William Allen White and the KKK In Kansas
Abilene Public Library will host “William Allen White and the KKK in Kansas,” a presentation and discussion by Beverley Olson Buller on Saturday, June 11th at 2:00 pm. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. The program is made possible by Humanities Kansas.
Presentation Explores William Allen White’s Resistance Against the KKK
The 1920s saw the re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan across America, and sparked fear and violence against African Americans and other minority groups. As the editor of the Emporia Gazette, White was acutely aware of the growing presence of the KKK in Kansas following World War I. Seeing no candidates free of Klan influence, White declared, “I want to be governor to free Kansas from the disgrace of the Ku Klux Klan.” This presentation follows the raucous two-month campaign that had White traveling over 2,700 miles to deliver 104 speeches, all directed at expelling the KKK.
Beverley Olson Buller is an author, an educator, and chair of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards selection committee in Emporia.
“William Allen White wrote in 1922, ‘When anything is going to happen in this country, it happens first in Kansas.’ Accordingly, Kansas became the first state in the union to outlaw the Ku Klux Klan,” Buller said. “The story of White’s role in history is fascinating and one of which his fellow Kansans can be very proud.”
“William Allen White and the KKK in Kansas” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Speakers Bureau and “21st Century Civics,” a collection of resources that invite Kansans to participate in community discussions and learn more about the history of American democracy and the shared responsibilities of citizenship. “21st Century Civics” is made possible with support from “A More Perfect Union: America at 250,” an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.