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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Here's a bit of Americana for you - the 1920's KKK Application Form

I wonder if someone has Robert Byrd's* KKK application somewhere - although since he was a recruiter, presumably he was one of those sending them out.

This application to join the Ku Klux Klan (wiki), printed by the Ku Klux Press, was mailed to people whose friends had identified them as good prospects for membership. The application starts with fairly anodyne questions about occupation and residence, moving on to ask whether the applicant believes in white supremacy and “the principles of a PURE Americanism.”

Larger version here
*West Virginia's Democratic United States Senator Robert C. Byrd was a recruiter for the Klan while in his 20s and 30s, rising to the title of Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of his local chapter. After leaving the group, Byrd spoke in favor of the Klan during his early political career. Though he claimed to have left the organization in 1943, Byrd wrote a letter in 1946 to the group's Imperial Wizard stating "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia." Byrd defended the Klan in his 1958 U.S. Senate campaign when he was 41 years old.

He was also the only Senator to vote against both African American U.S. Supreme Court nominees (liberal Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas) and filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964,

via Slate's history blog The Vault, and Rare Americana, each of which has more information. 

Related: Writing in 2012, Slate noted that the present-day preliminary application for KKK membership omits these 1920s questions about the applicant’s national origin and religion, focusing instead on questions about race.

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