The Klan parades in the city.

We read here of the Ku Klux Klan’s 1924 march through the streets of Wilson: “Crossing the railroad tracks, the Klansmen went down Green into the colored section of the city. Quite a few colored people were crowded on the sidewalks. For the most part, they remained silent and regarded the parade with passive interest. The booted men went as far as Pender Street, then turned up to Nash, and came down Nash through the central part of the business district.”

Prior to the march, the Wilson Mirror printed an unsurprisingly soothing invitation to the public to come see “fiery torches” and “Klansmen in their full regalia.”

Wilson Mirror, 13 November 1924.

The Klan parade route superimposed on the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson. (I’m not sure where the “temporary courthouse” was, hence the dotted line back to Nash Street. Crossing the tracks, the Kluxers passed Mercy Hospital, the “Big Three” churches of Calvary Presbyterian, Saint John A.M.E. Zion, and First Baptist, Darden Funeral Home, Commercial Bank, and all the other Black-owned businesses of the 500 block of East Nash Street. 

An editorial published the same day fleshed out the message. The Klan was no different from any other fraternal organization. It just suffered from bad press and misattribution. The Wilson Klan had never merited criticism, and there was no sense in condemning them.

Wilson Mirror, 13 November 1924.

Leave a Reply