Denver (AP) —History Colorado debuted this week with a 1,300-page online archive of the original Ku Klux Klan membership records from 1924 to 1926. Previously it was published at the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver.
History Colorado has digitized the ledger of a hatred group of 30,000 people, highlighting the widespread racism incorporated into the city’s political and cultural history, The Denver Post. report..
The organization received a $ 5,000 grant from the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board to digitize records, said Dawn De Prince, Chief Operating Officer of History of Colorado.
The money went to labor costs, spokesman John Eding said in a statement.
“Some people are honestly surprised by this history, and I think I’m just interested in agreeing to these truths,” Diprince said. “I always want to say that there’s a lot to love in Colorado’s history, but it tends to obscure some of the dark chapters.”
The Ku Klux Klan is a hatred group organized in the South to claim white supremacy after the Civil War, often using violence against blacks, Jews, and members of the LGBTQ community. Denver reported that the number of registered members of Denver in the mid-1920s accounted for one-third of the 107,000 white men who lived in the city at the time.
“Reminding people that this is also part of our history is essential to moving forward,” Diprince said. “You must be honest about the difficult truths and what we love and celebrate.”
Digitized ledgers include specific locations, people, and institutions such as Colorado History, State Capitol, City Fire Department, and State Hospitals.
“We worked with community advisors to make sure we didn’t just drop this into the world,” said Di Prince. “It could be traumatic, and there might be a way it seems to celebrate white supremacy. We were really intentional about providing a greater context.”
As a result, Diprince said the archive was posted online with links to stories of people who resisted the KKK at the time, such as Dr. Joseph Westbrook. Westbrook infiltrated the KKK long before detective Ron Ron Stallworth infiltrated to ruin them in Colorado Springs in the 1970s. Based on Stallworth’s memoir “Black Clansman”, the story was made in Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning 2018 movie “Black Clansman”.
The ledger is currently the single largest archive item digitally available from Colorado history.