On April 27, 1926, the CaƱon City Daily Record ran a surprising bulletin on its front page. Right under a notice that the local junior high school was putting together a variety show, the local newspaper of the small central Colorado town printed the headline “Klansmen pose for picture on merry-go-round,” along with a brief, staid description of a parade of hooded locals that went from the Klan headquarters on Main Street to the travelling amusement park that had been set up a couple blocks away.
The photo itself, though, wasn’t printed, as the photographer didn’t share it with the paper. In fact, it didn’t show up until more than 65 years later. And when it did, of course, it went viral. The story of how this photo got to the internet touches on topics as diverse as Colorado demographics and the history of the Ferris wheel—but it also reveals the blind spots in our historical memory. As grotesque as is the image of the hooded men enjoying an amusement park ride, the spectacle was not nearly as unusual as many Westerners might hope. 

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