Lillian Sedwick was state head of the Indiana Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She was also state leader of the Indiana Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK).
Sedwick became state head of the Indiana WKKK when she replaced Daisy Douglass Barr. Reverend Barr was another WKKK and WCTU leader
As a KKK-supported candidate, Ms. Sedwick won election to the Indianapolis school board. There she promoted racial segregation.
A number of people were members of both the WCTU and the KKK. That’s because the Klan was a very strong supporter and defender of temperance and National Prohibition. Both groups also favored the right of women to vote. As a result, the WCTU and KKK were partners in Prohibition.
Lillian Sedwick, who was born on May 31, 1899, died on June 11, 1992.
For more on the KKK and and prohibition in the state, visit Prohibition and Repeal in Indiana.
Lillian Sedwick’s temperance advocacy was not in vain. Many people and groups today support neo-prohibition ideas. And they aso defend the many vestiges of Prohibition that remain. These include dry counties, blue laws (no Sunday alcohol sales), and other anti-alcohol laws.
Resources on Lillian Sedwick
- Blame Klan for segregation, Indianapolis Times, Jan 14, 1957. Lillian Sedwick had promoted racial segregation in her role as school board member.
- Moore, L. Citizen Klansmen: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-1928. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1991, p. 220. Discusses Lilllian Sedwick in the KKK.
- Mrs. Sedwick is new Klan head, Indianapolis Times, June 4, 1926, p. 1.
- Las Mujeres del KKK (Women of the KKK). Describes the role of Lillian Sedwick in the WKKK
Resources on Women of the KKK
Blee, Kathleen. Women in the 1920s’ Ku Klux Klan Movement. Fem Stud, 1991, 17(1). 57-68.
______. Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s. Berkeley: U California Press, 1991.
______. Evidence, empathy, and ethics: Lessons from oral histories of the Klan, J Am Hist, 1993, 80(2), 596-604.
Ideals of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan. Little Rock: Women of the Ku Klux Klan, 192-.
Kerbawy, K. Knights in White Satin: Women of the Ku Klux Klan. Thesis, Marshall University, 2007.
Lay, S. Hooded populism: New assessment of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s. Rev Am Hist, 1994, 22(4), 668-673.
MacLean, N. Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan. NY: Oxford U Press, 1994.
Thornbrough, E. Segregation in Indiana during the Klan era of the 1920s. Miss Valley Hist Rev, 1961, 47(4), 594-603.