Ku Klux Klan Night Hawk robe used by Stetson Kennedy

  • Image for Ku Klux Klan Night Hawk robe used by Stetson Kennedy
  • Image for Ku Klux Klan Night Hawk robe used by Stetson Kennedy
  • Image for Ku Klux Klan Night Hawk robe used by Stetson Kennedy
  • Image for Ku Klux Klan Night Hawk robe used by Stetson Kennedy
4 images
Created by
Unidentified
Used by
Kennedy, Stetson, American, 1916 - 2011
Subject of
Ku Klux Klan, 2nd, American, 1915 - 1944
Medium
cotton, rayon, and plastic
Dimensions
H x W (Robe): 48 1/4 × 26 1/4 in. (122.6 × 66.7 cm)
H x W (Belt): 2 7/16 × 76 3/4 in. (6.2 × 194.9 cm)
Type
robes
Place used
Florida, United States, North and Central America
Date
1970-2011
Description
A Ku Klux Klan (KKK) robe (a) with belt (b), associated with 2011.144.2.2ab, a hood and mask with a liner, worn by the Night Hawk rank officers whose main role is to act as security at "klonvocations." The Night Hawk's robe is usually shorter so as to allow easier movement. This particular Night Hawk robe was owned by writer and human rights activist Stetson Kennedy, who infiltrated the KKK in the 1940s, exposing its secrets to authorities and the outside world. The navy blue cotton calf-length robe has has full length straight sleeves.The robe is collarless and has an attached cape that fully drapes over the front of the shoulders. There are five (5) black plastic snap fasteners sewn on to the center front button band from the collar to the waist. Over the proper right breast is a machine embroidered rayon patch of a white skull outlined in black with the letters [KKK] embroidered in red on the forehead of the skull. Over the proper left breast is a machine embroidered rayon patch of a white cross outlined in black against a red background with a “blood drop” positioned vertically in the center of the cross. The black lines on the patch are four K’s arranged to look like a cross. The design is typically referred to as the "Mystic Insignia of a Klansman" (MIOAK). The interior of the hem is reinforced with white, cotton tape. The robe is not lined.
The belt is made of the same plain, navy blue cotton fabric as the robe, and has been hemmed down the length of the belt and at both ends.
Topic
African American
American South
Clothing and dress
Fraternal organizations
Men
Social reform
United States--History--1933-1945
United States--History--1945-1953
United States--History--1953-1961
United States--History--1961-1969
United States--History--1969-2001
United States--History--2001-
White supremacy movements
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Sandra A. Parks, wife of Stetson Kennedy
Object number
2011.144.2.1ab
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification
Clothing-Historical
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

NOTE: Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu.