Primary Source: Women’s Klan Loyalty Pledge
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.
The 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.
From the Introduction:
How do we know that the average Hoosier who joined the Klan, actually supported this message of white supremacy? One way Indiana Klan members made their support public and highly visible was through large and elaborate parades. In September 1923, the Fiery Cross reported that between 1,200 and 1,500 Klansmen marched in a “huge parade” through the main streets of Terre Haute led by the Terre Haute No. 7 Klan band. Signs on floats read, “Uphold the Constitution” and “America First.” Local police helped handle traffic and a traction company provided “special cars” to transport Klansmen and women to “the Klan grounds, north of the city.” Here there were speakers and new member initiation ceremonies for “several hundred candidates.” While these new Hoosier Klan members took their oaths of allegiance, “a fiery cross was lighted.”
In July 1923, the Fiery Cross reported on a huge Ku Klux Klan gathering in Kokomo. The city hosted “a throng in excess of any ever before entertained by an Indiana city, not excepting Indianapolis on Speedway day,” with Klan members coming from surrounding states as well. At this meeting, Klan leaders announced “charters granted to each and every county in Indiana” to establish local “klaverns.” The Fiery Cross continued:
Americanism has engulfed the Hoosier state and the growth of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana has been as a tidal wave.
Below is an example of the pledge of loyalty administered by the Indiana Women’s Klan in 1922.
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.
This primary source was culled from the collection of the Indiana State Library by Historian Jill Weiss Simins.
Source Citation: Indiana Women’s Klan, Pledge of Loyalty, October 18, 1922, accessed United Klans of America, Newsletters and Correspondence, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Indiana State Library.
Pledge of Loyalty
I, undersigned, in order to be a regular field representative of the Symbolic Realm, Queens of the Golden Mask (Incorporated), do freely and voluntarily promise, pledge and fully guarantee a lofty respect, whole-hearted loyalty and an unwavering devotion at all times and under any and all circumstances and conditions from this day and date forward to the Empress of the Symbolic Realm, Queens of the Golden Mask (Incorporated). I shall work in all respects in perfect harmony with her and under her authority and directions, in all her plans for the extension and government of the Domain, and under her directions, with any and all of my officially superior officers duly appointed.
I shall at all times be faithful and true in all things, and most especially in preventing and suppressing any factions, or conspiracies against her or her plans and purposes for peace and harmony of the Domain which may arise or attempt to arise. I shall discourage and strenuously opposed any degree of disloyalty or disrespect on the part of myself or any member anywhere and at any time or place, towards her as the founder and as the supreme chief governing head of the Symbolic Domain above named.
This pledge, promise and guarantee I made is a condition precedent to my appointment stated above, and the continuity of my appointment, and it is fully agreed that any deviation by me from this pledge will instantly and automatically cancel and completely void my appointment together with all its prerogatives, as well as abrogate, my membership in the Society, and I shall forfeit all remunerations which may be then due me.
I make this solemn pledge on my Oath and on my integrity and honor, with serious and steadfast purpose to keep same inviolate.
Done in the city of Indianapolis, State of Indiana on this the 18th day of October A.D. 1922.
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
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: