The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

topic posted Mon, March 19, 2007 - 10:00 PM by  Mac Rory
Off and on for all of my life I have heard various stories as to how powerful the Ku Klux Klan and similar nativist movements were in Oregon, although more from the viewpoint of folks familiar with the IWW and labor wars. Punctuated as that history is with events such as the "Centralia Massacre" of Armistice Day, 1919, I understood that the Klan was much more powerful in Oregon, particularly southern Oregon. I've been told that it was illegal for a black person to stay overnight in Oregon into the 1920's, but have never bothered to track the statue down. Although the original British settlement at Fort Vancouver was strongly stratified by class, it was a melange of ethnic groups and the vein of violent racism rises and falls at different rates, as the November 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw by Portland skinheads shows.

Doing a quick Google search for "ku klux klan in Oregon" I found a few basic articles on the subject, and it seems the KKK proper had their heyday in Oregon between 1915 and 1925, focusing mostly on anti-Catholic measures such as a compulsory education bill to shut Catholic schools down, but still finding all sorts of ways to harass African-Americans, Native Americans, Japanese and Jews, such as by forbidding Japanese from owning land.

Democratic governor Walter Pearce is often referred to as Oregon's "klan governor" and the KKK is credited with over fifty "klaverns," several mayors and tens of thousands of members around the patriotically-inflamed edges of the first World War.

Among the more interesting articles I found first...
posted by:
Mac Rory
  • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

    Tue, March 20, 2007 - 6:12 PM
    most i know is that southern oregon is not south western oregon. i have heard that from roseburg on down th KKK was pretty heavy but west of Galice and in the coast range it became pretty scetchy for the clans men. seems in coos county several died all aboout the same time and gold beach a few dissaperd when a steamer was heading out with a hold full of logs. but thats just local color.

    seems fishermen and sailors dont have much time for the KKK or the skin heads.
    • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

      Mon, April 2, 2007 - 10:19 AM
      I read recently that they wore the sheets because they were supposed to represent the ghosts of confederate soldiers killed in battle.

      I've heard little about the KKK in Oregon.
      Reading one of those articles, it seems that they were trying to fashion themselves more as a civic organization (calling themselves the "Second Klan"), doing charity work and trying to promote legislation that reflected their particular xenophobic values.

      When I lived in Eugene, there was a giant cross on Skinner's Butte (the Mt. Tabor of Eugene) that overlooked the city, and was illuminated at Christmas time.
      People told me that the KKK had put it there.
      The KKK did burn crosses on Skinner's Butte in 1922 and 1924.
      The giant cross was put up by the Chamber of Commerce in 1936.
      So, while the cross probably wasn't put up by the KKK, it did suffer a little by association of place and approximity in time.
      The city removed the cross in 1997, putting a flag pole in its place.
      • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

        Mon, April 2, 2007 - 10:22 AM
        Here's the web page that had an interesting Skinner's Butte Cross timeline;
        • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

          Mon, April 9, 2007 - 4:46 PM
          I've always found the Vanport story to be so very fascinating (and tragic, of course)!

          During the mid-80's, East Side White Pride was such a force to be reckoned with in PDX! White, xenophobic, socially spurned boys with terrible home-lives and crap social skills were ripe for the picking. Honestly, it was a really scary time to be on the streets downtown. It seemed to crescendo not too long after the "war" between the Rockers and the Punks/New Wavers for the ridiculous sense of ownership over Pioneer Courthouse Square. Sorry if I'm being too random here . . . ;o)
          • Unsu...

            Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

            Wed, September 3, 2008 - 8:36 PM
            MAN those days bring me back to when I was a frosh at St. Mary's Academy .
            I guess Paranoid Park wasn't enough for the punks, but during the Wall days at the courthouse, there were all kinds of folks weaving in and out. Weird days they were.
            • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

              Wed, September 3, 2008 - 10:00 PM
              No, dude - wait! WAIT!!! When I was a frosh at St. Mary's, I learned to smoke cloves, mix a good rum and coke, and *I* hung around at the Wall and Paranoid! Do you happen to remember Iran? The handsome African-American boy with a Mohawk? Yeah, he's over 40. Still deeply charismatic and attractive, apparently. I'll bet we know a lot of (street) people in common . . . Remember when there was a territory war between the Rockers and the Punks/Wavers for the Square? I walked through downtown today, for the first time in ?15? years, and realized how much had changed, but noticing what aspects were still the same. Kinda crazy. I went into Ray's Ragtime for the first time in their "new" location (I think they've been there for, like, forever, right?). Jebus, I wish I could remember the name of the shitty little club on about Stark and Broadway where I used to get cloves . . . I met the band "The Stand" at the restaurant down there that, I believe, is now a Thai restaurant. A group of us followed Chrissie Hynde around the Square - she had her baby in a stroller - and Nordstroms (I was hanging back, but intrigued) until she screamed, "Leave me alone!" Clearly, she wasn't impressed about being recognized. More stories, but later - I won't hold all y'all hostage any longer. Peace out! ~ Misha :o)
              • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

                Tue, September 9, 2008 - 10:31 PM
                15 years! Holy cow! How do you avoid going downtown for that long? And I though i was a homebody... ;-)
                • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

                  Thu, September 18, 2008 - 9:59 AM
                  It's more that I haven't had the opportunity to just roam the streets downtown in a L-O-N-G time. We've gone to very directed spots; the Unitarian church, the theater for plays, etc., but now, since I'm forced to take an hour lunch, walking all over downtown is a great way to kill an hour! :o) My dear friend reminded me that the place we got cloves was called The Plaza, and I need to remind him that The Metro was where we whiled away many hours under the guise of "having coffee". A lot of memories have been kicking in: Dudley's record shop across from the Library, The Big Bang, Singles Going Steady, Avalon Antiques - wow!

                  Take good care of yourselves, sweet ones! BTW, don't forget the Pirate Festival this weekend! if all goes well, I should be, er, wenching a root beer booth! Come visit! ~ Misha :o)
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

                    Thu, September 18, 2008 - 3:19 PM
                    "It's more that I haven't had the opportunity to just roam the streets downtown in a L-O-N-G time. We've gone to very directed spots..."

                    Aha, just had to check! I know that feeling when i suddenly find myself really looking at somewhere I haven't been in a while. Is always a shock to see what's new and what's remained the same.

                    Arrrrrrrrr, root beer makes a find substitute for grog! Hope the weather holds out for the festival! Looking mighty grey today.
    • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

      Sun, May 20, 2007 - 8:43 PM
      I grew up around Roseburg OR, and in the late 80's... 1988-1991, they were still handing out KKK pamphlets at lunchtime, as well as NEO Nazi crap...

      Oakland OR had a sign posted at their city limits until the mid 70's that stated "No niggers After Dark".

      Also Douglas County had a no blacks after dark law well into the 60's. There used to be a very popular dance hall just off of 99 south of Roseburg, called The Flying Dutchman, it played host to a score of famous acts such as Johnny Cash and Bo Diddly, but every black performer that ever played there was police escorted to the county line before dark...

      They just bulldozed the famous land mark this year as a matter of fact.

      Douglas County is still a very bigoted area, and I am glad that I am no longer a resident.
      • Re: The KKK and White Supremacy in Oregon

        Tue, May 22, 2007 - 11:00 AM
        I hope things have changed for the better down there.
        I haven't been down that way, except to go to "The House of Mystery" (which rocks, by the way), though that's more down by that cosmopolitan bastion of enlightenment, Medford.
        Otherwise, I've just breezed through on the highway.
  • Vanport and Race Relations

    Sun, April 8, 2007 - 2:06 PM
    I have only heard stories but was suprised to find a good article on Vanport over on Wikipedia. For folks who don't know, Vanport was at one point the largest city in Oregon, sitting in the area now known to Portlanders as Delta Park. Reportedly the largest public housing project in the nation and the original location of what would become Portland State University, Vanport was built to house wartime workers, and was the main point of entry for many current African-American families into Oregon.

    Until just now reading the article, the parallels between the Vanport floods and Hurricane Katrina had not occurred to me, since most of what I've heard of Vanport has been from white folks. Howsomever:
    • Oops. Second largest city in Oregon

      Sun, April 8, 2007 - 2:07 PM
      That should have read "second largest city in Oregon." My bad.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Oops. Second largest city in Oregon

        Mon, July 7, 2008 - 1:48 AM
        The new publication series about the American Civil War cashes on the
        hard aspect of Pluto in Serpens attacking the national ascendant in
        Aquila. The years 2008 - 2012 have been scanned in brief for civil
        real estate crash and white riot. The KKK is in, the Fed is out in a
        lightweight series including tropical astrology (sic), as supervised
        the Academic Zodiac. The ascendant of the U.S.A. has been assumed
        as default, that is Serpens Cauda.

        Rebel bases are being scanned for Illinois (sic), while Obama's HQ in
        California still needs some triangulation. Water wars and subprime as
        determined years ago, we offer a dark perspective as concern nowadays
        minor hate groups that grow with coordination. Is civil war possible
        the U.S.A.? Or does it already have a start? Stay in your homes and
        watch the back door!

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