Poteat, Ida Isabella

Item

Connection to Legacies of American Slavery Database
Name
Poteat, Ida Isabella
One-line bio
Celebrated Meredith College Artist and Instructor
Biography
Longtime art department head at Meredith College, Miss Ida, as she was affectionately known, received training and studied at several notable institutions including the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, the Cooper Union Art School in New York, and the School of Applied Design in Philadelphia. In 1906 she founded the KKK, an inexplicably named art club that existed until 1942. The club utilized KKK officer titles and imagery in its yearbook pages and despite minor name changes, K. K. Klub & K. K. Club, was long associated with Poteat. The club only disappeared after her death in 1940. The linkage between Poteat and the Klan remains unclear but, according to her brother’s biographer, the family’s Yanceyville home regularly hosted multiple North Carolina Klansmen and her home county, Caswell, was a center of KKK activity during Reconstruction. Historians describe Ida’s brother, William Louis Poteat, onetime president of Wake Forest University, as an advocate of the Lost Cause. Ida’s long association with the oddly named KKK club strongly suggests that she shared his views or was at least comfortable associating herself with the organization’s name and imagery. The club’s presence at Meredith is not an isolated incident as multiple photos of women in KKK attire appear in yearbooks from the college’s first few decades suggesting a broader campus association with Lost Cause ideology. Early twentieth Century photographs of Poteat's art studio feature crossing Confederate and United States flags on the wall.
Date of Birth
15 December 1858
Date of Death
1 February 1940
Wikidata Link

Position: 51 (12 views)

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