Today in 1906, Thousands of Blacks Protested Against ‘The Clansman’ Stage Play in Philadelphia

0 Posted by - October 22, 2020 - On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: The University of Tulsa

In 1905, a book written by a pro-segregationist author (Thomas Dixon Jr.) stirred racially-triggered controversy in the early 20th century.

Dixon’s book was called The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the KKK. It was published in 1905. The novel was the second edition in the Ku Klux Klan trilogy by Thomas Dixon Jr. The series also included The Leopard’s Spots and The Traitor.

Dixon presents the Ku Klux Klan heroically. The novel was twice notably adapted, immediately by Dixon as a highly successful play entitled The Clansman (1905), and a decade later by D. W. Griffith in the famous 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation.

However, on October 22, 1906, in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, thousands of blacks protested a live on-stage theatrical performance of “The Clansman.” In the city of Philadelphia during the year 1906, 62 reported cases of lynchings occurred against blacks.

The black protestors showed up to the Philadelphia theater to voice their disgust behind Dixon’s glorification of the KKK; a white supremacist group responsible for lynching blacks in cities in the North and South after the Civil War.

According to the Tuskegee Institute, 3,444 blacks were lynched in America between 1882 and 1963.

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