Who was St Louis's Veiled Prophet? Ellie Kemper called 'KKK princess' for winning 'racist' pageant

The title has been linked to the Ku Klux Klan, however, this is simply speculation based on allegations


                            Who was St Louis's Veiled Prophet? Ellie Kemper called 'KKK princess' for winning 'racist' pageant
Ellie Kemper was crowned Queen of Love and Beauty in a ' Veiled Prophet' ball when she was 19 (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Glamour x Tory Burch, Wikimedia Commons)

Ellie Kemper, who has appeared in 'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' and 'The Office', is trending on Twitter for the wrong reasons. Her background is being scrutinized, particularly when she was named queen of the Veiled Prophet Ball (VP) in 1999, when she was 19 years old.

The title has been linked to the Ku Klux Klan, however, this is simply speculation based on allegations. Users familiar with the group on Twitter linked it to affluent Catholic elites in St. Louis, Missouri, who attempted to quieten the railroad workers' strike when it was founded. Kemper was born and raised in St Louis, where the Veiled Prophet Organization has held a debutante ball every year since 1878. Racial segregation was rampant and the Veiled Prophet didn't allow Black members to join until 1979, further solidifying its disturbing intentions.

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Who was St Louis's Veiled Prophet?

According to a 2014 article in The Atlantic, which is being quoted by Twitter investigators, Confederate Colonel Alonzo Slayback and his brother, Charles Slayback, a grain executive and former Confederate cavalryman formed the Veiled Prophet in the late 1878. They held elaborate festivities and rituals for which only a select group of people were invited.

Later that year, 200 more influential men were invited. The VP first instituted a parade and a ball, over which the Veiled Prophet himself presided. The VP Parade, which featured one unknown member each year who was secretly dressed as “the veiled prophet,” was ostensibly meant to generate pride and interest in St. Louis as a major city. At the ball, the daughters of VP members were presented, and the VP selected one to reign as Queen of Love and Beauty (the first VP queen was Alonzo Slayback’s daughter, Susie Slayback). 

Based on Irish poet Thomas Moore's poetry, specifically, an Oreintal romance named 'Lalla Rookh', Slayback and the St. Louis elite invented the tale of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, a mystic traveller who strangely chose St Louis as his base of operations. The ball met with protests in the 1970s and in recent years as well. It had to move from a city-owned auditorium over allegations of racism.



 

 

Fear was fostered in the working class, which was on strike at the time. Scott Beauchamp, the journalist who did the research for The Atlantic, described the first Veiled Prophet's appearance, armed with a shotgun and pistol, as "strikingly similar in appearance to a klansman." From among the elite ball goers, the Veiled Prophet would select a Queen of Love and Beauty with whom he would dance a 'Royal Quadrille' before giving her a costly souvenir like a tiara or pearls. These gifts were often so expensive that they became family heirlooms.

Twitter users took to the social media site on May 31, some to 'call out' Kemper for being 'racist' to have once been dubbed Queen of Love and Beauty, others to talk about why it's important to know the facts before harping on a 'trend'. The last queen of the ball, Lily Shelton Baur, was crowned in 2019, according to a Wikipedia entry that draws its source from the St Louis Dispatch.



 

 

'Not exactly breaking news'

"Ellie Kemper being a KKK princess is so random that I'm not even sure where to begin with the questions," said a Twitter user. "It really is something that Ellie Kemper was the star of a tv show about a woman who leaves a racist cult and tries to rebrand herself while pretending it never happened. no reason why I'm bringing this up of course," said another. Underlining the fact that Kemper's crowning wasn't something unknown, a third netizen quipped: "It's always weird when something wasn't exactly treated like a secret hits Twitter like breaking news."



 

 

 



 

 



 

 

'What white nonsense is this?'

"The Ellie Kemper thing is hilarious but you people don't really think she's like, a secret nazi agent and not just from some dumb ass town where they make you square dance right," said a Twitter user. "Ironically the best gif reaction to the ellie kemper news comes right from kimmy schmidt," said another while sharing a GIF saying 'What white nonsense is this?'.

"Really hope people don't just take away "Ellie Kemper was part of a racist ball" from the trending story, but take away the bigger picture "a lot of the wealthy and famous people you know were part of deeply f*****d up racist s**t, because deeply fucked up racist s**t is ongoing," said a third. "People who think Ellie kemper is a racist bc of participating in racist traditions as a child have never stepped even a toe in the Midwest I guess," a fourth added.



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 

These remarks were made by the Internet and individual organizations, MEAWW does not support these claims being made on the Internet.

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