Thursday, July 2, 2009

July's Jim Crow Museum Question of the Month

Q: Did you know that Superman was instrumental in bringing down the Ku Klux Klan of the 1940s?

- Chapin Kellogg - Nolfork, Virginia

A: I am pleased that you asked this question because it gives me an opportunity to talk about one of my favorite writers and civil rights activists, Stetson “Stet” Kennedy. In the 1930s he was Director of Folklore, Oral History and Ethnic Studies for the Florida Federal Writers Project. One of his colleagues was Zora Neale Hurston, the famed novelist and anthropologist. In the 1940s the United States was fighting Nazism in World War II, but because of a back injury, Kennedy was unable to join the military. He satiated his desire to fight injustice, though, by infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic Nazi-like terrorist organization. He joined the Georgia Klan at the behest of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; he would later come to not trust these law enforcement personnel. The information that he uncovered was reported in his books Southern Exposure (1946), and The Klan Unmasked (originally published as, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan in 1954). In these books, he used eyewitness data to undermine the racial terrorists who used violence to enforce local Jim Crow laws and customs.

For the complete answer, and to learn more about Ferris State University's Jim Crow Museum for Racist Memorabilia, visit:

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