Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Friday, April 15, 2011

MUCKRAKING ... At It's Worst







Having to defend a noble man from half-truth allegations detracts from focusing upon the real message which is how to be a successful soul-winner! In the early 1920s, Texas was a hotbed of KKK activity.  The five areas of Klan agenda included anti-Catholic rhetoric, the anti-black sentiments, the influx of Jewish immigrants, the sleazy bootleggers of the prohibition era and wife beaters which included wayward husbands.  These 5 elements of Klan concern played a great part in the mushrooming influence of the KKK.  Such a huge amount of the population of the state was caught up in the atmospheric frenzy that roughly one half of all the population were either members of the Klan or overtly in symphony with one or more of these 5 areas of concern. 

To have lived through this period of between 1920 thru 1927, would have made an inevitable impact upon almost all of the population.  To make a fair and adequate judgment on any one of several persons who might have been on the peripheral fringes of Klan alleged connections would take a massive amount of research, which at this time, does not exist.  (As far as I am aware).

One of the early Texas governors, Pat Neff, was a revered Baptist leader, and was, by all accounts, swept into office in 1922, partially by virtue of solid Klan support.  His opponents had accused him of taking a weak stance concerning this support from the Klan.  Later, in office, Klansmen were allowed to post their flags on capitol grounds.    Considering the context of the time, posterity does not equate Pat Neff with being (cozy) with the Klan.  He is revered in the annals of Texas Baptist history and rightfully so. 

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) has been a long time associate against the abuse of alcohol.  In the 1920’s, the (WCTU) shared a common interest with the (KKK) in promoting the enforcement of prohibition laws.  Does anyone doubt the credibility of the WCTU?  Are they considered common cohorts in concert with the KKK.  History does not support such supposition.

In the case of another respected governor of Texas, Dan Moody, was accused by former governor, Jim Ferguson as having the support of the KKK.  Ferguson, campaigning for his wife, (affectionately known as “Ma” Ferguson)  in 1926 said that Moody’s campaign was “daddyed in the evoluted monkey end of the  Baptist Church and boosted by the KKK”.  All of Ferguson’s rhetoric flies in the face that Moody, as Attorney General of Texas, had successfully fought the Klan.  History is a certain vindicator of the facts and Moody, to this day, remains a hero. 

From the pen of Michael Phillips, writing for the Fort Worth Weekly on July 02, 2006 quotes “A high ranking Klansman in 1922 congratulating the local Klan leaders.  Stating, (90% of your preachers, your leading lawyers and your social leaders are loyal Klansmen.”

With so much apparent evidence of Klan presence and predominate influence, it would seem that some degree of Klan connection would be almost unavoidable.  If 90% of the Protestant churches were infiltrated by Klansmen, would the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth be immune?  Sighting isolated incidences is not credible evidence in trying make a case.  The ministry of the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth deserves no more or less treatment than that which is afforded others in this time period. 

On March 13, 1924, the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show designated that day as Klan day.  Where the city fathers who were promoters of the stock show Klan sympathizers.  One isolated incident does not prove a case in view of the times in which it occurred.  In view of the 5 elements of the Klan element, who can say which of the 5 elements were predominately represented? 

By way of analogy, I use the example of World War II, in which I was actively engaged in processing thousands of German war prisoners.  I did not get the feeling that all of these prisoners were hardened Nazi criminals.  Surprisingly, a month after V-day, we mixed and mingled with these prisoners, who, a month before had been our bitter enemies.  Our feelings of bitterness began to vanish and we saw these ragged prisoners as victims in a light which would have been impossibly just two months earlier.

The stated purpose of my website is to factually present the ministry of J. Frank Norris in an honest way.  Indeed, he was a man of strong convictions in which often times were counter to a more moderate way of approach.  He did not need to hide behind a bed sheet in the secrecy of the night to express his opinions.  His friendship with Rabbi George Fox is not accidental which, by the way, is icing on the cake. 

By Roy Falls



(THE 'REAL' NORRIS, LITTLE BY LITTLE, BEGINS TO SURFACE)
The following excerpt (by Jay Robinson in 2007) comes from the fight over the old Hard Rock Cafe Building, formerly McKinney Ave. Bapt. Church in Dallas, Tx.

Concerning J. Frank Norris' supposed racism, please go to http://www.jfranknorris.org/ (go to "Audio" & click '1945 Last Sunday') where you can listen to a recording of his own voice in the last sermon of the year 1945 at the First Baptist Church and where you will hear him in the opening comments of his sermon invite people of all colors and races to a coming service.  He does use the term "colored," which was acceptable in that time.  However, he invites other races into an anglo Baptist church in Texas in 1945, which was not at all acceptable.  Before you judge a man by one letter written in 1928, you should study him more deeply.  Within the context of his times, J. Frank Norris was NOT at all a racist.

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