Where KKK robes come from
Newly sewn Klan robes, ready for shipping
58-year-old Miss Ruth spends all of her days doing just three things: smoking, caring for farm animals an for her 40-year-old quadriplegic daughter, making the uniforms for America's oldest and most notorious terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan. Anthony Karen interviewed her extensively and photographed the at home, where she takes orders and sews robes from sunup to sundown.
Miss Ruth says that she's a 5th generation Klansman.
Miss Ruth's daughter Lilbit was injured in a car accident. In this photo, Miss Ruth changes Lilbit's IV fluids while while she takes an order from one of dozens of Klaverns scattered across the country.
Before they go in the box for shipping, each robe gets a blessing from Miss Ruth.
You can see the rest of the photos here, and here commentary from Anthony Karen and Miss Ruth.
During the commentary, Karen maintains a childlike naivety about the activities of the Klan, recounting the Klan's history and traditions exactly as they were described to him by Miss Ruth and her husband. A lot of the comments on this photo essay criticize Karen for not correcting the record, but he was faced with the journalist's dilemma: usually, what makes a piece of information newsworthy is that most people hadn't previously known it. Either it's about an event that just happened, or the keeper of the information isn't anxious to share it. In the latter case, a journalist has to gain the trust of the informant. The only way to do that consistently is to just report what's seen and what's heard, without any editorializing.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)