I love everything about this real photo postcard, such a lovely photo; the great composition, the dapper subjects, the details like the hats on the wire, the white polka dot tie…but then there is the sign on the door like an elephant in the room. Camp Clansman? I’ll go ahead and strongly assume this is a photo of Ku Klux Klan members showing their faces too…
I wondered if I should post it as is, or go ahead and avoid the controversy by digitally erasing the door sign. This picture has been in my collection for many months and I finally decided to post it as is.
Why doctor the past to extract the good and hide the ugly? And as such…
This particular image is a Velox taken between 1907-1914.
Some facts about the second emerging of the KKK:
The KKK of the 1910s-1920s was the second incarnation of the group first emerged in the 1860s. While the Southern chapters still focused on racism against blacks, the Northern and Midwestern ones were fueled by the liberalisation of society, mounting integration and increasing tensions between established whites and Eastern European/Jew immigrants and southerners (black and white) moving into the cities and competing for jobs.
Members of the South were patriarchal staunch anti-Catholic protestants, but all -North or South- were prohibitionists. Violent incidents were frequent between bootleggers and KKK members. The movement reached its peak in the Twenties. Some estimates put the membership total at the time to about 8 million members. In Indiana alone 40% of men were members and the group elected a governor. The manufacturing city of Detroit counted an astonishing 40,000 members within the city limits.
Not surprisingly, the turnover was high when people realized they didn’t agree with the extreme views of the group, and by the end of the second decade the KKK lost most of its members, and consequently -and thankfully- its voting power.
While some in my category of “Bad Boys” are jokingly there because they look the part, these men looked respectable, even upper class, and still they were motivated by hate…This is where the true danger is. For the boy’s sake I hope the gentlemen on the photo finally woke up and left the group too.
As a side note, I think these were men of one family. Many seem to share similar physical traits.
RPPC: VELOX diamonds 1907-1914