Kkk Essay Research Paper Ku Klux Klan

Kkk Essay, Research Paper

Ku Klux Klan

A secret terrorist organization that began in the southern states during the

reconstruction period following the Civil War and was reactivated on a larger basis in

the 20th century. The original Klan was brought together in Pulaski, Tennessee in

1865, by six X-Confederate officers who gave their society a name from the Greek

word kuklos. Although the Ku Klux Klan began as a prankish social organization, its

activities soon were directed against the Republican Reconstruction governments

and their leaders, black and white, which came to power in the southern states in


The Klansmen thought of the Reconstruction governments as hostile and

oppressive. They also believed in the inferiority of blacks so they resented the rise of

former slaves to a status of equality. The Klan became an illegal group committed to

destroying the Reconstruction governments everywhere from the Carolinas to

Arkansas. Wearing robes or sheets and masks with pointed hoods, the Klansmen

terrorized public officials in order to drive them from office and blacks in general to

stop them from voting. It was normal for the Klansmen to burn crosses near homes of

people they wanted to frighten. When these things failed to create the wanted

outcome, their victims might be mutilated or even murdered. These activities were

justified by the Klan as needed measures in defense of white supremacy.

A secret meeting of Klansmen in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1867, took on a

declaration of principles showing loyalty to the United States Constitution. The

convention designated the Klan as an invisible empire and made it possible for a

supreme official, called Grand Wizard, who had racist power. Other officials of the

Klan were the Grand Dragon, the Grand Titan, and the Grand Cyclops. From 1868 to

1870, while federal troops were being taken out of the southern states, the Klan was

more and more controlled by the rougher parts of the population. The local clubs,

called klaverns, became so violent that the Grand Wizard, Nathan B. Forrest,

disbanded the Klan in 1869. Klaverns, continued to go on their own. In 1871,

Congress passed a Force Bill to enforce the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. In

that year Ulysses S. Grant brought on a announcement calling all members of illegal

organizations to stop, after that hundreds of Klansmen were arrested. The left over

klaverns faded as the political and social status blacks was brought back.

The name and rituals of the Klan were adopted by a new fraternal society

started in Georgia in 1915. The official name of the new brotherhood, which was

fronted by Colonel William Simmons, was the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Membership was open to all white, Protestant males, 16 years of age or older. Blacks,

Roman Catholics, and Jews were excluded and were made targets of persecution by

the Klan. Until 1920 the group showed little power. In the period of economic upset

that happened after World War I, the Klan expanded in urban areas and became

active in many states like Colorado, Oregon, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama,

Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The Klan preached

white supremacy, it centered its attack on what it thought to be outsiders, particularly

the Roman Catholic church, which it believed was threatening old American ways and

values. All non-Protestants, immigrants, liberals, and striking workers were

denounced. Little prosecution occurred to this group.

Journalistic showings of crimes done by the Klan and of corruption in its

leadership led to an investigation in 1921. The Klan changed its system. After 1921 it

had a quick growth of membership and became politically influential all through the

nation. One estimate of its membership, was as high as 3,000,000. In that year a

resolution denouncing the Klan, stated at the national convention of the Democratic

Party, started a controversy and was defeated. In the1920s, bad leadership, inner

conflict, and violence damaged the Klan s reputation, and political opposition

increased. By 1929 it had been reduced to a few thousand members. In the

depression of the 1930 s the Ku Klux Klan stayed active but small. It threatened

blacks if they tried to vote. In 1940 the Klan buddied up with the German American

Bund, an organization linked to the government of Nazi Germany at Camp Nordland,

New Jersey.

After the United States went into World War II, the Klan lessened its activities.

In 1944 it ended when it wasn t able to pay back taxes owed. The start of the Klan

movement after the war made the public want suppression of the group. It suffered a

setback in Georgia, when it wouldn t allow the Klan charter in 1947. With the death of

Samuel Green, the Klan broke down into independent units, which did not last long

enough to be placed on the list of organizations held by the attorney general.

The Supreme Court ruling in1954 stated that racial segregation in public

schools was unconstitutional, stirred the Klan into new trys at recruitment and

violence but did not work. Most opponents of ruling went with other leaders, like the

White Citizens Council. As the civil rights movement gained force in the 1950 s the

Klan continued to offer hardcore opposition to civil rights and was thought to be

involved in many crimes of racial violence. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 it had

an increase in membership, reaching about 40,000 in 1965.

In the 1970s, the Klan had gained a little in respectability. Known Klan leaders

ran for office in the South, and got a numbers of votes. Around 15 organizations

existed, like the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the United Klans of America, and the

National Klan. A new start of Klan violence occurred in the1980 s a Klan office was

opened in Toronto, Canada. The membership was estimated at 5000 at the end of the



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