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Finney County Historical Society Hosting Program Exploring Kansas Resistance to KKK

Judd Weil judd.rmmedia@gmail.com


[FINNEY COUNTY, Kan.]

Beverly Olson Buller is an author, educator, and leader of the William Allen White Book Awards selection committee.
Beverly Olson Buller is an author, educator, and leader of the William Allen White Book Awards selection committee. [SUBMITTED PHOTO]


The Finney County Historical Society (FCHS) will host “William Allen White and the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas,” a presentation by Beverley Olson Buller, on April 19.


The free program is sponsored by the museum and Humanities Kansas, an independent, non-profit cultural organization, as part of the FCHS Evening at the Museum series.


Admission is free and those attending should enter through the north entrance of the museum. Seating is limited to capacity.


Buller is an author, educator, and leader of the William Allen White Book Awards selection committee.


Buller’s presentation will be preceded at noon, April 13 by a “History at High Noon” program offered by Johnetta Hebrlee, museum education coordinator, focusing on the history of vigilante groups in the state.


The 1920s brought the re-emergence of the KKK across the U.S., sparking fear and violence against African Americans and other minority groups, according to Buller.


As the editor of the Emporia Gazette, White was acutely aware of the KKK’s growth after World War I.


Finding no candidates free of Klan influence, White declared, “I want to be governor to free Kansas from the disgrace of the Ku Klux Klan.” Buller’s presentation follows the raucous two-month campaign in which White traveled over 2,700 miles to deliver 104 speeches, all directed at expelling the KKK.


“When anything is going to happen in this country, it happens first in Kansas,” White wrote in 1922. “Accordingly, Kansas became the first U.S. state to outlaw the KKK,” said Buller. “The story of White's role in history is fascinating and one of which his fellow Kansans can be very proud.”


The presentations by Hebrlee and Buller will conclude the museum’s free public history lecture series for spring 2022.


The fall schedule will be announced soon.


Previous sessions this year have included “Writing Your Personal History,” “The Silver Sage Renaissance Festival” and “Soule’s Folly.” “Soule’s Folly” covered the story of the failed 19th Century Eureka Irrigation Canal in Ford and Gray Counties.


For more information call 620-272-3664.


“William Allen White and the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas,” will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Mary Regan Conference Room of the Finney County Historical Museum, located at 403 S. Fourth Street in Garden City’s Finnup Park.


Buller is appearing as part of the Humanities Kansas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations designed to share inspiring stories, spark conversations and generate insights to strengthen civic engagement.