Most Frightening II

Ku Klux Klan cross

Ku Klux Klan cross burned at the home of Sarah Patton Boyle in Charlottesville, 1956.


Mrs. Sarah Patton Boyle was an unlikely civil rights supporter. She was a Southern housewife, married to a faculty member of the University of Virginia. Her family was rich in its history: A great-great-great-grandfather was a Revolutionary War General and doctor; one grandfather fought under Stonewall Jackson; the other was a scout for Robert E. Lee; and she was a relative of famed World War II general George Patton. 


Sarah Boyle and Ku Klux Klan cross

She grew up with stories of duty, honor, and Christian social responsibility. In 1950 Gregory H. Swanson and the NAACP filed suit in federal court seeking admission to the University of Virginia, thus attempting to end 125 years of whites-only admissions. This event changed Mrs. Boyle’s view of the civil rights struggle forever. Outspoken and supportive of the need for nonracial brotherhood, she was labeled a "liberal." On August 29, 1956, this cross was burned in her front yard in the Piedmont area of Charlottesville, near Fontaine Avenue.

Mrs. Boyle wrote a number of articles supporting her views in various newspapers, magazines, etc. Her most notable work was entitled The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian’s Stand in Time of Transition (New York: Morrow, 1962 ).



German luger pistol. 


A semiautomatic 7.65 millimeter handgun first manufactured in 1900 and used as a standard pistol of the German armed forces during World Wars I and II. This pistol is part of a collection of World War II material received in the papers of Edward R. Stettinius, Secretary of State, 1944-1945.


Nazi Party Banner


This embroidered banner reportedly hung in Nazi Party headquarters in Berlin. It was retrieved by an American soldier and later presented to the then Secretary of State, Edward R. Stettinius.

The swastika incorporated in this banner had been a world-wide symbol of prosperity and abundance, found throughout the world: in early Christian and Byzantine art, among the Maya and Navaho, and perhaps most notably in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In Germany in 1910 Guido von List suggested using the swastika as a symbol for all anti-Semitic organizations, and the National Socialist Party adopted it when it was formed in 1919-1920. The swastika then came to represent the evil of the Nazis, and became one of the most hated and feared symbols in human history.