According to census records through 1950, Genoa was a community that did not include many people of color. The first Black family is listed in the 1950s census, along with one individual male.
Yet, in 1925, there were members of the community that believed it was important to have their own chapter of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. This local chapter was most likely established to intimidate immigrants and Catholics.
Two copies of this charter exist. One of the copies has the names cut out – maintaining the “secrecy” of the society, while the other lists some prominent Genoa leaders.
Kirkland and Fairdale had similar demographics. There is no record of any Blacks living in Franklin Township between 1840-1950.
A Kirkland newspaper clipping below reflects the normalcy of hosting Klan meetings in the community.
“K.K.K. Holds Open Meeting in Kirkland”
“Kirkland – The Ku Klux Klan held an open meeting at the Congregational Church Tuesday evening last.” Belvidere Daily Republican, February 23, 1924.
Photos of a parade in Fairdale show Klansmen wearing robes and their faces exposed.
Photos courtesy of Kirkland Historical Society, 1920.