Crowns worn by debutantes at a secretive racist ball started by Confederate veterans have been stolen from a museum in St. Louis, Fox 2 News reports.
The bejeweled tiaras were given to local white women by a group called the Veiled Prophet Ball, which was started by a secret society in 1878 by elites who were angry about a railroad strike and the participation of black people in that strike. Members of the Veiled Princess group dressed exactly like members of the Klu Klux Klan and carried weapons.
The event is described thusly by the Atlantic:
A person would be chosen by a secret board of local elites to anonymously play the role of the Veiled Prophet. The Veiled Prophet would chose a Queen of Love and Beauty from among the elite ball attendees (of course, invitation list to be kept strictly confidential as well) with whom he would dance a “Royal Quadrille” before presenting her with an expensive keepsake such as a tiara or pearls. Often these gifts were so expensive that they became family heirlooms.
These crowns were among those heirlooms, and were donated to the Misouri History Museum in the 1960s presumably by someone who wanted to unburden herself of their psychic baggage as civil rights protestors targeted the event. In 1972, when activist Gena Scott rappelled onto the stage at the auditorium where the ball was being held and unmasked the Veiled Prophet, who turned out to be a Monsanto executive. Scott's car was bombed soon after, according to the River Front Times.
The Veiled Prophet Organization finally admitted black people in 1979. The ball is still held today.
Museum officials invite snitches to call the city's police department.