The Alt-Right of the 1920s

With the rise in power of the alt-right and its influence on today’s election, I’m reminded of this newspaper article my great-grandmother saved, about my grandfather. There is no date or more than minimal publication info with it, but I suspect it is from the mid-1920s and is certainly from a southern Ohio newspaper:


By Bold Stand Against the Ku Klux Klan at Legion Meeting at Toledo

Special to The Times, When a resolution condemning the Ku Klux Klan as unAmerican was presented to the convention of the Ohio Department of the American Legion last Tuesday in Toledo, a debate lasting an hour ensued in which the Lafayette Post No. 27 came into the lime light through its delegate, Alfred M. Barlow, one of Gallia County’s war heroes. Barlow’s speech, which was a feature of the meeting, was spoken of by the Toledo News-Bee in a front page story as follows: Alfred M. Barlow of Lafayette Post 27 of Gallipolis, formerly a first lieutenant, made a speech opposing the klan because of discrimination against creeds. He said there is no place in this country for such things and referred to the company which he commanded in which there were many Jewish soldiers. Barlow argued that private vengeance and outrages can be committed under the guise of the klan, even tho its members do not commit the outrages, and referred to the Texas instances where robed riders beat people and the klan denied responsibility. “You can’t get around the fact that the klan does discriminate,” declared Barlow. “How do you know? How do you know?” came the calls from the floor. “I know,” continued Barlow calmly, “because I can read and write the English language, and their very application blanks that state that their members must be white gentiles is discrimination.” Cheers followed Barlow’s reply. “If the courts can’t enforce the laws then it’s time to repeal the constitution. We, the American Legion, carry on Americanism, but we do it in the open American way–not thru fear. We do it thru education.” When Barlow finished there was a clamor to be heard. E. H. Huber of the Cleveland Post gained the floor. He said his ancestors had been members of the klan up until 1871, when lawless people secured control of the organization. He said that he is opposed to the klan.

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