The Ku Klux Klan saw a rapid rise in Kern County, California, in 1921 but disintegrated in 1922. Local newspapers decried the Klan’s vigilante violence; a diligent district attorney pursued and prosecuted those involved; and the local press and the court cases revealed members’ identities. The ensuing backlash quickly neutralized the Klan in Kern County. The revealed identities enabled the author to profile local KKK adherents. The subsequent career paths of key members and their opponents confirm the shift of public opinion against the Klan despite its public relations efforts.
“No Ku Klux Klan for Kern”: The Rise and Fall of the 1920s KKK in Kern County, California
Alicia E. Rodriquez is associate professor of history at California State University, Bakersfield, where she teaches Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, the American South, and Mexican-American history. Her research interests and previous publications examine urban politics, labor, third-party movements, and voter disfranchisement.
Alicia E. Rodriquez; “No Ku Klux Klan for Kern”: The Rise and Fall of the 1920s KKK in Kern County, California. Southern California Quarterly 1 February 2017; 99 (1): 5–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2017.99.1.5
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