Module 1: S. Glenn Young and the Ku Klux Klan
"Two-Gun" Young and the Ku Klux Klan's Reign Over Southern Illinois
In 1925, Chicago’s The Daily Worker reported, “Klansmen are pouring into Herrin from all parts of the county to attend the funeral of Young to take place this afternoon.” The pro-labor newspaper continues, “Young was the Herrin ‘Inspector’ of the Illinois constabulary department, a private corporation with offices in Chicago, composed of klansmen and gunmen, and having as its officers prominent Chicago politicians and capitalist newspaper editors.”
During the 1920s, southern Illinois experienced its own form of lawlessness during prohibition, an era when the federal ban on alcohol helped create a whole new class of criminal organizations and activities. Like Chicago, southern Illinois had its own form of gang leaders who tried to dominate the profits made from the illegal production and distribution of alcohol. It was also during these chaotic times that S. Glenn Young rose to power in southern Illinois. But who was he, and why was he and the Ku Klux Klan in Herrin, Illinois? Further, how do these events relate to the gang warfare happening at this time in southern Illinois?