Georgetown in Williamson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Ku Klux Klan Trials
In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a nationwide organization that openly preached white supremacy and hatred for blacks, Jews, Catholics, and immigrants. In Texas, Klan membership peaked in 1923 with upwards of 150,000 members. Klansmen influenced and held positions in local and state government and in law enforcement. Their power allowed members to engage in acts of vigilante violence without fear of prosecution. Although their primary targets were people of color, the Klan also threatened Anglos who disagreed with the KKK’s core values.
On Easter Sunday 1923, ten Klansmen flogged and tarred Robert Burleson, a white traveling salesman, after Burleson ignored their warning to leave Georgetown. District Attorney Dan Moody, a Taylor native, led prosecution against the Klansmen in a series of trials between September 1923 and February 1924. Moody tried his strongest case first against Klansman Murray Jackson. After seven days of arguments, the jurors deliberated for twenty minutes before returning a guilty verdict and offering the maximum punishment for the crime. Moody’s initial conviction led to four additional convictions
These trials were considered the first prosecutorial success in the United States against members of the 1920s Klan and quickly weakened the Klan’s political influence in Texas. Further, the publicity garnered by Moody following the trial led to his successful runs for State Attorney General in 1924 and Texas governor in 1926 and 1928. He was the youngest person ever elected to both statewide offices.
Erected 2009 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16261.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil Rights • Government & Politics. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1924.
Location. 30° 38.212′ N, 97° 40.633′ W. Marker is in Georgetown, Texas, in Williamson County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and West 8th Street, on the right when traveling south on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 710 S Main St, Georgetown TX 78626, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. George Washington Glasscock, Sr. (within shouting distance of this marker); Williamson County (within shouting distance of this marker); Williamson County CourthouseShafer Saddlery (within shouting distance of this marker); Lesesne-Stone Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Williamson County Sun (within shouting distance of this marker); C.A.D. Clamp (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Dimmitt Building (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Georgetown.
Also see . . .
1. Ku Klux Klan Trials 1923-24 Marker Dedication. Page at the Williamson County Historical Commission website about the dedication of the KKK Trials marker. (Submitted on July 11, 2015, by QuesterMark of Fort Worth, Texas.)
2. Dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker commemorating the Ku Klux Klan trials. A number of photos are at this link. (Submitted on July 11, 2015, by QuesterMark of Fort Worth, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2015, by QuesterMark of Fort Worth, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,236 times since then and 110 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 10, 2015, by QuesterMark of Fort Worth, Texas. 2, 3. submitted on February 17, 2019, by Kayla Harper of Dallas, Texas. 4. submitted on July 7, 2018, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas. 5. submitted on February 17, 2019, by Kayla Harper of Dallas, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.