Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives

Klan unmasker

Stetson Kennedy

A folklorist, Kennedy was named for someone in his mother’s family: the inventor of the cowboy hat, John B. Stetson. But he’s best known for “infiltrating” the Ku Klux Klan by posing as an encyclopedia salesman and dropping a name the Klan would know: that of an uncle who was a member. Because he was excluded from the military during World War II due to a bad back, he thought espionage against the KKK, whom he called “homegrown racial terrorists,” would be his alternative “patriotic duty”. Once he learned as much as he could, he passed the information on to law enforcement officials — and the public, in the 1954 book I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan (rereleased in 1990 as The Klan Unmasked.) He also testified against the Klan in numerous cases, leading to the government to press for evaded taxes, and to Georgia revoke its state charter. “Exposing their folklore — all their secret handshakes, passwords and how silly they were, dressing up in white sheets” was a huge blow to the KKK, says Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. “If they weren’t so violent, they would be silly.” Kennedy died August 27, at 94.

From This is True for 28 August 2011


New: Honorary Unsubscribe Books

The early write-ups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks. See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (covering 2001 through 2003), and Volume 3 (covering 2004 through 2006). The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

About the HUs
About This is True

Subscribe Free
to This is True
Your E-mail:


Oldest: American scholar Seymour Lipset

Newest: Virologist Joep Lange


Complete Name List

Prev: Songwriter Jerry Leiber

Next: Khmer Rouge survivor Vann Nath

Complete Name List

Copyright 1998-2014 ThisIsTrue.Inc, all rights reserved. May not be copied or archived without express, prior, written permission. "This is True" is a registered trademark of ThisIsTrue.Inc, Ridgway Colorado.