Today is the anniversary of the great Ku Klux Klan rally in Carnegie in 1923.
We have to give the Klan credit for one thing— their message is consistent. Their grievances today are exactly the same as they were 94 years ago. In the attached August 29, 1923 edition of the Imperial Night-Hawk, the Grand Dragon of South Carolina says the mission of the Klan is “to prevent America from becoming the melting pot or dumping ground of the world for the heterogeneous element seeking admission to our shores”. Further, he states, “Paupers, diseased and criminals predominate among those who land upon American soil!” Does that sound familiar? It’s paradoxical that these diseased and criminal immigrants of the early 1900s would survive the Great Depression of the 30s, save the world from Nazis in the 40s, and build the world’s most powerful industrial economy in the 50s. They and their children became what Tom Brokaw described as the Greatest Generation.
While the Klan likes to describe how immigrants are a social and economic burden to America, their real concern is that most of the immigrants aren’t white. The influx of non-whites represents a danger to “white supremacy”, a term which appears in this 1923 issue and is not a recent invention. To have even a basic understanding of white supremacy it is critical that you understand their definition of “white”. It’s one of the things that is today forgotten, and in fact many young people never knew in the first place. The Klan definition of “white” doesn’t just refer to skin color— it includes religion and national origin. We used to use the term WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) to describe who was white. That term has gone somewhat out of vogue, but is still very much relevant. We must be reminded that if you are a Jew, you are not white. If you are a Catholic, you are not white. If you are Italian, Hungarian, Greek, or Japanese, you are not white. Etc, etc, etc. Some will say that things have changed over the years and that “white” and WASP are no longer synonymous. But in Charlottesville we watched white supremacists marching alongside neo-Nazis. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is a new kinder, more inclusive, less dangerous white supremacy out there. There isn’t. Here in western Pennsylvania, white supremacists represent the biggest threat of terrorism. Don’t take my word for it; ask the FBI.
You should take 15 minutes to read the entire issue of The Imperial Night-Hawk that I’ve attached. It has extensive coverage of the Carnegie rally that it claims drew 25,000 marchers and ended with one Klansman being shot to death. It’s enlightening. Click on the photo.
2 Responses to The great Klan rally in Carnegie
It is chilling to read the Night Hawk article. I am assuming the press articles shared are excerpted strategically, but they seem on the side of the Klan — referred to as “marchers,” while the citizens are called the “mob.”
Something to think about indeed. I believe in the right to assembly, and abhor violence. That said, the thought of 25,000 Klansmen descending on Carnegie (population then c. 12,000; how many of them immigrants?) is terrifying and overwhelming.
When I first heard this story several years ago, it was relayed with some pride: Carnegie turned away the Klan. I found myself rooting for people repulsing the Klan, not really thinking about what that required. It would be interesting to read the full press coverage from 1923….
But I couldn’t bring my self to read beyond the Carnegie article on p. 5
Though historically, the KKK was indeed a prominent group of violent bigots, to say that “here in western Pennsylvania, white supremacists represent the biggest threat of terrorism. Don’t take my word for it; ask the FBI,” is a statement in which I disagree. On the official FBI website (Sept. 2021), they state: “Today, the greatest terrorist threat we face here in the U.S. is from what are, in effect, lone actors. Because they act alone and move quickly from radicalization to action—often using easily obtainable weapons against soft targets—these attackers don’t leave a lot of “dots” for investigators to connect, and not a lot of time in which to connect them.
We continue to see individuals radicalized here at home by jihadist ideologies espoused by foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda—what we would call homegrown violent extremists. But we’re also countering lone domestic violent extremists radicalized by personalized grievances ranging from racial and ethnic bias to anti-government, anti-authority sentiment to conspiracy theories. There is no doubt about it, today’s threat is different from what it was 20 years ago—and it will almost certainly continue to change. And to stay in front of it, we’ve got to adapt, too.”
The term “white supremacy” has morphed into a catch-all term that is used as a tool to divide people, promote a renewed age of segregation, while instilling fear and hatred towards others based on the color of their skin. This is not a Jewish principal as we are taught to love others as we are all children of G-d and created in His image. If we look back to the Nazi regime and the tactics used to distinguish Jews as vile sub-human conveyors of disease and social decay, we can draw similarities to the current segregation and demonizing of the “vaccinated” vs. “unvaccinated.” Or the “white supremacists” vs. the “oppressed people of color.” I saw a father stand up and say how his child asked if his mother (who was of a different race than the father) was “bad.” This was a sad and appalling commentary on the decline of modern societal indoctrination that is reminiscent of the same tragic philosophy of the KKK. Superior vs. inferior. This is anything but what G-d has taught us and what our ancestors came to know firsthand.
Australia has established internment camps for those unwilling to submit to tyrannical policies designed to strip citizens of their G-d-given rights to freedom and bodily autonomy. It is becoming a truly frightening world. The Jews were marched onto trains in Germany, placed in camps against their will, and de-moralized by a radical regime that convinced the citizens of their country that Jews should be removed from society and eliminated. These first steps of separation, labeling, and removing of citizens should send shivers up the spines of every Jew. Today it is vaccination status… what will the narrative be tomorrow?
My grandparents were immigrants from Europe. They came to America for the freedoms she offered and the opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their families. They came to Ellis Island and did so in accordance with U.S. laws. They went to night school to learn English and American history and to achieve their goal of becoming American citizens. They were proud of being American. My grandfathers started their own businesses, and my grandmothers raised their children to be proud of their country, to be productive, to respect and help others, and to abide by the laws that govern this great nation. My grandfathers fought in WWI and my father enlisted in the Navy during WWII. Were they a “perfect” generation? No. But they were heroic in their dedication to support their country, protect their families, and give back to their community. Most of my relatives were white. One was Asian (“Mongolian”). By today’s wide-sweeping rhetoric, they were “white supremacists,” not due to any actions against people of a different race, rather guilty by the skin color with which they were born.
I think it is vital that we recognize that compartmentalizing any group of people and then labeling all as “bad” is a dangerous cliff from which to dangle the perception of any society. It is bigotry and ignorance that fuel hatred. And yet, this dialogue is often regurgitated in political forums or even on national television shows, while seeking truth and justice equally is amazingly being banned from social media and other information sources. All immigrants are not bad people; but there are some who do indeed have evil intent. Coming to America legally is merely respecting and abiding by the laws of this country and is true of any country in the world. Judging someone based on their race is racist… whether they be White or African-American or Asian American or Native American and so on. To get to know people as individuals, with distinct qualities and short-comings, is not only sensible, but in my opinion, a G-dly thing to do.
The KKK is still an active group of ignorant people lead astray by generations of people who judge and condemn people by their skin color, religion, and nationality. We need to rise above this, educate children on the merits of G-dly principles, and speak up against the foolish and dangerous practice of sanctioning anyone for such nonsensical reasons. Jews come in different colors, nationalities, genders, backgrounds, political affiliations, and economic statuses. We are all ONE in the eye of G-d Almighty; none above or beneath the other. Hopefully, the world will move towards a more unified community as we enter into 2022.