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College Scholars: 'The Klan in the Coal Mines: Southeast Kansas and the Hooded Order of the 1920s'

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, March 21, 2018
CoLab (OCB 100)
Conferences & Lectures

Professor James Leiker, History, will present this talk concerning radical politics in rural Kansas from the 1920s to the late 20th century.

The "New Klan" of the post-World War I era is mostly remembered as a hyper-conservative movement, distinct for its opposition to immigration, Roman Catholicism and communism. Surprisingly, the KKK had progressive roots as well, especially in southeast Kansas' mining districts. Only a decade before, the area was home to radical socialists, anarchists and labor organizers but after 1920 hosted some of the largest Klan chapters in the U.S. The phenomenon of workers turning abruptly from class-based to nativist politics blurs the distinction between Left and Right — and provides lessons about the politics of our own time.