Madge in 1925, the KKK & Godsign™

Hello All
Happy Friday

Today’s message is about a hero of mine because hatred gets so full and strong sometimes. The heroes that fight against the hate of today, and of long ago, need to be honored more than they are, especially in times like these when there’s been so much hatred, that’s so thick for so long.

Hatred breeds more hatred . . . more pain, more devastation, more deaths.

Hatred of the other.

Unfortunately, it can also make people a great deal of money. If you get a whole lot of people hating others they will pay you a lot of money to keep them hating.

There are too many groups that breed, breathe and live hatred. For as long as groups filled with hate have been around, justifications have been stated to explain the hatred. Some will even go to certain churches not to hear and heed – ‘love one another as I have loved you’ – but to keep learning about more people, cultures, beliefs to hate . . . 

Hate groups have rebranded themselves. They are still the KKK but they have taken off the hoods and call themselves proud boys with nothing to be proud of. Some are known as Oath Keepers who keep no oath to the Constitution – they wish to destroy the Constitution and America. The Q community hate the demon Ds and embrace all the lies. The boogaloo boys just boogaloo down the street spewing hate of the ‘other’. There are too many groups to mention.

In 1925, a hero and friend of mine named Madge helped decimate the membership numbers of the KKK in Indiana. I know it may seem strange to you that she is a friend of mine because I never met her, she died in 1925. But she has been ‘speaking’ to me off and on for the last 11 years. This week is the 96th anniversary of her death and I wish to honor her for her courage and because her death led to the destruction, for a while, of the KKK in Indiana and the hatred it breeds.

I first heard about Madge 11 years ago when I went with a large group of good female friends on a Halloween ‘ghost tour’ in an area of Indianapolis called Irvington. Irvington was the original home of Butler University from 1875 till 1928. Madge lived down the street from the original Butler campus. Her parents, George and Matilda’s home was on the ‘ghost tour’ because of what had happened to Madge and the repercussions for many because of this true Hoosier hero. 

The man who was leading the ghost tour had walked us to several homes and ‘ghosted’ places in Irvington. One location was the original Butler University library. He said that many white young men brought their girlfriends to that spot because they would scare their girlfriends with the ‘ghost’ of Bona Thompson who would look out the windows. 

In 1890, Edward Thompson brought his family to Irvington so that his daughter, Bona, could finish high school and attend Butler College. Bona graduated from Butler in 1897 but would be dead from typhoid fever two years later after returning from a European voyage.  Edward Thompson donated $40,000 in his daughter’s name to have the Bona Thompson Memorial library built for Butler University

Our guide said that the ‘white’ guys would bring their dates to frighten them with Bona’s ghost. The guys could put their arms around their girls and hold them because the girls were scared and so it was a big date hangout with cars parked late at night in front of the library.

Then our guide walked us to where he said the ‘black’ guys took their girlfriends to scare them. 

As he proceeded to tell us the story of the Oberholtzer house I felt a presence next to me and a female started to intuitively speak to me. She was telling me that our guide was good at telling her story except for one part. She said he was wrong as to why the black guys would bring their girlfriends to her parent’s home and she would explain when our guide was done talking.

Our guide started by saying that Madge was the Oberholtzer’s only child, a very respectable, 20-year-old Irvington resident and former Butler College sorority girl who served on the Teachers and Young Peoples reading circle board. 

Madge had acted as the aide to a Mr. David Stephenson during the 1925 session of the Indiana General assembly as well as helping Stephenson write a nutrition book. 

On March 15, 1925, she accompanied David Stephenson and two of his associates, on a train trip to Chicago. She might have gone willingly, or he might have forced her. He was known as a man who didn’t take no for an answer.

In 1925, Stephenson was the most powerful man in Indiana. He was the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. He owned politicians, up to and including the governor. He could send hundreds of hooded Klansmen marching through the streets. He could have a man beaten up or make him disappear.

Stephenson was drinking heavily even before they got on the train. Madge was coerced into having a couple of drinks. On the trip, the three men pushed Madge into a sleeping compartment, where Stephenson raped and brutalized her, viciously biting her as he held her down.

The day after the rape, Madge was still being held hostage by Stephenson. She asked to go to the closest drug store to get makeup. Stevenson let her go with one of his henchmen. At the drugstore, Madge didn’t buy cosmetics. She bought a box of mercury bichloride tablets — a powerful poison. This was before antibiotics and mercury bichloride was sometimes used to treat external infections she could get from his bites on many parts of her body. It was also a pesticide, and women sometimes used it to induce abortion.

Back at the hotel, Madge swallowed six tablets. She had intended to take all 18, but they burned her mouth. After revealing that she’d taken poison, she demanded medical treatment and a return to her parents’ home. Stephenson, who had been holding Madge at gunpoint, told her he would take her for medical treatment, if she would marry him. Madge refused. Stephenson had his men put her in a car, and they began the long drive back to Indianapolis. 

George and Matilda Oberholtzer were frantic because their daughter Madge had not returned home the night before. They watched all the trains coming into Union Station, but she wasn’t on any of them. While they were away from the house, one of Stephenson’s men carried Madge through their door, up the stairs, put her on a bed and left the Oberholtzer home.

One month later, on April 14, 1925 Madge died a horrendous and drawn out death.

Marion County Prosecutor Will Remy took the case, against seemingly overwhelming odds. On Nov. 14, 1925, a jury of 12 men: 10 farmers, a manager of a gas company office and a truck driver, found Stephenson guilty of murder in the second degree. Stephenson did not receive help from Indiana Gov. Ed Jackson. The once powerful Grand Dragon was headed to jail.

The revolting revelations of what had been done to Miss Oberholtzer triggered a mass exodus of Hoosiers from the state’s Ku Klux Klan, estimated at that time to be 250,000 strong. Within the month over 220,000 had quit their membership in the Indiana KKK.

***

Our guide was finishing up with Madge’s story.

I had moved to the back of the Ghost tour crowd. Mainly because huge tears were rolling down my eyes. That is when I felt her presence again and knew it was Madge. She told me not to cry because it was a long time ago and she was fine. But she said she knew I could hear her and she wanted me to know why the black guys brought their girlfriends to her house.

She explained to me that it wasn’t to scare their girlfriends. It was to honor her and her family. You see, Stephenson had his henchmen kidnap young black women for years. He would send his drivers into the ‘negro’ section of town and do whatever he wanted to do with those young girls and women. Nobody was going to stop Stephenson from kidnapping and raping black girls.  

The black guys brought their girlfriends to Madge’s house to pay homage and honor to Madge and her family. After Madge’s rape, torture and death, Stephenson was no longer able to destroy the lives of young black women in Indianapolis anymore. They wanted to honor her sacrifice that stopped the madness and hatred that had been destroying so many of their women and families.

Please don’t fool yourself into thinking, yeah nice story, but that kind of stuff doesn’t happen anymore. The last few years alone prove that’s not true.

Hatred has blinded more members of our society then I remember in a very long time. What is sad is not the money that hate-filled people make off of it but how HIGH THE COST IS TO ALL OF US. Hate costs us financially, legally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Hate takes away.

Love saves us. Love saves us financially, legally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Love gives a Way.

Fill your heart with LOVE whenever and wherever possible. The energies around all of us have been and still are very strong with HATE for others. Madge asked me then and still asks me now to do all I can to keep spreading smiles, hugs, compassion and most of all LOVE.

It doesn’t hurt.

Hate does – hate hurts us all . . . LOVE NEVER DOES.

THANKS Madge, and all the many heroes out there, who sacrifice their lives in the hope that we will all run away from the hate and embrace the Love. 

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True Colors
by Cyndi Lauper

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then
Don’t be unhappy, can’t remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let it show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow

If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let it show

Your true colors
True colors
True colors
Shining through . . .

Songwriters: Billy Steinberg / Tom Kelly

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And the Children shall lead them . . .

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A GREAT GIFTA butterfly in the Garden
by
Annie


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