George Washington Gordon, the Klan, and the History of Confederate Memorials

Unless you are a student of Civil War military history, you've probably never heard of Confederate general George Washington Gordon. Yet, he was a seminal figure in the early years of the Ku Klux Klan and an important voice in the construction of the Lost Cause ideology. The debate over Confederate monuments the past few …

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White Supremacy, the KKK, and Charlottesville

If you've never watched the documentary, The Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History, now would be a good time to do so. There are some historical inaccuracies in it, but overall, it provides a revealing look at the KKK's history. One of the most important parts of the documentary is the first twelve minutes. Before …

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Was Calvin Coolidge a Klansman?

I recently came across the photo to the left, which purports to show Calvin Coolidge marching with several Klansmen in Washington. A look at several Klan websites revealed that the picture, Coolidge's membership, or both were included on many. (See examples here and here.) One website that appears to be a major source for the Coolidge-Klan …

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Marketing the KKK to Children

Andrew Pendergraft is the grandson of Thomas Robb, the modern-day Ku Klux Klan's national director. As a young boy with floppy blond hair and a slight speech impediment, Pendergraft hosted a number of short episodes of his very own amateur talk show, "The Andrew Show," which presents the Klan's ideology in a format aimed at …

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My Journey to Studying History

I am teaching our department's historical methods course this semester. One of the questions that I asked the students was why they chose to study history. Answers ranged from "I chose it by default" to "I've always loved reading and writing, so history was a natural fit." I shared with them my reason for majoring in …

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