Is it true that the Ku Klux Klan once operated in the Grants Pass area? Was there ever a sign at the Sixth Street Bridge that showed three people of color and nooses threatening black people not to walk around after sunset?
I don't recall ever seeing such a sign in my 75 years, but someone tells me it's true. If you could answer that, I'd really appreciate it.
— Bill, Medford
The Josephine County Historical Society has pictures of Ku Klux Klan members marching up and down the streets of Grants Pass, Bill. They were active there for many years, right up through the 1960s, according to JCHS research Martha Metcalf.
"We have a file on the Ku Klux Klan," Metcalf said.
Officials say there was little to no resistance to the group's theology and practices. People may not have liked their ideals, but rarely was that view voiced.
As for the Sixth Street Bridge sign, there's no evidence it existed. However, there was an unwritten sunset law that was meant to enforce just what you're speaking of.
Southern Oregon Historical Society officials add that the KKK also had quite the presence in Ashland. They have photos of members in parades during the 1920s and '30s.
"They were very active in Ashland," SOHS volunteer Dick Moore said.
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