In the 1920s Charles Ponzi had his scheme…

…and Bessie Tyler and E.Y. Clarke had theirs at the same time.

You’ve likely heard of Ponzi, and now, author Dale Laackman will tell you about the machinations of Tyler and Clarke–to grow the KKK from a dying organization to one with 5 million members in a few short years, practically writing the playbook of PR deviousness in the process. They swindled the Klan of a fortune as they did so–ultimately bankrupting them–then disappeared into oblivion.

Laackman uncovered this story over 14 years of meticulous research. Watch as he presents this information to Chicago’s historic College of Complexes, a weekly free speech forum since 1951, with its origins in Chicago’s freewheeling, free-speech heydays of the 1910s and 1920s.