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Ku Klux Klan, Realm of California Records
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  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Realm of California Records
    Creator: Ku Klux Klan
    Identifier/Call Number: SC.KRC
    Extent: 0.21 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1947
    Abstract: During the 1910s, the Klan, which had been defunct since the concluding decades of the 19 th century, was revived in Atlanta, Georgia and spread across the country within a decade. The Klan's revival was due in part to urbanization and industrialization. Many Klansmen in the 1920s – 1940s were lower to middle class whites who sought to protect their jobs and neighborhoods, both from black migrants moving out of the South and new immigrants arriving in industrial cities, particularly those from Southern and Eastern Europe who tended to be Catholic and Jewish. This collection of materials from the Realm of California primarily includes by-laws, correspondence, and publications.
    Language of Material: English

    Historical Note:

    The Ku Klux Klan is a far-right organization which advocates extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy and white nationalism, and is opposed to immigration. The first Ku Klux Klan, founded in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, was primarily made up of Confederate veterans of the American Civil War and operated under a decentralized structure in which local chapters and bands were highly independent. The first Klan was essentially defunct by the late 19th century.
    In 1915, the second Ku Klux Klan was founded by William J. Simmons in Atlanta, Georgia. By the 1920s, social tensions brought on by rapid industrialization and increased immigration in urban areas had set the stage for the Klan's expanding popularity. Unlike the first Klan, the second Klan was a centralized fraternal organization, with a national and state structure, which had rapidly spread from the South to the Midwest and Western states. The purification of politics, anti-Catholicism, the enforcement of prohibition, and nativism formed the nucleus of the second Klan's objectives and goals, summed up by their credo, "One Hundred Percent Americanism." Membership in the second Klan appealed to lower, working, and middle class white Protestants from urban areas, who's fears and concerns over jobs and housing played into the Klan's philosophies.
    By 1924, at the height of the second Klan's popularity, membership rose to 6,000,000, but by 1930 it had dropped to 30,000. Throughout the early 1940s financial difficulties, chronic internal conflicts, external opposition, and the exposure of criminal behavior had diminished the organization's power and appeal. In 1944, the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien for $685,000 against the Klan, which led to the closure of the organization's home office and subsequent dissolution of its national charter.

    Scope and Contents

    The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Realm of California Records includes correspondence and membership cards from Fresno and Los Angeles, newspaper and pamphlet literature, and Ku Klux Klan or related publications. In many cases, individuals named in the correspondence and membership cards have been blacked or cut out. The collection is arranged alphabetically.

    Related Materials:

    This collection is part of the California Collection.  

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms