Primary Source: The Kloran

Note: This resource was selected for educators to use to teach about the relationship between the Ku Klux Klan’s white supremacist ideas on immigration and the 1924 immigration and naturalization act. To use these resources responsibly, please view our teaching ideas, some of which are included in our teaching suggestions for this resource.

It was culled from the collection of the Indiana State Historical Archives and was selected by Historian Jill Weiss Simins.

Learning Goal: 

The resources on this website can be used to:

  • Build an understanding of public messages about migration through U.S. history.
  • Inquire about the way public messages about migration influence how people think and act.
  • Identify patterns of prejudice and prepares students to assess whether available public stories about migration are reliable and representative.

Introduction

In an early KKK handbook, called the Kloran, the national organization suggested ten questions that must be answered satisfactorily before “naturalizing” a new member.  Most of them asked about the potential member’s allegiance to the U.S. government and Christian principles with questions such as:

Do you esteem the United States of America and its institutions above any other government, civil, political or ecclesiastical, in the whole world?

The word “ecclesiastical” in this context referenced the Roman Catholic Church. The Klan claimed that Catholic immigrants to the U.S. served the Pope who headed a conspiracy to undermine American values. Thus they were not loyal American citizens. This anti-Catholic sentiment and rhetoric was especially strong in the Midwestern Klan, as seen in the pages of the Fiery Cross. However, not all of the membership questions veiled their hateful message. One question asked potential members bluntly:

Do you believe in and will you faithfully strive for the eternal maintenance of white supremacy?

In their minds, the white supremacy the Klan valued so dearly was presently under attack. Like the earlier Reconstruction Klan, the 1920s Klan viewed African Americans as members of an inferior race. In Indiana, members worried about the mixing of white and black races, especially as young Hoosiers gained access to cars, jazz clubs, and Hollywood movies. In 1922, the Fiery Cross blamed jazz for “inflaming the animal passions of romance-seeking youth.” And in 1924, the newspaper declared, “At this time the whole civilized structure is being threatened by the mixing of the white and black races.”  It continued:

It is God’s purpose that the white man should preserve purity of blood and white supremacy in this country. Those who would have it otherwise or show leniency toward the mixing of white and colored races do not deserve the respect of anyone, much less of those who are trying to preserve American institutions, ideals and principles. A mongrel race and a mongrel civilization mean decay and ruin.

Thus, throughout Klan literature, any reference to Christian virtue or Protestant values should be understood as being imbued with white supremacist ideas. The Klan believed that God valued people of Anglo-Saxon, German, and Scandinavian descent more than people of other backgrounds. And they believed that it was their sacred duty to protect white domination of the U.S. For the Midwestern Klan, the main obstacle to this goal was not African Americans. Many Indiana towns had small numbers of Black residents, and there were plenty of institutionalized practices and laws in place by the 1920s to suppress African Americans. The Klan helped to keep these as standard practice. However, they saw immigrants, mainly Catholics but also Jews, as an imminent threat to a white, hegemonic, Protestant America.

According to Wikipedia:

The Kloran (a portmanteau of “Klan” and “Koran“)[1] is the handbook of the Ku Klux Klan. Versions of the Kloran typically contain detailed descriptions of the role of different Klan members as well as detailing Klan ceremonies and procedures.

The letters Kl were often used at the beginning of words to delineate a Klan association. Examples include: Kloran, Klonversation (conversation), Klavern (cavern or tavern; local branch or meeting place), Klavaliers, etc…..

The original Kloran was written by William J. Simmons, for his revived “Knights of the Ku Klux Klan”, c. 1915. He drew heavily on his previous experiences as a “fraternalism”; he was a member of many different lodges and had sold memberships in the Woodmen of the World before deciding to revive the Klan. The Klan created the Kloran as a means to share their knowledge and to keep a set of values within the organization.

Primary Source

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, White Book: Kloran (Atlanta, 1916)

Kloran is a pamphlet distributed by the K.K.K.

Note: This resource has been selected for educators to use to teach about the relationship between the Ku Klux Klan’s white supremacist ideas on immigration and the Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act). To use these resources responsibly, please view our teaching ideas.

It was culled from the collection of the Indiana State Library by Historian Jill Weiss Simins.

Source Citation: Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, White Book: Kloran (Atlanta, 1916), accessed United Klans of America, Newsletters and Correspondence, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Indiana State Library.

Transcription of Excerpts from Kloran:

Page 2:

The Ku Klux Kreed

WE, the Order of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, reverentially acknowledge the majesty and supremacy of the Divine Being, and recognize the goodness and providence of the same.

WE recognize our relation to the government of the United States of America, the supremacy of its Constitution, the Union of States there-under, and the Constitutional Laws thereof, and we shall be ever devoted to the sublime principles of a pure Americanism, and valiant in the defense of its ideals and institutions.

WE avow the distinction between the races of mankind as same has been decreed by the Creator, and we shall ever be true in the faithful maintenance of White Supremacy and will strenuously oppose any compromise thereof in any and all things.

WE appreciate the intrinsic value of a real practical fraternal relationship among men of kindred thought, purpose and ideals and the infinite benefits accruable therefrom, and we shall faithfully devote ourselves to the practice of an honorable Clanishness that the life and living of each may be a constant blessing to others.

“NON SILBA SED ANTHAR”
— Original Creed Revised

Page 3:

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Order of Business

Opening Ceremony
Reading of Approved Minutes
Reading of Unapproved Minutes or Amendments
Applications for Citizenship
Recommendations
Ceremony of Naturalization
Does Any Klansman Know of a Klansman or a Klansman’s Family in Need of Financial or Fraternal Assistance?
Report of Standing or Special Committees
Bills and Communications
Unfinished Business
General Business
Announcements
Election and Installation of Officers
For the Encouragement and Edification of the Klan
Payment of Klan Dies or Other Indebtedness to the Klan
Kligrapp’s Statement of Receipts and Disbursements and Their Balances
Reading and Approving of Minutes
Closing Ceremony

Page 25
Qualifying Interrogatories

The Klokard will first ask each candidate his name and then speak to the candidates in the outer den as follows:

“Sirs: The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, as a great and essentially a patriotic, fraternal, benevolent Order, does not discriminate against a man on account of his religious or political creed, when same does not conflict with or antagonize the sacred rights and privileges guaranteed by our civil government, and Christian ideals and institutions.

Therefore, to avoid any misunderstanding and as evidence that we do not seek to impose unjustly the requirements of this Order upon anyone who cannot, on account of his religious and political scruples, voluntarily meet our requirements and faithfully practice our principles, and as proof that we respect all honest men in their sacred convictions, whether same are agreeable with our requirements or not, we require as an absolute necessity on the part of each of you an affirmative answer to each of the following questions:

Each of the following questions must be answered by (each of) you with an emphatic “Yes.”

Ist. Is the motive prompting your ambition to be a klansman serious and unselfish?
2nd. Are you a native-born white, Gentile American citizen?
3rd. Are you absolutely opposed to and free of any allegiance of any nature to any cause, government, people, sect or ruler that is foreign to the United States of America?
4th. Do you believe in the tenets of the Christian religion?
5th. Do you esteem the United States of America and its institutions above any other government, civil, political and ecclesiastical, in the whole world?
6th. Will you, without mental reservation, take a solemn oath to defend, preserve and enforce same?
7th. Do you believe in clannishness and will you faithfully practice same towards klansmen?
8th. Do you believe in and will you faithfully strive for the eternal maintenance of white supremacy?
9th. Will you faithfully obey our constitution and laws, and conform willingly to all our usages, requirements and regulations?
10th. Can you be always depended on?

Reflection Questions and Teaching Suggestions

The Kloran was a handbook meant to clarify and reinforce the Klan’s racist and xenophobic vision. The questions and activities below are intended to build an understanding of the role the Klan played in the 1920s in shaping attitudes about immigration, encourage reflection on the way that Klan sought to promote their ideas as well as consider why so many people found their racist ideas appealing.

Consider using the following thinking routines to frame a close read of the document itself:

Consider using the following thinking routines to encourage reflection and communication about the resource including the perspectives and insights that students bring to the document and take away from their close read. Recognizing that not all of us bring the same perspective and experiences to a study of anti-immigrant racism and its influence on policy, it is extremely important to encourage thoughtful communication across differences. You might begin by either reinforcing any contract you have set up for communication or creating one now. In addition, the following routines might be helpful for creating respectful dialogue and reflection:

Source Citation: Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, White Book: Kloran (Atlanta, 1916), accessed United Klans of America, Newsletters and Correspondence, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Indiana State Library.