Friday, May 3, 2013

The Sunshine State

In March 2011, I dissed Alex Jones' The Order of Death documentary (Power, Corruption and Lies) for a variety of reasons, one of which is his claim that Albert Pike, whom Jones calls the leader of world Masonry, founded the KKK.  Both claims are demonstrably false.

In the comments that followed, however, Terry Melanson and I discussed the links between Freemasonry, the Knights of the Golden Circle and the KKK.  Whether the KGC could be described as "Masonic" is debatable, of course, but I'd have to say it was:  three degrees, passwords, grips, hailing signs, etc.  Freemasonry was, like it was for so many other groups, the KGC's model, and membership was not mutually exclusive.

Sad to say, the same is true of the KKK.  Whereas the original Klan had no degrees, the second group (1915-1944) had four and the ladies auxiliary, three.  Freemasonry influenced its rituals and more than a few Klansmen were drawn from its ranks.

All this exposition is really just a prelude to the following two pictures.  I mentioned the first in an April 2011 post about political vandalism, but at the time I'd forgotten the second.  I don't think the pictures prove anything beyond the fact that membership in a Masonic Lodge and the KKK were not mutually exclusive, but it will do little dissuade people from thinking one group was the arm of another.

Meet Roy L. Cook, Klansman and Mason, waving his freak flag high from beyond the grave in Oakdale Cemetery, Deland, Florida.

Ignoring these photos won't make them go away, best to bring them out into the daylight.  Personally I don't see how one could belong to a group promoting universal fraternity and another white supremacy, but there you have it.

This KKK-sponsored page features a photo of Cook's Klan headstone, but not the Masonic one; it does, however, feature the stone of Imperial Wizard James Colescott (1897-1950).  Colescott led the Klan from 1939-1944.  His stone bears the square and compasses.  The page also pictures the stone of one Samuel Grady Roper (1891-1951)--with the square and compasses--and says it belongs to yet another Imperial Wizard.  Trouble is, the Sam W. Roper (b. 1895) who led the Klan in 1949-1950 died in 1986 (after having retired as second director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation).  So, given this blatant error, any info on the site must be weighed accordingly.

The Cook grave is located in Deland, Florida.  Colescott died in Coral Gables.  Roper, in Gainesville.  All of them were contemporaries, Klansmen and finished their days in Florida.  Which is not surprising; even a cursory glance at Klan history reveals that Florida has always had a particularly strong, and violent, Klan presence.

Florida, the Sunshine State!

(Gid and I are both Florida natives, we can thus rag on Florida with impunity!)

5 comments:

  1. Still boggles my mind that someone wanted this carved into stone and planted over their dead body for everyone to see for as long the stone might stand.

    Cook died young, didn't he? 44 years old? I know that people live longer now, but if you account for infant mortality rates, I think that life spans are nearly unchanged -- with the exception of the influence of wars/violence.

    One final thought is that Roy Cook has one of the shortest names I've ever seen: 7 letters without resorting to a nickname. And only one unique vowel!

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    1. Which only shows how acceptable it was in Deland to be in the Klan! Maybe the town's lucky before he kicked it. There are still lots of Cooks (family not chefs) in Deland I think. And yeah, that's odd. 1 vowel and really short. Can't think of another shorter.... Lee Ving (pseudonym I presume) is only 7 letters...Cy Young is 7, but his real name wuz Denton. Ty Cobb is only 6 but Ty is short for Tyrus. Both baseballers btw, and Ty active a decade or so later than Cy. Of course you've got Chinese names such as Li Po, ok, but that's doesn't count I think for our porpoises here, which is strictly ethnocentric....wink wink. Though Google "Ed Ng" and there are more than one in the world.

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  2. Fascinating. I recently talked to my younger brother who mowed yards here in Deland as a teen. He mowed some yards near the Oakdale cemetary and had noticed the Cook marker (which is why I searched the net for this topic). He mentioned it to a client, a woman who grew up here in the 30's. She remembered the funeral well. Hundreds of robed men came from miles around to celebrate Roy L. Cook ( I still cannot find out if he was an officer, or just well liked). She also noted that all the African Americans left the area, to avoid confrontations.
    So WHO WAS Ray L. Cook? He seems noticeably absent from the internet. Was he an officer or just another member? Was he in a Florida Klan or another state? Did he have family?. Are there any Cook family members here in Deland today?

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    1. I've looked up "Cook" in the Deland yellow pages and got some responses. I wouldn't be surprised if they were related. A retired radiologist, Roy Sanford Cook, died in Deland in 1988. Maybe Roy L. Cook's son?

      source: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1870&dat=19881018&id=Gv8pAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XNMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3396,2490218

      Dig this comment from 2013 by one Roy Cook writing for the West Volusia Beacon. I can't say if he's a relation or not. May not even be a real person. Someone just using the name as a tribute....

      source: http://www.beacononlinenews.com/news/daily/6163

      Roy cook | posted Jul 5, 2013 - 2:55:13pm
      I say we also send the spring hill citizens to Sanford also. After all they are also black useless sludge.

      There was a play produced in Deland in 2013 called "The Volusia Lowdown" about the politics of the county back in the 30's. Roy L. Cook is a character in the play. I've read that there was a cabal called "the Ring" and another called "the anti-Ring" which struggled for political dominance of Volusian in the 30's, and the KKK was aligned with one of those factions. I'd imagine Cook was a local KKK leader and political intriguer.

      My instinct is that he was definitely more than just a popular klansman. If you're in Deland, there's a historical society in town. I bet they could give you a bunch of info. In fact, I'll contact them and post back on what they let me know....

      Thanks for contacting us!

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    2. So, I contacted the historical society and they sent me a text that includes this:

      As Grand Dragon of the Klan in Florida, Cook found a way to leave a granite testament to the Klan upon his death

      ....World War I saw a resurgence of their “Invisible Empire,” and a peak in their power during Cook’s watch in the 1920s and early 1930s. However, their new more formal organization compromised many of the original Klan’s principles, and a number of the old members dropped out because of this. This deep influence in the community created the conditions that were the backdrop to Cook’s funeral in 1931. Hundreds of hooded men from across Florida, Georgia and Alabama descended upon DeLand, Florida to pay homage to him, the Florida Klan leader and respected car dealer. The funeral procession started downtown at the First Baptist Church and headed north along Woodland Blvd. An estimated 2,500 solemn mourners, each holding an American flag, attended his late afternoon funeral in Oakdale Cemetery. Up the hill from his gravesite, a tall cross was set ablaze, illuminating the darkening sky. Among the twelve pallbearers were city and county commissioners, a judge, a lawyer, a state legislator, and prominent businessmen. When this strange and awesome spectacle was over, the News-Journal reported that: “Ghosts of the Old South stalked here again.”

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