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Bob Lind, Published July 13 2009

Lind: Scary memories of KKK encounter

Andrea Halgrimson devoted her Forum column earlier this year to the Ku Klux Klan in North Dakota. That brought a letter to Neighbors from Dorothy Berger of Fargo, telling of her memories of seeing the Klan in action in the early 1920s, when she was about 6.

“We lived in Clifford, N.D., where my father was manager of the grain elevator,” Dorothy writes.

“One summer day Dad, Mother and we four kids drove to Hillsboro, N.D. I suppose it was for some celebration, perhaps July Fourth.

“I still have a vivid memory of being in the grandstand with a crowd of people; I suppose it was in the baseball park. It was very dark, so it must have been late in the evening.

“I clearly remember seeing a long line of men dressed in white sheets and white hoods over their faces. They were carrying burning torches as they walked, making a circle surrounding the park. There was a burning cross in the center of the field.

“I remember being really frightened and wanting to go home. Someone then announced that no one was allowed to leave.

“My father talked to one of the Klansmen and asked if he could take his family home as they were tired and scared. He did let us leave, and said, ‘I have kids of my own.’

“We were glad to get out of there.

“That was 80-some years ago,” Dorothy says, “and I have never forgotten my first and last sight of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Andrea’s column about the Klan ran March 7.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com