Blatant promo-Michael joins me Monday morning at 7:30a to talk about his book about the history of the KKK in Wood County. Here's a link for the book itself http://www.amazon.com/Klux-Klan-Wood-County-Ohio/dp/1626193347 Looking forward to an interesting conversation.
Comments ... #
About the Author
Dr. Michael Brooks teaches history at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Dr. Brooks has academic research interests in epidemiological history as well as the global history of European expansion. Brooks also worked for about a decade as a print journalist, covering news for local, regional and national periodicals. Prior to joining BGSU in 2009, Brooks taught at a number of regional colleges and universities, including Wayne State University and the University of Toledo.
I read the book. There is a list of KKK members at the end. Some family names showed up that surprised me. They still live in the area.
I like Brooks and would read anything he published. I wish my teachers had shared his sense of humor, real world experience, and academic achievements. Kind of a triple threat. Too many of mine were one or two dimensional.
Gratefully mine were not. Which leaves me incapable of the thought process for a post such as this: "I read the book. There is a list of KKK members at the end. Some family names showed up that surprised me. They still live in the area."
Thanks for all the kind words, everyone.
A few words on family names: at its peak the Klan may have had as many as five million Americans as members in the 1920s. There were approximately 400,000 Klan members in Ohio in the Klan's heyday, so this was far from a fringe group, and lots of white Americans in the 21st century likely have a Klan member or ten in their family trees.
Also: unless a person engages in the necessary and detailed genealogical research, avoid jumping to conclusions about family names. This can lead to a number of erroneous connections being made, not the least of which is when someone with an uncommon name moves to an area where there already live people with that same name.
Finally: the actions of ancestors in no way reflect a current person's views. There are millions of Germans today, for example, who have ancestors who were NSDAP members. Understand that Klan membership was "normal" in the 1920s (albeit, "normal" for white, Protestant, native-born adult males) and that there were plenty of people who did not join the Klan who nonetheless shared many of the group's racist, nativist, anti-Catholic, and antisemitic views.
You made that point very well in your book, Mike.
However, once I saw the list, I quickly scoured it for any potential family members and the family of people whom I know or have done business with. That's kind of a natural reaction to a list of names. The appearance of a family name, whether directly related to the person of not, would cause any potential family member to investigate further.
I agree that what someone's ancestors did should not be held against them.
A great book, IMHO. It should be reviewed.
I am curious. What was your purpose as an author and educator to include such a list?
I am sure that you meant well, and I just wanted to caution against people briefly scanning the list and leap to incorrect conclusions.
The first reason for including the list is the one you stated: people who are just curious about their own family histories. The list is important also to genealogical researchers, and anyone engaging in historical research on this or related topics would find the list useful.
Finally, I spent 4-5 months assembling the database that was distilled to the alphabetized list, deciphering the handwritten Klan records and notations (some of which could better be described as "chicken scratch") and cross-checking these against Census rolls and city/county directories to correctly identify the individuals. I wanted to save time for any future researchers who might otherwise throw their hands up in frustration.
Thank you, Mike. Now, I am thinking of rereading your book.
Do you have any interest in writing another book?
Just trying to make sure I keep the reading deck clear for your next, if there is one.
Hopefully this conversation answers Mariner's wonder at how my thinking went to the list and families. Just being honest...
Is that list available anywhere other than in the book? While I am sure my family name isn't in there, I would be curious about friends or other relations.
I compiled the list of Wood County Klan members from handwritten archival sources, MJeff, so it is only available in the book.
I am sure I will write more books, but at this point I am not sure what my next book project will be. I need to knock out several academic articles I have been working on, so it will probably be a few months before I have time to start new book research.
Bloody eggheads rule the world. I would rate this as a worthwhile, healthy dialectic.
http://www.wspd.com/media/podcast-fred-lefebvre-podcasts-Fred/623-bgsu-professor-michael-brooks-discusses-24936319/ Listen to the interview here