It is the 4th of July weekend, 1924. Most of America is celebrating its independence. • However, in Rockford, Illinois the celebration of freedom was dwarfed by another day event: a rally for the KKK. • What – you might wonder - would make a small town like Rockford welcome and endorse a racist organization like the KKK?
You be the expert: • You are a newspaper reporter for a nearby out of town paper. You have been asked to cover this rally. • You have narrowed your investigation and plan to write two articles: • Investigatory questions for Article #1: • What are the beliefs of the KKK? • Why would the KKK choose Rockford? • Why would the KKK choose Driving Park for their rally? • Investigatory questions for Article #2: • Why would the citizens of Rockford choose to attend a KKK rally? • Who would benefit from the rally? • What have other reporters written about the event?
Understanding the KKK • Your first investigation task is to understand exactly what the KKK believes in.
To Complete this first task, you must • Read the ideals of the KKK • Divide a sheet of paper into 4 sections • Label the sections • Racial ideals • Christian ideals • Patriotic ideals • Citizenship ideals • Under each section write your “translation” of KKK beliefs. • This “translation” should be in your own words and should restate the core beliefs of the KKK.
Investigatory Question #2: Why would the KKK come to Rockford in 1924?
Now that you have an understanding of what the KKK believes in, it is time to examine why they would have come to Rockford at this time. • As a reporter, you have two pieces of evidence to examine • One is a pie chart of the County Census • The other is a brief history of Rockford. • Use these two pieces of evidence to draw some conclusions about the KKK’s motivation for coming to Rockford.
First piece of Evidence: the Census for Winnebago County 1910 1920 1930
What do the pie graphs tell us? • Using the PIE GRAPHS, answer these questions • What do the graphs tell you about the population of Winnebago County? • What trends do the graphs show? • What reasons would the KKK have for recruiting in Winnebago County in 1924?
Second piece of evidence: Rockford’s history • Rockford has a very interesting history that might shed some light as to why the KKK would choose it for their rally. • Read the brief history of Rockford • Think about what you learned about the ideals of the KKK • Highlight anything in Rockford’s history that might motivate the KKK to choose it as a site for a rally
Rockford lies in North Central Illinois about 20 miles from the Wisconsin border. The city is also about 90 miles outside of Chicago and was the second largest city in Illinois. The city itself has always been divided in terms of east and west by the Rock River.
1860’s Rockford • 3 minority groups • Irish born immigrants • Only about 10-15% of the total immigrant population were Irish born. • Concentrated in two distinct areas in town, 1 east of river, 1 west of river • First true “slum” was in the predominantly IRISH neighborhood (west side) • Many of them are Catholic adding significantly to the already growing Catholic population
1860’s Rockford • Swedish born immigrants • Much larger number than the Irish immigrants • More financially stable, and powerful • More cohesive as an immigrant group • Contributed hospitals and parks to community • African Americans • Only about 100 African Americans in Rockford • Lived on both east and west sides of the river • Not concentrated in neighborhoods like Irish and Swedish
In the 1860’s, life in Rockford offered African Americans opportunities: • Housing • Not segregated into certain neighborhoods • Found people willing to rent/sell to them • Leadership • Lincoln Mission Sunday School had African Americans and White officers serving at the same time • Both groups worked together to make decisions on social and educational activities • Education • African Americans attended Rockford Public Schools • Schools were not segregated at the time • Employment • Barbering, hair cutting, furniture trade, factories, etc.
Rockford in the 1880’s • More immigrants come • Large influx of Italian Immigrants most of which are Catholic • The growing number of Catholics in the area will eventually create a need for the Rockford area to have its own diocese • Rockford’s diocese will be created after a split from the Chicago Diocese in 1908
Rockford in the 1900’s • Catholicism is growing in the Rockford Area • Second wave of Italian immigrants arrive • Large influx of Lithuanian and Polish Catholic immigrants in the 1900’s • Demands for a “Catholic” Education increase • 1910 St. Thomas High School starts inside the parish building (very small school)
By 1912, St. Thomas High School must move to another larger building because of growing demand for a Catholic Education • In 1920, classes had to be held at the Knights of Columbus clubroom to accommodate overcrowding and demand • 1921, The Rockford Diocese purchased the Coliseum (again a larger venue) to alleviate the overcrowded Catholic High Schools • By 1929, There are two newly constructed Catholic High Schools in the Rockford Area • One for boys • One for girls
Troubles for the Irish Catholic Immigrants • The large number of Irish Catholics faced hatred from other immigrant groups in Rockford. The Irish believed this hatred stemmed from religious differences • The Swedes posted signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply.“ • “Irish Children on the way to St. James had to walk on the opposite side of the streets so the Swedish children at Hall and Lincoln Junior High Schools would not fight and throw things.” • There were fights between Irish and Swedish children on the main bridge in town (State Street) that connects the east and west sides.
Troubles for African Americans in 1920’s in Rockford • There are now about 1,000 African Americans • Housing • African Americans are now concentrated in 3 areas • 1 area on west side near Allen Chapel (African American Church) • Until the late 1950’s African Americans were only allowed to live within certain areas in the city • Restrictive covenants on subdivisions prevent African Americans from trying to purchase property • 2 more areas outside of the Rockford City limits (one on the east side, one on the west side)
Troubles for African Americans in 1920’s in Rockford • All Banks refused to loan money to African Americans for housing or businesses • It wasn’t until the 1950’s that a bank loaned money $4,000 to an African American dentist • No hotels for African Americans • No restaurants will serve African American patrons • W.E.B. Dubois is refused service in Rockford • J.D. Cook (editor of the Chicago Defender) couldn’t get lunch in Rockford
Troubles for African Americans in 1920’s in Rockford • Education/ Leadership • Students still attended Rockford Public Schools • Some boys were allowed to play sports • African American graduates had to leave Rockford to find employment that matched their level of education • Lincoln Sunday School now has 2 Board of Directors • White board which made all the decisions • This was until the 1950’s • An African American Board which had little say or power
Troubles for African Americans in 1920’s in Rockford • Employment • Good money in Rockford Factories and Foundries if you could get into these businesses • Could get into the foundries and knitting companies • No evidence they were accepted in any other local industries Most were limited to: • Chauffeur, maids, bellhops, porters, mechanics, janitors, etc. • Made less money than 60 years prior • Hospitals and Schools were told not to hire African Americans
Investigatory Question #3: Why would the KKK choose Driving Park for its rally?
To complete this task, you must • Examine the two maps on the next slide • Draw conclusions about the two maps in regards to MOTIVATION • Why is this place accessible to people in and out of Rockford? • What benefits does this location have? • How has the city changed to warrant an event coming there?
Resources: Maps of Rockford 1892 1905
Rockford Map from 1892 Location of Driving Park (Rockford Township) City of Rockford Boundaries
Rockford Map from 1905 Location of Driving Park Now called Rockford Driving Club (Rockford Township)
Teacher note: • As you can see by the two maps, the city of Rockford is slowly expanding, making Driving Park a more accessible entertainment option for residents in the city. • The land north of Driving Park has been subdivided into smaller plots, while the land south and west of the park is now part of the City of Rockford. • More people in and out of the city now have access to this particular venue
Task 1: Writing your First Article • Now that you have investigated the KKK and Rockford, it is time to write your article. • Write a newspaper article that explains who the KKK are, what they believe in, and why they would want to come to Driving Park in Rockford, Illinois in 1924. • Make sure your article is objective and tells only the facts that are present in the evidence. • Proofread your article to make sure that it makes sense to someone else who is reading it.
Article #2: Investigatory Question #1: Why would the people of Rockford choose to go to the KKK rally?
The Other Side of the Story • Now it’s time to investigate the other side of the story… • Why would the people of Rockford want to attend a rally held by the KKK? • To answer this question, you must investigate several things • In the 1920’s, what were the big “draws” in Rockford? • What would the rally offer the people of Rockford besides KKK ideals?
Big Draws • You have uncovered some photographs from the proposed location of the KKK rally. • Using the photographs, • determine the activity the location is generally used for • Determine the economic, social, and racial status of those who participate in the activity • Make an inference about how this group of people would be an ideal group who would want to attend a KKK rally.
Using the two photographs… • Draw a conclusion about what how the people in Rockford had fun. • Ask yourself what kind of people would participate in this “fun activity” • What did you learn about the racial, social, and economic status of these participants? • Using what you know about the KKK, make inferences about why this particular group of people would want to attend a KKK rally.
As a reporter, it’s important to understand why people would want to attend such a rally. • The program lists all the activities for the 3 day event • Read the program and list of activities and determine which would be attractive to Rockford citizens.
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Task 3: Who benefits from the rally? • As a good reporter, it is essential to examine who would benefit from this rally. People are more likely to go to an event if it will benefit them in some way. • Merchants have advertised in this program. A good place to start would be with them. • Examine their ads. Who is trying to use the Klan to increase their business? Who is choosing just to advertise? Which ads are questionable in nature?
To answer this question, you must • Examine the ads in the KKK program • Highlight in yellow the ads that are directly advertising to the KKK • Highlight in green the ads that are directed to the general population • Highlight in pink the ads which are questionable, ads you don’t know if they are or are not advertising to the Klan.
To answer this question, you must • Examine the ads in the KKK program • Highlight in yellow the ads that are directly appealing to the KKK • Highlight in green the ads that are directed to the general population • Highlight in pink the ads which are questionable, ads you don’t know if they are or are not advertising to the Klan.
Quick Teacher Note In 1921, Colonel Simmons (the driving force that started the Second Klan) hired two recruiters to assist in increasing membership in the Klan. One of the slogans the two recruiters developed had to do with being 100% American.