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Large Group Secedes from New Jersey Klan

March 22, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The Klan Klaverns throughout southern New Jersey are agitated by a secession movement caused by the withdrawal from the hooded order of 96 members of the Palmyra unit.

Frederick P. Meeks, of Palmyra, the leader of the secessionists, and until recently, assistant kleagle for Burlington county, started the rupture with his statement that the Klan is un-American and un-Christian.

The 96 Palmyra Klansmen staged their “walkout,” Meeks said, because they were “sick of the Kleagle’s high and mighty tactics and arbitrary bossing,” and were going to “show him up.” The Kleagle, James Raymond Bennett, is a school principal.

Meeks’ statement read:

“The Klan’s claim that it is a Christian organization is false. Some Christians get in, even some ministers, because of the loud professions of Christianity and American principles made by the paid propagandists of the organization. But many of them leave it after they have been in long enough to learn the real character of the thing.

“I myself went into the thing believing it to be an organization standing for Christianity in all that Christianity means, and may others did the same, only to be deceived, and to learn that the Klan propagandists’ idea is to oppose the Jew, which is just the opposite of what Christianity teaches.

“They say they are not anti-everything, but they are anti-everything but the Klan, and the Klan is nothing more in my estimation than a bunch of leeches, bleeding the people. If it were not for the enormous sums of money these propagandists make, this thing would die at once. There is no doubt that occasionally clean men get into positions of leadership in the organization, but they are very rare.

“In Burlington county, there is a character in charge in the person of James R. Bennett, the Kleagle over Burlington and Mercer counties, who is to become Great Titan over seven counties of South Jersey, as a result of this thing called an ‘Invisible Empire’ becoming chartered in the counties of this state.

“They must have a certain number of big dupes before the big boss grants them a charter, so they are working hard just at present to separate as many as possible from their $10 each, $4 of which goes into Bennett’s pockets. But in spite of Bennett receiving $4 from each initiation fee, and 50 cents from the purchase of each robe a Klansman is informed he must own, a weekly salary is paid this same Bennett from each of several units. Palmyra unit pays him $10 a week; Mt. Holly, $15; and Mercer county, $25, in addition to his automobile and other expenses.

“In spite of this he gets in debt to the tune of $2,250, as shown by a letter, begging help, which he sent out to a Klansman.”

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