History of the KKK in FDL presented Aug 16

Mention the Ku Klux Klan, and images of the Deep South come to mind. But as historian Sally Powers-Albertz will reveal, the KKK began activity in Fond du Lac as early as the 1860s. Fond du Lac and the KKK will be presented at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday, August 16, at the Fond du Lac Public Library. The History at Home programs are identical and free; no registration required.

Then in 1924 – a volatile time in the United States – KKK leader Patrick Malone held a recruitment event at Fond du Lac’s Armory E. He told the crowd that the Klan was a group for Protestants (only) who wanted “good, clean neighborhoods in their city.” Not mentioned was the KKK’s position as a white supremacy/white nationalistic group: anti-Catholic, anti-black, anti-immigration and anti-Semitic and fond of violence.

The following summer, about 5,000 people attended the KKK’s Klonvocation at the Fond du Lac Fairgrounds. Many signed up to join the Klan: men, women, children – whole families. Hundreds marched in a pro-Klan parade. Did these people know what they were getting into?

Powers-Albertz will tell the sad and sordid story, which includes cross burnings and a welcome party hosted at a Van Dyne farm.

Powers-Albertz is a lifelong resident of Fond du Lac a frequent History at Home presenter. She has a bachelor’s in History from Marian University and has been an avid and active local genealogist for more than 30 years, working preserve local historic documents for posterity. Previous presentations have included programs on the history of African Americans in Fond du Lac, The Children’s Home and notorious Fond du Lac Mayor H.H. Dodd.

History at Home programs focus on local and state history at 2 p.m. and repeated at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Upcoming programs include:

  • September 20: The Night the Churches Burned
  • October 18: The Long Road Home from WWI
  • November 15: If Stones Could Talk: FDL History from Tombstones
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