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Pro Klan cartoon by Branford Clarke published in Heroes of the Fiery Cross at Zarephath, New Jersey by the Pillar of Fire Church


Branford Clarke illustration

The Ku Klux Klan has had a history in the U.S. state of New Jersey since the early part of the 1920s. The Klan was in the area around Trenton and Camden and had a presence in several of the state's northern counties, but its largest presence was in Monmouth County, New Jersey where it had a resort at Wall Township, New Jersey's Camp Evans.[1]


The first appearance of the KKK in New Jersey was in 1921, where it had crossed over from New York and Pennsylvania. An attorney named Arthur H. Bell was the state's first Grand Dragon, and continued serving in that post until the Ku Klux Klan was disbanded in 1944.[1]

In 1922 George W. Apgar was the King Kleagle just outside Newark, New Jersey.[2][3]

In 1923, the Klan provided funding for Alma White College in Zarephath, New Jersey. It became "the second institution in the north avowedly run by the Ku Klux Klan to further its aims and principles." Alma White said that the Klan philosophy "will sweep through the intellectual student classes as through the masses of the people."[4][5] At that time, the Pillar of Fire was publishing the pro-KKK monthly periodical The Good Citizen.[1]

On May 3, 1923 12,000 people attended a Klan meeting in Bound Brook, New Jersey. The speakers then held a meeting at the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, New Jersey.[6]

On May 10, 1923 the Klan assaulted a boy, accusing him of stealing $50 from his mother, Bessie Titus, in West Belmar, New Jersey.[7]

In 1925 Alma White published The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy in Zarephath, New Jersey at the Pillar of Fire Church printing press. She writes: "The unrepentant Hebrew is everywhere among us today as the strong ally of Roman Catholicism. ... To think of our Hebrew friends with their millions in gold and silver aiding the Pope in his aspirations for world supremacy, is almost beyond the grasp of ... The Jews in New York City openly boast that they have the money and Rome the power, and that if they decide to rule the city and state, ..."[8]

In 1926, Bell headed a group that converted Wall Township, New Jersey's Camp Evans into a Klan resort. The property was formerly known as Marconi Station. The 396-acre (1.60 km2) resort was only open to officials and members of the New Jersey Realm of the Klan.[9]

In 1926 Alma White published Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty. She writes: "I believe in white supremacy."[10]

In 1928 Alma White published Heroes of the Fiery Cross. She writes: "The Jews are as unrelenting now as they were two thousand years ago."[11]

In 1940, James A. Colescott had Bell removed as head of the Klan of New Jersey.[12][13] Bell was also vice president of the German American Bund.[14] The ouster was from a joint meeting arranged by Bell between the Klan and the German-American Bund at the Bund's Camp Nordlund, near Andover, New Jersey.[15]

In 1943 Alma White of the Pillar of Fire Church reprints her pro Klan essays and sermons as Guardians of Liberty.[16]

By 1944 the national organization was closed by a tax lien form the Internal Revenue Service.[1] Local chapters closed over the following years.[17]


Klan friendly churches[]

Several New Jersey churches welcomed the Klan:[1]

  • Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, New Jersey
  • Third Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Grace Methodist Church in Kearney, New Jersey
  • First Baptist Church in Bayonne, New Jersey
  • Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Grace Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey
  • Colonial United Methodist Church in Oxford, New Jersey

References and notes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "The good of the Klan". Retrieved 2008-08-14. "The KKK first spread to New Jersey from the states of New York and Pennsylvania early in 1921 and has had a history of being a peaceful Klan. Attorney Arthur Bell was N.J.’s first and longest reigning Grand Dragon. He ruled the New Jersey KKK right up to the Klan’s disbandment in the 1940’s. His wife Leah Bell was the state leader of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan’s first strongholds were in Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Union, and Morris counties and in the area around Trenton and Camden. But the Klan grew strongest in Monmouth county. ... The Klan continued in New Jersey, until in 1944, the Klan was nationally disbanded for the second time." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Jersey King Kleagle Hurt by Auto". New York Times. September 9, 1922. Retrieved 2009-10-20. "King Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan for the realm of New Jersey, is in the North Hudson Hospital in a critical condition from ..." 
  3. Kenneth T. Jackson (1967). The Ku Klux Klan in the city, 1915-1930‎. p. 178. "King Kleagle George W. Apgar established state headquarters just outside Newark ..." 
  4. "Klan Buys College Close to Princeton". The Harvard Crimson. October 31, 1923. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "Bishop Alma White, the founder of the Pillar of Fire Church, and an author of various religious works, is President of the institution under the new regime. In an interview for the Princetonian today Bishop White deplored the present indifference of the undergraduate to the Klan and predicted that in the near future "it will sweep through the intellectual student classes as through the masses of the people."" 
  5. "Klan Will Sweep Colleges, She Says. Princeton Will Soon Be Vitally Interested in the Order, Woman Bishop Asserts. Back From Ku Klux Tour. University Paper Declares Institution Should Not Be Influenced by Specious Arguments". New York Times. November 1, 1923. Retrieved 2009-12-16. "That the Ku Klux Klan is on the verge of 'sweeping through the colleges of the country as it has swept through the masses,' was the assertion of Bishop Alma White, founder of the 'Pillar of Fire,' a religious sect and the head of a small institution called the Alma College, fifteen miles north of Princeton at Zarephath, in an interview published this morning in the Daily Princetonian." 
  6. "12,000 Of Klan Out At Jersey Meeting. Hold Heavily Guarded Initiation on a Lonely Farm Near New Brunswick". New York Times. May 3, 1923. Retrieved 2009-12-16. "Excitement ran high here tonight when it was learned that about 12,000 men had gathered at Hobbs's farm, at an isolated spot between New Brunswick and Middlebush, to attend an open installation of the New Jersey branch of the Ku Klux Klan. ... They clambered into three automobile vans and fled in the direction of Zarephath, two miles from here, where the Pillar of Fire sect has headquarters on a ..." 
  7. "Klan Threatens Boy With Rope And Knife. Masked Men Accuse Him Of Stealing $50 Ku Klux Gift To His Mother.". New York Times. May 10, 1923. Retrieved 2010-03-11. "A month ago a stalwart figure in the robe and hood of a Klansman stalked through the streets of West Belmar to the home of Mrs. Bessie Titus, handed her 50 and without a wood disappeared. A few days later Mrs. Titus, who is separate from her husband, discovered the gift money was missing." 
  8. Alma White (1925). The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy. Pillar of Fire Church. ISBN 1428610758. 
  9. "Klan Has Summer Resort. Buys Old Marconi Radio Station of 396 acres (1.60 km2) on Shark River.". New York Times. June 20, 1926. Retrieved 2008-06-14. "Establishment of a Summer resort for the Ku Klux Klan on the Shark River at New Bedford is being fostered by officials of the New Jersey Realm of the Klan. The project is in its first stages, but tents and bungalows have been erected. Only members of the Klan or affiliated organizations are admitted to the 396-acre (1.60 km2) reservation, which until a year ago was owned by the Radio Corporation of America and was known as the Marconi Radio Station. The property was purchased by the Monmouth Pleasure Club, a holding company of Klansmen, and is now State headquarters of the organization. The Klan is to give demonstrations of its strength on July 3, 4 and 5, and on the last day will parade along the Ocean Boulevard of northern seashore resorts." 
  10. Alma White (1926). Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty. Pillar of Fire Church. ISBN 142549000X. 
  11. Alma White (1928). Heroes of the Fiery Cross. Pillar of Fire Church. 
  12. "Jersey Klan Leader Doubts His Dismissal. Grand Giant Says Wizard Sent Message for Bund Rally.". New York Times. August 24, 1940, Friday. Retrieved 2008-06-14. "[Arthur H. Bell has] been removed from the Klan by James Colescott, Imperial Wizard of the organization, as the result of a Klan meeting at the German American Bunds camp . ..." 
  13. "Klan Official's Ouster Decreed". Los Angeles Times. August 23, 1940.'s+Ouster+Decreed&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2008-06-14. "James Colescott, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. said tonight he had ordered the removal of Arthur Bell of Bloomfield, N.J., Grand Giant of the New Jersey Klan, as the result of a Klan meeting in a German American camp Sunday. ..." 
  14. "Jersey Klan Leader Repudiates Bund. Declares Imperial Wizard Is Opposed to All Alien Groups.". New York Times. August 23, 1940, Friday. Retrieved 2008-06-14. "Arthur Bell of Bloomfield, Grand Giant of the Realm of New Jersey of the Ku Klux Klan, said in an interview at the Tri-County Country Clubhouse tonight that it was "too bad the reporters did not remain to hear the final speech at Camp Nordland Sunday night."" 
  15. 15.0 15.1 David Mark Chalmers (1987). Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan. ISBN 0822307723. "Clad in yellow robes, Arthur H. Bell, the Bloomfield lawyer, who had led the New Jersey Klansmen in the 1920s ..." 
  16. Susie Cunningham Stanley (1993). Feminist Pillar of Fire: The Life of Alma White. The Pilgrim Press. ISBN 0829809503. "Seven chapters from The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy and one from Heroes of the Fiery Cross are reprinted in volume 1 of Guardians of Liberty. ... Volume 2 of Guardians of Liberty consists of fifteen chapters, thirteen from Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty and one from The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy. ..." 
  17. "Georgia Orders Action to Revoke Charter of Klan. Federal Lien Also Put on File to Collect Income Taxes Dating Back to 1921. Governor Warns of a Special Session if Needed to Enact 'De-Hooding' Measures Tells of Phone Threats Georgia Acts to Crush the Klan. Federal Tax Lien Also Is Filed". New York Times. May 31, 1946. Retrieved 2010-01-12. "Governor Ellis Arnall today ordered the State's legal department to bring action to revoke the Georgia charter of the Ku Klux Klan. ... 'It is my further information that on June 4, 1944, the Ku Klux Klan ..." 
  18. "Dragon's Praise". Time (magazine). 1927.,9171,711546,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-14. "As long as TIME plays fair, it will remain a pleasure for me to receive my weekly copy. I note that some subscribers take exception to things you say about their "pet" ideas. You have rapped my Organization several times but this has not changed my opinion of TIME. In such cases I smile at your mistakes and misunderstanding and wait for the time to arrive when you will know facts. You can rest assured that TIME has a great future before it and will continue to build up a first class list of subscribers." 
  19. Alma Bridwell White (1926). Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty. Pillar of Fire. "The Introduction to this book is by Arthur H. Bell, Grand Dragon, Realm of New Jersey, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." 
  20. Kristin E. Kandt (2000). "Historical Essay: In the Name of God; An American Story of Feminism, Racism, and Religious Intolerance: The Story of Alma Bridwell White.". American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law. 8: 753. "Alma White and the Pillar of Fire were unique, however, in their public alliance with the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, the Pillar of Fire was the only religious group to publicly associate itself with the Klan.". 
  21. The Universal Jewish encyclopedia. 1942. "The Reverend AM Young, former Grand Kaliff of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey, and Arthur H. Bell, Klan organizer, the two men apparently responsible for the ..." 

See also[]