Ku Klux Klan Trials
Marker Text: In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a nationwide organization that openly preached white supremacy and hatred for Blacks, Jews, Catholics, and immigrants. In Texas, klan membership peaked in 1923 with upwards of 150,000 members. Klansmen influenced and held positions in local and state government and in law enforcement. Their power allowed members to engage in acts of vigilante violence without fear of prosecution. Although their primary targets were people of color, the klan also threatened Anglos who disagreed with the KKK’s core values.
On Easter Sunday 1923, ten klansmen flogged and tarred Robert Burleson, a white traveling salesman, after Burleson ignored their warning to leave Georgetown. District attorney Dan Moody, a Taylor native, led prosecution against the klansmen in a series of trails between September 1923 and February 1924. Moody tried his strongest case first against klansman Murray Jackson. After seven days of arguments, the jurors deliberated for twenty minutes before returning a guilty verdict and offering the maximum punishment for the crime. Moody’s initial conviction led to four additional conviction and four prison sentences for the other Georgetown klansmen on trail at the Williamson county courthouse.
These trials were considered the first prosecutorial success in the United States against members of the 1920s klan and quickly weakened the klan’s political influence in Texas. Further, the publicity garnered by Moody following the trial led to his successful runs for state attorney general in 1924 and Texas governor in 1926 and 1928. He was the youngest person ever elected to both statewide offices. (2009)
Marker No: 16261
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Location: Courthouse Square, Georgetown