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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: The area saw its first KKK initiation rite, with hundreds of existing members bringing 50 new ones on board

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A flaming cross 40 feet tall loomed above Five Mile Prairie as 400 hooded Ku Klux Klan members staged an initiation ceremony, “the first demonstration of its kind by Spokane Klan.”

This was preceded by a parade through city streets to the Five Mile Prairie site, led by an auto carrying an electrically lighted cross of red. The Spokane Daily Chronicle estimated at least 200 cars were in the parade.

When the parade reached the cross, it was set alight, and the 50 candidates for initiation were then asked to pledge an oath.

The oath included these words: “I pledge myself to support the Constitution of the United States … free public schools, complete separation of church and state (and) to work for the supremacy of the white race.”

The Chronicle reported that “quiet prevailed throughout, and when the event was over, the Klansmen took off their robes, packed them in waiting automobiles and quietly departed for their homes.”

From the murder beat: Police rounded up 27 alleged Wobblies for the murder of Frank McAniff (also rendered as McAintiff), a University of Washington student and former Gonzaga Prep football player.

McAniff was “hooking a ride” in a Great Northern freight car near Fort Wright when he and six companions were accosted by a group of men who robbed them, shot McAniff to death and injured Ralph Anderson, 21. Members of McAniff’s group said they had been in an altercation with some Wobblies earlier when they had refused to join the Industrial Workers of the World. When the train started to move, the Wobblies “attacked them, shooting as they came.”

One boy jumped from the train and notified police.

Police notified authorities in Harrington, Washington, who stopped the train and detained 27 Wobblies for questioning. There were some indications, however, that the men responsible for the shooting had jumped off the train soon after the killing.