Fear: Ku Klux Klan, Sandwich, 1920s


Like many other communities throughout DeKalb County, Sandwich also had local Klan chapter. There are several newspaper articles that promote Klan meetings and speeches, mostly in 1923 and 1924. An article from May 1923 leads with the quote, “The Sandwich Order of the Ku Klux Klan is enjoying rapid growth, and [?] numbers among its members many of the leading business and professional men of the city and community” (Sandwich Free Press, May 3, 1923).  A few months later, there was a report of a large Klan rally south of Sandwich, “Big Klu [sic] Kluk Klan Ceremonial; Thousands attend Open Air Ceremonial Friday Night on Beck Farm South of Sandwich.” An estimated 3000 people attended, and 800 cars were counted at the gate (Sandwich Free Press, September 6, 1923).  See clippings below.

However, there are two articles that cover unique stories. The first is a long article covering a “Klantaqua.” Inspired by Chautauqua tradition of  educational lectures and musical performances, this meeting that focused on all topics related to the Klan took place over three days in Sandwich. The article lists all of the activities during the event, including many talks about how the Klan is based on the Bible, the meaning behind their symbols, and its political aims.

Sandwich Free Press, August 14, 1924.

The second article is titled “Klan Wedding.” Here a reporter covered a Klan wedding held at a farm west of Montgomery, “The groom following with his best man and a number of Klansmen and Klanswomen, all attired in robes of the Ku Klux Klan . . . . This is said to be the first Ku Klux Klan wedding ever performed in the State of Illinois” (Sandwich Free Press, August 21, 1924).

Sandwich Free Press, August 21, 1924.

Other newspaper clippings about Klan activity from the Sandwich Free Press. 

Sandwich Free Press, February 21, 1924.

Sandwich Free Press, February 22, 1923.

Sandwich Free Press, May 3, 1923.

Sandwich Free Press, July 19, 1923.

Sandwich Free Press, September 6, 1923.

Sandwich Free Press, October 4, 1923.

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