Profiles in OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: William E. Fanning, Brea Schools Pioneer, Namesake of Fanning Elementary

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for babyklan.jpg
The legacy of school segregation in Orange County really needs no introduction 'round these parts. But what still needs to get examined is the political allegiances of the architects of such policies--beyond the mere racism that existed in Orange County before the 1950s, and toward the Coast to Coast territory of bona fide conspiracies. Many educators during the 1920s belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and took the KKK's philosophy of white supremacy to heart by creating Mexican-only schools with subpar education. Of course, those stories don't get into the history books--and here we are.

We already talked about Roy Horton, the SanTana trustee who wanted to fire school employees who weren't Klan. And then there's a titan of OC education who's name I won't reveal until I end this series, which probably won't be for three more years, inshallah. But today, the educator we'll focus on is William E. Fanning of Brea.

Fanning was first head of the old Brea Grammar School when it first opened in 1917. As the oil town grew, so did Fanning's responsibilities; by the time he retired in 1942, he had served as the superintendent of Brea's elementary schools for more than a decade.

Brea's schools were never segregated because there was no need to. The city, of course, was a sundown town, where African-American families couldn't legally leave. Mexicans were okay, but they all feared the racial animus in town. As former California Supreme Court Judge Cruz Reynoso recalled in a 2002 interview, his family was one of two Mexican families in Brea during the 1930s. Two, in a county that even then had a sizable Mexican community. They got the hell out while they could--and with a Klucker like Fanning at the head of education, who could blame them?

Tellingly, Brea named William E. Fanning Elementary school after the pendejo--what a town!

Tune in every Monday around 5 p.m. for the latest entry exposing Orange County city fathers who were Klan members!

Previous entries:

Jesse L. Hunter, San Juan Capistrano Innkeeper, Owner of Mexican Restaurant
John A. Leuzinger, Brea Mayor, Founder of Brea Electric
Newton E. Wray, SanTana Rancher, Failed City Council Candidate
Samuel F. Hilgenfeld, Buena Park Minister, Founder of Anaheim's Hilgenfeld Mortuary
Elmer E. Heidt, OC's First Scout Executive for Orange County Boy Scouts Council
James W. Newell, Fullerton-area Miner/Mason
Garland C. Ross, Santa Ana dentist, batted against Walter Johnson
Ferris F. Kelley, San Juan Capistrano Postmaster
Clyde Fairbairn, Longtime Olive resident/nice guy
Charles McClure, Brea's first police chief
John F. Pieper, Tustin feed-store owner, councilmember
William Starbuck, Fullerton school trustee, druggist
Hoyt Corbit, Yorba Linda pioneer, fan of Richard Nixon
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

My Voice Nation Help
50 comments
EM
EM

My son goes to Fanning. The current Principal there is a Black woman. How awesome is that!?

mitch young
mitch young

"The city, of course, was a sundown town, where African-American families couldn't legally leave."

That's a novel definition of a sundown town.

ChellG
ChellG

What? No white women on the list. Seems like things have changed. Nowadays white women tend to be more racist than white men, especially on OC! Try being a white male/Asian female couple in Huntington Beach and walk along the waterfront...count how many stares or snide remarks you get from white women versus white men!

jim
jim

Why do you never talk about the racist Mexicans who dislike African Americans?   You never write or discuss the Hispanic gangbangers who shoot African Americans because of their race. Because in your world the Hispanic can never be anything but a victim, get over it.    Not every white belongs to the KKK. Not every African Americans picks on Hispanics. Every race has assholes, but in your myopic world you can not see that. .

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Always playing the victim.  Do any real Mexicans ever ask you to stop portraying them as the underdog, the abused, the downtrodden? 

junior
junior

Gustavo,

How much of the blame for a segregated society of the early and mid 20th century would you ascribe to self segregation - the desire of people of the same race, any race, to live amongst their own?

Curtis L Walker
Curtis L Walker

Really, what do you expect from a town that is right next door to La Habra (where Richard Nixon had his law practice)? The other side of Brea is where Dick is buried, at his Library (Yorba Linda). 

Weeezer12345321
Weeezer12345321

You cannot change the past, therefore why dwell on it. What happened in the past obviously   happened because it was a white nation. Get over it!

Culichi1967
Culichi1967

Man, just like there must be a few thousand buried bodies just outside of Vegas, there must also be a gazillion of these O.C. kkk-segregationist stories still to tell. Every O.C. city, every town, shit even every pinchi church probably has a sad racist past to admit to. Schools, streets, buildings, and parks have been named after kluckers. No wonder all these gabachos have a difficult time accepting facts. Frat dudes, just take it like a man in prison does: don't fight it, accept it, and learn from it. Maybe next time you won' repeat the crime, verdad?    

Badinfluencechris
Badinfluencechris

the OC Weekly is full of the new KKK.......LA RAZA LA RAZA LARAZA THE NEW KKK

junior
junior

This is really getting tiresome Gustavo - 3 more years? - shit.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

"Many educators during the 1920s belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and took the KKK's philosophy of white supremacy to heart by creating Mexican-only schools with subpar education."

So what you're saying is Mexicans depend on the white man for a decent education.  

Dsnfdffdjg
Dsnfdffdjg

our website: http://www.edhardy007.com

Airjordan(1-24)shoes $30Nike shox(R4,NZ,OZ,TL1,TL2,TL3) $35Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini) $15New era cap $10Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $25FREE SHIPPING,accept paypal

Your satisfaction isour eternal pursuit!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Oh we do, but your whiny ass chooses not to pay attention, so spare us your faux outrage.

Marial
Marial

He always has to play the victim since the time he was young and sitting on his uncles laps...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Never have, because I never do—but hey, keep on with your smamming fantasies!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Please read about the history of racial covenants, then go on and get yourself a book about the history of white flight. Come on, junior: I know you're not a racist asshole like some of the other trolls here, but your comment is incredibly ignorant.

csgonzalez
csgonzalez

It was never a white nation, but a pluralistic society in which the minority were muffled in participation in our great democracy. We have a long road in defining that great society, when you deny other people's accomplishment and the contributions to this country, you are denying America. Period.

mitch young
mitch young

"Frat dudes, just take it like a man in prison does: don't fight it, accept it, and learn from it."

Spoken from experience, no doubt. But please, don't project your feeling on us.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Well, not ALL, the Gabachos, but perhaps I'm misreading your comment and you're specifically referring to the deniers who refuse to admit that there might be something to learn from the sins of our past. Just because I try not to be anymore of an asshole than I absolutely have to be doesn't meat there's nothing I can learn.

Csgonzalez4p
Csgonzalez4p

So we can scalp those invading pioneers like the great Apache of Oklahoma. Slice and Dice baby.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

And yet, you comment. Who's the tiresome fool again?

mitch young
mitch young

Now Mexicans create the subpar education all by themselves. 

carlos gonzalez
carlos gonzalez

Maybe if you knew your history, and I mean real American History the people in power during the 1920's to 1950's the majority were european white americans who not only controlled the federal, state, and local government but also controlled school districts. The rest is history.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Ha!  The only commenter to this "article" is automated spam.  LOL.

jim
jim

Name calling really.. that is your best. shot I do read the weekly both the OC and LA ones, it often has good stories.  It is a much better paper than the OC Register.  No faux outrage or real outrage in my comments.  But your stories more often than not portray Mexicans as victims.     

mitch young
mitch young

Racial covenants were agreements among private parties. No government coercion. Likewise, 'white flight' is merely the desire of whites to live among people who share their language, culture, folkways, and yes-- physical appearance. You'll not that immigrants do the same thing, clustering in their 'Little Saigons' etc.

Apparently Calvito wants to force white folks to remain as their neighborhoods turn into barrios.

junior
junior

"..read about the history of racial covenants .." - what the hell is that?

White flight .. where did the brown people flee from?

mitch young
mitch young

In 1790 the very first Congress -- you know, the guys that brought you the constitution-- restricted naturalization to 'free white persons'. Militia service was required of 'free white males'.

Sure there have been some contributions by other groups, but there is no indication that the Founders wanted this to be a 'multicultural' society.

Mike
Mike

asshole ..

Bill T.
Bill T.

And continues to follow the series, ja ja ja! Just another loyal reader apparently.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

The funny thing is that then you were the first commentator, like the pendejo you are haha

Marial
Marial

Go back to swallowing your gay lover...

mitch young
mitch young

That lands were they are the overwhelming majority. But somehow when they get here, the also cluster where they are a local majority. And surprise, the area starts having similar social conditions to the areas they left in the first place.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

You learned absolutely NOTHING. Go back to bashing gay marriage—at least that's amusing in its stupidity...

junior
junior

Everything is f**king sad to you - cheer up dude!

Yes, the Bernal / Sunnyside incident was regrettable.  It was obviously an over-reaction to the zoot suiters.  However, it was an isolated incident and not indicative of rampant racism throughout Orange County at that time.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

You are a selective reader of our paper, and that's sad. Google "Alex Bernal Gustavo Arellano" and let me know what you think!

junior
junior

Okay - "racial covenants" - got it.  Do you have evidence of this type of covenanent being used in Orange County.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Since you were too lazy to give me an actual citation I am reduced to speculation. I suppose you are referring to "... one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors ..." as the basis of your conclusion.

Points to think about:1. The Federalist papers were essays and articles reflecting individual authors' opinions. At most what you might be able to draw from this is that some authors may have been in the only-whites-may-apply camp.2. Whatever your speculations on the motives and beliefs of the founding fathers the Consitution is the final authority expressing their intents and was created from a quorem of representatives as opposed to being the expression of some individuals' opinions. It is strongly implied in its usage that "citizen" and "resident" were closely, if not in fact, interchangeable.3. Women did not have the vote, this is cast-iron fact. Using this solid fact as a basis I feel much better justified to conclude that the founding fathers did not consider women to be citizens then you using cherry-picked opinons to base your statements. I notice you skirted this little statement in your "response".

Either cite specific references and sustantiate how they support your opinions or back off.

mitch young
mitch young

I didn't say they were in the Constitution, I said the same people that passed the Constitution passed the first naturalization and militia acts, and limited them to free whites. Blacks, of course, were mostly slaves and free blacks in a sort of limbo, Indians (or 'the merciless Indian savages as Thom. Jefferson put it in the declaration of independence) were treated as foreign nations.

Obviously things have changed since then, most importantly with the Fourteenth Amendment. But it is clear the Founders themselves never intended a 'multi-cultural polity'. Read through Federalist 2 for some more proof. Indeed even the Civil War generation which passed the Fourteenth Amendment had no problem passing the Chinese Exclusion Act, limiting competition from Chinese labor.

 

Bill T.
Bill T.

What article and clause of the Constitution makes this statement? (I'll help you out, there is none.) The definition of citizenship was only implicit until the 14th amendment in 1868. Actually there is better reason to believe that they explicitly intended landed males to have the vote (left up to the states, there is no indication in the original version of the U. S. Consitution as to which citizens were eligible to vote). Using this argument apparently you would also exclude women as citizens using your interpretation of the the founding fathers' definition? There are many examples of free African-Americans participating in full citizenship in the north, it was mainly in the south where their rights were systematically stolen. Even in some slave states there were freed slaves who fully participated as citizens. Every statement you make reinforces the evidence of your ignorance.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Bill, Any guppy can read what they agree with and not their head in agreement. So dance on down the street behind gustavo and his magic flute.

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

General

Loading...