1923 February 15

Chicago Judge Lifts Ban on KKK Newspaper; But Plans to “Review” Future Articles


In a curious ruling on this day, a Chicago judge lifted a ban on a Ku Klux Klan newspaper, but retained the authority to act as a “censor” of future articles that might be offensive to racial and/or religious groups. In the 1920s, the KKK had considerable support outside of the South because of its virulent attacks on the Catholic Church and Jews. In a number of cities, Catholics had sufficient political power that KKK meetings and publications were banned.

Boston Mayor James Curley famously banned KKK meetings in the city on October 21, 1923. Protests by African-Americans, meanwhile, led to bans on the famous but racist film, Birth of a Nation, in a number of cities (see March 3, 1915). The national strength of the Klan in these years was best indicated by a march of 25,000 KKK members in Washington, D.C., on August 8, 1925.

Read about the history of the Klan: David M. Chalmers, Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, 3rd Ed. (1987)

Learn about the KKK today: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)


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