Voice of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Voice of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1923  Browse the title

The Voice of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was published by the North Star Klan no. 2, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, one of up to ten Klan groups reportedly in Minneapolis at the time. Only two known issues were produced:  February 8, 1923 and April 10, 1923. The inaugural issue announced the group’s aims: “The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is an organization of Native-Born American, White, Gentile, Protestant Citizens formed to oppose, by all legal means, every lawless element in our country.” The presumed editor of the paper was Roy Miner, North Star Klan no. 2 chapter leader and local KKK accouterments dealer (writing under the pen name “Exalted Cyclops”). 

Following efforts by the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor George Leach to remove members of the Ku Klux Klan from the city police force and other government jobs, the Voice of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan printed in its April 10th issue a notarized affidavit of Gladys Kennedy, a “woman of the under-world.” In this document she accused a Minneapolis police detective of extorting her and his wife of assaulting her. She also accused Minneapolis Police Chief A.C. Jensen of bribing her to cover up the other crimes and Mayor Leach of making visits to her brothel. The paper’s stated reasoning for printing these accusations was to expose the “RUM, ROMANISM and REBELLION” rampant in City Hall. In response, Leach asked Hennepin County Attorney Floyd B. Olson to indict those responsible for criminal libel. Five people were tried in court and found guilty:  Roy Miner; Gladys Kennedy; the notary, Shurley Reichert; the printer of the newspaper, George Silk; and the newspaper truck driver, Thomas E. Sullivan. Miner served 90 days in jail following a failed appeal in 1925. 

Though the original Ku Klux Klan, which began after the Civil War, was effectively shut down by the federal Civil Rights Act of 1871, the group re-emerged nationally in a second incarnation in 1915. With a new fraternal organizational structure and a more formal agenda, the KKK spread in the early to mid-1920s, including into the urban areas of the Midwest and West. Rooted in local Protestant communities, it was known for its beliefs in white supremacy and white nationalism and opposition to immigration.

Ku Klux Klan activity in Minnesota appears to have begun in 1921 and grown over the next few years.
Intolerance for “outsiders”--including Catholics, German and Jewish immigrants, and black workers who relocated from the South--had risen in the state during World War I and even more so when the war’s labor boom ended. By 1923 Minnesota was home to a reported 51 chapters of the KKK with over 30,000 members, though many were not active.

The second incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan rapidly waned in membership in the latter half of the 1920s, and by the 1930s the Klan had receded from public view