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Letter to the Editor

KKK Memories

June 2024
1min read

My father, David Keith Stewart, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and came to the United States at the turn of the century. He took a job in a bank, and soon he was asked to go to the small town of Edinburg, Indiana, thirty miles south of Indianapolis, to be manager of the Thompson Bank.

Soon after he arrived there the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of the Catholic Church. The next day a group of the wealthiest and most prominent men of the town came to the bank and asked to see my father. When ushered into his office, the spokesman said, “Mr. Stewart, we are the members of the Ku Klux Klan, and we have come to invite you to join us.”

“But,” replied my father with great personal relief, “I am not eligible to join your organization, gentlemen.”

“What!” exploded the spokesman. “Why not?”

“Because, I am foreign-born.”

And because the men had identified themselves, that was the end of Klan activities in Edinburg, Indiana.

Correction: A letter that appeared in the correspondence section of our May/June issue says that Finland “had been invaded by the Germans in 1939.” Of course, it was the Russians and not the Germans who were the aggressors in the bitter Winter War.

Beverley Hilowitz died last July. Beginning in 1963 as an assistant editor at American Heritage, she rose over the course of a two-decade career here to become Publisher and Chief Operating Officer. She was intensely devoted to the company and to maintaining the standards set by its founders; she will be missed.

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