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Throughout the 20th century, Michigan became home to nearly every political movement in America that emerged from the grassroots. Citizens organized on behalf of concerns on the "left," on the "right," and in the "middle of the road." "Right in Michigan's Grassroots: From the KKK to the Michigan Militia" is about the people who supported movements that others, then and later, would denounce as disgraceful--members of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s, the followers of Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s, anti-Communists and the John Birch Society in the post-World War II era, and the members of the Michigan Militia who first appeared in the 1990s.
The book explores the complex historical circumstances in Michigan that prompted the emergence of these organizations and led everyday men and women to head off, despite ridicule or condemnation, with plans unsanctioned and tactics unorthodox, variously brandishing weapons of intimidation, discrimination, fear mongering, and terror. Drawing heavily on primary sources, including the organizations' files and interviews with some of their leaders and surviving members, JoEllen Vinyard provides a far more complete portrait of these well-known extremist groups than has ever been available.
JoEllen McNergney Vinyardis Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University. She is author of a number of books on Michigan history, including Faith and Fortune: The Education of Catholic Immigrants in Detroit.