Kennedy, Stetson

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1916-10-05
Death 2011-08-27
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Author, journalist, and civil rights activist; b. 1916.

From the description of Stetson Kennedy collection, 1916-1950 [microform]. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122550492

From the description of Stetson Kennedy collection microform. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 238022799

From the description of Stetson Kennedy collection microform. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 238022716

Civil rights advocate, writer.

From the description of Stetson Kennedy collection, 1916-1950. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 144652172

Stetson Kennedy was employed in the 1930s by the Florida office of the Federal Writers' Project as a folklorist. He went on to write many articles and books on folklore and on social problems in the South.

From the description of Stetson Kennedy papers, 1936-1978 [manuscript]. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 26320028

Stetson Kennedy was a editor of folklore materials for the Florida office of the Federal Writers' Project and an author on folklore and on social problems in the South.

From the guide to the Stetson Kennedy Papers, ., 1936-1978, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Stetson Kennedy, author and human rights activist.

From the description of Stetson Kennedy oral history interview, 1988 Oct. 7. (Georgia State University). WorldCat record id: 38726955

From the description of Stetson Kennedy oral history interview, 1988 Nov. 26. (Georgia State University). WorldCat record id: 38726960

From the description of Stetson Kennedy oral history interview, 1988 Nov. 11. (Georgia State University). WorldCat record id: 38726958

From the description of Stetson Kennedy oral history interview, 1988 Dec. 17. (Georgia State University). WorldCat record id: 38726963

From the description of Stetson Kennedy oral history interview, 1988 Dec. 31. (Georgia State University). WorldCat record id: 38726969

Stetson Kennedy was an author, journalist, and political activist from Florida. When he ran for the Senate as an Independent in 1950, he was endorsed by the Progressive Voters League (an arm of the Progressive Party). Founded in 1948, the Progressive Party's first presidential candidate was Henry A. Wallace. The party (which continued until 1954) opposed the bipartisan Cold War policy, advocated civil rights, and wanted an extension of New Deal policies.

From the description of Stetson Kennedy Collection of Progressive Party Materials, 1945-1952. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233116696

Journalist, author, lecturer, human rights activist.

Kennedy, a Jacksonville, Florida native, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and other militant groups. He is the author of "The Klan unmasked," "Southern exposure," "Palmetto country," "The Jim Crow guide to the U.S.A.," and "After Appomattox: how the South won the war."

From the description of [Papers] 1997. (University of South Florida). WorldCat record id: 50657934

Stetson Kennedy's career as an author began in the 1930's when he worked as both a writer and an editor on the Federal Writers' Project guide to Florida. The affiliations made there led to an invitation to write the Florida volume in the American Folkways series, edited by Erskine Caldwell. This volume, Palmetto Country (1942) established Kennedy's reputation as an authority on the traditions and culture of his home state. His next book, Southern Exposure (1946) was an expose of the social and political inequities of the South in the 1940's. Later, he continued his crusade with I Rode with the Ku Klux Klan (1954) and Jim Crow Guide to the U.S.A. (1959). At various times, he has contributed articles to the New York Times, New York Post, Saturday Review, Nation, New Republic, and other periodicals in the U.S. and abroad. The author of the column Inside Out, syndicated by the Federated Press, from 1937 until 1950, Kennedy also wrote a column Up Front Down South for the Pittsburgh Courier in the 1960's.

Kennedy's writing career has existed, in his words, “as a tool to air human grievances.” His devotion to the causes of civil rights and equality for all has been lifelong, and is the driving force behind all his books and articles. He has been affiliated with a wide variety of political and social action groups, including, among many others, the C.I.O. Political Action Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. As an agent of the Georgia government, he infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan under the pseudonym, John Perkins; both Southern Exposure and I Rode with the Ku Klux Klan are based in part on this experience.

Kennedy was born in Jacksonville, Florida, of an old southern family, on October 5, 1916. He attended the University of Florida, the New School for Social Research, and the University of Paris. As an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida in 1950, he ran on a “Total Equality” platform. From 1952 through 1960, Kennedy lived and traveled in Europe, Asia, and Africa. His interest in communism led him behind the Iron Curtain, where he lived and worked for three years, primarily in Hungary. He emerged, disenchanted, as a refugee in 1956.

Upon his return to the U.S. and Florida in 1960, Kennedy remained active in the civil rights and peace movements as a writer and lecturer. He joined the federal anti-poverty program in Miami in 1965, and later became its assistant director. He has been married several times.

From the guide to the Stetson Kennedy collection, 1916-1950, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Stetson Kennedy (1916- ), a prolific author and iconic figure in Florida history, was born in Jacksonville, FL. Kennedy began his career as an author with the Florida staff of the Federal Writer’s Project, where he worked with such notable authors as Zora Neale Hurston, and went on to work in various capacities in the news business, including as a correspondent for several papers in New York, NY and as an editor for the Florida edition of the Pittsburg Courier.

Kennedy is founder and president of the Florida Folklore Society and is also a member of International League for the Rights of Man, International Organization of Journalists, International Institute of Arts and Letters (Geneva), International Platform Association, Junta de Cultura Espanola, Cercle Culturelle de Royaumont (Paris), American Newspaper Guild and American Historical Society.

Kennedy has earned numerous awards for authorship and for his involvement in social justice movements. Kennedy is most notable, however, for infiltrating and exposing the Ku Klux Klan and his accounting of these events in the books I Rode with the Ku Klux Klan (1954) and The Klan Unmasked (1990).

From the guide to the Stetson Kennedy collection, (USF Tampa Library - Special & Digital Collections)

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Subjects:

  • Folklore
  • African American women authors
  • Education
  • African American poets
  • White supremacy movements
  • Labor unions--Organizing
  • Racism
  • Folklorists
  • Civil rights--History--20th century--Sources
  • Agriculture, Cooperative
  • African Americans
  • Civil rights
  • Universities and colleges
  • Oral tradition
  • White supremacy movements--Southern States
  • Civil rights--Tampa
  • Folk music
  • College students--Political activity
  • Romanies
  • Authors, American--Correspondence
  • Racism--United States
  • African American authors
  • Women authors, American
  • White supremacy movements--Georgia
  • Labor unions--Political activity
  • Nativism
  • Secret societies
  • Civil rights--United States
  • Folk songs
  • Authors, American
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Authors, French
  • Language policy

Occupations:

  • Civil rights workers
  • Collector

Places:

  • Florida--Tampa (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Key West (Fla.) (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Mulberry Grove Plantation (Fla.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • Hungary (as recorded)
  • Romania (as recorded)
  • Tennessee (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Tennessee (as recorded)
  • Jacksonville (Fla.) (as recorded)
  • Key West (Fla.) (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)