Yesterday’s Crimes: The Disappearance of the African-American Klansman – March 12, 2018

In early 1965, Paul Bellesen, the owner of a cleaning service in Nampa, Idaho, sent $15 to the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Stone Mountain, Ga., vowing to establish a new Clavern in his town. A short time later, Bellesen received his signed Klan membership card in the mail — along with the surprising news that grand wizard James. R. Venable had named him Idaho’s new “grand titan” of the KKK.

When Bellesen first wrote the Klan asking to join, he told them he was with the Nampa Elks Club. He didn’t mention that he just worked as the club’s janitor — or, that he was African American.

But the news got out. The wire services alerted the media to the fact that an African American had been named grand titan of the Idaho Klan, and it became a national story, complete with…

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