S.E.F. Rose Historian General of the UDC and her career in the UDC praising the Ku Klux Klan.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) as an organization and by the actions of its members, including prominent members, defended the Ku Klux Klan. S.E.F. Rose was a UDC member who became the 2nd Historian General of the UDC. Her historical focus was on glorifying the Ku Klux Klan which met with praise in the UDC and probably was the chief reason she was elected Historian General of the UDC.
This document has the advertisements for her books, articles about her and her book in the Confederate Veteran.
In order to clearly differentiate between the explanatory text and the articles, the articles all have a light yellow background and are in Garamond font, the explanatory text is in Times New Roman and has a white background. The illustrations are all from the Confederate Veteran. The Confederate Veteran was the official publication of the United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederated Southern Memorial Associations, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The book is first mentioned as a pamphlet in the back pages of the Confederate Veteran.
Confederate Veteran, Vol. 17 No. 9, September 1909, pp. 476.
Kuklux Klan —the True and the False.—Mrs. S. E. F. Rose, State Historian of the Mississippi Division, U. D. C., has written a most entertaining pamphlet on the subject of the organization, uses, and abuses of this klan. The true klan was composed of the best men of the States for the purpose of assisting the South in the trying period of reconstruction. The false klan as depicted by Dixon was engaged in all the evils of the times. Mrs. Rose quotes two letters which were written her by the only two survivors of the famous klan of which Nathan Bedford Forrest was Grand Wizard of the Invisible Empire. The booklet is to be sold for the benefit of the Jefferson Davis Soldiers’ Home in Mississippi. Price, 25 cents. Address Mrs. S. E. F. Rose, West Point, Miss.
Regular advertisements for this pamphlet start appearing in the Confederate Veteran such as that shown to the right. (Confederate Veteran, Vol. 18 No. 4, April 1910, pp. 189)
Shortly there after, in the July 1910 Confederate Veteran, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 307, the UDC President General Mrs. Virginia Faulkner describes her visit to the Mississippi Division UDC convention and praises S.E.F. Rose, Historian General for the Mississippi Division.
… Their Historian is to be congratulated upon her work, especially the volume containing the history of the Ku Klux Klan. …
The Vol. 19 No 1, January 1911 Confederate Veteran, pp. 4, Mrs. Roy W. M’Kinney, UDC Secretary General, reporting the proceedings of the national convention of the UDC states:
Awaiting the report of the Credential Committee, the Chair presented Mrs. S.E.F. Rose, of Mississippi, who read her splendid paper on the “Ku Klux Klan.
Confederate Veteran book review of S.E.F. Rose’s pamphlet, Vol. 19 No. 5, May 1911, pp. 209.
HISTORICAL WORK IN MISSISSIPPI.
REPORT OF MRS. S. E. F. ROSE, STATE HISTORIAN U. D. C., WEST POINT, MISS.
The Mississippi Division, U. D. C., is ever proud of its record in the ranks of the great organization of which it forms a part, and especially proud of the work that it is accomplishing along historical lines. The Chapters are showing their interest in historical study, and throughout the Division there has been a wonderful awakening in matters pertaining to the collection and preservation of correct historical data. The historical work is thoroughly systematized, which is always necessary for the success of any undertaking, and is divided into two departments—the Prize Essay Contest and the Banner Contest. The former is open to the three highest grades of the public schools (white) of Mississippi, and a beautiful gold medal is awarded at the annual convention to the writer of the best essay on a subject pertaining to Southern history.
This year the subject selected by the Historian of the Mississippi Division is “Sam Davis, the Boy Hero of the Confederacy.” No more inspiring subject could have been selected, and the boys and girls of Mississippi have been inspired by the contemplation of this grand character, and have been taught lessons of bravery, patriotism, lofty courage, and devotion to principles.
The Banner Contest was introduced by the Historian during her first term of office, as she believed that by creating a pleasant rivalry among the Chapters much good would be accomplished. Success was at once assured, and to the Chapter of the Division submitting the best historical report is awarded a handsome satin banner at the convention.
All interest centers in Historical Evening, which is made a special feature of the annual conventions. On this occasion the medal and banner are presented, the year’s work reviewed, and a historical program rendered that is inspiring, uplifting, and stirs the soul with a love and pride in the grand and glorious history of our South—the fairest country given by the Creator to man.
[Mrs. Rose is a native of Pulaski, Tenn., where Sam Davis gave to the world this exhibition of sublime courage and heroism. This historic town was also the mother of the Ku-Klux Klan, the great organization that delivered the South from a bondage worse than death. Mrs. Rose was Miss Laura Martin, a granddaughter of Mr. Thomas Martin, who, at his own expense, equipped a company for the Confederacy. She was a niece of Mrs. Ophelia Martin Spofford, of Pulaski, who was a loyal friend to the Veteran through life.—Editor.]
The booklet on the Ku-Klux Klan now being advertised in the Veteran was prepared by Mrs. Rose as a historical paper, and the Mississippi Division had it published and sells it for the benefit of a fund which is to be used in erecting a monument at the Confederate Soldiers’ Home of Mississippi (Beauvoir) to the memory of Confederate veterans.
The Confederate Veteran in the March 1912 issue, Vol. 20 No. 3, page 134, informs the reader that, “The booklet has already been sold in thirty-three States and in far-away China, and a nice sum is being realized for the monument.” In a later issue, September 1912, Vol. 20 No. 9, page 413, a newspaper reported is quoted, “Mrs. S.E.F. Rose, the brilliant and capable President of the Mississippi Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, …” so we know that she has advanced to become the president of the Mississippi Division since producing the pamphlet.
The following article in the Vol. 21 No. 11, November 1913 Confederate Veteran, page 518, announces that S.E.F. Rose has written a book for students to be used in the schools.
WORTHY U. D. C. WORKER IN MISSISSIPPI.
Mrs. S. E. F. Rose, of West Point, Miss., is a most enthusiastic U. D. C. worker. Her administration as State President of the U. D. C. of Mississippi, which was just closed by constitutional limitation, was marked by brilliancy and advancement along all lines of work, over a thousand new members having been added to the Division. When asked as to what she attributed her success, she replied: “My heart was in it.” Mrs. Rose served as State Historian, U. D. C., prior to her election as President, and has written many valuable historical papers, notably the “Ku Klux Clan,” which she gave permission to the Mississippi Division to sell for the benefit of a Confederate monument to be erected at Beauvoir, Miss., the home of the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. The booklet met with great success, having been sold in thirty-eight States and in far-away China, and the Mississippi Division now has the sum of $500 from the sales of the booklet as a nucleus for the monument.
During the past summer Mrs. Rose prepared a history of the Ku Klux Clan in suitable form for school study, and she will endeavor to secure its adoption as a supplementary reader in the schools, thus bringing the true history of this great organization direct to the young people of the Southland, our boys and girls of to-day, who will be our citizens of to-morrow. Mrs. Rose will ask the indorsement of the U. D. C. for the book and feels that if she can get this information to the youth of our land she will have accomplished a great mission.
Mrs. Rose will attend the coming convention in New Orleans, and on Historical Evening will present a beautiful silver loving cup for the best essay on “The Women of the Confederacy.” This contest was inaugurated this year by Mrs. Rose by permission of the President General and Historian General, and the loving cup is her personal gift in order to stimulate interest in the collection of data about these wonderful women, the mothers of the Confederacy.
Notice of S.E.F. Rose’s book is on page 380, of the Vol. 22 No. 8, August, 1914 Confederate Veteran as follows:
THE KU-KLUX KLAN
The true story of that “mysterious brotherhood” which was the salvation of the South in Reconstruction time has been put in book form most attractively by Mrs. S.E.F. Rose, Historian of the Mississippi Division, U.D.C., who grew up in Pulaski, Tenn., the town where the order originated, and she writes largely from personal knowledge. The book contains letters from charter members of the Klan and incidents related by other members of the Klan and incidents related by other members and is handsomely illustrated. It was prepared primarily for school use and has received strong indorsement by all Confederate organizations and also by historians and authors. It will not only instruct but entertain.
Order direct from the author, Mrs. S.E.F. Rose, West Point, Miss. Price, 85 cents, postpaid.
On the next page after the article, page 381, was the advertisement shown to the right. Note that the book is endorsed by both the UDC and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).
Confederate Veteran, Vol. 22 No. 10, October 1914, page 445, from article, “Activities in the Association: Resolutions by Sons of Confederate Veterans.”
The indorsement of the story of the Ku-Klux Klan as written by Mrs. S.E.F. Rose, of Mississippi, pledges the organization to “assist in every way possible to promote its circulation and to coöporate in getting this work in the schools and public libraries” that the origin and objects of that great order may be more generally known and understood.
To the left is the front piece printed on page 523 of the Vol. 22 No. 11, November 1914, Confederate Veteran. Below is the new ad for the book in the classified of the magazine on page 526 of the same issue. Note that the ad states that the UDC and SCV will be working to place this book in schools and libraries.
In the Vol. 23 No. 6, June 1915 Confederate Veteran, page 278, in reporting on the UDC Mississippi Division that a local chapter introduced a resolution at the convention to endorse S.E.F. Rose to be the next Historian General at the UDC national convention in San Francisco. The resolution is passed unanimously by the convention.
Confederate Veteran, Vol. 23 No. 8, August 1915, pp. 347.
FOR HISTORIAN GENERAL.
The Mississippi Division, in convention at Vicksburg May 4-6, 1915, unanimously indorsed Mrs. S. E. F. Rose, former President of the Division, for the next Historian General U.D.C.
If Miss Rutherford, the present Historian General, consents to hold the office another year, Mrs. Rose’s name will not be presented until 1916. Mrs. Rose is in no sense opposing Miss Rutherford, and only in the event that Miss Rutherford declines the nomination at San Francisco will her name be presented at this convention. The official indorsement of the Mississippi Division, which Mrs. Rose served for four years as Historian and as President, is a well-deserved tribute to her splendid work, for she inaugurated methods which aroused enthusiasm and greatly increased the membership. While Historian she established the “banner contest,” giving a silk banner to the Chapter doing the best historical work; as President she inaugurated the “new member contest,” giving a silver loving cup to the Chapter securing the largest percentage of new members. This was all done at her personal expense. Two years ago she started a similar contest in the general order, giving a loving cup for the best essay on a subject pertaining to Southern history, South Carolina and Tennessee winning in 1913 and 1914.
Mrs. Rose has written a number of valuable historical articles, and recently she has prepared the only school history of the Ku-Klux Klan, which bears the indorsement of Confederate organizations and leading educators. Her many friends feel that if she is elected Historian General she will bring to the office the highest ideals of loyalty and patriotism.
S.E.F. Rose’s book is adopted for United Daughters of the Confederacy historical programs as the following item in the Confederate Veteran, Vol. 24 No. 1, January 1916, page 39.
U.D.C. PROGRAM, FEBRUARY 1916
Reconstruction Days in the South
(Answers to be found in address of Historian General at San Francisco, Cal., “Historical Sins of Ommission and Commission,” pages 25-29.)
1. “Condition of the North and South at the close of the War Between the States.” Cook
2. “Plunder of the Eleven States.” Voorhees.
3. “The Unconsitutionality of the Fifteenth Amendment.” Chicago Chronicle.
4. Charles Francis Adams’s views in regard to Reconstruction policies.
5. Necessity of the Ku-Klux Klan. Reference, “The Ku-Klux Klan,” by Mrs. S.E.F. Rose, West Point, Miss.
With the release of the movie, “Birth of a Nation,” S.E.F. Rose is asked to write the following article for the Confederate Veteran, Vol. 24 No. 4, April 1916, pp. 157-159. Accompanying the article is the KKK flag and the frontspiece illustration of her book. The article is followed by another item, not surprisingly titled, “The Old-Time Nigger,” a song for the readers. The reader should note the “lessons taught by the Klan” in the conclusion of her article, the first being “the inevitability of Anglo-Saxon supremacy.” The Confederate Veteran, in this same issue, has on page 189, a short article recommending her book.
THE KU-KLUX KLAN AND “THE BIRTH OF A NATION.”
BY MRS. S.E.F. ROSE, WEST POINT, MISS.
The wonderful photo play entitled “The Birth of a Nation,” which portrays so vividly the Ku-Klux Klan, has done more in a few months’ time to arouse interest in that organization than all the articles written on the subject during the last forty years. We have been told that “the pen is mightier than the sword”; but it seems that the silent language of the photo drama has proved more powerful than all else in bringing about a realization of “things as they were” during Reconstruction in the South, the era immediately following the War between the States. Those pictured scenes in “The Birth of a Nation” have, like a flame of fire, burned into the hearts of men and women and left an impression stamped too deep ever to be eradicated. And so the presentation of this great play has accomplished untold good, for people are now beginning to understand the terrible conditions existing in the South during Reconstruction which made the Ku-Klux Klan a necessity. People everywhere are now seeking the true history of the Klan; its origin, objects, and mission, and the South should be prepared to furnish these facts while the information is being so eagerly sought.
The question has been asked: “Does not ‘The Birth of a Nation’ exaggerate? Does it present conditions as they really were?” Only those who lived through Reconstruction days can answer that question, and the answer has been given by a devoted woman of the Confederacy who, after seeing the play, remarked: “It does not tell half enough of the horrors of those dark days.” Reconstruction is a word that can hardly be spoken even yet without a thrill of terror by those who were witnesses of those scenes and came under the dark cloud that enveloped the Southland during “reconstruction,” or, rather, “destruction,” which has been suggested by an eminent Southern writer as a more appropriate term. All seemed blackness and despair until the Ku-Klux Klan appeared upon the scene, bringing a ray of hope and affording relief from a situation which threatened greater horrors than the war itself. Does not the Southland owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men who composed that organization and who rode side by side with death during the darkest hour in the South’s history to redeem the land from carpetbag and negro rule? The only way to pay that debt is to vindicate completely those heroes before the world by producing the facts and placing them before our boys and girls of to-day, who will be our citizens of to-morrow and at the head of State and national affairs.
The Ku-Klux Klan was a creation born of necessitous times, and it was a most potent factor in bringing help to the South in her hour of dire distress and furnishing relief that could have come in no other way. And yet no organization has been so grossly maligned, misjudged, and misunderstood. The Ku-Klux Klan has also been called “The Invisible Empire,” and so effectively did it carry out its purposes that it might also have appropriately been called “The Invincible Empire.” In order to have a proper appreciation of this great movement, there are some fundamental and vital principles upon which the Klan was founded that should be carefully considered in order that the deep significance of the Klan may be revealed.
Patriotism, justice, humanity, protection, preservation of real law and good government, and the establishment of white supremacy forever. While the charge has been made that the Klan was unlawful—and, in one sense of the word, this is true—in a higher sense it was lawful, for the laws of the land had been diverted from their original purposes and trampled underfoot by ignorant and vicious negroes and adventurers who were unable properly to interpret the laws and unfit to enforce them. The Ku-Klux Klan was organized to meet these conditions, to resist lawlessness, to defend justice, to preserve the integrity of the white race, and to enforce civil and racial law. No braver men were ever banded together, no grander brotherhood ever existed, than the original Ku-Klux Klan. These men were true patriots animated by a noble spirit and possessing ideals as high as ever entered into the mind of man to conceive.
Birthplace of the Klan.
Pulaski, Giles County, Tenn., was the birthplace of the Ku-Klux Klan, which came into being and was perfected during the winter and spring of 1866. This town was noted for the culture and refinement of its people, a town of schools and colleges and churches, of the most elevating social, religious, and educational influences, and not a community that would likely produce cutthroats or desperadoes or engender an organization with low, ignoble, or evil purposes. Amid these environments, all elevating and refining, the Ku-Klux Klan originated and was started on its great mission to protect the Southland, rescue it from its enemies, and place it on the highest plane of Caucasian civilization. Pulaski always remained in a way headquarters for the Klan, as many of its prominent officers and members and all of its originators lived there. Pulaski has always felt the greatest pride that it was the birthplace of the Klan, which was destined to play such a prominent and valuable part in Southern history.
There were six charter members of the Ku-Klux Klan, as follows: John C. Lester, Richard R. Reed, John Booker Kennedy, Frank O. McCord, Calvin Jones, James R. Crowe. Their names should be written in letters of light on Fame’s immortal scroll. They were all men of education, of culture, refined taste, and good ancestry; men of moral and social standing, of intelligence and sterling character, and all had served their country during the four years of war and had honorable records as Confederate soldiers. They first organized as a social club to hold meetings for recreation and social intercourse, to relieve the tedium and monotony following the stirring scenes and activities of war. However, they soon directed their object into more useful channels. They were confronted with the fact that the newly acquired freedom of the negro, this sudden elevation to power, and the bad advice given him by carpetbaggers and scalawags were making of the negro a very undesirable and dangerous citizen. These men knew perfectly the characteristics of the negro; they knew that superstition entered largely into his make-up and that through that dominating element in his nature they would be able to control him. They knew that the mere mention of “ghosts” and “graveyards” would have a very salutary effect in keeping the negro in his proper place.
So the Ku-Klux Klan made the negroes believe that they were the spirits of their dead masters and had come direct from the spirit world to admonish them for their wrong-doings and to punish them if they refused to obey. The effect was wonderful—indeed, almost miraculous—and the anticipation of a visit from these “ghosts” would subdue even the most maliciously inclined. All that was weird, mysterious, and awe-inspiring in costumes, conversations, signs, and passwords was used by these midnight riders to hold the negroes in abeyance and thus counteract the evil influences of the carpetbagger and low politicians who were using the negro as a tool for their evil purposes and to get the reins of government in their own hands.
Origin of the Name.
The significant name “Ku-Klux” was really coined by the charter members. It was suggested that the Greek word “KuKlos,” meaning a circle, be given the organization. This finally was called “Ku-Klux,” and later Klan was added, making the three K’s, or “Ku-Klux Klan,” which became so historic and significant. “The Invisible Empire,” another name for the Klan, was given because of the sudden manner in which the Klan appeared and disappeared, leaving the impression, as expressed by the negroes, that “the Ku-Klux riz from the ground”; disappearing with equal suddenness, it appeared as if the ground had opened and swallowed them. Many ruses were adopted by the Ku-Klux to scare the negroes into submission, and they always had the desired effect. For instance, such as asking for a drink of water and disposing quickly of several bucketfuls at a time, the Klansman remarking that it was the first drink he had had “since the battle of Manassas” or Shiloh or some other famous battle, when in reality the water went into a rubber bag concealed beneath the costume
They would also remove their heads and hand them to the negroes to hold while they were drinking water. This was done by having a skull on top of the head, which was covered by a sheet. Then oftentimes they would offer to shake hands and ride off, leaving a skeleton hand with the negroes as a pleasing souvenir of their visits. These and many other devices that only a Ku-Klux could conceive of aroused such terror among the negroes that they would flee to the woods, only the whites of their eyes being visible.
The titles of the officers of the organization were all weird and uncanny, such as Grand Wizard, Grand Dragon, Grand Giant, Grand Cyclops, and many others, and the private members were called “Ghouls.” The banner of the Ku-Klux Klan, of triangular shape, yellow with red border, carrying a fierce black dragon with fiery tongue and the inscription, “Quod semper, quod ubique, et quod ab ominibus,” was another symbol of terror. The costumes were weird and fantastic. No uniform color was used, and so they varied in the different States. All white was a favorite, as it carried out the “ghost” idea; but red, yellow, and even black were used, according to the taste of the individual or the “Den,” as the meeting place of each Klan was called. The costumes were made by the devoted women of the Southland—the wives, mothers, and sweethearts—who were always in the confidence of the Ku-Klux Klan. They were made with their own fingers and concealed in some specified place, and the Ku-Klux knew just where to find them after nightfall.
Leaders of the Klan.
Gen. George W. Gordon, of Confederate fame, was one of the Klan’s early and wise leaders. He prepared the oath and ritual for the Klan and furnished a safe chart for them to follow in their dangerous work. In the fall of 1866 the Klan had spread with amazing rapidity, covering nearly all the Southern States; and Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the great Confederate cavalry leader, was made “Grand Wizard of the Invisible Empire.” The oath was administered to him by Capt. John W. Morton, afterwards Secretary of State of Tennessee, in Room No. 10 of the Maxwell House, Nashville, Tenn., and the Klan moved forward in its great work of rescue and protection. In 1869 General Forrest gave the order for disbandment, believing that the mission of the Klan had been accomplished, and the mighty Invisible Empire, not by force, but voluntarily, disbanded. The Klansmen folded their tents like the Arabs and silently passed from view. Their great mission of protection for the homes and women of the Southland had been accomplished, and these uncrowned heroes of the Southland desired no other reward.
The Ku-Klux have been called cowards because they acted under disguise. Existing conditions must again be considered to explain this. Ex-Confederates were denied the right of the ballot, of testifying in court, and of carrying firearms. There were negro soldiers, legislators, and magistrates. Carpetbaggers held the reins of government, and to have acted in the open would have been equivalent to offering their arms for handcuffs and being sent to some Northern prison, there to languish and die, leaving loved ones at home at the mercy of despots and ruffians. The secrecy they were compelled to use also made it possible for evil men to assume the disguise of the Ku-Klux and to perpetrate wicked deeds that the real Ku-Klux did not permit. The real Ku-Klux were opposed to taking human life and never did so except as a last resort. The Ku-Klux have also been compared to the “night riders.” This is entirely wrong, for the latter destroyed lives and property and carried out private vengeance and hatreds; but the Ku-Klux protected lives and property whenever it was possible to do so.
Lessons Taught by the Klan.
Several lessons were taught by the Klan which are so plain that “he that runs may read”:
1. The inevitability of Anglo-Saxon supremacy. This was firmly established for all time by these brave men when every attempt was being made to trample white civilization underfoot.
2. The courage and patriotism of the Confederate soldier, tried on hundreds of battle fields. Returning home to desolation and poverty, he rose to meet an emergency during Reconstruction that called for most heroic action.
3. That truth will at last prevail. The Ku-Klux Klan was founded on truth and honor; and now, after more than half a century has passed, the complete vindication of the Klan is being witnessed, bringing to mind the words of the poet:
“Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain
And dies among his worshipers.”
The Ku-Klux Klan was born in mystery, lived in mystery, and mystery will ever enshroud its grave. As Minerva sprang from the brain of Jupiter clad in complete armor, so from the bosom of the Southland in a night, as it were, sprang this vast invisible, invincible army composed of the brave men of the South, fully armed and equipped, to redeem the land from oppression and destruction. Let parents see to it that respect for the Ku-Klux Klan is impressed upon the minds and hearts of their children, and thus will a monument be erected to those Southern heroes more enduring than marble or bronze.
[Note:—This article was written for the Veteran by special request. Original letters of charter members, documents, and affidavits now in the possession of the writer verify all the statements made.—Editor.]
In the Confederate Veteran Vol. 24 No. 8, August 1916, page 371, it is announced, that S.E.F. Rose has been again nominated for UDC Historian General, for among other qualities, “… and she has rendered invaluable service to the South in writing the history of the Ku-Klux Klan.”
In the Confederate Veteran, Vol. 25 No. 2, February 1917, “The Mississippi Division,” page 90, has an article on the election of S.E.F. Rose to Historian General of the UDC in their Mississippi Division news.
Inasmuch as the Mississippi Division presented the name of one of her gifted members as Historian General, the convention, U.D.C., held at Dallas, Tex., in November, was of special interest to the Mississippi Daughters. Mrs. Rose’s name was received without opposition and amid much applause. She is recognized as a woman of wonderful personality and rare executive ability, serving her Division ably as Historian and President, and as the author of “The Ku-Klux Klan” is known as a writer of ability. The Division is justly proud of the high honor accorded her, but feels that it is deserved.
S.E.F. Rose as Historian General of the UDC, publishes in the Confederate Veteran, Vol. 25 No. 4, April 1917, page 181-2, “Fifty Test Questions in History,” as questions to which the membership should know the answer. The fiftieth question is, “50. What was the Ku-Klux Klan? Why its necessity?,” and in the study materials for the fifty questions, books are recommended including her own book on the Klan.