100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 4 - 5 out of 9 pages.
In chartering the Klan in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia, heintended to resurrect an identifiably Southern institu-tion. He guided the Klan to national prominence and amembership role of perhaps as many as 5 million bythe early 1920s. In 1921, Simmons sent William S.Coburn, from Atlanta to Los Angeles to organize klav-erns in the “domain of the Pacific Coast.” Upon hisarrival, Grand Goblin Coburn opened an office 1 milefrom Trinity Methodist. Within months after the office’sopening, the Klan held large initiations in local suburbsand further organized a dozen klaverns. By 1924, thePacific Klan visibly held rallies attracting as many as5,000 Klansmen.13While the Klan took root in the 1920s throughoutmost of the United States, much of its success in L.A.was due to Shuler’s advocacy. From 1921 to 1924,Shuler lauded the efforts of the Invisible Empire in hiswritings, sermons, and statewide public addresses. TheKlan, he argued, “stands with positive emphasis forAmericanism . . . the principles of the Christian religion. . . and the placing of the Holy Bible in the school-rooms of this nation.” He also contended that the Klan’spenchant for vigilantism was a mere corrective tocity’s crooked politicians who kept police from enforc-ing the law. Shuler thus eulogized one fallen Klansmanas “every inch an American hero,” and dedicated oneevening sermon to “the Man Who Died Defending theSchool Children of Southern California.” The Klan, inturn, declared Shuler “a fair-minded man with realAmerican blood” in his veins.14For the next two years, Shuler would become synony-mous with the Klan. Though never joining the orderhimself, he preached that “the solemn march of theAmerican men of the Ku Klux Klan is as sweet musicas [his] ears have ever heard.” Klansmen placed adver-tisements in Shuler’s monthly publication,Bob Shuler’sMagazine, and at one time as many as fourteen Klan-related ads from Klan-friendly merchants filled itspages. This affiliation spurred the Chicago Defendertorefer to Shuler as an “exponent of race hatred,” and theCalifornia Eagleto aptly declare him the “Klan’sMoses.” But, instead of parting the Red Sea, Shulersimply opened the church door. At a special meetingin 1924, Shuler hosted 600 men, women, and childrendressed in Klan regalia at Trinity to discuss the“KKK and Citizenship.” All of this occurred within 3miles of the two largest African American churches inLos Angeles.15The affinity between Shuler and the Klan stemmedfrom a general ideological overlap. Aside from bothtraveling the same route through the South and South-west to the unregenerate West, both were infected withwhat Richard Hofstadter called the “rural-evangelicalvirus.” This atavistic world view was marked by a fearof the multiple forces that corrupted modern culture,and a countervailing strict adherence to the Protes-tant fundamentalism most often associated with ruralAmerica. While it is abundantly clear that both the LosAngeles Klan and Trinity Methodist drew from an