Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-6-2023

Document Type



Russell, Ellie. "'That Old Mob Violence': An Examination of Seventy Years of The Ku Klux Klan in Lincoln, Nebraska from 1921 to 1991". 6 March 2023. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Ellie Russell 2023.


This paper engages with the relationship between the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) as well as the broader municipality of Lincoln by showing three snapshots in time at crucial moments of local and national Klan growth. The 1920s, the 1990s, and the contemporary relationship with hate groups are examined because they are of particular relevance to the overall trends of Klan support and publicity. The paper emerged under the question: “What was the relationship between the KKK and UNL?” UNL and the city of Lincoln are used as a focal point because of emergence of Lincoln as the center of Klan activities in the state and because UNL demonstrates the way Klan ideology permeated a community and impacted the daily experience of young Nebraskans. UNL also provides appropriate grounds for a case study analysis because higher education institutions provide theoretical and literal space for the clashing of a variety of ideology and sentiments. This space allows for the many sentiments of the era to be documented and discussed at length, therefore making UNL a good framework to understand how the Klan was understood, received, and promoted across Nebraska’s history. The paper concludes that in three key moments of history, the 1920s, the 1990s, and the contemporary era, UNL has expressed support for racial equality, but has failed to contain the hate groups which threaten the goal of equality.