Retired Sturgis History Teacher Says Racists Want to Bring Klan Back to South Dakota

Retired Sturgis history teacher Charles Rambow often speaks about the dark history of the Ku Klux Klan in the Black Hills. His master’s thesis on the Klan and 1973 article on the Klan’s popularity in South Dakota in the 1920s were sparked in 1970 when his mother gave him what turned out to be a Klan robe from his grandparents’ participation in the racist, bigoted movement.

Rambow tells KSFY his concerns about the present resurgence of white supremacist rhetoric:

“It was an organization of hate.” Charles Rambow is concerned about the rise of white nationalism he is seeing and is worried history is now repeating itself in the worst possible way.

He is two generations removed from active Ku Klux Klan members in his own family and says decades later their legacy is still tough for him to reconcile. “Yes my grandmother and grandfather were good people but they should have never been involved in the Ku Klux Klan.”

Charles Rambow tells me he doesn’t believe the Ku Klux Klan has any active chapters in South Dakota right now.

But he does say there are white supremacists in the state who hope to re-establish the Klan here; so far they have been unsuccessful [Brian Allen, “A History of Hate: The Ku Klux Klan in South Dakota,” KSFY, 2017.08.28].

Rambow notes that the 1920s Klan boom was fueled in part by the 1915 movie Birth of a Nation, an exercise in racist historical revisionism that celebrated the Confederacy. We now have an occupant of the White House who revises history and celebrates monuments to the Confederacy. Keep an eye on white-sheet sales….


11 Responses to Retired Sturgis History Teacher Says Racists Want to Bring Klan Back to South Dakota

  1. mike from iowa

    On a lighter, brighter and related note, http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/2017/08/oldest-online-website-for-white.html

    Stormfront was shut down due to violence. People are starting to say no o online bad guys.

  2. I don’t know, if my grandparents had been in the Klan, I don’t think I would have considered them ‘good people’.

  3. The Klan is finished as anything greater than a small band of lunatic fringe. No matter where that anachronistic group of losers may try to demonstrate, at this point they will be met with a much larger group of counter demonstrators. Charlotte was the death knell for neo-nazi/klan groups.

    As we know, a lone crazy with a gun or a car can inflict some mayhem before being killed or arrested, but that does not mean the person’s ideology is ascendant.

  4. Roger Elgersma

    Now days that could backfire and raise anti racism disgust more.

  5. "Stahl Blut"

    What kind of an idiot would make a statement like that? Left wing whack job nut case belongs in a straight jacket and padded cell. Identity politics at their best.

  6. In the early 1920s, the leaders of the second incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan sought to brand it as a legitimate political organization dedicated to the defense of traditional Protestant morality. They were largely successful, and the organization grew to an estimated four million members. Obviously only a tiny fraction of those members were secretly perpetrating race-based terrorism.

    Membership plummeted after the Klan’s corruption was exposed in a series of scandals later in the 1920s.

  7. Wow—if the Klan represents traditional Protestant morality, sign me up for Catholic Sunday school.

  8. I post the ranting of anonymous “Stahl Blut” (who hasn’t replied to me e-mail, and whose handle means “Steel Blood” in German) to spotlight the kind of Hitlerian rhetoric the Trumpist white supremacists are using to attack American principles. SB offers no logical response; he just screams brownshirt insults: idiot! left wing whack job! strait jacket and padded cell! He doesn’t even bother to make clear which “statement like that” he’s responding to: Rambow’s concern about history repeating? my concern about the parallel between the movie-driven 1920s Klan surge and the current celebrity-driven Presidency? Jenny’s observation that KKK members don’t deserve to be called “good people”? Ror’s comment that the Klan is part of the lunatic fringe? We can’t tell, and SB doesn’t care: the Hitlerian tactic is not to respond with logic and evidence but to scream insults, to dismiss everything said by the other side as evil, insane, and worthy of imprisonment, and keep us from talking about the vile bigotry and hatred that the KKK preaches and practices.

    Listen for that same rhetoric from Trump diehards. Listen to how often they insert “left wing” into their responses, even on issues that have nothing to do with political wings. Trump is surfing a wave of closed-minded verbal brutality.

  9. Lars Aanning

    Interesting that the Nazis in Germany (and later their occupied countries) never tolerated private ownership of guns…

  10. Interesting that the private ownership of guns isn’t stopping the rise of white supremacists and other fascists here in America.

  11. I’d written:

    In the early 1920s, the leaders of the second incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan sought to brand it as a legitimate political organization dedicated to the defense of traditional Protestant morality. They were largely successful, and the organization grew to an estimated four million members. Obviously only a tiny fraction of those members were secretly perpetrating race-based terrorism.

    Membership plummeted after the Klan’s corruption was exposed in a series of scandals later in the 1920s.

    Cory replies:

    Wow—if the Klan represents traditional Protestant morality, sign me up for Catholic Sunday school.

    To be clear, I’m not saying the Klan in the early 1920s represented traditional Protestant morality. I’m saying that’s the image its leaders were attempting to cultivate in their public marketing of the organization.