n 1924, two uniquely American institutions clashed in northern Indiana: the University of Notre Dame and the Ku Klux Klan. Todd Tucker’s book, published for the first time in paperback, Notre Dame vs. The Klan tells the shocking story of the three-day confrontation in the streets of South Bend, Indiana, that would change both institutions forever.
When the Ku Klux Klan announced plans to stage a parade and rally in South Bend, hoping to target college campuses for recruitment starting with Notre Dame, a large group of students defied their leaders’ pleas to ignore the Klan and remain on campus. Tucker dramatically recounts the events as only a proficient storyteller can. Readers will find themselves drawn into the fray of these tumultuous times.
Tucker structures this compelling tale around three individuals: D.C. Stephenson, the leader of the KKK in Indiana, the state with the largest Klan membership in America; Fr. Matthew Walsh, the young and charismatic president of the University of Notre Dame; and a composite of a Notre Dame student at the time, represented by Bill Foohey, who was an actual participant in the clash.
This book will appeal not only to Notre Dame fans, but to those interested in South Bend and Indiana history and the history of the Klu Klux Klan, including modern-day Klan violence.
“In Notre Dame vs the Klan, Notre Dame alum Todd Tucker examines Catholic Americanism at a particularly important historical moment—the early part of the last century, when Catholics themselves were divided over how much to assimilate. . . . In the early 1920s, the Klan began holding parades through the centers of Midwestern cities with large Catholic concentrations. It was almost inevitable that they would come to South Bend, a capital of American Catholicism. Seeing the burning crosses in their own town finally made the young men of Notre Dame stand up and take notice.” — The American Enterprise
“Tucker examines in some detail the events of May 17–19, 1924, when the Ku Klux Klan rallied in South Bend, Indiana, and came to blows with the “Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame. Tucker provides appropriate context for readers unaware of U.S. history at the turn of the last century: virulent anti-Catholicism, xenophobia, resurgence of the Klan after 1915. The work provides a useful, accessible case study for general readers and undergraduates about the ethnoreligious tensions permeating U.S. society at the time." — Choice