The Kennebec Historical Society plans this week to present “Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion” by Mark Alan Leslie.

The talk is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at Hope Baptist Church, 726 Western Ave., Manchester.

Ninety-nine years ago, about 15,000 people from throughout Maine gathered for the Ku Klux Klan’s first annual conference and set crosses on fire that lit the night sky in the woods outside Waterville, according to a news release from the society.

It was a rude awakening, showing that life would not be the same for Maine’s Jews, Catholics, and immigrants — those whom the Klan targeted in the state.

KKK “klaverns” at the time included 350 members in Augusta, 2,000 in the Lewiston-Auburn area, 1,000 in both in Bangor and on Mount Desert Island, and 4,000 in Portland. The Klan’s impact was felt from the State House, where KKK members briefly reigned, to the deep forests, where French-Canadian woodsmen met opposition.

The society’s April lecture is the story of the swift flash and burn of this dangerous group in Maine in the 1920s.

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Kennebec Historical Society will host a presentation by Mark Alan Leslie about “Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at Hope Baptist Church in Manchester.

Leslie is a longtime journalist and winner of six national magazine writing awards. He has written 13 books, including four historical novels, five modern-day action/adventures, two golf books, a devotional, and a Christian self-help book.

His historical novel, “The Crossing,” describes the Ku Klux Klan’s success in Maine in the 1920s and how it tore at the fabric of one town in particular.

This lecture is free to the public, with donations accepted. For more information, call 207-622-7718.

 

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