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100 years ago: Klan violence in the South

23 July 2021

July 22nd, 1921.

PROTEST against mixed marriages between black and white ought in any civilized State to stop short of the tarring and feathering of a clergyman who sees no harm in them. But where a black man is burned at the stake for an assault upon a white woman, while a white man escapes the same penalty, it is clear that civilization is not firmly established. The roughs of Florida and three other States who have been committing outrages during the past week seem to be reviving the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, a society which sprang up after the Civil War to prevent the newly-emancipated negroes from exercising their political and civil rights. Like a host of secret societies of the time, it spread rapidly, and being, unlike most of them, extremely mischievous, it invited the attention of the civil authorities, who procured its nominal suppression. Mr Irwin has declared that he will not insult the American flag by invoking the protection to which, as a British subject, he is entitled. That makes it all the more necessary that the State authorities should act with speed and vigour. If an American citizen were tarred and feathered in some Boeotian county of England we should probably hear a good deal about it, even, perhaps, from Miami, Fla.

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