Another thread of history that we're following through 1922 is the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
A Klan candidate for the U.S. Senate, Earle B. Mayfield, led the results in Texas's Democratic primary for the seat held by Charles Allen Culberson. Culberson had been the state's Attorney General, then Governor, before being elected Senator in 1898. Culberson came out strongly against the Klan and was supported by the anti-Klan Dallas Morning News; but the four-term senator was in ill health. In the six-candidate Democratic primary on July 22, 1922, Culberson came in third, behind Mayfield and impeached former Governor James "Farmer Jim" Ferguson.
|"Something to Kick About" by Bill Sykes Philadelphia Public Ledger, July 26, 1922|
Because none of the candidates garnered a majority of the vote, there would be a run-off election between the top two. Ferguson was barred by the legislature from seeking office in Texas because of his impeachment and conviction on ten counts of misapplication of public funds and receiving $156,000 from some unnamed source. (The accusations stemmed from Gov. Ferguson's veto of funds for the University of Texas in retaliation against political rivals among the faculty.) Sen. Culberson tried to get Ferguson stricken from the run-off ballot, but to no avail.
|"I'll Sure Be Glad When This Primary Season Is Over" by Clifford Berryman in Washington (DC) Evening Star, August 3, 1922|
Incidentally, the Klan also backed incumbent Governor Patrick M. Neff, who cruised to renomination. Neff did not campaign on Klan issues, however, unless you count his declaring marshal law against striking railroad workers in Denison as a Klan issue.
|"The Day After" by John Knott in Galveston Daily News, July 23, 1922|
I had hoped to include some wisdom here from John Knott, who, to the best of my knowledge, was the only working editorial cartoonist in Texas at the time. I'm disappointed that the only cartoon of his that I have been able to find was this offering from the Sunday morning immediately after the Saturday primary.
Chances are that Knott drew this cartoon before the results were known; but even in the weeks before the July 22 primary, I found nothing from Knott about the senate race in Texas. He did, on the other hand, find inspiration to draw two cartoons in July about the apparently hotly debated topic of whether or not quail eat boll weevils.
Oh, well. We'll come back to Knott's August cartoons about the campaign, but I'm afraid that wisdom I was hoping for from him is less insightful than I had expected.
|"The Menace" by H. Bensten in Minneapolis Star, Aug. 3, 1922|
As the Texas run-off campaign chugged on, Mayfield accused Ferguson of being an "unrepentant perjurer," and of having received 3,500 Black votes in Bexar County in violation of Democratic primary rules. Ferguson charged that Mayfield "might vote dry, but drank wet," and was “guilty of conduct with the opposite sex that I cannot, in decency, mention when ladies are present in the audience.”
Supported by Texas's other U.S.
Senator, Morris Sheppard, Mayfield won the August 26 run-off election for the
Democratic nomination and subsequent endorsement at the state party convention.
still associated with the so-called "Northern War of Aggression" and
Reconstruction, were a negligible force in Texas politics at this time.
The GOP lent its support to an anti-Klan Democrat running as an independent, George Peddy,
whose write-in campaign netted 33.1% of the vote on November 7 to
And just to the north, the Klan — despite its protestations to the contrary — was also active in Oklahoma's Democratic primary, with some success.
The Tulsa World includes another story on the left side of the front page that would make bigger headlines later on.
Few editorial cartoonists put out anything about the Klan candidates that summer. The coal and railroad union strikes were a more immediate issue for nearly all of them, as was the topic of summer vacations. Besides, there were plenty of local primary races all over the country, closer to the drawing board than down Texas way.
|"Pollyanna's Patter" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 31, 1922|