The Washington State Klan had a meteoric rise and fall in the 1920s. The organization’s history shows how the Klan skillfully used spectacular mass meetings to gain members and influence public opinion. Trevor Griffey explores the striking popularity of the Klan in the mid-twenties and its fading strength in the decade that followed in this richly illustrated online short book that includes the following chapters. Read them in sequence or skip around.
- Citizen Klan: Electoral Politics and the KKK in WA
- Luther I. Powell, Northwest KKK Organizer
- The Ku Klux Klan in Seattle
- The Strongest Chapter in WA: Bellingham’s KKK
- The Ku Klux Klan and Vigilante Culture in Yakima Valley
- KKK Super Rallies in Washington State, 1923-24
- Social Klan: White Supremacy in Everyday Life
- The Washington State KKK and the U.S. Navy
- Non-Citizen Klan: Royal Riders of the Red Robe
Two additional essays examine key aspects of the Klan history.
The Ku Klux Klan and the Anti-Catholic School Bills of Washington and Oregon by Kristin Dimick
In 1923, the KKK in Oregon captured the Governor’s office and passed a viciously anti-Catholic law that made all private and religious schools illegal. The Washington Klan put a similar bill on the ballot in 1924. This essay tells the story of that campaign.
Washington KKK Newspaper: The Watcher on the Tower by Brianne Cooke
From 1923 to 1924, the Washington State Klan published a newspaper out of Seattle called The Watcher on the Tower. Its propaganda shows how white supremacists in the Pacific Northwest promoted an organization associated with the U.S. South.