Positively New Jersey: Reckoning with New Jersey's history with the KKK

News 12's Brian Donohue spent the day with a historian discussing New Jersey's history with the Ku Klux Klan.

News 12 Staff

Jun 4, 2021, 11:04 PM

Updated 1,052 days ago

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The centennial of the Tulsa race massacre has prompted a reckoning and questioning by many Americans who are asking why this history was so infrequently taught or discussed in the decades since.
News 12's Brian Donohue spent the day with a historian discussing New Jersey's history with the Ku Klux Klan.
Some land in a Wall Township neighborhood was once owned by the KKK and served as the hate group's basis of operations in New Jersey a century ago.
The KKK was not successful in New Jersey
"I'm proud that they kicked these guys out," said Joe Bilby, coauthor of “The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey.”
The old Camp Evans site was land previously owned by the Klan before the U.S. military moved in during World War II. Bilby says there's still a sense that some people, especially in areas where the Klan was strongest, don't always want to talk about the history.
Bilby's book lays out how the KKK met strong opposition at almost every turn, but also how there were enough racist New Jersey residents to fill the streets at marches, and for the Klan to purchase large tracts of property. It also discusses the riot in Perth Amboy, at which a Klan rally ended with anti-Klan groups literally chasing them out of town.


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