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Racism was at a fever pitch in the 1920s, and in Alabama it was focused mainly against African-Americans, although smaller numbers of immigrants and Jews faced widespread discrimination both in Alabama and elsewhere.
The 1920s saw a resurgence of the KKK, largely under the leadership of former Methodist Reverend William Joseph Simmons. The movie The Birth of a Nation was also very popular during this time, and glorified the KKK as protectors of the white race. Jim Crow segregation was the law of the land, and in Alabama, black sharecroppers and cotton mill workers labored in poverty, often for "company towns" and under contracts that required they buy all of their goods from the land or company owners, at inflated prices.
By 1924, there were 115,000 official members of the Klan in Alabama alone, and they were responsible for getting numerous local officials, judges, senators and even some governors elected during that time.
A diversified industrial sector featuring textile mills, coal mines, iron and steel furnaces, and timber saw mills produced treasured resources for the needs of World War I. Labor was abundant and cheap in the South, the resulting boom was concentrated in urban areas but much of Alabama shared in the immediate post-war prosperity. Agriculture was depressed during the entire decade which affected almost 78% of the population that lived in rural areas. The 1920’s in Alabama saw the second peak of the Ku Klux Klan which help propagate continued segregation throughout society. Many African-Americans migrated north to seek jobs, education, and freedom in the north.
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