Miss Recordia

Samantha Allen, Multimedia Editor

Misericordia is a place where so many of us feel safe and at home, but history tells us it hasn’t always been that way. The Ku Klux Klan has spread its hateful message in this area for long before this school came to be, and perhaps shockingly, our beautiful campus has had its encounters with the KKK.

The Klan has stirred up some trouble on this campus more than once, but the most memorable and recounted event happened Nov. 6, 1928. Almost 90 years ago, this campus had surprise visitors in the middle of the night, and they left memories that would last a lifetime. It happened on a cool and breezy November night, just before the election. President Coolidge decided not to run for this second term, so the world patiently awaited the election of Al Smith and Herbert Hoover. Smith was a Catholic nominee running for the Democratic party. The Ku Klux Klan expressed their displeasure about a Catholic running for office by burning a cross on the meadows. Misericordia, a Catholic school, was targeted for that reason. In the end, Hoover won the election, but the protests remained on everyone’s mind. Students remember hearing a commotion outside in the darkness. They heard the loud sound of hammering echoing through the windows and down the halls. They remember hearing loud voices of men outside, the men protesting the religion that guides this school.

At this time, the school housed women, the Sisters and two men. Living with the women were Father Carmody and Peter McGlinchey, a worker who resided in the basement. At the time, Sr. Jerome was there to help contain the situation. Many students were worried about the possibility of the Klan members breaking into the building. The women were instructed to stay away from windows and not to turn on any lights, so as not to draw attention. The KKK had hammered a cross into the ground and set it ablaze outside Mercy Hall. When students awoke the next morning,  they saw ashes on the lawn, a gritty reminder of what had happened the night before.

The KKK thought that burning a cross would send fear throughout campus, but the Sisters stood their ground. After the events of that night, the Sisters were not shaken. They did not waiver in their beliefs or be moved from their hard work when times got tough. Frighteningly, alarmingly tough.

It’s amazing that almost 90 years later we can see the similarities, the hate that remains in our world. Misericordia is home to so many of us, and it seems crazy to think that hate attempted to run us out of our home, to destroy it with fear.  But if the Sisters had been frightened by hate, if they had been moved, we would not be here today. That’s a lesson to us now.