Presented by Dr. Kevin Leonard, Professor of History at Western Washington University
In September 1925, a Bellingham judge removed 9-year-old Russell Tremain from the custody of his parents, who had refused to send their son to school. John W. Tremain and his wife, Ethel Tremain, insisted that the mandatory flag salute was incompatible with their religious beliefs. Even as local community leaders condemned John and Ethel Tremain, they struggled with the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in Whatcom County. In his presentation, Leonard will explore the tensions between religious freedom and patriotic nativism that were evident in Bellingham in the 1920s.