NEWSPAPERS FROM THE RISE AND FALL OF THE KU KLUX KLAN IN THE 1920S: A DIVERSITY & DISSENT DIGITIZATION FUND PROJECT
$573,877 Funding Goal
Percentage Pledged/Funded: 53%
Number of Backers: 50
Funding End Date: December 31, 2017
View the organizations and libraries that have committed funds to Newspapers of the Ku Klux Klan here.
MAKE A FUNDING COMMITMENT
Please contact Peggy Glahn to make a funding commitment. Contribution rates are determined by library type. See the table in the Funding Tiers section below to determine your institution’s contribution level.
From its birth immediately following the Civil War to its re-awakening inspired by the film Birth of a Nation in 1915 through today’s fractured organizations using the Klan’s name, the Ku Klux Klan has occupied a persistent place in American society. To understand today’s version of American nationalism, we need to go back to the 1920s when the Klan re-emerged as a slick and successful recruiting and marketing engine that appealed to the fears and aspirations of middle-aged, middle-income, white protestant men in the middle of America. At its peak in 1924, Klan paid membership exceeded 4,000,000 and its national newspaper, the Imperial Night-Hawk, had a circulation larger than the New York Times.
The goal of this project is to assemble a comprehensive and hopefully complete collection of KKK newspapers into a fully-searchable open access database. The collection features national Klan publications (for example: the Imperial Night-Hawk and the Kourier) as well as regional and local Klan produced papers (i.e., Sgt. Dalton’s Weekly, Jayhawker American, and the Minnesota Fiery Cross). The collection will also include a smaller set of papers sympathetic to the Klan (i.e., The Good Citizen and The Fellowship Forum) and a few important anti-Klan publications (Tolerance and The Record). A complete title list may be found here.
The collection is hosted on the Reveal Digital platform, which will provide controlled access to funding libraries until the collection moves to open access. The platform provides page image-based access with full-text searching, hit-term highlighting, searchable article-level metadata, and browsing by title and issue.
A PDF summary of this project prospectus may be downloaded here.
WHY DIGITIZE KKK NEWSPAPERS?
Contributed by Dr. Thomas R. Pegram, Professor of History, Loyola University–Maryland
Author of: One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s
Historians, of course, will benefit from an open access digital collection of 1920s Klan newspapers, but students, public policy workers, government workers, and interested and informed audiences in general have much to learn from these 1920s publications. The degree to which Klan newspapers drew from ordinary currents in American life in the 1920s is stunning. These newspapers detail the extent to which the Klan movement was anchored in American traditions of fraternalism, sociability, business and civic practices. That makes the appeal to exclusivity, the anti-Catholicism, and the assumed white Protestant ownership of American institutions that are also apparent in Klan newspapers so powerful. Sentiments that are now considered radical or located on the fringes of American society actually existed side by side with mainstream American beliefs and practices. Openly bigoted and reckless publications such as Colonel Mayfield’s Weekly contrast in style with more conventional publications such as the versions of the Fiery Cross that appeared across the Midwest, but all Klan newspapers shared the same bedrock beliefs that American democracy existed for only white Protestant Americans. Some, like Chicago’s Dawn offered frank denunciations of ethnic and Catholic Americans that reveal the extent to which American pluralism was contradicted by American tribalism. The Klan newspapers of the 1920s are a reminder of how current divisions over immigration, race, and citizenship are deeply embedded in American history.
SEARCH THE COLLECTION
Access to the first eighteen titles in the collection was launched in September 2017 to funding libraries. Full access will be reserved for funding libraries until the project is complete. In the meantime the collection may be searched by anyone and a limited number of titles are open today. Click here to begin searching.
|Library Type||One-Time Payment|
|2 yr colleges and smaller publics||$2,960|
|Masters and large publics||$4,440|
Original images will be stored as uncompressed 300 dpi 24-bit color TIFF images, conforming to the TIFF 6.0 specification. Images will be cropped to the page edge.
Derivative images will be 300 dpi JPEGs, compressed 20% for online delivery.
Issue and article level metadata will be provided in a METS/ALTO format with article-level OCR.
Below is the projected high-level project plan. Outreach for funding, content selection, sourcing and platform development will begin in Q1, 2017. Funding libraries will have access to material as soon as the first batch is loaded to the platform, which is anticipated in Q3 2017. The collection will be made open access immediately upon attainment of the cost recovery goal, which is forecasted to occur no later than Q4 2018 (but may be significantly earlier).
The following libraries have agreed to provide source material for scanning. We expect to add several more libraries and archives to this list over the course of the project.
* Michigan State University
* University of Illinois
* University of Texas, Austin
* Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division