Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio, Hosts February Speakers Series
On Sunday, February 24, 2019, at 2 p.m., Garst Museum welcomes Dr. William Trollinger from the University of Dayton as a guest speaker. Dr. Trollinger’s program “Terrorizing Immigrants and Catholics: The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s” will reflect on this sensitive and difficult time in American history.
Having virtually disappeared in the late nineteenth century, the Ku Klux Klan exploded onto the national scene in the early 1920s with perhaps 5 million members at its peak. While the original Klan concentrated its animus against the newly freed slaves, this “second” KKK had an expanded list of social scapegoats that included immigrants, Jews, and Catholics. While the original Klan was based primarily in the South, the second Klan had its greatest numerical strength in the West and Midwest. In fact, Ohio may have had more KKK members than any other state in the Union with an estimated 400,000 Klansmen and Klanswomen.
In this presentation, we will explore why the Klan was so strong in Ohio, what activities the Ohio Klan engaged in, and in what ways the folks targeted by the Klan fought back. Darke county was not immune to Klan activities. On June 14, 1923, there was a Ku Klux Klan rally at the Darke County Fair Grounds. Garst Museum has photos documenting this rally. Discrimination and hatred towards ethnic groups, Jews, and Catholics were not uncommon in the 1920s. Is history repeating itself?
Dr. William Trollinger is professor of history in the History and Religious Studies Departments at the University of Dayton. He is also director of UD’s Core Integrated Studies Program, which features an innovative five-semester interdisciplinary curriculum. He earned his B.A. in English and History from Bethel College (MN) and his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research has focused on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American Protestantism, particularly fundamentalism, creationism, and Protestant print culture. His publications include God’s Empire: William Bell Riley and Midwestern Fundamentalism (University of Wisconsin Press, 1990) and Righting America at the Creation Museum (John Hopkins University Press, 2016); the latter he co-authored with his wife, Susan Trollinger. He has also done significant research on the Ku Klux Klan in Ohio in the 1920s; one result of this work is “Hearing the Silence: The University of Dayton, the Ku Klux Klan, and Catholic Universities and Colleges” (American Catholic Studies, Spring 2013) for which he won the 2014 Catholic Press Award for Best Essay in a Scholarly Magazine. He enjoys speaking on the 1920s Ohio Ku Klux Klan.
All Garst lectures are free and open to the public. However, regular admission will apply to tour the museum, which includes the outstanding National Annie Oakley Center, Crossroads of Destiny, Lowell Thomas exhibit, and Longtown display. Funding for this program was made possible, in part, by the Harry D. Stephens Memorial Foundation and by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.