Chapter

The Making of a White Middle Class: The Ku Klux Klan and Urban Reform

Chris Rhomberg

in No There There

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236189
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940888 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236189.003.0003
The Making of a White Middle Class: The Ku Klux Klan and Urban Reform

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This chapter explores the rise of the white Protestant middle-class population and its formation as a group. It argues that the Oakland Klan movement had its greatest impact on the city's majority white population. The rise and fall of the Oakland Klan did not simply occur as an outcome of the interactions between movement and regime, but involved a conjunctural conflict among at least three actors: machine, Klan, and “downtown.” The political mobilization of group identity took shape in an urban social movement led by the Ku Klux Klan. The downtown reformers altered the institutional terrain of Oakland politics. Michael Kelly joined forces with the Klan in a populist electoral alliance against the rising power of the downtown elites. The rise and fall of the Klan movement brought with them the end of popular machine politics and a decline in the salience of ethnicity as a political identity in Oakland.

Keywords: white Protestant middle-class; Oakland Klan movement; Ku Klux Klan; urban reform; machine politics; downtown; ethnicity

Chapter.  11772 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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