Unknown Stories of WNY: KKK in Buffalo

9:50 AM, Feb 24, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - It was the roaring 20's and things were looking up for Buffalo. A German-Catholic brewer named Francis X. Schwab had just won the Mayor's office in a heated race.

Schwab ran on an anti-prohibition platform, and that is what drew the attention of the Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan had been trying to gain traction in several northern cities and Buffalo was on their radar. They decided to use religion as their wedge. They exploited the Protestant frustration over the lax enforcement of prohibition.

As their numbers and influence grew, Mayor Schwab took matters into his own hands and sent in an undercover agent to infiltrate the group, and it's headquarters in the Calumet Building.

A membership roster was stolen and eventually published. The Klan sent in an investigator to find the leak, a shoot-out ensued, killing two people.

The list being published and the publicity over the shooting proved too much, driving the KKK out of Buffalo and into the annals of the Unknown Stories of WNY.

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