Monday, September 11, 2017

For the Record: Funny, I just happen to have Eric Foner right here with me

Oh, Eric Foner, huh?

Of course I mean the 1960s in the Deep South. Elsewhere the Klan was an impotent force among Democrats well before that. I know in my hometown area in upstate New York near the Pennsylvania border there were Klan rallies as late as the 1950s, but they had nothing to do with the party—in fact those dairy farmers were Republicans already (not for race reasons but for milk price supports).

The general point is very well known; in 1924, the Ku Klux Klan was powerful enough in the Democratic party to prevent the presidential nomination of the Catholic governor of New York, Al Smith (people sometimes forget the Klan used to hate Catholics as much as they hate blacks and Jews—still do, maybe), and by 1928 they didn't any more, and Smith got the nomination, as well as that great "Happy Warrior" speech at the convention from Franklin Roosevelt (it was in the runup to that campaign, on Memorial Day 1927, that Protestant son of a German brothel keeper Fred Trump got arrested in a brawl following a Klan march in Jamaica, Queens, Fred's neighborhood, which happened to be turning strongly African American during the period, though nobody is telling me if that has something to do with the march and fight.

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