KKK had active history in Ohio, nation

University of Dayton History Professor William Trollinger answers questions at the Auglaize County Historical Society's annual meeting at the St. Joseph's Parish Life Center on Thursday evening. Trollinger educated the group on the Klu Klux Klan's history in Ohio.
Staff Writer

The Auglaize County Historical Society welcomed a timely speaker Thursday night at the St. Joseph’s Parish Life Center in Wapakoneta. University of Dayton History Professor William Trollinger made the trek north to deliver a lecture to the group about the extensive history of the Ku Klux Klan in Ohio.

The lecture comes at a time of high racial tensions and discord in the current political climate that has seen a resurgence in white nationalism and white nationalist groups.

The KKK, perhaps the most famous of those groups, is usually associated with the American South and the post-Civil War era. But that isn’t exactly consistent with reality, according to Trollinger. “The Klan was a truly national organization, with more members in the West and Midwest than the South,” Trollinger explained. “Indiana, as some of you know, was the site of some of their greatest political achievements.”

But those achievements weren’t limited to Indiana.

During the presentation, the religious studies professor revealed Ohio’s entangled history with the Klan. “Ohio seems to have had more Klan members than any other state in the union, with 400,000 members at its peak,” he said. “As one historian put it: ‘during the 1920s it seemed the mask and hood became the official symbol of the Buckeye State.’”

Large rallies were held all over Ohio in cities like Lima, Findlay, Dayton, Springfield and Cincinnati, with local chapters popping up in cities across the state, including... For more on this and other stories, pick up a copy of The Wapakoneta Daily News.