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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Residents fought back against an emerging Ku Klux Klan faction with a new group, Three Brothers

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

The backlash against the Ku Klux Klan began with the announcement of a new organization called the Three Brothers.

“Already I have been swamped with offers from some of our best citizens who desire to join the organization,” Constable J.F. Howard said. “Jews, Catholics, Protestants and men with no religious connections are anxious to join the new lodge.”

This was prompted by reports a KKK chapter was formed in Spokane.

Howard said the Three Brothers is a “direct challenge” to the KKK and it is our purpose to remove all members of the so-called Ku Klux Klan from the public offices they are holding.”

“We already know all the Ku Kluxers now holding office at the City Hall, courthouse and on the school board, and we intend to make it our business to see that they are eliminated at the next election,” Howard said.

He said anyone subscribing to such “narrow and un-American ideas” has no place in public life.

Howard was printing up 10,000 membership cards.

In contrast, the first “ritualistic initiation” of the KKK in Spokane attracted only 17 people.

From the hobo beat: Hundreds of men, “mostly hoboes,” rode freight cars into Spokane every day, a Northern Pacific special agent reported.

“It is impossible to do much to keep them off the trains, so the best we can do is to see that they are not allowed on freight carrying merchandise,” the agent said. “… 35 or 40 sometimes ride on one slow freight.”

He said the men seem to have no destination. They were not allowed to loiter in the yards.

“They are said to be more law-observing than might be expected,” The Spokesman-Review wrote. “Train crews are reported to have little difficulty with the hoboes riding the trains.”

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