Delegates come the democratic Party"s 1924 Convention indigenous State, Oregon, and also Idaho unanimously opposed adding a plank to the Party platform that would condemn Ku Klux Klan violence. Source: the nationwide Klan newspaper, The imperial Night-Hawk, July 2, 1924, p4.

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David Leppert: mayor of Kent and Seattle-area Ku Klux Klan Leader


(Click on photo to view articles from the Seattle KKK paper, Watcher ~ above the Tower)

Watcher top top the Tower, Sept 1, 1923, p4.

Wapato school Director

Wapato Independent, Mar 12, 1925, p1.

The Ku Klux Klan was controversial in the 1920s not only because of the intolerance and also promotion of vigilante violence, but also because that its entry right into American politics. During the an initial half that the 1920s, the Klan, which had previously been linked with the South, pertained to thoroughly overcome electoral politics in Indiana, supposedly helped elect eleven Governors (including Oregon’s Walter Pierce), and also briefly managed State Legislatures in the Western claims of Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and also Oregon.

At the nationwide level, the Klan is alleged to have chosen dozens of Senators and Congressmen in the 1920s. Despite at the local level Klan political leaders were both Republicans and Democrats, country it to be the autonomous Party the was most associated with the Klan because of extreme infighting in ~ its 1924 Presidential nominating convention. Klan allies battled tooth-and-nail to protest the nomination of brand-new York branch Al Smith since he to be Catholic, and conflict between delegates go from rhetoric come fistfights. The an adverse publicity native this infighting supposedly assisted Republican Calvin Coolidge win the Presidency that year through a landslide.

In this context, the inroads made into electoral politics by State’s Ku Klux Klan seem reasonably mild. Voting patterns on the Klan’s anti-Catholic college bill in 1924 imply that while the Klan had many members in large cities, its key voting power (which was not really large) resided in little farming towns. However on the various other hand, in ~ the democratic Party Convention earlier that year, delegates native state, in addition to those from Oregon and Idaho, to be unanimous in the contrary a plank come the Party communication which would have actually repudiated violence linked with the KKK.

Notable Klan members elected to public office in State incorporate the mayor of Kent, David Leppert, and also Bellingham City lawyer Charles B. Sampley. Political leaders who were likely members of the Klan incorporate the mayor of Blaine, Alan Keyes, and also Wapato’s director of Schools, frank Sutton. Given that the Klan was a an enig society, that is hard to distinguish Klan allies from Klan members, and it is most likely that countless other local elected officials in state to be Klan members.

Congressman Albert Johnson

Certainly the biggest question through regard come the state’s Klan’s influence on local and national electoral politics comes with its partnership to Congressman Albert Johnson, Representative to the unified States residence from’s 3rd Congressional District.

Congressman Johnson to be a eugenik supporter and a national leader in demanding that the U.S. Restrict many of its immigration to “Nordic” peoples. As Chair that the House’s immigration Committee, that introduced and led a effective drive to happen what in 1924 became the most strict immigration law in American history. His intolerant views and political career flourished independently of the Ku Klux Klan. He declared to have been part of a mob that required hundreds of south Asians out of Bellingham, and into Canada in 1907, was chosen in 1914 on an anti-immigrant platform, and also played a leading role among western Congressmen in phone call for an extensive anti-Japanese and anti-South asian immigration limit as soon as he come in the Capitol. Johnson was a member the the Freemasons, a group the Klan regularly sought to recruit from.

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The Klan to be public and also effusive in its support of Albert Johnson. Time Magazine detailed in 1924 that Johnson’s immigration restriction regulation was “generally supported by the West and South, admittedly v the backing that the Ku Klux Klan.” It reported in 1926 that one of the nationwide KKK’s top 4 political priorities was the “Renomination and also re-election that Representative Albert Johnson of, so he can continue to it is in Chairman of the residence Committee on Immigration and fight for limited immigration laws.” The Klan no the only organization pushing immigration restriction, even though that is spectacular expansion in the early on 1920s nationwide assisted make its i politically possible. We may never recognize whether Johnson was an allied of the Klan, a mentor, or also a member. However he absolutely had the Klan’s admiration the support.

Next: Ch. 2, Luther I. Powell, Northwest KKK Organizer

“The State Klan in the 1920s” by Trevor Griffey includes the following chapters: