Friday, February 3, 2012

Klan Circus?

Every dirty little rag bag, tall grass show as well as some of the "grander" building show's of the past, permitted to operate under the blanket term "circus", revered by fans and showmen alike, with out some kind of "grading" system have done more to damage the industry called "Circus" then any other outside influence.


Anonymous said...

Always looking for ways to legitimize itself – “No honest right thinking white American can conscientiously oppose the Knights”- they brought a Klan circus to Sarasota for the week of October 18-23, 1926, with “the best acts obtainable.”

In conjunction with the circus (actually the Bob Morton Circus under the auspices of the Klan) a Miss Sarasota was to be chosen from whichever of the contestants sold the most circus tickets. The winner would receive “gifts of an expensive nature…beautiful to behold.”

The fact that the Klan circus was so well received underscored the sentiment of the times. In conjunction with the circus, 354 men and 82 women, local Klan members, marched down Main Street in their white Klan outfits, watched by thousands who “greeted them with a cheery hail from friends who lined the way.”

The parade was preceded by two fiery crosses that “stood out in the tropical sky clearly and distinctly,” with the flag carried by the women members of the Klan auxiliary.

It is not difficult to surmise the chilling effect on the African American community. The circus had been staged to raise funds to build a Klavern (Klan headquarters), which would “exceed anything of its kind south of Atlanta.”

On October 23, 1926, a deputy sheriff, perhaps emboldened by the recent Klan activity assaulted Robert Walthau, “a Negro,” with his gun and black jack and kicked him after he went to the ground.

Wade G. Burck said...

I have heard of all kinds of organizations, booking a circus to raise funds, but that is the first I have ever heard of something like the Klan doing it. I guess I can assume it wasn't a "we ride, so they can walk," or "building for a brighter future" kinda deal. Thank you for the great information. It's a good day for me when I learn something new.