Fear: Ku Klux Klan, Sycamore in the 1960’s and 1980’s


According to several oral history interviews, there were rumors that the Klan would be coming to Sycamore in the 1960s, in connection to a strike at Anaconda. The story was that the Klan would meet on North Avenue, near the factory, and march downtown. Somehow word made it to the Klan that they were not welcome, and they did not show up that day. Still, just the possibility of their appearance brought extreme fear to those who lived in the North Avenue community.  

Tammie Shered was eight or nine at the time and clearly remembers being very scared and confused that day. All the children in the neighborhood were told to stay home and remain upstairs. The women were home alone.

In another oral history, a woman recalled moving to the North Avenue community in the 1980s from Rockford. One night, as she was putting her children to bed, she looked out the window and saw a cross burning in the local junk yard.  

“We actually could see that [burning cross] from our upstairs window . . And one night, we just happened to be passing the window we saw like fire and the closer we looked they were burning a cross. So that was unsettling. Very unsettling. I mean, we knew they were in the area. The KKK is in the area.”

Do You Have a Story?

Share All Histories