The KKK in San Benito

Photo from "Texas, Our Texas" Social Studies book


Robertson decided to run for sheriff. After a street corner campaign, he was elected and declared war on the Klan. A climax appears to have been reached when he rode alone into a Klan meeting and broke it up with profanity-laced threats. After that the Klan's power dissipated.

The peaceful atmosphere of San Benito, as well as throughout the whole of the postwar U.S. was overshadowed by a new spectre. The Ku Klux Klan, virtually dead since Reconstruction, suddenly bounded back stronger than ever. The Klan's revival seemed to spring from the North and the Midwest, where many newcomers to the Valley immigrated from.

And with them, they brought the Klan.

"The elections here," John Barron recalled, "as they were all over Texas, broke into those kind of parties," he said. "It was all Democrat, but within the Democrats, you were a Ku Klux or you were not. The Republicans...they were just quiet Republicans. They were more or less subdued in the Democrat tidal wave." As for the Spanish-speaking citizens, "they never became involved either anti or pro."

Sam Robertson, recently returned from Europe, became disgusted with the atmosphere of hate and distrust which had spread through the town. It rankled him that the Klan had become strong enough to flaunt its power to the point of riding in the 1919 Armistice Day Parade in San Benito.