By Juan O. Sanchez
Long overlooked by historians, anti-Hispanic activity by the Klan was savage and brutal, yet in areas of the Southwest where Hispanics constituted a majority, or held political sway, they were successful in countering the Klan’s racial and cultural bigotry. Historians typically addressed Klan activity against Hispanics in passing, covering the subject in a paragraph to a page. This work demonstrates anti-Hispanic activity by the Klan was extensive. The Klan vented its racial bigotry against Hispanics much as it did against African Americans. Through the use of race, religion, and language, the Klan deemed Hispanics as inferior, foreigners, and minions of the pope. As non-White products of race mixing, Hispanics were inferior; as non-English speakers they were foreigners, members of a priest ridden, and inferior culture. Hispanics were part of the unfounded Catholic Conspiracy attempting to subvert U.S. institutions and install the pope as leader of the nation. These factors were justifications that led the Klan to vent its hatred, racism, bigotry, and violence against Hispanics. Furthermore, collusion between civil authorities, law enforcement agencies, and the Klan ensured Hispanics were kept marginalized. This collusion and the secretive nature of the Klan also assured that documentation verifying anti-Hispanic activity would be next to nonexistent.