BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Binghamton has a rich history of innovation and technology, but also of a dark period in America’s past.

Ed Nizalowski is a local historian from Newark Valley, and was invited to the Binghamton Noon Rotary today to give a presentation on the Ku Klux Klan’s history in our area.

The Klan began in the South as a reaction to the freedoms that were gained for African Americans during the Reconstruction era.

Nizalowski says the first instance of the Klan operating in our area was a cross burning in 1922 at the Evergreen Cemetery in Owego.

He says that in 1923, people in Endicott, Johnson City and Binghamton started to receive flyers from the Klan announcing their presence in the area.

Local Historian Ed Nizalowski says, “What brought the clan to its range of influence, these attitudes are still there. I mean the clan isn’t kind of the presence that it was in the 1920’s, but I think a lot of people that feel, have the same viewpoints as what the clan had, they’ve gone to like the Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys.”

Also in 1923, due to the overwhelming support and participation in the area, Binghamton becomes the New York State headquarters for the Klan.

Nizalowski says that even in recent years, the Klan’s impact can be seen.

He thinks it is important to understand our history, as it may connect to the way people think and behave today.