A&M History Question - 1920s

11,762 Views | 32 Replies | Last: 8 yr ago by terata
Pedro Cerano
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I recently acquired a copy of the 1924 Longhorn and last night was my first opportunity to sit down and flip through it. There's an entire section on clubs, the vast majority of which are simply related to cities and counties (e.g. Dallas Club, Tarrant County Club, etc.). However, one particular club stuck out pretty obviously...the Kream & Kow Klub.

I'm slightly afraid to hear the answer to this question, but, is that what I think it is?
BQ78
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If you are thinking Ku Klux Klan, you would be right and I believe that club still existed on campus during World War II.
Pedro Cerano
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That's what I figured it was.

I know you can't retroactively hold people to standards and societal norms that didn't exist at the time, but I wish they hadn't memorialized it for all time with a picture in the yearbook. That was somewhat surprising.
CanyonAg77
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The Klan of the 1920s is not the Klan of the 1870s or even the 1960s. Still not a great legacy, but not horrific.
BigJim49 AustinNowDallas
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Dairy Husbandry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you people nuts?

[This message has been edited by BigJim49 AustinNowDallas (edited 5/3/2012 10:51a).]
ABATTBQ87
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quote:
I know you can't retroactively hold people to standards and societal norms that didn't exist at the time, but I wish they hadn't memorialized it for all time with a picture in the yearbook. That was somewhat surprising.


Why would it be surprising? It was the attitude of the country of the time. There is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed of that happening at that time at Texas A&M.

Pedro Cerano
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I’m not embarrassed or ashamed by it and have already acknowledged it was a different time.

I was surprised they put a picture in the yearbook. And the fact that they felt compelled to use a fake name for the club (though a fairly obvious one) tells you they knew it was somewhat questionable to include this picture as well.

Don’t turn this thread into something it’s not. I just wanted to confirm my interpretation of what that club really was.
aalan94
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The KKK in reality was a lot different from the stereotypes. Once blacks were securely "in their place" after the early Jim Crow days, much of their activity was focused on the real enemy as they saw it: Catholics and foreigners.

The Klan was considered to be a force for the prevention of vice in society and was highly respected by mainstream society. There were, in effect 2 Klans, the tame one and the one that was kind of like the SA in Nazi Germany. A lot of people belonged just to belong.

Just finished a biography of former Governor Dan Moody, who got his start fighting the Klan in the 1920s. When he took up a case to prosecute the Klan, no one had done it. In this case (the victim was a travelling salesman, who was white, supposedly living in sin with a widow), there was great hostility to Moody's prosecution, but he went forward and exposed the Klan. It eventually opened up the dirty secrets (a lot of people didn't think the Klan was so bad because the violence was hushed up). When the Klan's methods were exposed, it caused a huge PR loss for them, and the normal society was revolted against them. That helped Moody win the attorney general's job, and then later, the governorship.

I'd defer to an expert, but I'd say that the original Klan from the 1860s-70s was an anti-Repubican insurgent group. The re-started Klan from the 1890s-1910s was more racist, from the 1920s on it focused more on immigrants and Catholics (they had big rallies bashing German-Americans in and after the war). The anti-black part of the Klan probably didn't attract many people, because blacks weren't considered by most whites to be a threat. The resurgence of blacks as the focus of Klan activities probably coincided with WWII and the black empowerment it created, and the subsequent civil rights movement. By that period, the "foreigners" like the Germans had been asimilated (My grandfather refused to speak German to my dad at this time), and so the only threat left was the blacks. But the Klan was never as large as an anti-black movement as it was in the anti-foriegner days.
OldArmy71
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Whoa, now. Slow down. Are we trying to say that the Kream and Kow Klub was a front for the KKK?

I don't see anything in the yearbook to confirm that at all. I'm looking at the 1941 Longhorn, p. 457. The club photo is taken in front of the Creamery. A very cursory examination of the club's officers shows that several are majoring in DH, which as BigJim suggests, must be Dairy Husbandry, and they are on the National Dairy Cattle Judging Team.

I can certainly imagine a scenario in which whoever created the club to begin with thought it would be clever to use the KKK initials (sort of like my father '44 thought he was being cute by saying in his senior photo that he was "president of the Canadian Club"), but what evidence is there that this club was a front group?


[This message has been edited by OldArmy71 (edited 5/3/2012 4:32p).]
powerbiscuit
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Dairy Science Club
BQ78
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Well, here was their picture in the 1906 Longhorn you tell me if they look like a milk judging team or something else:

OldArmy71
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Just to get this straight, BQ, are you saying that the KKK club is the A&M branch of the KKK?

Or do you agree with me that these guys made what is today a politically incorrect allusion to the KKK in the name they chose for their club?

Unless all and only Dairy Husbandry majors are innately racists, if the club was really a KKK group, I would expect a variety of majors. On the other hand, if the situation is as I suspect, then the people in this picture would all be majoring in some form of Dairy Science, or whatever they called it back then.

Is there a way for you to check what they were majoring in?



[This message has been edited by OldArmy71 (edited 5/3/2012 5:40p).]
terata
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BQ, that looks like the "tin foil hat" Brigade to me.
OldArmy71
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Google Kream and Kow Club Texas A&M and you get all sorts of speculation, most of it reporting someone else's speculation.

Some samples:

http://lazymf-lazymf.blogspot.com/2011/05/texas-the-good-bad-and-ugly.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/us/politics/rick-perrys-texas-roots-include-racial-backdrop.html?pagewanted=all
quote:
In 1968, Mr. Perry left home for Texas A&M, a deeply conservative university whose yearbooks early in the century included Ku Klux Klan-robed students and a dairy group called the Kream and Kow Klub.


Notice how that passage in the NYT, as luridly suggestive as it is, gets turned into something blatantly untrue by Max Blumenthal:
quote:
The Times reported that when Perry entered Texas A&M in 1968, some students posed for yearbook photos in Klan robes, while others formed a dairy group called the “Kream and Kow Klub” — KKK. Today, an underground Klan chapter operates in West Texas, and in 2010 its members left fliers in a parking lot at Texas Tech University.

http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/10/lifting-the-hood-off-rick-perry-was-his-family-in-the-ku-klux-klan/

And here is a passage from a senior thesis in history from an A&M student done in 2007 (scroll to pages 23 and 24): http://repository.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/5726/thesisfinal.pdf
(This student has written an extraordinarily weak thesis, citing the picture that BQ posted as evidence that "students and faculty participated in Klan activities." Hard to believe what passes for scholarship these days, even at the undergraduate level.)




Have there been racists, and even KKK members, who have attended A&M? No doubt. Did they associate in a university-sanctioned KKK Local 205? I STRONGLY doubt it, but it might be possible in the very early years--again, if we could check out the majors of those individuals, it would help.

I certainly do not think that by 1941 into the late 40s, guys who majored in Dairy Husbandry also were members of the actual KKK, an open secret which they loosely concealed in the initials of their organization.

Lots of hearsay and gossip and assumptions, as far as I'm concerned.


[This message has been edited by OldArmy71 (edited 5/3/2012 6:37p).]
Harry Lime
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I first came across the Kream and Kow Klub in a friend's dad's yearbook from the mid 50's. I, of course, immediately thought of the KKK. However, it appears to have been a legitimate club for dairy farmers. They were obviously playing a joke with the name, but it could also have been a play on the cornpone humor habit of mixing c's with k's. For instance, it isn't uncommon to see restaurants with "Kountry Kitchen" in the name. I doubt the Kream and Kattle Klub had any connection to the old KKK or whatever appeared in the 1903 Longhorn (I assume BQ made a typo in the year, because I came across the same photo).

The same 1903 yearbook has a lengthy passage on the joy cadets took in visiting the local "Bohemian Dance Hall" to drink beer and dance, so if the Klan as we know it did exist at A&M, it didn't have much influence.

Judging by the old yearbooks, they had clubs for anything and everything in the old days. Every hometown, every major, every hobby had a club. Plus all the dance clubs and fraternal orders. Here's one that really stumped me, the "STB's:"



Pedro Cerano
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This seems like somewhat of a tough call. If we're to believe that this was in fact a dairy science club than you have to take the pretty big leap of faith that the club name as well as the picture that BQ posted above were both done as jokes (and the picture does seem to have somewhat of a mocking tone to it and doesn't seem like a genuine photo opportunity).

But those are pretty big leaps and it seems more often than not that the simplest most obvious answer is usually the correct one.
OldArmy71
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Interesting. I note that the cartoon depicts the STBs in something resembling KKK robes and hats.
OldArmy71
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To me, the simplest answer is that the photo and the name are jokes. The opposite would involve a much more complicated conspiracy.
aalan94
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Arguing for the joke would be the presence of names like Gugenheim and Hoffman in their ranks. Seing that at this time, they were holding massive rallies in Brenham bashing all things German, at the very least, this branch was radically open-minded.

It is hard to understate this point. There were not many "good" immigrants. Unlike the Civil War when there were Germans who fought for the south, immigrants and Germans (Gugenheim is also, very frequently, a Jewish last name) were almost 0 percent of the real Klan.

[This message has been edited by aalan94 (edited 5/3/2012 7:48p).]
powerbiscuit
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A buddy of mine's grandpa was in the Kreme and Kow Club in the late 30's....and he was a dairy major.

It would take about 10 minutes to look up the upper classment listed in the yearbook and look at what their major was.

I'll bet that the vast majority are dairy majors, or other ag majors.

I don't have the yearbook with the hoodie picture, but I have some other old yearbooks that I can look at if other's can't or won't.

Not saying that they weren't bigoted or racist's, but I think the conspiracy that this is the aTm KKK is crazy.
CanyonAg77
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quote:
It would take about 10 minutes to look up the upper classment listed in the yearbook and look at what their major was.

Challenge accepted. I have a 1926 Longhorn, the Kreme and Kow Klub is on page 354. There is no informal or group shot of the club, just an arrangement of some of the individual portraits of the members.

Only juniors and seniors are listed in the membership. And after I worked my way through the seniors, the point was made, so I didn't bother to look at the juniors.

Of the fourteen members of Kreme and Kow class of 1926:

1 did not have a yearbook entry in the class pages.
1 Special Course "major"
1 Agriculture major
11 Dairy Husbandry majors

Seems pretty clear that it was not a closet Klan organization, just a bunch of farm kids with a sense of humor, a sense of humor we see today as politically incorrect.

Think of it as your great-great-grandkids looking at your archived Facebook pages in 2098.

"Grandad, what were you thinking, dressing as a pimp for Halloween? And who is that girl in the naughty nurse costume, French -kissing the girl in the naughty schoolgirl outfit?

Great-great-grandma???!!????

UUUUUUGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Harry Lime
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For comparison, here's the Kream and Kow Klub from the 1949 Aggieland (courtesy of the Cushing website):



Does this organization appear to have anything in common with the "K.K.K.'s" of the 1903 Longhorn? I don't think so. They're posed just like the other pre-professional/academic student clubs.

As for the S.T.B's, all I can figure out from the write-up is that they liked to run around campus at night until a police officer came along.

It can be argued that the Klan was a mainstream fraternal/political organization in Texas near the turn of the century and into the 20's, but it wasn't nearly so out in the open by mid-century. Again, I think the use of "K" in Kream and Kattle Klub was just a hokey country joke used when naming the club for the dairy farmers.

The questions about the organization in the 1903 yearbook are a different matter.
CanyonAg77
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quote:
The questions about the organization in the 1903 yearbook are a different matter.

No they are not. It's never been anything but a club for dairy majors, bad sense of humor notwithstanding. And that's bad sense of humor by 2012 standards.
lhardem
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Going back to at least the early days of the Ross Administration, A&M students seemed to compete to see who could create the most frivilous and humorous names for their student organizations. To make the point, I will quote a section from my book, Texas A&M: The First 25 Years.

quote:

Fat Men and Red Heads

In the mid-1890s, the cadets at A&M organized a variety of clubs that had little useful purpose except to add a bit of humor to the daily regimen. Among these organizations of frivolous function were the Fifteen Busted Bums, the Short Man’s Club, the Big Eight, the S. O. L. Club, the Fat Men’s Club and the Red-Headed Club. The groups were generally short-lived, but several were taken seriously enough to warrant mention in the college newspaper, or a club photograph in A&M’s first student yearbook.

The Fat Men’s Club was organized in the fall of 1893. As recounted in the October 1 issue of the Battalion, several “heavyweights” within the Corps of Cadets held a club organizational meeting in Cadet Dan Cushing’s quarters. When it came time to elect officers, Cadet J. H. Bocock moved that the heaviest member be made president, the second heaviest be vice-president, et cetera, on down the list. The motion carried. Having resolved that essential issue, the group then proceeded en-masse to the college creamery, where a set of scales would help settle the question of each member’s rank.

The “election” results were published in the next issue of the Battalion. The officers were: Dan Cushing, president; J. H. Bocock, vice-president; Isaiah Goldberg, secretary; J. M. McNeil, treasurer (“when the occasion for the office exists”); Abe Gross, sergeant-at-arms; and Frank Houston, assistant sergeant-at-arms.

On motion, Texas Governor James Hogg was elected an honorary member of the club. The secretary was ordered to notify His Excellency of the honor that had been conferred upon him. It is not currently known how the governor reacted. But at two hundred seventy-five pounds, Hogg would have been hard-pressed to disqualify himself. One of Texas’ most popular citizens, Governor Hogg also holds the distinction of being the first native-born Texan to become governor of the state.

Not to be outdone, the red-headed cadets who attended A&M the following year organized their own club. Appropriately fashioned as the Red-Headed Club, their constitution consisted of only one short article: “All members shall be red headed, and the redness thereof shall determine his standing in the club.”

With the constitution as their guide, “Red” Smith was named president; Speck McCord, vice-president, Blondy Moore, secretary; and Huck Watkins, treasurer. Unlike their predecessors in the Fat Men’s Club, however, the members of Red-Headed Club had the foresight to have a group photograph taken, which was subsequently published in the 1895 Olio—-A&M’s first student annual.


Although we all agree that it was off-color humor by today's standards, the naming of the Dairy Husbandry Club as the KKK was intended only in jest.

To attempt to make it more than that might make good fodder to use in a term paper or as the basis for a political distortion in the New York Times, but from all evidence in the yearbooks, it was intended simply as humor.

Lyman Hardeman '66

[This message has been edited by lhardem (edited 5/4/2012 9:15a).]
EVA3
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Good information Mr. Hardeman. As the above poster mentioned, most of the membership was comprised of Dairy majors.

Keep in mind that in the day, it was not considered improper to be in the Klan, much less to joke about it.
EVA3
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quote:
As for the S.T.B's, all I can figure out from the write-up is that they liked to run around campus at night until a police officer came along.

This is the first I have heard about the STBs. I find it very interesting. Anyone else know about them?

Also, from the drawing and the reference to "the Bull," it appears that it was not a police officer, but the Commandant.
BQ78
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There is somewhere on the web a history paper about the A&M KKK which talks about its murkey past. And it is definitly murkey. It is questionable whether it was legit or not speculation both ways in the early days. I think it became more legit after WW2, at least I hope it did becasue the 50s are when the KKK radicalized again.

I'm not following the joke of dressing up like the Klan in 1909, someone explain the humor becasue the Klan was a respected organizaiton by mainstream Southern society at that time. It was not a joke as it might be at other times.

While we are on the subject, I've heard rumors that the A&M archives has Sully's Klan robes but keeps them under wraps, anyone else hear about that?
EVA3
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On a lighter note, the Secretary/Treasurer is named Le Roy.


[This message has been edited by EVA3 (edited 5/4/2012 9:46a).]
BigJim49 AustinNowDallas
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Where on that page is a reference to the Kream and Kow club?
Pedro Cerano
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This has been a great discussion and I appreciate everyone who contributed to the thread.

I only started to collect a few older Longhorns in the past year or so. I find it incredibility interesting to read through them and see how college life was back then, learn more about A&M’s history and see how things have changed. I also really enjoy seeing all of the old architecture on the campus and hate that none of those building survived. An added bonus to collecting old Longhorns is that several of the ones I’ve acquired have also come with excellent mementos tucked inside (old photographs, letters, programs and tickets for old dances/ceremonies). I find these bonuses just as interesting as the books themselves.
terata
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Lads, were likely making a mountain out of a mouse turd here. the Kream and Kow Klub was a dairy science club. Just why they spelled it with the "K" is probably college level humor at the time.

[This message has been edited by terata (edited 5/4/2012 12:12p).]
WBBQ74
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The R.L. Burney noted as the club prez of the KKK in the 1905 yearbook is the grandfather of an Aggie I know here in San Antonio. He told me years ago about this picture and figured it was just how life was back in those days. A different time.

Plenty of colleges/organizations would not bear up to some selective scrutiny of their members sillier actions done a century or more ago. The NYT had an obvious agenda in trying to smear Rick Perry back when his presidential campaign just took off. Wishing for them to do some REAL reporting on all of the Bamster's murky past during his college days, to include how the H_ll did he wind up with the $ to attend Harvard Law School in the first place? I don't care much about the 'compressed' stories about the white skanks he chased. I do care about who paid his bills? Where are the strings attached to this empty suit?

terata
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WBBQ74
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