The Journal of American History
It is remarkable that, given the significance of the Klan, a good general history of it has not been written—until now. In One Hundred Percent American, the Loyola University Maryland professor Thomas R. Pegram draws upon his primary research as well as the plethora of books, articles, and dissertations that have been written on local and state organizations in the past few decades to provide a nicely readable account of the Klan’s rise and fall in the 1920s.
(Given the author’s assiduous research, it is unfortunate this book lacks a bibliography.)
In the process of telling the Klan’s story, Pegram highlights the organization’s emphasis on white Protestant supremacy, its attempts to reform public schools and enforce Prohibition, and its efforts to establish itself as a political force at the state and national levels. The chapter on Prohibition is particularly fascinating, as Pegram details how Klansmen engaged in “extralegal” enforcement efforts in a response “to popular and heartfelt concerns that the requirements of the law, even those as imperfect and strongly resented as were the demands of constitutional prohibition, meet with compliance” (p. 156).
Copyright © 2014, Organization of American Historians
Oxford University Press
Trollinger, William Vance, "Review: 'One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s'" (2014). History Faculty Publications. 42.