Profiles in OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Hoyt Corbit, Yorba Linda Pioneer, Fan of Richard Nixon

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When Richard Nixon became president in 1968, the national media rushed to the Podunk city of Yorba Linda, the Dickster's birthplace and a town that had just incorporated a year earlier and was still largely citrus groves and rolling hills instead of the exclusive estates and gated communities that characterize it today. Most eventually ended up at the home of Hoyt Corbit, an old-timer, citrus farmer and former honorary mayor for whom present-day Corbit Place in the city is named. He had seen Yorba Linda grow from a place where the namesake Yorbas still lived to the burgeoning suburb into which it was transforming. He even remembered when Nixon was born, for chrissakes, since he worked for Dick's father, Frank, planting lemon trees.

The national media painted Corbit as the salt of the Earth. "Hoyt Corbit's face is strong and wise and kind," read one typical Life story from 1970, "and he is one of those who really hold this country together.

Corbit was also one of those who joined the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.

He was only a handful of Kluckers from Yorba Linda, a surprising development given that the heart of OC's northern Klan was next to it: Brea, La Habra, Fullerton, and Anaheim. Why Corbit would join is also strange, given the town had none of the temperance and decency battles that colored most OC White men's decision to join the Klan (besides, you know, that white supremacy thing) instead of, say, the Rotarians, the group that Corbit joined once the Klan became unfashionable. His KKK status didn't make it into any of the polite histories: not Corbit's oral history with Cal State Fullerton, not any of the tomes on Yorba Linda's past, and certainly not in any of the news stories about Nixon in which Corbit served as local color.

Corbit loved Nixon, campaigning as early as the 1950s to get Dick's childhood home declared a national monument. Even toward the end of his life, Corbit stood by his sole claim to fame. "I don't believe Dick was intentionally involved in this illegal Watergate stuff," Corbit told the Los Angeles Times in 1979. At the time, Corbit and other loyalists were spearheading the Nixon Birthplace Foundation, which eventually turned into the organization that founded the Nixon Library. "What he did--he was a very loyal person--he tried to protect those people around him instead of telling them, "You've done wrong."

Since Corbit loved Nixon so, we'll end with his hero's thoughts on Mexicans, Mexicans Corbit employed to pick the oranges that made his life comfortable:
 
The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.

HILARIOUS...

Previous entries:

Lucien Proud, La Habra mayor/school trustee
Albert Hetebrink, Fullerton rancher
Henry W. Head, Orange County godfather
Dr. Roy S. Horton and Marshall Keeler, Santa Ana Unified trustees
Sam Jernigan and Jesse Elliott, Orange County sheriffs
Herman Hiltscher, Fullerton bureacrat

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25 comments
senator mccarthy hall
senator mccarthy hall

Gustavo, it is fun to bait you because you predictably react from the gut and not the brain. Your responses remind me of a dog who crazily barks it head off when hidden behind its owners fence at the neighborhood kids who taunt it.

senator mccarthy hall
senator mccarthy hall

Gustavo, do you have a friend who used the CSU Fullerton's oral history archives to research the Bernal civil rights case? The reason I ask is the excerpts you cite in your guess who is a KKK member? That's right, a dead guy, may be found in these archives. If your friend is just feeding you excerpts from these oral histories usually obtained by an undergrad student in history, then you need to double check your source, instead of having a friend do your footwork before you assert the KKK was and is still alive in the OC. Since you are obviously a student of history, then you may realize you and your articles resemble the rabid anti-communist kook once called Senator McCarthy. The 5150 squad may soon scoop you up and take you away,ha ha

909Jeff
909Jeff

Well Gustavo Its seems like the tone is turning against you... The first few articles were cute, now they are getting more and more petty. Let me ask you? how wet were your chonis getting at the prospect of connecting a republican president to the klan?

Keep the hard hitting journalism coming I'm enjoying watching 20ft Jesus and a few others here use your "Work" as a pinata!

Next stop in the Gustavo is a Charlatan tour... The article on the landmark steakhouse!

See you over there!

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

So you have a quote from Nixon, but what about Corbit? Typical, you found Corbit's name on a KKK member list, but anything else? Flimsy reporting as usual.

You use Nixon's foibles to disparage Corbit, but nothing about Corbit (well, except that Corbit supported him which is like haranguing Matt Coker over Obama's mistakes).

Another worthless article. Although, I'll give you credit for turning a member rollcall into a 52-week series. Nice.

Deportgustabo
Deportgustabo

i laugh at u "raza studies" folks who want to point out that the founding fathers of the USA owned slaves.

ur people were still sacrificing humans on your weak-ass pyramids (lol) around the same time and u want to criticize Thomas Jefferson?

anyway, the KKK, which doesn't even exist anymore, never had anything on La Raza, MeCHA, LUCLAC, La Causa, (i could go on and on) brown pride modern day nazis.

and u people hunt down and kill innocent black children and old folks in LA just because of the color of their skin. that's ethnic cleansing. u people worse than the KKK ever was.

Myoung2
Myoung2

Shouldn't that be "by planting citrus, Corbit enabled Mexicans to find grainful employment."?

juanydilznik
juanydilznik

But you have to admit is was much nicer around here with the Klan than with the brown-man. Si se puede. You could still live in Santa Ana when the Klan was around........now not so much.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Another person who just can't accept history. Actually, the only time I used COHP for the Bernal case was to see what, if anything, Loren Miller had to say on the subject, but gracias for your wild-assed assumptions!

Culichi1967
Culichi1967

the tone is turning? hahaha, how laughable is that?? the tide and tone is alive and well and rising just like a tsunami. dude, these articles are fascinating. where else can you find these little old and dirty secrets kept under lock and key after all these years? what coudl be so petty about such trivial things, right?too funny, toofunny.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Oh please. I could show you a picture of Corbit lynching someone, and you'd dismiss it as "flimsy reporting." Your criticisms are about as legitimate as Donald Trump's Birther claims.

Culichi1967
Culichi1967

-uh, me thinks founding fathers owned and enjoyed negros, financially and sexually.-mayas sacrificed their own just liek republicans eat their own.-kkk is still alive and kickin' (kickin some negro, brown, and chino ass as we speak. sometimes they even stick their own cracker verga up one of their own once the snitch is made public).-pendejo cholos hunt down some poor negros in south central the same way crackers do on whatever race is open for business. i say both shoudl eb cobsidered ethnic cleansing. may i begin with you, sir?hahahha

comic relief...and all for free.

Culichi1967
Culichi1967

"...Thank you so much, Massa Corbit, for gainful employment and your patriarchal attitude towards negros, wabs, and chinos...". White people were (still are) so funny.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Why don't you admit all you have is a member signup list? Oh yah, you already did that.

senator mccarthy hall
senator mccarthy hall

wild-asssed assumptions?, how did you tease out wild-assed assumptions from a respected oral history program and its archives? A logical response would be to say no, I don't use this archive to support my accusations.

909Jeff
909Jeff

First of all I have been challenging Gustavo on EVERY one of these hit peices. But lets expand from there. I believe these people are who gustavo says they are... For the most part. But we are several weeks into his expose' i mean muckraking... and his credibility (As if he ever had any) is twisting in the wind.

-Feb 22nd When asked to cite his sources Gustavo Writes

"Ah, reporters don't kiss-and-tell on all their sources...but the membership rolls of the Klan are in the museum I mention at the link at the end of this article! "

So in the early articles Gustavo pulls the Robert Novack move of hising behind his sources

-March 29th from John J.

"Yes I do, but what does that have to do with this story? Please post a link or reference to documents that back up your claim that Hetebrinks was KKK. That's all I'm asking. "Mar 29th, gustavoarellano 16 hours ago in reply to John J.

"Go to the Anaheim Public Library and you'll find the information you need... "

John J In response to Gustavo,

"No source for this story? Did you just make it up? All I am asking for is the proof that you must have seen to write this story. "

So now all of a sudden he will give a vague source?

Kokopuffette wrote on the same post

"I am one of John Castro's Daughters. Pete Hetebrink was the most kind and generous person. I grew up playing in that big house. People close to him will tell you what a super nice person he was. I am honored to have had in my life. He had a sweet lovable heart. I do not know about any KKK involvement, so I can only speak to my relationship with him. He was like a Family member, and my Father and him, were the best of Friends. Why don't you report on positive things rather than crucifying anyboby that you think hates Mexicans, Gus."

And what do we get from Gustavo? More crickets chirping? Here it was in writing something I called would happen the first week he published this garbage. Someone comes forward knowing one of the alleged Klansters and what does she have to say? That he was a great person with a very close and personal relationship with Latinos.

But it doesnt stop there. A week ago 20ft Jesus wrote.

"Do you have any proof other than Proud's name on a KKK member list? Did he pen any ordinances or vote for any measures that enacted or enforced segregation? Of course not.

Look at it this way. When I was a kid, my shooting buddies nudged me into joining the NRA for a year -- it doesn't mean I support legalized bazookas in every home or M-16's for every child.

Like your math teacher told in grade school....SHOW YOUR WORK. Otherwise, you're just copying answers from someone else."

Here was Gustavos enlightened response.

"Of course he did, and of course you do—but nice of you to be an apologist for the Klan, and to grace us with your inane logic anew! "

Not to be disuaded by Gustavo's Ad Hominem Attack 20 ft Jesus answered back

Do you have any proof you can show us? Even a little for instance?

And then more of the same classic gustavo silence. Ducking his critics.

20ft Jesus pressed him again this week and gustavo resorted to some Obama Birther crack? I've said it before and I'll say it again Gustavo is a Charlatan.

A charlatan is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Confirmed. You aint got nuffin. LOL.

mitchell
mitchell

Uh, no one held a gun to Mexicans' heads to cross the border.

Really, I think you all are taking too much credit. Harvest is about 2 weeks for a given farm. Back in the day, at times, the picking work was done by Anglo kids and even the substance-addled hobos known as fruit tramps. I don't deny a Mexican campesino with 8 kids to feed was probably a more reliable workman than a transient alcoholic, but the citrus would have got harvested even without Mexicans, just like the railroad would have been built without Chinamen.

I understand the desire to embellish your own ancestors' contributions, but the rest of us don't have to buy it all.

juanydilznik
juanydilznik

Unlike yourself who is just a racist? Unfortunately gussy when your folks move in it becomes untenable for those that have become use to low-crime, non-violence and nice living conditions. I'll take Coto de Caza over Santa Ana all day and twice on Sunday.

BTW according to the 2010 census, at 78% latino Santa Ana is practicing segregation very well.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Wow, gracias for your illuminating analysis that makes no sense!

senator mccarthy hall
senator mccarthy hall

A Charlatan is a person who claims to have special knowledge or skill. Gustavo's KKK pieces assert the KKK in OC were well-known civic leaders who proudly signed their names to the KKK roles to establish their credibility with the white folks of OC . Gustavo says the KKK was a well-respected civic organization for nearly fifty years beginning around the 1900's. What Gustavo asserts is we, white folk, are fully aware of the KKK and tacitly approve of this organization , today. Gustavo's intent in publishing these weekly pieces is not to expose the KKK but to expose white supremacy reigns still in OC and so shame on white people. Gustavo may be noted for having some skill, just not in researching history. What is Gustavo's skill? Spinning tales.

Myoung
Myoung

And what happened in 1910 -- the Mexican 'Revolution' made a lot of Mexicans head north. Supply creates its own demand, as they say. I suspect there really wasn't any huge demand for Mexican workers, but since they were around they were able to occupy a niche (in part using ethnic networks and, as we have seen, violence).

mitchell
mitchell

I read your Citrus War story -- and even by its loaded terms the reader could tell the work would have got done without the Mexicans -- that's why they resorted to violence to try to keep the 'Anglo' teenagers out of the orchards.

juanydilznik
juanydilznik

And how much better was it when the Mexi's would pick the fruit and not want free lunch at the local school, ESL classes, their own cultural center, WIC, etc. I agree that the Mexican of 1910 was much better than the current crop gussy. That we can agree on.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Please stop with your comedy! OC farmers were relying almost exclusively on Mexican labor as early as the 1910s; when all those Mexicans struck during the 1936 Citrus War, the growers had to beg high school gabachos to pick them—and they did a bad job at it. I understand the desire to embellish your own ancestors' contributions, but the rest of us don't have to buy it all—but we do laugh!

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