Primary Source: We are Loyal Klansman Song Sheet
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 Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act). To use these resources responsibly, please view our teaching ideas, some of which are included in our teaching suggestions for this resource.
This primary source was culled from the collection of the Indiana State Library by historian Jill Weiss Simins.
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.
Klan members formed bands and recorded albums. The Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana, hosted interracial jazz bands and recorded some of the first Louis Armstrong records, but also gave studio time to Klan bands like the 100% American Orchestra.
For more information read the introductory essay to this site or listen to the Indianapolis Times podcast(Begins with Klan music): https://blog.history.in.gov/the-kkk-and-the-indianapolis-times/
The song “We Are All Loyal Klansman” was published in 1923. The lyrics are below
Long ago when our forefathers
In the cause of freedom spoke.
First they pleaded then demanded
Freedom from a tyrants [sic] yoke,
Finally the scales of justice,
Hung to rule the rights of man,
Proving not for self but others
Was the motto of their Klan
We are all loyal klansmen,
And klanish as can be
We love our home, this country,
And its flag of liberty,
Its constitution handed down,
Approved by Uncle Sam,
Will always be defended
By the Ku Klux Klan
Selfish thoughts with idle visions
Klansmen set aside as naught
Knowing well t’wass [sic] not for these
That there [sic] fathers bravely fought,
Inspired by a kindred thought,
Each played a noble part
And left to us this native land
Dear to a klansman [sic] heart.
We are all loyal klansmen . . .
When the fiery cross was burning
Sending forth its ray of light,
We pledged our life and honot
To maintain the cause of right,
And while the radicals may tremble.
At the gath’ring of the klan,
Undivided we’ll continue
One and all with Uncle Sam
We are all loyal klansmen . . .
Reflection Questions and Teaching Suggestions
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:
- Seel-Feel-Think-Wonder: A thinking routine for nurturing close observation, curiosity, and self-awareness
- By Whom, About Whom, For Whom?: A thinking routine to make power and positions visible
- Make sure to have students consider both the lyrics say about the Klan and their values and well as what they do not say here, including their celebration of racism, white supremacy, and anti-immigrant hate. You might compare the messages by pairing the song lyrics with the Women’s Klan pledge or the Kloran booklet.
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. The following routines might be helpful for creating respectful dialogue and reflection:
- Chalk Talk: A thinking routine for considering ideas, questions, or problems by silently responding in writing both to the prompt and the thoughts of others
- Who Benefits? A thinking routine to gauge and respond to inequities
- What Makes You Say That?: A thinking routine for building explanations
Danny O. Crew, Ku Klux Klan Sheet Music: An Illustrated Catalogue of Published Music, 1867-2002 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2003), 53, Indiana Collection, Indiana State Library.
Words by: Wm. Davis, Wm. M. Hart and Chas E. Downey. Music by E.M. McMahon. Published by: Chas. E. Downey, Wyano, Pennsylvania. Copyright: 1923. Key: B-Flat.