The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987 Page: 203
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
couraged an extralegal vigilantism that continued after the war's end.
Lay argues that other developments, including a local crime wave in
1921 and concerns (largely among Anglo Protestants) about vice, im-
morality, and drunkenness, heightened community tensions, which
eventually led to the formation of a Klan chapter in El Paso. The Klan
attracted "hundreds of local citizens" (p. vii) as members, became iden-
tified as a force in opposition to the city's entrenched political elite, won
three positions on the El Paso public school board, and made several
attempts to confront perceived "moral" (p. vii) offenders in the com-
munity. Lay states that during its peak (1921-1922), the El Paso Klan
never engaged in physical violence and that its members were "gener-
ally law-abiding ... respectable citizens" (p. 158). The Klan, Lay ad-
mits, never attained "firm or lasting influence" (p. 158) in El Paso,
largely because of local fears that the "hooded order" would adversely
affect business and because of the predominant influence of the city's
Hispanic and Catholic population.
Although War, Revolution and the Ku Klux Klan is a useful contribu-
tion to our understanding of El Paso history and adds to our already
extensive knowledge about the Ku Klux Klan in Texas, it has several
weaknesses. The author has made good use of local sources, but there
is no evidence to indicate that he consulted potentially valuable pri-
mary sources in archives outside of El Paso. There are collections rich
in material relevant to El Paso at the Barker Texas History Center and
at the Texas State Archives in Austin, for example, that apparently
were not exploited. Lay fails to explain adequately the role prohibition
and other "progressive" reform issues played in local elections. Many of
what he believes to be indicators of Klan electoral strength may have
represented votes by non-Klan (and even anti-Klan) citizens simply in
favor of prohibition, an issue that dominated Texas politics throughout
the period. For example, because Klan-favored candidate Earle May-
field defeated James E. Ferguson (by 386 votes) in El Paso County in the
1922 primary election for the U.S. Senate, Lay concludes that "once
again El Paso had voted pro-Klan" (p. 123). This is an oversimplifica-
tion that ignores other equally important factors, such as prohibition
and Ferguson's own controversial record. Lay's work would have bene-
fitted by consulting, among others, such studies as Lewis L. Gould's Pro-
gressives and Prohibitionists. In addition, his evidence for the existence of
an unusually virulent crime wave in 1921, based mainly on newspaper
accounts, is unconvincing, and his analysis of the role of women in
these public issues during the period borders on sexism (pp. 84-85)-
The author's discussion of the Catholic purge affair in the public schools
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987, periodical, 1986/1987; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/m1/241/: accessed March 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.