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Dragon and the Cross: The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in Middle America

NCJ Number
R K Tucker
Date Published
232 pages
The Ku Klux Klan became a serious and important force in the American north, midwest, and west during the 1920's; more than 250,000 Klan members lived in Indiana alone.
One writer says that many Klan members in the 1920's were victims rather than villains since they never knew or understood what the Klan was really like. The Klan spirit that erupted in the early 1920's was a mix of 19th century nativism, provincial Puritanism, and frontier vigilante tradition that was fueled by a nationalist fever left over from World War I. Protestant nativism was against aliens, Jews, and Catholics. Klan targets also included bootleggers, sexual promiscuity, and "immoral" books and movies. The Klan's upper class roster included politicians and artists. Other members frequently included mayors, sheriffs, and police officers. The most prominent Klan case in Indiana occurred in 1925 when a Klan Grand Dragon enticed a young woman to his mansion where he raped and brutalized her. Before she died, she dictated and signed a legally admissible deathbed statement, and the Klan Grand Dragon was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The establishment, operation, and legislative and political influence of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana are detailed. A glossary of Klan terms is appended. References, notes, and photographs