Sunday, 15 June 2008


The Conservative Friend site which it appears is the outreach site of Ohio Yearly Meeting gives the following:Daisy Douglas Barr. Prominent Quaker minister and Imperial Empress of the Indiana Women's Ku Klux Klanas
she was a prominent Quaker have I misunderstood something about the nature of the KKK or Quakerism?In confusion.
Do similar issues esist about ?NF, BNP etc here?


Anonymous said...

I don't know much in detail about the history of midwest Quakers or the Klan, but from what I know the Klan had a strong reformist trend in the early 20th century. As such it supported prohibition, opposed gambling and fornication. And I think from that it build alliances with protestant groups that had the same goals. It was an easy step to go from there to being anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant and anti-black. And I imagine small Quaker churches felt these same movements just as much as the Baptists, Methodists and others.

Brent Bill said...

Not to justify (because there is no justification), but some Midwestern Friends of the era were recruited by the Klan posing as an anti-saloon league. Others, like Daisy Douglas Barr, went into the movement whole hog, so to speak, both for the power (KKK controlled the statehouse for a period in the 1920s) and the money (she could make more as a Klan recruiter -- she received a % of the dues that every member paid, % of the uniform fees, etc -- than a pastor).

She was an interesting character from all I've read about her.

Other Midwest Quakers "fought" valiantly against the Klan -- but their stories aren't nearly as "interesting" as hers.

Simon Heywood said...

A Quaker in the Klan?? I give up.

On second thoughts, I don't give up, but I am off to read a bit about Lucretia Mott and the Underground Railroad just to keep my spirits up ...

Simon Heywood said...

I once (and only once) heard some ministry in meeting along the lines of "I'm scared of the Muslims." I was also very disturbed once in another meeting to see an elder being openly suspicious of someone else at the meeting, on the grounds that (a) he wasn't white British and (b) he was carrying a small shoulder bag. I think she thought he was planning to suicide-bomb the meeting. You honestly couldn't make it up. I had a good old grouch at the other elder in the meeting about it afterwards. I feel pretty anguished when these things come up, but that's as much open prejudice as I've seen in five years worshipping in British Quaker circles, during which time we have worked with refugees and asylum seekers, donated money for new mosques, etc. (although there were some objections raised to this). I'm not saying we're perfect, and we are in most respects quite a little middle-class white enclave, but I've never been aware of any British BNP/NF/Quaker types like Daisy Douglas Barr. I'd be very surprised and disturbed if I did come across any. At the same time, if that's really how some Friends are feeling, it would, in my opinion, be better to bring these feelings into the open and let the Quaker magic get to work on them. It seems to be mostly fear rather than actual malicious intent at the bottom of it, and it would be naive to expect us all to be entirely immune to conflict instincts when there's conflict all around us, even if we do call ourselves Quakers. Although as Robert's post reminds us, it would be advisable if we had the right habits and processes in place to deal with these and other fears and conflicts. I reckon anyway.

Reading "America Over the Water," the British folk-song collector Shirley Collins' memoir of researching gospel and other music in the US in the 1950s, it is striking how completely ingrained and taken-for-granted race prejudice was among the churches - as it was in the UK around the same time, in its own way. Not in any way to condone D.D.B. Klan membership (or anyone else's), but I imagine there is probably quite a context for her and figures like her.

Simon Heywood said...

Thanks for the reference though Peter. I am liking this Ohio YM website.