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Jean Shepherd Describes Coming Upon a KKK Picnic, Circa 1930, in Hammond, Indiana

In 1970, New York City radio commentator Jean Shepherd described stumbling into a Ku Klux Klan picnic as a kid. The date must have been around 1930. Shepherd and his friends had discovered that they could join groups at picnics at a local park near his home in Hammond, Indiana, and enjoy the food. Although he does not mention it in the broadcast, Indiana had been a major center of the Klan in the 1920s, culminating in the election of a Klan-linked governor in 1924. Klan influence began to wane after the Indiana Grand Dragon was convicted of rape and murder in 1925. At that time, Klan membership in Lake County (which includes Hammond) among males was about 20%. (See L.J. Moore, Citizen Klansmen: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-28 [U of North Carolina Press, 1991], p. 54.)
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