Klansmen at event at Crystal Pool, Seattle, March 23, 1923 (MOHAI 15388)
A resurgence of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) movement between 1915 and the mid-1920s, in what historians call the "Second Klan," reached all 48 states, with membership over four million in the mid-1920s. Although the Klan's core belief in white supremacy, at least with regard to African Americans, had less resonance in Washington State, by 1921 there was a ready audience for much of its agenda -- dislike of unions, leftists, and the unemployed; anti-immigrant sentiment; hostility to perceived elites; dedication to conservative family values; and the embrace of a fundamentalist strain of Protestant Christianity.
By the end of 1922, there were 2,000 Klan members in Seattle and smaller groups in Walla Walla, Tacoma, and Spokane. The Klan frequently utilized public events with entertainment to attract and indoctrinate massive crowds. The Klan in the Northwest promoted itself as being 100 percent American, not by lynchings or race riots. While dozens of Klan chapters were organized in Washington State throughout 1923, in 1924 membership declined sharply in the wake of power struggles between Klan leaders, Klan leaders' embezzlement of organization funds, and a general settling of the uncertain national political and economic conditions.
This image shows Klan members, covered in robes and hoods, during an event at Crystal Pool, a public natatorium in Seattle where the swimming pool could be covered over by planks, creating a large floor space for events. A group of men in suits stands in the center of the floor, surrounded by Klansmen, and more Klan members and spectators fill the galleries around and above the pool.
Caption information source: "The Ku Klux Klan in Washington, 1921-1925," by John Caldbick, HistoryLink.org Essay 20718.
Caption information source: "KKK Super Rallies in Washington State, 1923-24," by Trevor Griffey, retrieved from https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/kkk
Subjects (LCTGM): Initiation rites--Washington (State)--Seattle; Ku Klux Klan (1915- ); Racism--Washington (State)--Seattle; Uniforms--Washington (State)--Seattle