Florida History: Ku Klux Klan exposed

Florida History: Ku Klux Klan exposed

Stetson Kennedy is known for being an author of several books and exposing the Ku Klux Klan. For more Florida history, check out Florida Time, a weekly column and newsletter that features Sunshine State everything. Sign up by texting FLORIDATIME to 33777. Stetson Kennedy appeared to be a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan but secretly, he was taking notes. His book, “ The Klan Unmasked ,” helped expose what’s arguably America’s longest-running terrorist group and marked him as a dead man. But Kennedy managed to die peacefully at age 94 in August 2011. William Stetson Kennedy wrote eight books in all, along with countless articles. They chronicled the dying language and habits of Florida folklife. But they also outlined his uphill fight against a racism that was firmly entrenched, both by custom and law. Beluthahatchee, his place in the swamp south of Jacksonville, is now one of the nation’s 60-plus federally-designated Literary Landmarks. Here’s more from our archives and from Kennedy’s obituary in our sister newspaper, the Florida Times-Union . In 1935, at just 18, he moved from Jacksonville to Key West looking for work. He ended up on the team that compiled the WPA guide to Florida. In a 1988 interview, he recalled carrying a sound recorder the size of a large coffee table, “capturing the songs of pogey fishermen at Mayport, railroad gandydancers, Latin cigarmakers, Greek spongers and turpentiners.” A good deal of the material ended up in “ Palmetto Country, ” a 1942 landmark history of folklore in Florida, southern Georgia and southern South Carolina which was part of the American Folkways Series. Many people consider it Kennedy’s finest book. Read more Florida history : Here are Florida’s top 25 stories of all time Ineligible for World War II because of a back injury, […]

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