Ku Klux Klan Southern Poverty Law Center

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Ku Klux Klan,A History of Racism and Violence,compiled by the staff of the klanwatch project. of the southern poverty law center,Sixth Edition, TH E S O U TH E R N P O V E R T Y L A W C E NT E R M ONT G O M E R Y A L A B A M A. Ku Klux Klan,A History of Racism and Violence,SIXTH EDITION 2011. COPYRIGHT 2011 BY THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced. stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any. means electronic mechanical photocopying recording or. otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. Printed in the United States of America,EDITED BY RICHARD BAUDOUIN.
GRAPHIC DESIGN BY RUSSELL ESTES,COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY Ed Eckstein CORBIS. Ku Klux Klan,A History of Racism and Violence,Why Study The Klan by Julian Bond 4. Part One The Terror is Born,The Founding of the Ku Klux Klan 7. The Unusual Origins of the Klan 9,The Terror of the Nightrider 11. The Klan s Version of History 13,Part Two The Invisible Empire.
Klan Power at Its Peak 17,When the Klan ruled Oregon 19. Box Office Propaganda 21,Part Three Fear And Violence. The Klan Defends Segregation 25,Murdered by the Klan 28. Part Four Con Men And Thugs,The New Klan of the 1970s 35. From Robes to Combat Boots 37,The Woman Who Beat the Klan 41.
Part Five Will The Terror Continue,The Klan at The Turn of the Century 45. The Rise and Fall of the Hooded Order 46,The Evolution of a Klansman 49. Do Klansmen Bleed by Morris Dees 52,Bibliography 55. WHY STUDY THE KLAN,by Julian bond,this is a history of hate in America. not the natural discord that charac,terizes a democracy but the wild irra.
tional killing hate that has led men,and women throughout our history to. extremes of violence against others sim,ply because of their race nationality. religion or lifestyle, Since 1865 the Ku Klux Klan has The Klan itself has had three. provided a vehicle for this kind of periods of significant strength in. hatred in America and its members American history in the late 19th. have been responsible for atrocities century in the 1920s and during the. that are difficult for most people to 1950s and early 1960s when the civil. even imagine Today while the tra rights movement was at its height. ditional Klan has declined there The Klan had a resurgence again in. are many other groups which go by the 1970s but did not reach its past. a variety of names and symbols and level of influence Since then the. are at least as dangerous as the KKK Klan has become just one element in. Some of them are teenagers who a much broader spectrum of white. shave their heads and wear swas supremacist activity. tika tattoos and call themselves It s important to understand. Skinheads some of them are young however that violent prejudice is. men who wear camouflage fatigues and practice not limited to the Ku Klux Klan or any other white. guerrilla warfare tactics some of them are conser supremacist organization every year murders. vatively dressed professionals who publish jour arsons bombings and assaults are committed by. nals filled with their bizarre beliefs ideas which people who have no ties to an organized group but. range from denying that the Nazi Holocaust ever who share their extreme hatred. happened to the contention that the U S federal I learned the importance of history at an early. government is an illegal body and that all govern age my father the late Horace Mann Bond. ing power should rest with county sheriffs taught at several black colleges and universities. Despite their peculiarities they all share the He showed me that knowing the past is critical to. deep seated hatred and resentment that has given making sense of the present The historical essays. penny weaver, life to the Klan and terrorized minorities and Jews in this magazine explain the roots of racism and. in this country for more than a century prejudice which sustain the Ku Klux Klan. people in Klan robes or mil,itary uniforms again hand.
ing out hate literature on,the town square I read in. my newspaper of crosses,again burned in folks yards. and it seems as if we are,back in the Sixties,Some say the Klan. today should just be,ignored frankly I d like to,do that I m tired of wast. ing my time on the KKK I,have better things to do,But history won t let.
me ignore current events,Those who would use vio,lence to deny others their. as a founder of the Student nonviolent Coordinating Committee rights can t be ignored. Julian Bond was highly active during the Civil rights Movement The law must be exercised to stay strong And even. racists can learn to respect the law, As for current events that was an even easier That s why this special report was prepared. lesson for me because I grew up in the racially torn to show the background of the KKK and its bat. years of the 1950s As a young civil rights activist tle with the law and to point out the current rea. working alongside John Lewis Andrew Young the sons why hate groups can t be ignored This hate. late Dr Martin Luther King Jr and many others I society was America s first terrorist organization. saw the Ku Klux Klan as an all too visible power in As we prepare for the 21st century we need to. many of the places we went to organize voter reg prepare for the continued presence of the Klan. istration and protest segregation Unfortunately malice and bigotry aren t limited by. We knew what the Klan was and often we had a dates on a calendar. pretty good idea of who its members were We also This report was produced by the Southern. knew what Klansmen would do to us if they could Poverty Law center s Klanwatch Project The. get away with it SPLc is a private nonprofit public interest organi. for many years the KKK quite literally could zation located in Montgomery Alabama It estab. get away with murder The Ku Klux Klan was an lished Klanwatch in 1981 to monitor white suprem. instrument of fear and black people Jews and even acist activities throughout the United States. white civil rights workers knew that the fear was Together SPLc attorneys and Klanwatch inves. intended to control us to keep things as they had tigators have won a number of major legal battles. been in the South through slavery and after that against Klan members for crimes they committed. ended through Jim crow This fear of the Klan was This is not a pretty part of American history. very real because for a long time the Klan had the some of the things you read here will make you. power of Southern society on its side angry or ashamed some will turn your stomach. But in time that changed It is a tribute to our But it is important that we try to understand the. laws that the Klan gradually was unmasked and its villains as well as the heroes in our midst if we are. illegal activities checked to continue building a nation where equality and. Now of course I turn on my television set and see democracy are preserved. Steve SChapiro CorBiS, JULIAN BOND IS A HISTOrY PrOfeSSOr AT THe UNIVerSITY Of VIrGINIA. AND A DISTINGUISHeD ADJUNcT PrOfeSSOr AT AMerIcAN UNIVerSITY. Getty iMaGeS, two early members of the Ku Klux Klan are pictured in their disguises. THE TERROR IS BORN,The Founding o f t he Ku Klux Klan.
The bare facts about the birth of the,Ku Klux Klan and its revival half a cen. tury later are baffling to most people,today Little more than a year after it was. founded the secret society thundered,across the war torn South sabotaging. Reconstruction governments and impos,ing a reign of terror and violence. that lasted three or four years And then as rap burnings and lynchings of the 1920s beyond even. idly as it had spread the Klan faded into the his the Reconstruction era and the Civil War The story. tory books After World War I a new version of begins really on the frontier where successive gen. the Klan sputtered to life and within a few years erations of Americans learned hard lessons about. brought many parts of the nation under its para survival Those lessons produced some of the qual. lyzing grip of racism and blood shed Then having ities of life for which the nation is most admired. grown to be a major force for the second time the fierce individualism enterprising inventiveness. Klan again receded into the background This time and the freedom to be whatever a person wants and. it never quite disappeared but it never again com to go wherever a new road leads. manded such widespread support But the frontier spirit included other traits as. Today it seems incredible that an organization so well and one was a stubborn insistence on the pre. violent so opposed to the American principles of jus rogative of frontier justice an instant private. tice and equality could twice in the nation s history very personal and often violent method of settling. have held such power How did the Ku Klux Klan differences without involving lawyers or courts. one of the nation s first terrorist groups so instantly As the frontier was tamed and churches schools. seize the South in the aftermath of the Civil War Why and courthouses replaced log trading posts set. did it so quickly vanish How could it have risen so tlers substituted law and order for the older brand. rapidly to power in the 1920s and then so rapidly have of private justice But there were always those who. lost that power And why is this ghost of the Civil War did not accept the change The quest for personal. still haunting America today with hatred violence and justice or revenge became a key motivation for. sometimes death for its enemies and its own members many who later rode with the Ku Klux Klan espe. cially among those who were poor and uneducated,Frontier Justice.
The answers do not lie on the surface of American Night Patrols. history They are deeper than the events of A more obvious explanation of the South s wide. the turbulent 1960s the parades and cross spread acceptance of the Klan is found in the. institution of slavery freedom for slaves repre defeated Southerners and liberated blacks when the. sented for many white Southerners a bitter defeat first Klansmen took to those same roads in 1866. a defeat not only of their armies in the field but of. their economic and social way of life It was an age Aftermath of War. old nightmare come true for early in Southern life An even more immediate impetus for the Ku Klux. whites in general and plantation owners in partic Klan was the civil War itself and the reconstruction. ular had begun to view the large number of slaves that followed When robed Klansmen were at. living among them as a potential threat to their their peak of power alarmed Northerners justi. property and their lives fiably saw in the Klan an attempt of unrepentant. A series of bloody slave revolts in Virginia and confederates to win through terrorism what they. other parts of the South resulted in the widespread had been unable to win on the battlefield Such a. practice of authorized night patrols composed of simple view did not totally explain the Klan s sway. white men specially deputized for that purpose over the South but there is little doubt that many. White Southerners looked upon these night patrols a confederate veteran exchanged his rebel gray for. as a civic duty something akin to serving on a jury the hoods and sheets of the Invisible empire. or in the militia The mounted patrols or regula finally and most importantly there were the. tors as they were called prowled Southern roads conditions Southerners were faced with imme. enforcing the curfew for slaves looking for run diately after the war Their cities plantations. aways and guarding rural areas against the threat and farms were ruined they were impoverished. of black uprisings They were authorized by law and often hungry there was an occupation army. to give a specific number of lashes to any violators in their midst and reconstruction governments. they caught The memory of these legal night riders threatened to usurp the traditional white ruling. and their whips was still fresh in the minds of both authority In the first few months after the fighting. Lynchings were a common form of vigilante justice during the 19th century. The Unusual Origins of the Klan, the origin of the Ku Klux Klan the sound for a while they settled. was a carefully guarded secret on Ku Klux Klan the selection of the. for years although there were name chance though it was had. many theories to explain its a great deal to do with the Klan s. beginnings one popular notion early success Something about the. held that the Ku Klux Klan sound aroused curiosity and gave. was originally a secret order the fledgling club an immediate air. of Chinese opium smugglers of mystery as did the initials K K K. another claimed it was begun which were soon to take on such. by Confederate prisoners during terrifying significance. the war the most ridiculous the Soon after the founders named. ory attributed the name to some the Klan they decided to do a bit of. ancient Jewish document refer showing off and so disguised them. ring to the hebrews enslaved by selves in sheets and galloped their. the egyptian pharaohs horses through the quiet streets of. in fact the beginning of the a Klansman s costume from the late tiny pulaski their ride created such. Klan involved nothing so sinis 19th century a stir that the men decided to adopt. who share their extreme hatred I learned the importance of history at an early age my father the late Horace Mann Bond taught at several black colleges and universities He showed me that knowing the past is critical to making sense of the present The historical essays in this magazine explain the roots of racism and prejudice which sustain the Ku Klux Klan penny weaver 5 As for

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