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NOT REAL NEWS: Thousands of KKK members didn’t march down Fifth Avenue in 1924

October 18, 2018

NOT REAL NEWS: Thousands of Ku Klux Klan members did not march down Fifth Avenue in New York City to go to the Democratic National Convention in 1924.

THE FACTS: A photo circulating online falsely claims to show 50,000 Ku Klux Klan members walking down Fifth Avenue for the 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York City.

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the picture was actually taken in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1924. The site’s photo description says KKK members in white hoods and robes were walking to a funeral for police officer, Herbert Dreger, who was killed in an ambush. 

Rory McVeigh, author of “The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan: Right-Wing Movements and National Politics,” told The Associated Press in an email that, “the 50,000 figure would certainly not be anywhere close to accurate.” He said Klan leaders and sympathizers would often exaggerate attendance at marches and rallies.  

McVeigh noted that the Klan did have a role at the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden in 1924, as some of the delegates were actually Klan members. They would not be wearing regalia inside the convention hall, according to McVeigh. 

He said that there was a floor fight over a platform proposal to condemn the Klan by name, though it was defeated by a narrow margin. He added that the Klan was extremely anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant “so New York City would have been largely a hostile environment for the Klan.” 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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Find all AP Fact Checks here: https://www.apnews.com/tag/APFactCheck 

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