Welcome to Ku Klux Kounty!

Fanning Elementary, Plummer Auditorium and other OC streets, parks and monuments named after local pioneers who were Klan members

Welcome to Ku Klux Kounty!

All right, kids, calm down. Yes, that is a man posing in a Ku Klux Klan robe on our cover and in our pages. , the outfit is incredibly offensive, code for racial terror and doesn't belong in polite society, let alone a family paper such as this one. Yep, the man beneath the hood is Congressman Dana Rohrabacher . . . okay, maybe not, because we hear he prefers dressing up as the Taliban.

But we trot out the outfit of the hooded menace to speak truth to an uncomfortable part of Orange County life: We continue to honor KKK members and will likely do so forever.

Nearly every Monday for the past two years on our Navel Gazing blog, I've written "OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members," an award-winning series identifying the city councilmen, school-board members and celebrated citizens of yore who just happened to belong to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. During that decade, the group used death threats and burning crosses to try to take over Orange County, only to find defeat in the form of District Attorney Alexander P. Nelson (see "Klanbuster," Jan. 12, 2012). Nelson shut down the group by obtaining the Klan's membership rolls and threatening to publish names in the press; the move worked, and the list had largely stayed hidden since until the Weekly obtained a copy and did what Nelson never dared to do.

OC society has largely forgotten this terrorist past, so much so that the ensuing decades found Klukkers rehabilitating their image and hiding their past so that future generations immortalized them in the form of buildings, parks, schools and streets named in their honor—a quiet victory for the Invisible Empire. So what better way to remind us of this rancid history than to get a model to pose in a Klan robe in front of their monuments? The following is just a smidgen of the many Klan names that are part of Orange County civic life—a far more insulting reality than wearing a Klan robe for a sensationalist cover story. Find more pictures on our Navel Gazing blog, and enjoy!

 

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDESHOW!

(Or click on place names below to be taken to each photo.)


PLUMMER AUDITORIUM
This majestic building sits on the campus of Fullerton High School and is named after Louis E. Plummer, longtime superintendent for Fullerton schools. Many of Plummer’s Klan friends—William Starbuck, Harry Byerrum, Joe Royer, among others—also have Fullerton streets and parks named after them. 201 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton.

ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Sam Jernigan and Jesse Elliott were two former OC sheriffs who were Klan members, and we have their membership forms to prove it! 10 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana.

PIEPER LANE
John F. Pieper was a Tustin councilman and, according to the Klan’s membership rolls, its only Tustin Klukker.

CORBIT PLACE
Hoyt Corbit’s face is strong and wise and kind,” read a Life story from 1970, “and he is one of those who really hold this country together.” And one of those who really joined the Klan, too! The Yorba Linda farmer knew Richard Nixon’s father, Frank [1], and helped to spearhead the Nixon Birthplace Foundation, the precursor to the Nixon Library.

HILGENFELD MORTUARY
The Hilgenfeld name is renowned among the city’s Mexicans as a wonderful place to pay respect to the dead. Far less known is that its founder, Samuel F. Hilgenfeld, was a Buena Park minister who was one of many holy men who joined the Klan during the 1920s. That sound? Hilgenfeld rolling in his grave at the thought of Mexicans using his premises. 20 E. Broadway, Anaheim.

FANNING ELEMENTARY
William E. Fanning was a longtime teacher in Brea, as well as schools superintendent. The school recently had an African-American principal, proving that not only does God exist, but his sense of humor is wicked. 650 N. Apricot Ave., Brea.

FAIRBAIRN STREET
Clyde Fairbairn “led a quiet life in Olive [now Orange] with relatively few personal changes, and was regarded by many citizens as a community-minded individual,” one historian wrote. He didn’t mention, though, that ol’ Clyde was Klan.

PLAQUE OF LUCIEN PROUD
Outside La Habra City Hall is a plaque listing Proud’s many accomplishments in his civic career—why not the Klan part? 201 E. La Habra Blvd., La Habra.

LOWELL STREET
Named after Joseph Lowell, a Santa Ana farmer and Klanman.

FRENCH PARK
Named after former Huntington Beach mayor Eugene Edward French, the city has it misspelled as “E.B. French” Park. Guess it’s better to have as a mayor a Klanman than a felon, right? 3482 Venture Dr., Huntington Beach.



[1] Frank Nixon was misidentified as Donald Nixon, his son. Corrected Jan. 21, 2013.

 
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106 comments
tjbenc
tjbenc

Hey where do i Join.



Brothers you come to OC .. thank you.

ritcheygee
ritcheygee

Hey gustavo all you write about is how racist oc is, yet your white hater ass only targets white ppl. Hispanics aren't perfect. Talk about real issue Without looking at race you pro mexican. Oh yea not all of us say santana it's Santa Ana get it right.

NGCoot
NGCoot

"Well, I believe that there was racism in Anaheim back then and that there is now — but that anyone who serious tries to tie that back to the brief 1920s of the Klan in Anaheim is just trying to get people to pick up their magazines or maybe stake out territory for their next book. Either way, it’s chickenshit to piss people off by saying A and then fall back and pretend that they are attacking you for saying B. You need to learn not to be a chickenshit."

http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/02/contra-gustavo-another-view-of-race-in-anaheim/

Jewels Creativedesigner
Jewels Creativedesigner

Potential advertisers of different races won't soon be advertising with this lovely publication. Lol.

NGCoot
NGCoot

  1. From Cynthia Ward on OJB:

    Anaheim, 1922. Reverend Leon Myers comes to town and begins a Bible study. Anyone who signed up for those Bible studies ended up essentially listed as a Klansman. I have interviewed some the children of those men, and I can tell you that most left the group the second they realized what Myers was really up to. They were ashamed at being duped, and the large regional Klan gathering in Anaheim drew thousands from OTHER areas of the State.

    By 1925, 4 of the 5 Council members were Klan members, (elected without disclosure of their Klan status) and having only served 11 months of their new terms before being exposed, the locals gathered signatures to recall them within DAYS of notification that they owed allegiance to anyone other than the people of Anaheim. 95% of voters turned out to recall their sorry asses.

    For those poor saps that ended up on the list, Gustavo would like us to believe they were all racist jerks and our communities elected them to office. The reality is that when they discovered the Bible study was not as represented they hung their heads in shame at being duped, and went on to lead productive lives as civic officials and business leaders, because those are the honorable people that many (not all) were in the first place.

     If Gustavo, or anyone else, wants to beat this dead horse they better come out with something other than a list.

AndresRoca
AndresRoca

Excellent article. Thank you for helping dispel the rumor that Mexicans were here first.   Obviously it was white men who built this city and created this wonderful civilization that we all take for granted.


The places and names mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg.  One can hardly drive 3 miles anywhere in LA or OC without using a street or going through a community named after one of the white men who built this city.  All the freeways, flood control channels, and other infrastructure that make this city work were built by white men.


For example, Boyle Heights is named after an Irishman named Andrew Boyle who was a councilman in Los Angeles and was one of the first men to start building up the area.


The only thing I take issue with is the ignorant statement that Klan members were terrorists.  These men did not engage in any terrorist activities.  Rather, they were well-educated, productive, and peaceful members of society who were simply trying to preserve their own people and culture. There's nothing wrong with that.


The true "terrorists", if you want to use that word, are the ubiquitous latino street gangs who are wreaking havoc across much of this city.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Harassment and intimidation by anyone towards anyone else for any reason = domestic terrorism. True in the 1920's. True today. True before 9/11. True after 9/11. 

And I'm not sure who is worse at this point. Those doing the deed or those helping to cover it up because they care more about their "Orange County housewife" lifestyle than ...  well just about EVERYTHING else.

hallucinogen
hallucinogen

Why don't you do some research on some current events happening now. Why don't you do a spread on the racism against African-Americans by Hispanics and Hispanic gangs? Your "White Orange County is racist" propaganda bores me and is trend driven. You only want to appeal to the masses so you can grab some fame. Good job. Bravo!

All future street, building, and any other public works names should be named anything besides... Black, Hispanic, or European language names. 

420cheelin
420cheelin

The tide is shifting as all races have racists and California is majority Hispanic.   My kids attend schools that are 90% Hispanic.  They, and their Asian friends (the minority)  are constantly harassed, bullied and made fun of by Hispanics for being Asian.   While some things change, they still stay the same. 

NGCoot
NGCoot

In 1924, the Klan became active in local politics in Anaheim. The city had been controlled by an entrenched elite that gave little support to the prohibition laws--the mayor, for example, had been a saloon keeper. The Klan represented a rising group of citizens who denounced the elite as corrupt, undemocratic and self-serving. The Klansmen sought to create a model orderly community. (While excluding Catholics and those opposed to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.)

The Klan won the election in Anaheim in April 1924. They systematically fired Catholic city employees and replaced them with Klansmen and tried to strictly enforce prohibition. The opposition organized, bribed a Klansman for the secret membership list, exposed the Klansmen running in the primaries and defeated most of them.  The antis stepped up the campaign in 1925 and succeeded in voting to recall the Klansmen who had been elected in April 1924. The Klan in Anaheim quickly collapsed, its newspaper closed after losing a libel suit.

So where is the virulent radical racism?? - where is the KKK extreme and violent terrorism?? Oh, …. that’s right ….. there wasn’t any - Gustavo left that part out.

NGCoot
NGCoot

One of the best scholarly studies of the Klukkers' time in my hometown is the essay, "The Invisible Empire and the Search for the Orderly Community: The Ku Klux Klan in Anaheim, California," by Christopher N. Cocoltchos, part of the anthology, The Invisible Empire in the West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. In it, Cocoltchos methodically examines the background behind the rise of the Klan in Anaheim, arguing it resulted from out-of-towners and temperance fools who chafed at the old German guard of Anaheim and their near-aristocratic ways. He could only find three violent incidents related to the Klan trying to terrorize a religious or ethnic group: crosses burnt in front of St. Boniface Catholic Church and in undisclosed spots in Fullerton and Yorba Linda. All other efforts of indimidation occurred against those people the Klan disagreed with politically, and were usually whites. Of Latinos--who were increasingly becoming the city's backbone of its lucrative citrus industry and included among its ranks my grandfather--Cocoltchos wrote they were "a group the Klan totally ignored."

Pamela Richardson-Magdaleno
Pamela Richardson-Magdaleno

This is all very interesting stuff about our county's past. I dont understand why everyone is so upset about it. Its History people! If you all have an issue with what OC Weekly's cover story is, than dont read it.

Pennys Parents
Pennys Parents

And, if you're writing back & trying to get snotty with those of us that think that the cover story is lame, I believe your "articulate" response should read, "How very articulate of you, (Comma) Mark.

Pennys Parents
Pennys Parents

Gawd... What, can we get more biting news stories about the last 5 skinheads in Orange County again after this?? Grow some balls & write about the gangs that REALLY run our area...

Meximando
Meximando

 Racism and Bigotry are alive and ill here in good 'ol Yorba Linda. In late November, 2012, the L.A. Times reported that a black family (Both adults are police officers) had been run out of town by racists actions perpetrated upon them in the form of tires being slashed, acid thrown at their house and the son being called a nigger as he rode his bike to his job at Home Depot. The mayor did not repond to the incident.  I live here and fortunately have never experienced any racial problems myself. However, I was not happy to see that in June, 2010, Yorba Linda proudly proclaimed, with a city council resolution, that they were the first city in Orange County to support the controversial Arizona Law against immigrants. That resolution was more about a subtle warning to minorites that says they are not welcomed here. Furthermore, I recently met a city council person from a nearby city that when I told her where I live, she immediately responded: "Oh, that's a racist town. You have to move!" Well, I not moving. I'm not going anywhere. Latinos are the fastest growing minorities and we are here to make our communities better. 

fretsward
fretsward

2). You feign to interweave such astute observations with candid fallacies of your alleged proxy of privilege and numerical superiority (just for the circumstance that Americans are indeed civil) that make clear how your distorted images of perception insinuates your disturbed general tendency to devalue whites. It only exposes mental incoherence and adolescence. It's the loner low-esteem that has gone way beyond its use by-date and it is akin to that booger on your finger you just can't get rid of or the scores of bottom-feeders who wallow in the muck of a subconscious condition adhering to a phony La Raza hierarchy in which illegitimates in your proxy are at the very apex. Extreme racism is highly pernicious and should be classified as a mental disease...

fretsward
fretsward

1). Vitriolic impulses from an unstable mind communicates action potentials, spiking neurons the command to squeeze the trigger only to miss the target by several feet at each attempt. The pathologic sniper who demonstrates this level of extreme mental disease indicates psychopathology. Though racial stereotyping, pretend American’s often refer to the insentient, they don't possess the Freudian means or capacity of a seething mass of thoughts and desires, only which are deemed presentable enough to be admitted to the vile effort. In fact, the cognitive model holds that information flows in exactly the opposite direction: connections made often enough in the conscious mind eventually become unconscious --- and psychobabble.

When it comes to the drones of the National Council of La Raza, race and Rhetoric have gone together for so long that these adherents have a tendency to overlook that facts also matter --- and these facts often contradict many widely held beliefs such as the practice of rapto for example. Fantasies and fallacies about racial and ethnic issues have had a particularly painful and deadly history, so exposing some of them are superficially more than an academic exercise for some.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@NGCoot Chickenshit gets attracted to chickenshit, as is evidenced by the circle jerk ustedes are having over there!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Jewels Creativedesigner Sure they will, as they always have!

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@NGCoot The systematic firing of Catholic city employees is very bad.  It just isn't lynching, burning down sharecropper houses, dragging people to their deaths, sort of very bad.

I hope that Gustavo shows up and sets the record straight, with evidence of seriously horrible actions -- or admits that he's really screwing up here, whichever.

(Oh, no -- what am I going to tell Dakota Fanning about not having the elementary school named after her after all?)

(P.S. -- that photo is, or is not, Anaheim or somewhere else in OC?)

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@NGCoot Could you make clear exactly what part of the above is a quote?  Is everything between the title and the last six words just your own summary?

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@Pamela Richardson-Magdaleno  Pamela, the issue here is whether "being in the KKK" means what we normally think of "being in the KKK" meaning.  It never occurred to me before  now that when Gustavo talked about people "being in the KKK" he may have meant basically that they called themselves KKK members but (except for being against Anaheim Catholics and firing them from city jobs) didn't do the things that KKK members generally did.  Didn't you assume from the story that they were cross-burning, lynching, vicious, racist bastards?  I sure did.  If they weren't -- and maybe Gustavo will still show that they were -- then this "naming things after them" is less outrageous than otherwise.  And for Gustavo himself to have been the one who pointed out in his previous writing that they were not typical KKK types, if NGCoot is correct -- well, that just becomes sick!

NGCoot
NGCoot

I don't think that people are upset about the history itself - what some, including me, are upset about is the incomplete, unbalanced and distorted view of that history which Gustavo presents.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Pennys Parents What are you rambling about?

420cheelin
420cheelin

@Meximando the tide is shifting as all races have racists and California is majority Hispanic.   My kids attend schools that are 90% Hispanic.  They, and their Asian friends (the minority)  are constantly harassed, bullied and made fun of by Hispanics for being Asian.   While some things change, they still stay the same. 

NGCoot
NGCoot

@gregdiamond - the photo is from wiki - it is not from the OC since the OC "klan light" - contrary to GA's cover photo, did not wear hoods that cover the face.

NGCoot
NGCoot

None of the words in the above passage are mine Diamond - and I deliberately did not include attribution to the author in the hope that he would call me on it.

But he hasn't called me on it - and he likely will not call me on it - probably because he no longer wishes to be associated with those comments.

NGCoot
NGCoot

You are a fake and a fraud Arellano - you have the journalistic integrity of Jayson Blair.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@NGCoot Which is more than the two of you have EVER offered. At least the Bloviator has never propped up pedophile institutions like yourselfl

NGCoot
NGCoot

@GustavoArellano .... really? ..... that's all you've got? .... really weak sauce Gustavo ...

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@NGCoot @gregdiamond The leaps and bounds the two of you idiots do to make excuses for my reporting would qualify you for the Olympics—HILARIOUS!!!

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@gregdiamond So this is it, eh? Trying to whittle away at the nomenclature of white supremacy illustrated in the cover story? I thought 'liberal progressives' had better items on their agenda to attend to. Guess not!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@gabrielsanroman Don't worry with this idiot. He's a Mater Dei grad who involves himself in SanTana politics from time to time—I'll point him out to you next time!

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@gabrielsanroman  Brea's not a "sundown town" now.  It's true that it doesn't seem to have a large Black presence -- not usually for OC -- but almost 2% is not that bad for the area.  My daughter's elementary school was probably plurality Latino+Asian, so while I can't speak to the "Yorba Linda" part of Brea the "Fullerton" and "La Habra" parts are nicely multicultural.

Yeah, unconstitutional ordinances dealing with race in the 1920s.  Breaking news!

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@gabrielsanroman My next door neighbors, for one.  You have the same access to census figures as the rest of us, GSR.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@NGCoot It was an unconstitutional ordinance. 6 p.m. all Blacks out. Flaunting itself in the face of Buchanan v. Warley well after the oil boom.

Maybe Diamond can furiously blog about it and the 549 Blacks who, all these decades later, call Brea home.

NGCoot
NGCoot

@gabrielsanroman - Yes, I have heard that, in the 1920's oil boom days, that Brea was considered a sundown town. That was a long time ago dude - and there are few blacks that live in Laguna Beach - so frickin' what?@gabrielsanroman @gabrielsanroman

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@gregdiamond @GustavoArellano @NGCoot Brea was a sundown town! How many Black folk make their home there today?

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@GustavoArellano @NGCoot  No, Gustavo, I'll bet that deep down you don't love it.

So Coot -- does that mean that, despite this story, to "welcome [people] to Ku Klux Kounty" is not only an anachronism, but that it's completely inaccurate as well, according to the Gustavo of days gone by?

My ex-wife attended Indiana University, just south of Martinsville, a "sundown town" where there was real, awful, pervasive, disgusting, and deadly KKK activity.  I understand the shock value of putting a photo of a guy in a Klan costume (or kostume?) on the front page if the KKK here had Klan activity that was real serious and deplorable Klan activity -- but if it was, unlike in other parts of the country, mostly just a bunch of posing unrelated to the real thing, then falsely claiming a history of this sort of racial horror is the part of the story that's really in bad taste.  I really would not have expected that of GA.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@NGCoot I LOVE how the two of you losers are having a conversation with yourself. The only person who's missing is Mitch Young, and the circle jerk of dipshits is complete!

NGCoot
NGCoot

Isn't that about right Gustavo?

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@GustavoArellano @gregdiamond @fretsward  No, I do media criticism and fact-checking (of y'all) -- but I might have expected that you'd produce that sort of "vitriolic impulse ... communicating an action potential ... [causing you to] miss the target by several feet."

(Damn -- that stuff is really hard to work into a sentence.)

 
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