In chartering the klan in 1915 in atlanta georgia he

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In chartering the Klan in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia, he intended to resurrect an identifiably Southern institu- tion. He guided the Klan to national prominence and a membership role of perhaps as many as 5 million by the 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 his arrival, Grand Goblin Coburn opened an office 1 mile from Trinity Methodist. Within months after the office’s opening, the Klan held large initiations in local suburbs and further organized a dozen klaverns. By 1924, the Pacific Klan visibly held rallies attracting as many as 5,000 Klansmen. 13 While the Klan took root in the 1920s throughout most 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 his writings, sermons, and statewide public addresses. The Klan, he argued, “stands with positive emphasis for Americanism . . . 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’s penchant for vigilantism was a mere corrective to city’s crooked politicians who kept police from enforc- ing the law. Shuler thus eulogized one fallen Klansman as “every inch an American hero,” and dedicated one evening sermon to “the Man Who Died Defending the School Children of Southern California.” The Klan, in turn, declared Shuler “a fair-minded man with real American blood” in his veins. 14 For the next two years, Shuler would become synony- mous with the Klan. Though never joining the order himself, he preached that “the solemn march of the American men of the Ku Klux Klan is as sweet music as [his] ears have ever heard.” Klansmen placed adver- tisements in Shuler’s monthly publication, Bob Shuler’s Magazine , and at one time as many as fourteen Klan- related ads from Klan-friendly merchants filled its pages. This affiliation spurred the Chicago Defender to refer to Shuler as an “exponent of race hatred,” and the California Eagle to aptly declare him the “Klan’s Moses.” But, instead of parting the Red Sea, Shuler simply opened the church door. At a special meeting in 1924, Shuler hosted 600 men, women, and children dressed in Klan regalia at Trinity to discuss the “KKK and Citizenship.” All of this occurred within 3 miles of the two largest African American churches in Los Angeles. 15 The affinity between Shuler and the Klan stemmed from a general ideological overlap. Aside from both traveling the same route through the South and South- west to the unregenerate West, both were infected with what Richard Hofstadter called the “rural-evangelical virus.” This atavistic world view was marked by a fear of the multiple forces that corrupted modern culture, and a countervailing strict adherence to the Protes- tant fundamentalism most often associated with rural America. While it is abundantly clear that both the Los Angeles Klan and Trinity Methodist drew from an

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