The solemn summons

Ku Klux Kalifornia 

Dec 11, 1926

In 1926, the California Klan was chartered. As stated in the Glendale Daily Press, “all Klansmen within the jurisdiction of Glendale are ordered to appear in person at the hall...” (11 Dec, 1926).

The Solemn Summons of the Fiery Cross #2
The Solemn Summons of the Fiery Cross #1

Through the 1930s, the California Ku Klux Klan continued spreading their message of hate by distributing Klan literature and holding large outdoor ceremonies.

 

In 1939, twelve “white robed but unhooded men” distributed Klan literature in Glendale, with police officers instructed “not to interfere... but to get their names,” due to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that year overturning local ordinances restricting handbill distribution based on free speech concerns (U.S. Supreme Court, Lovell v. City of Griffin,  303, U.S, 1938, 444.)

 

Despite this ruling, by the end of the 1930s interest in the Klan slowed as new groups such as the  German-American Bund (See the episode “Nazis in Glendale”) began to take prominence.

Ku Klux Klan Cross Dedication, 1931
Constitution and Laws
The Klan rides again handbill
Klan Handbills Distributed, 1939
Donation acceptance letter
Letter from Grand Dragon to reinstate a membership

As the “Solemn Summons of the Fiery Cross” shows, the Klan was still actively holding secret meetings (“Bring Robes”) in 1942. But by 1946, the group was near its end. Thanks to the vigilant efforts of Attorney General Robert Walker Kenny, the Ku Klux Klan’s legal  non-profit  status in California was terminated. The organization dissolved, now stripped of any pretense of being a legitimate operation.  They splintered off into dozens of other smaller factions with more discreet names. As one Klansmen said to The L.A. Times in 1946, many groups went on to operate as “card clubs, fellowship clubs.”  

Fight Against the Klan

KKK cross dedication at a well-attended ceremony in Sunland in 1931. The cross was built by a Glendale resident.

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.

"KKK California has Been Chartered." Glendale Daily Press, 11 Dec. 1926. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.  

 

Ku Klux Klan Cross Dedication, 15 Nov. 1931. Ku Klux Klan Collection. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

 

"Klan Handbills Distributed." Glendale News-Press, 23 Dec. 1939. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.  

 

Solemn Summons of the Fiery Cross. Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge. 

 

"Fight Against Klan Mapped: State Enforcement Agencies Prepare to Block Revival Move."  

Los Angeles Times, Apr 10, 1946, pp. 2. ProQuest

 

Supreme Court of the United States. Lovell v. City of Griffin. 303, U.S., 1938, 444. Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/amendment-1/leafleting-handbilling-and-the-like. Accessed 4 Feb. 2021.  

 

Constitution and Laws of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge

 

Letter from the Grand Dragon to Reinstate the Re-organization of the Realm of California, July 25, 1939. Ku Klux Klan, Realm of California Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge.  

 

Non Silba Sed Anthar. Letter. Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge

 

The Klan Rides Again. Flier. Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge

 

The Solemn Summons of the Fiery Cross (Note & Invitation). Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge