Arthur Gustave Sorlie is remembered today as the namesake for the Sorlie Memorial Bridge spanning the Red River here. But allegations that Sorlie was a member or sympathizer of the anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s have largely faded from memory, and seldom if ever were noted in standard histories of the state’s politics.
Neila Mae Johnson knew the amiable family friend as “Uncle Rudy.”
Rudolph Bener was an immigrant from Croatia and spoke with a thick Slavic accent. After he died, in 1964, it fell to the Johnson family to clean out his house on Lake Melissa near Detroit Lakes, Minn. What they found shocked them: Uncle Rudy had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Three mischievous fans of the Roughriders’ hockey team flouted a taboo when they recently wore hooded Ku Klux Klan robes to taunt the opposing squad.
But the Red River High School hockey spectators might not have known just how prevalent the Ku Klux Klan once was in the Red River Valley.
UPDATED 2:14 P.M. James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman imprisoned for his role in the segregation-era abduction and killing of two black men in rural Mississippi, has died, a spokesman with federal Bureau of Prisons said.
It may be hard to believe now, but the Ku Klux Klan marched into Old Concord Christian Church in Dodge County as described in a story Sept. 12, 1924, in the Owatonna (Minn.) Journal Chronicle. The eyewitness account also offers a glimpse into an all-but-forgotten aspect of Minnesota history: The rise of the Ku Klux Klan in southeastern Minnesota and across the state and nation.
The members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan spent about 10 minutes waving flags, displaying Nazi-style salutes and occasionally gesturing at a group of about 250 hecklers that included young children. They were protesting the school's decision to drop a pep song that included "Dixie."
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