Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

Figures

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pp. ix-x

Tables

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p. xi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

My sincere thanks must first go to the Arts and Humanities Research Council in England, for the generous support that made the groundwork for this book possible. Also to Julie Loehr and the staff at MSU Press, for doing their best to make a first-time author’s journey run smooth. I am most grateful, too, to Richard Bessel and to Claudia Haake...

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xxviii

The prevailing idea of the Ku Klux Klan in today’s popular discourse overwhelmingly involves a sinister and violently terroristic secret brotherhood, operating at society’s marginal, criminal, and racist extremes. Brought to mind, even just by mention of the initials KKK, are ghoulish images of menacing figures prowling the night, garbed in trademark white...

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Ch. 1. Marketing, Membership, and Merchandise: The Klan Brand Comes to Town

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pp. 1-32

The Ku Klux Klan, as a fraternal membership organization, enjoyed phenomenal success throughout the United States during the early to mid-1920s. Its support, measured in the millions, was both geographically widespread and culturally mainstream. At least part of the reason for the Klan’s great success can be found in the very systematic and business-minded ...

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Ch. 2. The Knights in Image and Idea: Popular Klannish Fantasy, Self-Portrayal, and Political Demonology

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pp. 33-69

The 1920s version of the Ku Klux Klan was highly conscious of its place in the popular imagination, seeking above all else to convince the American public of its good intentions, and in doing so gain the wider social acceptance that would allow it to thrive. Klan promoters took particular care to create positive associations for the order, which, in essence, meant a...

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Ch. 3 An Everyman’s Klan: Behind the Masks in Newaygo County

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pp. 71-112

Around twenty miles from the western shore of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, and about the same distance north of the city of Grand Rapids, lies the county of Newaygo. Predominantly rural, it is tucked away among picturesque inland lakes and woodland, with more than half of its land mass engulfed by the pastoral, leafy splendor of what is now the Manistee National...

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Ch. 4. The Invisible Empire and Small-Town Sociability: Klan Recruitment Channels in Newaygo County

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pp. 113-147

During its mid-twenties heyday, there was no real escaping the Klan in the rural small towns in which it had taken root. The Klan was in business, it was in politics, in church, in the fraternal lodges and social clubs, in the diners, the billiard halls, the cinemas, the post offices, in the schoolhouses, and even at home. That is not to say, of course, that it was...

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Ch. 5 Community, Church, and Klan: The Civic Lives of Ordinary Klansfolk and the Social Functions of KKK Pageantry

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pp. 149-197

A seemingly uncomplicated intersection with many aspects of everyday white Protestant social life lay behind the extraordinary popular appeal of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Newaygo County, just as it did in countless similar enclaves of Middle America. One aspect of this seems to have been an emphasis upon protecting old-fashioned community spirit and...

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Epilogue

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pp. 199-212

The 1920s Ku Klux Klan in rural Newaygo County, and in the state of Michigan more widely, certainly appears to fit in with the “new historical appraisal” of the organization as championed in more recent regional studies by writers such as Shawn Lay and Leonard J. Moore. In his introduction to a particularly notable edited volume of case studies featuring six...

Notes

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pp. 213-243

Bibliography

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pp. 245-262

Index

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pp. 263-274