Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the Feb. 25, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Two final speakers at Ku Klux Klan recruitment in Walla Walla, April, 1922

(Editor’s note: This is the third and concluding article based on a transcript of a Ku Klux Klan recruiting effort in Walla Walla. The text was discovered recently in the diocese’s archives.)

The second speaker was the Grand Goblin. He began on page 26:

“Ladies and gentlemen: I want to announce I am not going to preach to you a sermon or give you a lecture. You have listened to a very instructive talk and I am sure that all of you will profit by ir, (sic) in part at least giving you all the truth with reference to the invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and some of the things which we stand for and some of the things we fight for.

At this time I want to announce that we have just fired our first gun in this beautiful city of Walla Walla (applause). We are coming to you stronger and stronger as fast as we can get to you, to give you more truth and more information about the only one hundred per cent American organization in existence today, and it is composed of nothing more nor less than real Americans (Applause).”

• Page 27: “Again I state to you we stand for law and order, and we are the right arm of your law inforcing (sic) officers. We are convinced that you have a sheriff here that can be depended upon. Yesterday afternoon I was in the basement of the county jail and there I saw some fifty and possibly more stills smashed up, and I have heard a great many things about the sheriff and his force, and they are enforcing the laws of your city. I have heard some things about the city officers here, that there isn’t just the cooperation that there should be and I will tell you, citizens, ladies and gentlemen, that when the Klan is well organized in this beautiful little city, and it is rapidly approaching that stage, that you will have no bootleggers in Walla Walla (applause).”

The speaker then says that Dr. R.H. Sawyer will come to Walla Walla in a week or two to speak on a new book that is called The Rising Tide of Color. At this point anti-black statements and an anti-Jewish statement are made.

The speaker than introduces a Mr. ___ who is the local representative of the Klan. To become a member there is a $10 donation that must accompany any application.

• Pages 29 and 30: Mr. ____ then says: “Ladies and gentlemen and brother Klansmen. I am not an orator or a lecturer, neither am I an organizer. I am a plain Klansman, in spite of the honor bestowed on me to represent such an organization in your city, I am not a stranger; I see many familiar faces here. I have been in your city nearly six months. I have assisted in building up a large Klan; it is hardly one-fourth of the membership it will eventually grow into. I feel reasonably sure that Walla Walla is going to surpass Pendleton Membership in thirty days.

It keeps me busy getting our notices for the new members to appear each week. I want to say to the ladies if your husband meets the qualifications that were put here tonight required to become a Klansman and he is away from home some night, you better call up ___’s; he is liable to be up there with me. We keep pretty late hours; we have lots of things to do. The weapons of the Klan is secrecy; the other is clanishness, spelled with a capital “K”. We hope quite soon to have a ladies auxiliary. For many weeks I have been getting inquiries from ladies relative to this. The Imperial Wizard, who devoted nearly twenty years of his life to forming the principles of this organization, has devoted most of the entire winter to forming the ladies’ order. It is not to be a sewing bee or place for gossip. They will come together for the big cause that threatens America. We are going to teach our ladies to teach morality and Americanism from the cradle up; we won’t need any other tools than that. My headquarters is Room 19, Bridge Building. Ladies and gentlemen are welcome there whether you are interested in joining this order or not and I will be glad to talk to you and give you what time I can what literature we have. With that I bid you good night.”

(Father Caswell is Inland Register archivist.)

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