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The Ku Klux Klan was a staunch supporter of the Boy Scouts. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan donated money to worthy causes like the Salvation Army, hospitals, churches, widows, needy families including those whose homes had burned down — and to the Boy Scouts.
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In 1921, the Ku Klux Klan, Sam Houston Chapter No. 1 donated a dining hall to Houston’s first boy scout camp, Camp Masterson.  For anonymity, the Klan sent a letter with $500 to the Gerner Lumber Company with instructions to build the dining hall, and afterward announce thru the press the total cost and a check would be sent to cover the entire amount.  Newspaper photo shows the entire camp contingent posing in front of their new dining hall.  Large sign on the new building says “ This Building Built and Presented to the Boy Scouts by the Ku Klux Klan.”  (Houston Post, Sept. 4, 1921)

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth608948/m1/3/zoom/?q= date:1921-1921 "Ku Klux Klan"&resolution=4&lat=4937&lon=2028.5

04Sept1921_HoustonPost_01_ALL2_sm.jpg.a9b5dde4560c8d367d2661c61458b165.jpg

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In February 1922, while on a hike, scouts of Port Arthur, TX were visited by a number of shrouded Klansmen and presented with a flag.  (Houston Post, Feb. 20, 1922)
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In March 1922, at a meeting to raise money for the boy scouts in Port Arthur, TX, the one hundred seventy-five attendees were surprised when eight robed and hooded Klansmen marched into the meeting and presented $100 to the the chairman.  The accompanying letter commended the work of the Boy Scouts. (Houston Post, March 5, 1922)
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In April 1922, the Wharton, TX scout troop received a letter with a donation of $34.68 from the Hamilton B. Dixon Ku Klux Klan No. 6, Realm of Texas by the exalted Cyclops.  (Houston Post, April 16, 1922)
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One night before the campfire at Houston’s Camp Masterson (1923?), the Klan appeared “... in white sheets and hoods.  Using the Scout sign for quietness, the men complimented the scouts on their good discipline, ... and wished them continued success.”  The Klansmen disappeared into the night, leaving behind gallons of ice cream.
(Sam Houston Scouts, page 33, by Minor Huffman. 1985)
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I suppose this is interesting to me because the KKK's good turns presented here are in direct contrast to the Klan's other more well-known activities.  Also interesting are the various means used to ensure anonymous contributions.  I researched the available issues of Colonel Mayfield’s Weekly, Houston’s Ku Klux Klan newspaper — and could find no other mention of the Klan's support of the Boy Scouts.  

I post here in case anyone knows of other Boy Scout/Klan encounters.

 

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@SiouxRanger There is no one on this forum with the forum name “Just Ku Kluxin’ Around.”  Most here would call that the title of the thread for this topic.     To enlighten your historical know

Chief Scout Executive James E. West visited Houston in late January 1923.  The following quotes are from Jan 23-24, 1923 Houston Chronicle articles.  The Ku Klux Klan was very much in the national hea

There is no moral equivalence between our US military possibly killing innocent people when targeting groups who are our enemy and the Ku Klux Klan who bombed churches because black people worship the

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Interesting question. I did very detailed research of Boy Scouting in our community during that time period in the 1920's. Indiana was a hot bed of Klan activity. The governor, half the legislature and an estimated 30% of white male Hoosiers were Klan members. In many ways, the Klan was initially viewed as a fraternal and social organization. There were local instances in which a Klan member would walk down the aisle during a church service and present a financial gift to benefit the church or local organization.  Sometimes the church leader who received the Klan donation was also a Boy Scout leader. The Klan viewed themselves as patriots who were protecting the "American Way of Life."  They likely saw the local Boy Scouts as a natural ally.  I suspect that several of the local Scouting families had Klan connections. However, the darker side soon became more and more obvious. The Klan opposed immigrants, Catholics and others who they perceived as threats to their power and way of life.  By the late 1920's, there had been a series of scandals and area newspapers had exposed deep corruption and immoral behavior among the Klan.  The Klan membership plummeted. I found no evidence of any official endorsement of the Boy Scouts by the Klan nor any formal relationship. In fact, our region developed a significant outreach to black youth by the 1920's thanks to some local benefactors.

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Chief Scout Executive James E. West visited Houston in late January 1923.  The following quotes are from Jan 23-24, 1923 Houston Chronicle articles.  The Ku Klux Klan was very much in the national headlines.  While he does not explicitly mention the Klan,  I believe Mr. West's remarks which follow are directly aimed at the Klan.

"At this time when the spirit of intolerance apparently is gaining such headway in the social life of this great American government I think it would be appropriate for every big daily newspaper in the United States to carry the 12th Scout Law in big headlines so the world might occasionally read it and maybe profit by it."

"The basic law of scoutcraft is that the scout must be reverent to God; faithful in religion and tolerance toward the religious conviction of his fellow scout.

"More than 90 percent of the Boy Scout troops in America can be traced to churches or to the leadership of the churches.  We have Catholic Boy Scout troops and we are proud of them.  We have Jewish troops and we are proud of them.  We take them all -- all religions and creeds -- and weld them into the melting pot of pure Americanism and build them into responsible American citizens."

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In November 1922, the St. Louis Council rejected a KKK donation pledge of $15,000. A statement provided by the Klan with the offer indicated that the Klan applauded the "development of a high standard of citizenship" by the Boy Scouts. The St. Louis American Legion came out in strong opposition to the Klan donation as well.

$15,000 was a huge sum of money to pass up in 1922....

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All well and good, but do try to keep in mind that while BSA was not in support of outright lynching of African Americans and everything the KKK had to offer, it was not always very forward thinking in terms of issues related to race. Consider that BSA allowed for not only segregated units ("Colored Troops"), but even segregated COUNCILS until Old Hickory desegregated in 1974, decades after Brown vs. Board of Education. Moreover, BSA had no problems with the practice in LDS units of banning African American scouts from serving as SPLs until the NAACP of Utah sued them in what was a very, very embarrassing row again in 1974.

 

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1973-1974 was a turning point for BSA, especially in my area in terms of desegregation.  Until then, there were duplicate Districts and duplicate Lodges.  This duplicity ceased to exist when local councils merged.  Of course, you have to realize that there was not full desegregation of the schools until 1973-74, when the school systems bussed students to even out the schools.

All of this was a reflection of the times then.

But let's not ignore what existed then and lose the history.  Like it or not, the history is important.

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On 3/11/2021 at 8:57 AM, sri_oa161 said:

1973-1974 was a turning point for BSA, especially in my area in terms of desegregation.  Until then, there were duplicate Districts and duplicate Lodges.  This duplicity ceased to exist when local councils merged.  Of course, you have to realize that there was not full desegregation of the schools until 1973-74, when the school systems bussed students to even out the schools.

All of this was a reflection of the times then.

But let's not ignore what existed then and lose the history.  Like it or not, the history is important.

All of this is now only known to me this moment.  Unbelievable.

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5 hours ago, SiouxRanger said:

All of this is now only known to me this moment.  Unbelievable.

I’m not sure why it’s so hard to believe. Although, I’m kind of glad you weren’t in school with wannabe klansmen. Their reaction to the way the world was going (and would, in fact, become): “Unbelievable.”

I’ve returned to my hometown, and it warmed my heart to meet some minority business owners. A trivial gain statistically, but meaningful nonetheless.

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It is very hard to believe.  I marvel at how human organizations spouting and touting the highest principals on the public-facing side accept, tolerate and/or practice abhorrent principles.  BSA and the KKK.  The Founding Fathers as slaveholders, John Adams apparently a notable exception. "Janus-faced." The duplicitous nature of human organizations is simply appalling..

TRUSTWORTHY (Who saw Her last, and where would She now be in our times of trouble?)

Likely all to protect a paycheck.  How base. (And we now see that in the BSA situation-thousands of educated "commissioned professionals" all complicit in the big cover-up. "'We don't get paid if the stink does not go away quietly-not to mention losing a fat pension."

Innocent and vulnerable children are sacrificed for a retirement.

Call me OUTRAGED.

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On 8/4/2021 at 12:54 PM, SiouxRanger said:

Call me OUTRAGED.

Better give up everything from every institution you ever valued and every person you ever respected.   Not much from the past withstands the scrutiny of the present.  Ya know doctors used leeches and blood letting and celebrated healing when they say laudable pus (aka an infection). 

Choose almost any profession ... almost any institution ... and almost any individual and you can justify outrage.  The past isn't perfect.  It's just the past and how we got to where we are.  

 

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On 8/5/2021 at 10:03 PM, fred8033 said:

Better give up everything from every institution you ever valued and every person you ever respected.   Not much from the past withstands the scrutiny of the present.  Ya know doctors used leeches and blood letting and celebrated healing when they say laudable pus (aka an infection). 

Choose almost any profession ... almost any institution ... and almost any individual and you can justify outrage.  The past isn't perfect.  It's just the past and how we got to where we are.  

 

I don't believe the KKK was ever considered a noble organization. 

It's less that "almost any institution" from the past can't "withstand the scrutiny of the present" so much as no institution can withstand scrutiny based on its own grandiose view of itself. 

It's where humility should come in.

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37 minutes ago, MattR said:

I don't believe the KKK was ever considered a noble organization. 

Our midwestern state in the 1920's was a hotbed of the KKK  that reached into the Governor's office.  In speaking years ago to people who grew up in that time period, I gained some perspective:

(1) The small rural communities were very insulated from diversity and "outsiders." It followed World War I in which "our boys" fought and gave their lives. People were suspicious of foreigners and others different from them.

(2) This was the period of fraternal and civic organizations with groups such as the Lions, Elks, Masons and Rotarians being very popular. In many of the small communities, joining the Klan was seen as similar to joining the Elks initially and was often the only "fraternal" group functioning in the community.

(3) In researching our church history (largest Protestant church in the county and considered progressive) , I was shocked to discover the record of a church meeting in which a robed Klansman walked in during a meeting down the center aisle carrying a substantial donation for the widows and orphans fund.  The Klan worked hard at developing an image of doing civic good and protecting "the values" of the community. There was some evidence that the Klan was supportive of youth organizations such as Scouting.

As the darker side became more obvious, community organizations and citizens began to distance themselves from the Klan and its influence in our area rapidly faded.

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Fourth in line for Presidential succession in tyhe 1970's was Unted States Senator who had been Exaulted Cyclops (leader) of a chapter of the KKK whch he had started and  who fillibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and strongly opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

In his final years, he said he regreted his associain with the KKK.

Things change.

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On 8/4/2021 at 9:05 AM, qwazse said:

I’m not sure why it’s so hard to believe. Although, I’m kind of glad you weren’t in school with wannabe klansmen. Their reaction to the way the world was going (and would, in fact, become): “Unbelievable.”

The KKK tried to recruit me back in the early 80's when I was a member of the local public school board.  It is just like you said.  They recognized me as someone who didn't like the way the world was going, and would eventually become.  They offered me their support.  They were seductive and charming.  Not at all like what you see in the media. 

It was a temptation, but I turned them down.  I know better than to make a deal with the Devil.

I should note that all of the horrible things they said would happen to education and scouting have actually happened.  They were wrong about many things, but they weren't wrong about that.  The world really has gone to Hell in a handbasket.  I don't regret my decision, though.  The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

 

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