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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE KLANS ORIGIN

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

THE ORIGINAL KLU KLUX KLAN WAS ORIGINATED BY COLONEL JOHN LESTER
TO ACT AS A VIGILANTE ORGANIZATION IN FIGHTING AGAINST THE LOOTING
AND RIOTING WHICH WAS OCCURRING AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. IT WAS FORMED
SOMEWHERE IN MISSISSIPPI, THE OPERATION NOT ONLY STOPPED THE
LAWLESSNESS, BUT IT WAS ALSO NOTICED THAT THE NEGROES WERE FEARFUL
OF THE HOODED RIDERS. ONE NIGHT, THEY RODE UP TO A NEGRO CABIN
AND CALLED OUT THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD. COLONEL LESTER MADE THE
NEGRO PROMISE NOT TO BOTHER WHITE FOLK, AND THAT HE MUST SHAKE
HANDS TO SEAL THE PACT. LESTER THEN REACHED OUT WITH A SKELETON
HAND AND SHOOK THE NEGROES. THE NEGRO RAN BACK INTO THE HOUSE.
SCARED OUT OF HIS WITS. THE WORD SPREAD, AND THE KLAN GREW FROM
THAT DAY INTO THE INFAMOUS ORGANIZATIONS WHICH HISTORY HAS
RECORDED.

Submitter comment:

THE INFORMANT GAINED HIS KNOWLEDGE FROM TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN
SOURCES. HE IS A NATIVE OF GEORGIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): INTIMIDATION ; RACISM ; SKELETON

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate
BELIEF -- Legend

Date learned: 07-23-1964

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