Daisy Douglass Barr
Friend Daisy Douglass Barr, Quaker pastor, served as the Imperial Empress of the Queens of the Golden Mask, the women’s auxiliary of the powerful Indiana Klan and “Queen Bee” of the Indiana Women’s Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s (see “A Ku Klux Quaker?”)
In 1893, the 18-year-old Daisy Douglass Barr began to lead evangelical revivals in Indiana and Michigan. — Her father was a Civil War veteran who had converted to Quakerism at a time when the Society of Friends was undergoing dramatic changes. Unlike the stereotypical image of Quakers, by the late 1800s the Friends weren’t always sitting in silence waiting for divine inspiration and “quaking” when it came. Instead, some Quaker meetings began to bring on regular ministers and participate in pan-Protestant revivals and tent meetings, In the 1910s, Daisy as Quaker minister was becoming famous as a powerful preacher. Indianapolis newspapers reported large crowds coming to hear her sermons at various city venues and churches, as well as at Baptist and Quaker houses of worship, including Indianapolis First Friends.
Revived in the ’20s partly as a response to the loose enforcement of local, state, and national liquor bans, the KKK was primed to appeal to passionate reformers like Douglass Barr since its “official” views on racial and sexual purity struck a chord with many women. Its virulent anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism funneled into its ranks many Protestants concerned about alleged papal takeover of American schools and the rise of labor unions.
Daisy Douglass Barr served as the Imperial Empress of the Queens of the Golden Mask, the women’s auxiliary of the powerful Indiana Klan. The queen bee later morphed into the head of the state’s WKKK (Women of the Ku Klux Klan). Her role in the Invisible Empire was so important that she worked directly with D.C. Stephenson to organize women’s branches.
In July 1923, Douglass Barr — the only woman on the program — addressed the assembled Grand Dragons of the Klan in Asheville, North Carolina, where she read a poem she’d written.
I am clothed with wisdom’s mantle …
I am strong beyond my years;
My hand typifies strength,
And although untrained in cunning
Its movements mark the quaking
Of the enemies of my country.
My eye, though covered, is all-seeing;
It penetrates the dark recesses of law violation, Treason, political corruption and injustice,
Causing these cowardly culprits to bare their unholy faces
In Light of my all-seeing revelations.
My vision is so broad …
My feet are swift to carry the strength of my hand
And the penetrations of my all-seeing eye.
My nature is serious, righteous and just,
And tempered with the love of Christ.
My purpose is noble, far-reaching and age-lasting …
I am the Spirit of Righteousness.
They call me the Ku Klux Klan.
I am more than the uncouth robe and hood
With which I am clothed.
YEA, I AM THE SOUL OF AMERICA.
That autumn, she would address a crowd of over 20,000 people gathered in Monticello, Indiana, for that town’s Fall Festival, which involved a Klan parade featuring 500 robed Klansmen.
Daisy Douglass Barr asserted, to much applause, that “we have all the Europeans we need and while these Europeans brought us art and literature those coming to America now are not the same class as 40 years ago. Formally they were from the northern part of Europe but these immigrants are from the southern part of Europe now and they have not our ideals either religion or education. They are idiots, insane, diseased criminals. Daisy said “what is happening to the white race in America is that it will be wiped out unless the organized to combat the inroads of the foreigners.” She said foreigners were putting Americans out of business because they can live inexpensively it shows a lack of patriotism not to stand by American industries. Daisy urged women to join the clan by asserting that men can’t make the country 100% American without them.
A Brief History of the Women’s KKK
Excerpt from the article…
The Women’s KKK, an affiliated-but-separate racist organization for white Protestant women, courted members through an insincere “empowerment feminism.” In American society, white women are often understood as victims, but we—for I am a white woman—also can be perpetrators. This peculiar dichotomy has exploded into the national consciousness during this summer’s long-overdue reckoning over race. Some white women, while teetering on the ladder of privilege, wield their anger as a weapon against those with less power than them. But this dynamic is not new. One of the most shocking and extreme examples of white female complicity in American racism is an organization called the Women’s Ku Klux Klan.
… The WKKK had chapters in every state.”
Quakers and the KKK
Excerpts from posts:
1/29/2001 6:19 PM
I’m glad that this subject came up for discussion. My grandfather was raised Quaker and was a Klan member in the 20’s. I’ve been told that my entire family on that line was both Quaker and Klan. I thought that I was the only one who had come across this sort of thing. These people lived in Columbus, Ohio.
Mon 1/29/2001 5:03 PM
By family tradition, my gt-grandfather John Edward Walton was a Klan member. He would have been a member of the Caesar’s Creek or Spring Valley or Xenia MM in Ohio. I have not been able to confirm his personal membership although his whole family were Friends.
Mark D., Wayne, PA
Mon 1/29/2001 9:35 PM
My grandfather, Thomas Kenworthy, grew up near Richmond in Wayne County, Ind., and was among those who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. Why? I have no idea. I didn’t learn about it until after his death and, when I asked my aunts and uncle about it, they just got quiet, then insisted that Uncle Osa (Coryell) “dragged him” into it. I only hope all they did was burn a few crosses and not physically injure anyone.
Don’t be surprised, though, that Quakers could be part of such organizations. People tend to deify their ancestors and, in most cases, it’s not justified. Besides, hero worshippers usually make damn poor genealogists.
“My grandfather was raised Quaker and was a Klan member in the 20’s. I’ve been told that my entire family on that line was both Quaker and Klan.”
“By family tradition, my gt-grandfather John Edward Walton was a Klan member. He would have been a member of the Caesar’s Creek or Spring Valley or Xenia MM in Ohio.”
“My grandfather, Thomas Kenworthy, grew up near Richmond in Wayne County, Ind., and was among those who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan.”
1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana, the last in the north. It took place in Grant County, a place with a very large Quaker population.
Quaker pastor, Ira Dawes of Wabash Friends Church, was a Klan leader and organizer there.
Historian Leonard Moore’s book Citizen Klansmen reported on his detailed study of Klan membership records in, among other places, Indianapolis and Richmond. When the Wayne County Klan, which included Richmond, was the biggest organization in the area, “Richmond’s large Quaker community,” he says, “one of the oldest and most influential in the state, showed no special immunity to the Klan.” Quakers there signed up in almost exact proportion to their share of the overall population. Moore’s data from Indianapolis yielded similar results. Russell cites a telling sentence from the Klan newspaper, The Fiery Cross, reporting on one meeting in 1922: “Richmond Council is growing very rapidly, having a class of 25 last Saturday night. Go to it, you Quakers, we are for you.”
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