Skip to main content

Patriotism, the Pacific Northwest and the Ku Klux Klan: Content of Case 1

This guide is a student project of History Department intern, Elizabeth Velonza, Spring Semester 2020

undefined

Photo by J. W. Sandison / Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA 

The Klan wanted to be seen as a military and went to great lengths to recruit actual military personal. This photo is an example of the great success they had when recruiting U.S Navy sailors. KKK members surrounded their newly recruited men and boys holding their uniforms. 

 

 

The Pledge of Americanism was adopted by Gonzaga University in 1919. Note the authors who wrote in this patriotic pledge to their country were all Spokane residents. As World War I ended, Americans used patriotic rhetoric in many different types of documents. The KKK used similar patriotic language as a strategy to deceive people into believing that their organization was simply helpful to their community. 

 



(See larger image)
undefined

(See larger image)
undefined

(See larger image)
This KKK Member Oath comes from the Hyde Building as the Office of the Grand Dragon, Judge E.B Quakenbush, was located there. This is a great example of how significant the presence of White Supremacy was in Spokane in the 1920s. The Hyde building housed the U.S District Court and Klan Meetings at the same time with seemingly no conflict. This is the KKK's take on a patriotic pledge from the Office of the Grand Dragon, Realm of Washington in Spokane. Notice the similarities in the wording when speaking of patriotism and loyalty when compared to The Pledge of Americanism.  The KKK secretary, called a Kilgrapp, read this passionate statement during a KKK meeting in Spokane in 1931. It called upon the KKK to support America and democracy. The values of the KKK often seemed to be at odds with each other as this document is both anti-government and still preaches loyalty through patriotism. 

 

This small booklet of Klan Quotas presents more examples of patriotic language through portraying the KKK as a military organization. Notice how Quota #8 references a military organization and the strategic use of military rankings for Klan members. Members strategically used military rankings to build a sense of importance and feel more powerful.   

 

This popular KKK magazine exemplifies how members envisioned themselves as a patriotic community that helped the nation. Notice in the article, and the number of times the author refers to the KKK as an army. The KKK wanted to be seen as an army because the U.S. Military was the most powerful group of men they knew. In their eyes, there was nothing more patriotic than fighting for your country. The back of the Kourier Magazine showcases more of the KKK uses of patriotic language by calling the reader of the magazine a “soldier.” This language allowed the everyday person to feel a sense of power when being a part of the KKK. Many people who joined the KKK did so because they felt vulnerable in their changing society.

 

undefined undefined

 

Three men in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho stand proudly under a recently burnt cross in 1925. White Supremacist presence was heavy in Idaho, which had chapters for the KKK in the 1920s. In the Pacific Northwest in the 1920s, the Klan promoted anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, and anti-Catholic messages because of the region’s growing diversity in religion and national origin. Hayden, ID would become the headquarters for the Aryan Nations, another White Supremacist group, in the 1970s.