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January 22, 2010

The KKK in Minnesota

Filed under: Book Excerpt, History — Mary Poggione @ 3:42 pm

KKK in Minnesota 2“The Klan’s power was devastating precisely because it was so well integrated into family life.”

The winter issue of Minnesota History magazine has a fascinating article on the rise of the KKK in Minnesota in the 1920s, titled “One Flag, One School, One Language” and written by Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle and Nancy M. Vaillancourt.

Excerpt from the article

Published quarterly, Minnesota History magazine is available in the gift shop of the Minnesota History Center and online. Members of the historical society receive a free subscription, but subscriptions may also be purchased individually.

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  1. Hoping readers of the article will response back with what they know or stories they may have heard about KKK activity in their parts of Minnesota. There is an email address to forward that information and it is listed in the article above the footnotes-thank you!


    Comment by Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle — January 26, 2010 @ 8:12 am

  2. I am wondering if you have written about or are aware of a Ku Klux Klan parade down the main street of Elk River, MN, in which the then superintendent of the Elk River School District was the masked leader. My late father, David Lerner, lived with his parents, Sam Lerner and Gertrude Schwartzman Lerner (originally from Anoka), and two younger children, Max and Byrle in the town where my grandfather Sam had a men’s clothing store. The story goes that the Klan came marching up their street (in a town of 900 there weren’t that many streets!), and my grandfather Sam told the boys, “Here comes the Klan, heading our way. Quick, go hide in the storm cellar.” They did so, but to the Lerners great surprise, the Klansmen kept on marching right past the only Jewish home in Elk River and burned their cross on the lawn of a Catholic family. Later it was found that the superintendent of schools had led the hate-filled band, and he was stripped of his job. That’s the story as my father told it to me. Now I’m wondering if you knew about it, had more details, could date it, etc. Thank you for your time and attention and for writing the book that you did.
    Rabbi Leigh Lerner
    Montreal, Quebec
    and formerly of St. Paul


    Alison Aten Reply:

    Thank you for your comment and inquiry. We will share it with the authors of the Minnesota History article. Also of interest–Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle’s new book, The Ku Klux Klan in Minnesota is now available from The History Press.


    Comment by Rabbi Leigh Lerner — September 22, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

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