Ever back 2008, back I wrote a allotment for The Virginia Gazette about Williamsburg’s about century-old appointment with the KKK, I’ve been on a coursing for a flagpole.
In 1926, 5,000 Klansmen flocked to boondocks to see the Academy of William and Mary address the Klan’s allowance to the college: a huge American banderole and a 70-foot-tall flagpole to fly it. I capital to apperceive what became of that pole.
J.A.C. Chandler, the admiral of the college, accustomed the Klan’s allowance (how could he debris such a affectionate gesture?), but in his speech, he eviscerated the KKK, account how its ethics breach all that Americans admire in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Though the pole was not acclimated afterwards 1942 (the halyard was said to be inoperable), it stood at Academy Corner until March 1959 in what is now a garden. During Massive Resistance, it was confused to a atom aloof arctic of James Blair Hall, beneath to 45 anxiety and repurposed to fly the Virginia banderole in an affirmation of states rights and Jim Crow to antithesis the added banderole already there, the American flag.
Both poles were taken bottomward at a date no one seems to recall. I heard adverse belief about the added activity of the KKK pole: It was allegedly confused to the law school, or it was in an attic on campus, maybe James Blair’s, maybe Tucker’s.
But I couldn’t acquisition it.
I arrested all the accepted flagpoles on campus, cerebration it ability accept been recycled already again. No luck.
Now I anticipate I apperceive the fate of the flagpole.
I afresh happened to reread a 2007 commodity by Ryen Rasmus in The Virginia Informer that said the pole had been “quietly confused to a adjacent Confederate cemetery.”
I knew there was no flagpole at the Cedar Grove Cemetery, area added than 200 Confederate soldiers are buried, but I wondered how abounding Confederate cemeteries there ability be abutting to Williamsburg.
The editor of James City County, Virginia Cemeteries (2011), Fred Boelt is the go-to guy for bounded cemeteries, so to him I went.
He appropriate a achievability that seems to me likely: that the KKK pole had gone to Fort Magruder, not a cemetery but the armpit of abounding deaths. The pole ability accept been bought at a auction of the college’s surplus property.
A Fort Magruder pole was replaced about seven years ago and confused by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to a ancestors burying arena not far from Williamsburg to account a bounded man who was a Confederate officer.
Blurry photos I’ve apparent of Fort Magruder in the 1980s appearance a flagpole actual agnate to the pole I anticipate a applicant to be the KKK pole.
The flagpole at that ancestors cemetery is fabricated of animate and has a abate ambit than accepted these canicule — conceivably a assurance of its accepting already been the top of a taller flagpole. The two sections of the pole are abutting by bolts, and the acrylic seems thick.
All that suggests to me a flagpole dating from able-bodied afore the canicule back aluminum began to displace animate for poles, in the 1950s.
I feel abiding this pole is the balance of the KKK flagpole, admitting the affirmation is circumstantial.
So I address to ask for abetment from the readers of the Gazette. Does anyone apperceive area the pole removed from Fort Magruder had appear from, and when? Was it absolutely the pole accustomed to the Academy by the KKK?
The answers ability advice break a mystery.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or alarm me at 253-0707.
Meyers, W&M Chancellor Professor of English Emeritus, is the actual accomplished admiral of the Williamsburg Historic Records Association (https://tinyurl.com/wmsbg).
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