a new klavern
Rebirth Ralley Sep 17, 1966
The family fought racism in Glendale on multiple fronts. In 1916, Dr. Garrott’s brother, H. L. Garrott, a Los Angeles police officer, bought a property with the title transferred by the Title Guarantee and Trust Company.
the klan rebirth
a new klavern
The homogeneity of Glendale that was codified by race restrictive covenants and cemented by the general acceptance of white supremacist groups made the Klan’s reemergence in the mid-1960s almost inevitable. A new California Klavern emerged in 1964, reactivated by a former minister of the Covenant Church of Jesus Christ, Reverend William V. Fowler, State chairman and honorary Cyclops of the California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. A resident of La Crescenta, Fowler pushed for the resurgence of the KKK in the Southland with a furor. Author of the brochure “Ideals of the Ku Klux Klan,” Fowler believed it was the white man’s divine right to lead the country as he saw fit. He is quoted in his brochure as saying, “Distinction among the races is not accidental but designed. This is clearly brought out in the one Book that tells authoritatively the origin of the races...The supremacy of the White Race must be maintained, or be overwhelmed by the rising tide of color.”
Under the leadership of Fowler, the Klan looked for legitimacy through legal and political channels while being met with resistance at every turn.
From Los Angeles Daily News, September 29, 1966 “Klan Reactivation Upheld by Judge”
"People have a constitutional right to be stupid, and if they want to put sheets over their heads and act like little children, they have that right.
I am not condoning or approving the organization’s policies, but I feel that I can’t interfere…”
REBIRTH RALLY - SEPTEMBER 17, 1966
A rally was set for September 17, 1966 in Saugus, and Fowler promised five thousand people in attendance and a thousand security guards to protect the event. Fowler told the LA Times that anyone could attend the meeting as long as he was a ‘white Christian.’ Any others, he claimed, “would be told to leave.” He threatened bloodshed for anyone who dared disrupt the Klan rally.
A truckload of hooded Klansmen cruised the San Fernando Valley with a loudspeaker, promoting the event. But even early on in the planning stages, problems arose for Fowler in the Soledad Canyon area where the rally was to be held. Fowler attempted and failed to secure a restraining order against the police department. The U.S. Forest Service was opposed to the upcoming Klan rally and threatened to revoke permits from the man who signed away the space for Fowler’s use. However, the man who signed the lease to the Klan had not realized it was meant for a racist rally, and instead understood the event was a “church meeting.”
In a bizarre twist of events, it was determined that the man who signed the lease to Fowler was not the owner of the property and could not act as legal signer. The legal owner of the land could not be found in a timely manner, and since they were not present, there was no one to deny access to Fowler and his event. Fowlers Rebirth Rally would go on.
Reverend William V. Fowler’s Reactivation Rally or Rebirth Rally for the California Ku Klux Klan took place on Capra Road in Soledad Canyon.
The area was dusty and dark by the time the rally got started. What was advertised as a cross-burning was in truth a cross-lighting since an open fire was not permitted by the U.S. Forest Service in this area. The cross was instead dotted with red Christmas lights, plugged into a weak generator and switched on. The Sheriff's department blocked entry to the road for 45 minutes during the rally. The small crowd of Klan sympathizers, many of whom were armed, tried chanting to ignite the energy of the event, but it never reached a pitch. Fowler’s speech of hate sputtered out accusations and racial slurs. Country songs with racial slurs and stereotypes were played to get the crowd going. Later in the evening, an 18-year-old, Edward Bernard, was attacked by a group egged on by Fowler after Bernard defended Jewish people. When plainclothes deputies and the Sheriff rushed to respond, Fowler fled the scene.
The rebirth rally was a failure for Fowler and the Klan. Reporters, police officers, U.S. Forest Service officers, and protestors outnumbered the supporters.
This historical recording may be upsetting to listeners as it contains ethnic and religious slurs and offensive hate speech promoting racial stereotypes and violence.
REBIRTH RALLY - SEPTEMBER 17, 1966
The Rebirth Rally in Soledad Canyon was meant to breath life into the hate group, but it did little to help Fowler and the reactivated Ku Klux Klan.There were some, however, who suffered consequences for their involvement. Charles Broderson, the man who signed the lease for use of property over to Fowler suffered the most. He understood that Fowler was going to use the land “for a church gathering and picnic.” (The Newhall Signal, 15 Sept, 1966) and never read the contract after it was signed. After Fowler's real intentions for the property went public, and it was determined that Broderson was not the owner of the property and could not legally sign the one-dollar lease agreement in the first place, he was fired from his job as a used car salesman. Although the legal owners of the land were completely unaware of the events that had transpired on their property, they too suffered consequences. Once they were located the U.S. Forest Service threatened to revoke their use-permit to grow olives on the land as punishment for allowing the Klan rally to occur.
The rebirth rally was a dismal affair and its distasteful nature was on full display.
An editorial in The Newhall Signal, referred to the Klan at Fowler’s rally as “a little band of slack-jawed, wild-eyed or utterly ignorant fanatics...” (22 Sept, 1966).
"The frightened troop of self-anointed Klansmen who screamed and shouted that they were ‘the master race’ were for hours even unable to start up their own small-gasoline-driven generator in order to light up the slim white cross... "
That night the Ku Klux Klan did not strike fear into their enemies. They instead showed quite blatantly how out of place they were in a world more critical of their brand of overt racism. The fallout for Fowler was that he had created such an uproar amongst the press and law enforcement that it guaranteed he would be followed closely for any future events he had planned.
Copyright notice: Any materials under copyright in this exhibit are covered by the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act. Permission and preferred attribution were requested of all copyright holders.
"Ideals of the Ku Klux Klan: A California Committee." Pamphlet. Senator Thomas C. Carrell Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge.
"Klan Reactivation Upheld by Judge." Glendale News-Press, 29 Sept. 1966. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
"KKK Chief Warns of 'Bloodshed'." Glendale News-Press, 14 Sept. 1966. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
“The News of the Day: Metropolitan.” Los Angeles Times, 16. Sept. 1966, p. 2. Proquest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
Invitation to Ku Klux Klan Cross Burning. Senator Thomas C. Carrell Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge.
Image Ku Klux Klan Rally in Soledad Canyon. Santa Clarita Valley TV, 17 Sept. 1966.
Stack, Pete. “Sickly KKK Rally.” The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise, 22 Sept. 1946. Santa Clarita Valley History.
Malnic, Eric. "Klansmen in a Minority at 'Rebirth' Rally." Los Angeles Times, Sep 18, 1966, pp. 20. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
Ku Klux Klan Rally Broadcast. KPFK, 17 Sept. 1966. Santa Clarita Valley TV. Reprinted by permission of KPFK.
“’Church Picnic’ Ruins Unwary Saugus Man.” The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise, 15 Sept. 1966. Santa Clarita Valley History.
“Klan’s Mockery of Jesus Christ.” Editorial. The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise, 22 Sept. 1966. Santa Clarita Valley History.
“‘Use’ Permit Revoked on Rally Site.” The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise, 25 Sept. 1966. Santa Clarita Valley History