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06-11-2018, 09:08   #1
Fuaranach
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James Coyle (1873-1921): Roscommon priest killed by the KKK in Alabama

Was just reading the Wikipedia article on Mungret College and under notable past pupils I followed a link to a James Coyle, whom I had never heard of.

What an extraordinary story.

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(From the above article) On August 11, 1921, Father Coyle was shot in the head on the porch of St. Paul's Rectory by E. R. Stephenson, a Southern Methodist Episcopal minister and a member of the Ku Klux Klan. There were many witnesses.[3] The murder occurred just hours after Coyle had performed a secret wedding between Stephenson's daughter, Ruth, and Pedro Gussman, a Puerto Rican she had met while he was working on Stephenson's house five years earlier. Gussman had also been a customer of Stephenson's barber shop. Several months before the wedding, Ruth had converted to Roman Catholicism.

Father Coyle was buried in Birmingham's Elmwood Cemetery.
It really conveys not only the anti-Catholicism of the KKK at the time, something which is understandably overlooked in emphasising their racism, but how strongly aligned huge swathes of society were with it. In particular, Hugo Black (1886-1971), who became a US senator and subsequently a very famous judge of the US Supreme Court, was one of the five KKK lawyers who defended E.R. Stephenson, the KKK killer. Black reinvented himself as a 'New Dealer' and a liberal closely aligned with FDR and was one of the nine judges in the famous Brown v. Board of Education judgement in 1955 which outlawed segregation in US schools. The judge in Stephenson's trial was also in the KKK.
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06-11-2018, 10:20   #2
donaghs
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Originally Posted by Fuaranach View Post
Was just reading the Wikipedia article on Mungret College and under notable past pupils I followed a link to a James Coyle, whom I had never heard of.

What an extraordinary story.



It really conveys not only the anti-Catholicism of the KKK at the time, something which is understandably overlooked in emphasising their racism, but how strongly aligned huge swathes of society were with it. In particular, Hugo Black (1886-1971), who became a US senator and subsequently a very famous judge of the US Supreme Court, was one of the five KKK lawyers who defended E.R. Stephenson, the KKK killer. Black reinvented himself as a 'New Dealer' and a liberal closely aligned with FDR and was one of the nine judges in the famous Brown v. Board of Education judgement in 1955 which outlawed segregation in US schools. The judge in Stephenson's trial was also in the KKK.
There was basically different KKK eras. (can read up on this quickly in Wikipedia). The first post-civil war KKK. Mainly concerned with restoring southern white hegemony. That basically faded away.

After Birth of a Nation in 1915, a new KKK emerged, this had a much larger appeal to nativist white Protestants. It had support in places like California and Indiana, as well as the old South. It peaked in the mid-1920s. This was more anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic than the other KKKs.

The rise of civil rights campaigns against Jim Crow laws in the 1950s led to another KKK revival. mainly concern with racism/blacks etc.
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