The Forgotten Kapital - The Ku Klux Klan in Binghamton, NY, 1923-1928

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by Jay Rubin, edited by Andrew J. Pragacz

Bundy Museum Press

2016, booklet

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In the post-WWI era, a resurgent Ku Klux Klan moved North with their white supremacist, “100 percent American” (i.e. anti-black, anti-“foreign,” anti-unionism), message expanded out of the Jim Crow U.S. South, becoming a national organization. Millions joined the Klan and rallied to its various causes, including suppression of African-Americans, restricting immigration of Eastern and Southern Europeans, limiting the political influence of Blacks, Catholics and Jews, and strictly enforcing Prohibition.

After an unceremonious forced retreat from the U.S.’s most ethnically diverse city, New York City, the KKK moved their headquarters to out-of-the-way Binghamton, NY. Rubin’s work places the Klan in the context of a 1920s industrializing, upstate city and discusses the Klan’s social appeal and activities, including hillside cross burnings, state- wide gatherings, and electioneering.

The is the first publication by The Bundy Museum of History and Art. An exhibit—“Dirty Laundry”— on the KKK in Binghamton, accompanied its publication. The booklet’s main text was written in the 1970s when Rubin was an undergraduate student at Binghamton University. This version was digitized, updated, revised, and released in 2016 by the Bundy Museum Press. The work includes an 8-page image insert, a new preface, and editor’s introduction. Proceeds from the book will support the Jay L. Rubin Fund for Local History, designed to support young scholars of Southern Tier history and local history publications.

With a new preface by Jay L. Rubin