The KKK in Portsmouth

Another hideous racist New England historical skeleton dragged out of its well-hidden closet by Rhode Island historian Gloria Schmidt. Do not fail to read the Rhode Island Historical Society article linked to in this article. Although it’s creepily pro-Klan it has a wealth of information embedded (and misrepresented) in it. —IWPCHI

portsmouthhistorynotes

We don’t usually picture Portsmouth as a town that would host a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan. As I research Portsmouth history I can take pride in the examples of integration in Portsmouth schools, churches and in the community in general. But Portsmouth is a town like any other town, and bigotry did exists, especially in the 1920s. Accounts in the Newport Mercury in May of 1924 record a “Fiery Cross” being burnt in a field near the Newport County Fair Grounds. Abby Sherman’s Diary on May 26, 1924 reads: “Last Night the Fiery Cross was burned on the hill on the Cory land by the Klan. There were about 200 at the meeting.” * I believe the Cory Farm was where St. Barnabas Church is today.

Fiery Cross Burns in Portsmouth

Abby’s son, Arthur Sherman, was among those listed as members of the Klan. Arthur was a prominent…

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