A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, October 15, 2012

History: Klansmen Attend Red Bank Baptist Church (1923)

The 6 Jul 1923 edition of The Matawan Journal included this amazing article (below) describing the KKK showing up enmass at a Baptist church in Red Bank the previous Sunday evening. The Klan seems to have felt under pressure to demonstrate their legitimate role in society, complaining that their group was persecuted nationwide. Perhaps showing up in full regalia, including their well-known cloaks and masked hoods, wasn't a good start?

Forty-six Members of Order at Service in Red Bank

Forty-six members of the Ku Klux Klan attended services at the Red Bank Baptist Church last Sunday evening. Their visit had not been advertised as it was in Long Branch and other towns, but the news had spread that the Klan would attend church and a big crowd turned out. It is said there were fully 1,000 persons in the church and that nearly twice that number stood outside during the service. The Klansmen gathered in the basement of the church where they donned their regalia and after the opening hymn marched into the church, two abreast, with folded arms, and took seats at the front which had been reserved for them. They were welcomed by the pastor, Rev W E Braisted, D D, who at the close of his sermon on "Axioms of Democracy," said that he believed that Red Bankers would give any organization a square deal and that he was glad to give Red Bank an opportunity to see and hear members of the Klan, which was reputed to stand for high ideals. When the offering was taken, one of their number passed the plate to the Klansmen, each of whom placed a dollar bill upon it. 

At the conclusion of the pastor's sermon, he invited representatives of any patriotic organizations who were present to speak. One of the Klan responded. He went to the pulpit and unmasked. He was said to be the same officer who spoke in Long Branch a week before. In the course of his address he said that the Klan was the most persecuted organization in the country. He declared that there are at present over 4,000.000 citizens of the Invisible Empire and that despite the general belief they are not against any religious faith or any race, but that their principles, summed up, were for the upholding of the. Constitution. He said that the Klansmen were all 100 percent Americans.
See also the 13 Apr 1923 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 2, which described a similar event at the Belmar Methodist Church, and the 27 Nov 1925 edition of The Matawan Journal, which told of a visit to the East Baptist Church in Elizabeth.


Post a Comment