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Bentonville's Early 20th Century Ku Klux Klan Unmasked

Courtesy: Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, University of Arkansas Special Collections
Ku Klux Klan rally near El Dorado (Union County); circa 1920s.

More than a hundred secret Ku Klux Klan chapters organized across Arkansas in the early 1920s, including ten in northwest Arkansas. That’s according to new findings by Arkansas historian Kenneth Barnes, after he discovered a rare membership roll for a KKK chapter headquartered in Bentonville. He's traced all the members of the list, as well as why and where the KKK took root in Arkansas in the early 20th century. We also meet a Bentonville Klan descendant who discusses his newfound family legacy. Kenneth Barnes has compiled his research into an article titled "Another Look behind the Masks: The Ku Klux Klan in Bentonville, Arkansas, 1922-1926," published in the fall edition of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly.

Jacqueline Froelich is an investigative journalist and has been a news producer for KUAF National Public Radio since 1998. She covers politics, the environment, energy, business, education, history, race and culture. Her radio segments have been nationally syndicated. She is also a station-based national correspondent for NPR in Washington DC., and recipient of eight national and state broadcast awards.
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