Daisy Douglas Barr was the fiery Imperial Empress (leader) of the Women’s Ku Klux Klan (WKKK) in Indiana and seven other states. Thus, she led about 250,000 WKKK members. That was in the early 1920s. Barr worked closely with the Indiana KKK‘s “Grand Wizard,” D.C. Stevenson. Together, they worked hard on the governor’s race. Many people consider them responsible for electing a Klan-friendly governor in 1924.
KKK and WCTU
In addition to her leadership in the WKKK, Barr was a powerful member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). In her role in the WCTU, Daisy Barr was a famous crusader for temperance. Professionally, Barr was a Quaker minister in two prominent churches.
A number of people were affiliated with both the KKK and the WCTU. They did so for a simple reason. That’s because the Ku Klux Klan was a very strong supporter and defender of temperance and National Prohibition. Indeed, the WCTU and the KKK were partners in Prohibition.
However, in 1924, some Klan members charged that Rev. Barr “had amassed a fortune off the dues of Klansmen.” Two years later Daisy Barr was replaced in her leadership position in the WKKK by Lillian Sedwick. Sedwick was also a state official in the WCTU.
Daisy Douglas Barr dropped out of public life and died in a traffic crash in 1938 in her home state of Indiana.
For information on the KKK and and prohibition in Indiana, visit Indiana Still Suffers Vestiges of Prohibition in Spite of Repeal.
Daisy Douglas Bar’s temperance work was not entirely in vain. In spite of the failure of National Prohibition and the serious problems it created, many people and organizations today support neo-prohibition ideas and strongly defend the many vestiges of Prohibition that still continue to exist.
Resources on Daisy Douglas Barr (sometimes mis-spelled Daisey or Douglass)
- Activities in Ku Klux Klan resented. Indiana War Mothers accept resignation of Reverend Daisy Barr, Muncie Press, March 21, p. 1.
- Blee, K. Women in the 1920’s Ku Klux Klan Movement. In: Goldberg, C. and Hartmen, H. (eds.) U.S. Women in Struggle. U Illinois Press, 1995. Pp. 89-109.
- Former teacher charges slander, Muncie Star, Jan 3, 1924, p. 1. Describes Mary Benadum – Barr dispute.
- Hosmer, D. Daisy Douglas Barr. From Quaker to Klan “Kluckeress.” Ind Mag Hist, 1991 (June), LXXXVII (2).
- Klan women shift slander onto wizard, Muncie EveningPost, Nov 14, 1924, p. 17. Barr was the wizard to which the article refers.
- Klan women sue Daisy Barr, Muncie Star, June 3, 1924.
- Ku Klux women battle, New York Times, Jan 8, 1924, p. 10.
- Lantzer, Jason S. Dark Beverages of Hell. The Transformation of Hamilton County’s Dry Crusade, 1876-1936. (connerprairie.org/historyonline/fierycross.html)
- Mrs. Sedwick is new Klan head, Indianapolis Times, June 4, 1926, p. 1.
- Sues Daisy Barr and others for $50,000, Indianapolis News, Jan 3, 1924, p. 1.
- Taylor, J. The Privileged Margin in Social Movement Rhetoric. Daisy Douglas Barr and the Women of the Ku Klux Klan. Thesis. Texas Tech U, 2000.
- Who’s Who and What’s What in Indiana Politics. Indianapolis: James Perry, 1944, p. 755. Barr entry.
Publications by Daisy Douglas Barr
- Barr, D. Women in the ministry, Indianapolis News, Nov 1, 1916, supp. 2.
- ______. Springs that Run Dry and other Addresses. Noblesville, IN: Butler, 1915-1935.