- Item 25109 - Ku Klux Klan field day, Portland, 1926
- Contributed by Maine Historical Society
- Item 25109
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Members of the Ku Klux Klan from various Maine communities--men, women, and children--gathered in Portland for a field day on August 28, 1926. The Portland Expo building is to the right rear.Show Details
The Klan was active in Maine in the 1920s as a secret fraternal society that sought to influence politics and promote its ideas of nativism and Americanism, which included opposition to Roman Catholics, Jews, Black people, and immigrants. Over 10,000 people attended a Klan initiation ceremony in August 1923 in Portland.
In 1920 almost 4,000 immigrants arrived in Maine from European countries. French Canadians were also coming to Maine in large numbers, seeking employment in the textile and lumber mills—few of them spoke English and many were Roman Catholics.
Klan-backed candidates were elected as mayors, state legislators, and members of school committees. In 1924 and 1926, Ralph O. Brewster was elected governor, the only elected Maine politician openly associated with the Klan.
Klan supporters in Portland bought an estate in 1923 and added a 4,000-seat auditorium and a 1,600-seat dining room. The auditorium burned in December 1924 and was not rebuilt.