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Ku klux klan:

a social movement
The Ku Klux Klan Flag
General Overview
• An American white supremacist hate group whose primary targets
were the African-Americans
• Has existed in three distinct eras at different points in time during the
history of the United States
• All three movements have called for the "purification" of American
society and all are considered right-wing extremist organizations
• In each era, the membership was secret

The Ku Klux Klan Propaganda
• Originally organized as a social club by Confederate veterans in
Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866
• Apparently derived the name from the Greek word kyklos, from which
comes the English “circle”
• “Klan” was added for the sake of alliteration and Ku Klux Klan

• Dressed up in scary costumes with hoods and masks
• Conical hats
• White-robed Klansmen
• A burning cross
• Night-time raids

The KKK Costumes
The first wave
• Flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s
during Reconstruction, then died out by the early 1870s
• In the summer of 1867, the Klan was structured into the “Invisible
Empire of the South” at a convention in Nashville
• Sought the restoration of white supremacy through intimidation and
violence aimed at the newly enfranchised black freedmen
• Dressed in robes and sheets designed to frighten superstitious
blacks and to prevent identification by the occupying federal troops
Confederate cavalry general Nathan Bedford Forrest is believed to
have been the first grand wizard
• Demanded that blacks either vote Democrat or not vote at all
• Killed hundreds of black Southerners and their white supporters,
• Sexually molested hundreds of black women and men
• Drove thousands of black families from their homes and thousands of
black men and women from their employment
• Appropriated land, crops, guns, livestock, and food from black
Southerners on a massive scale

The second wave
• In 1915 at a ceremony at Stone Mountain, Georgia, the Klan was re-
created by a former preacher, “Col.”William J. Simmons, as a
patriotic fraternal society
• This resurgence followed the release of the sensational movie Birth
of a Nation, based on the 1905 novel by Thomas Dixon, The
• The film by Hollywood director D.W. Griffith, showed an admiring
light on the original Klan
Theatrical poster for Birth of a Nation. The film is often
credited with inspiring the resurgence of the KKK in 1915.
Klansmen form a circle around a burning cross, their arms
spread to symbolize the association of each member among
the fraternal circle. North Carolina, 1990.
• Emerged as a morality police to fight immigration, minorities, and the
loose morals of speakeasies, bootlegging, and political corruption
• While the first Klan focused on blacks, this wave also fought
Catholics, Jews, intellectuals, and anybody else it felt was hurting
• A portion of the second-wave Klansmen murdered or beat those they
considered un-American, but a majority saw the group as a social or
even charitable club.
Library of Congress archival document with photograph
depicting an assembly to recruit new members to the Klan
near Washington15
D.C. in 1920.
Percentage of white population in Indiana belonging to the
Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.
The third wave
• Emerged in 1946, after World War II, based on fear of Communism
and the civil rights movement
• Samuel Green, an Atlanta physician, headed the revival
• Like the original Klan, this third incarnation was highly violent
• They often forged alliances with Southern police departments, as
in Birmingham, Alabama; or with governor's offices, as with George
Wallace of Alabama

• Fought school desegregation and the movement to give blacks equal
• The third Klan was behind the bombing of a black church in
Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, the murder of three civil rights
workers in Mississippi in 1964, and the murder of Viola Liuzzo, a
voting rights volunteer from the North, in 1965

Two children wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and hoods stand on
either side of Dr. Samuel Green, then with the rank of Grand
Dragon, at an initiation ceremony at Stone Mountain on July 24,
Presidents believed to be in the Klan

Consequences of KKK
Legal and Political Impacts
• The Enforcement Acts
• Shift in allegiance to political parties since 1960s in southern states
(from Democratic to Republican)

Consequences of KKK
Social Impacts
• Unemployment and Insecurity
• The Onlooker Effect

Consequences of KKK
Cultural Impacts
• 'Borrowed' culture of the South
• White Supremacy
• African Spirituality

Emergence of hate groups: A member of the Ku Klux Klan salutes
during American Nazi Party rally at Pennsylvania's Valley Forge
National Park in September 2004
Members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in cross burnings
after a white pride rally in rural Paulding County near
Cedar Town, Georgia in April, 2016.
Members of the National Socialists Movement and the Klan march
at the state capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, in April 2012.
Klan members have a history of bringing children to rallies and
other gatherings. Here, supporters get police protection at a July
2015 Confederate flag rally in Columbia, South Carolina.
• Gained significant momentum by 1920’s
• Met with resistance and eventual decline
• Protestant ministers- Reinhold Niebhur
• The Jewish Anti-Defamation League in response to KKK’s attacks on Jewish
American and campaign to prohibit private school
• Decline due to fact that list was made public
• National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
launched public education campaigns in order to inform people about KKK’s
agendas 28
• Black lives matter movement
• Lot of resistance from African-Americans and the white community to the Klan
• FBI started their own fight against them
• Enforcement and Klan Act as major opposition
• 1965, House Un-American activities committee started an investigation putting
them under the spotlight
• Killing on 5 anti-Klan demonstrators in Greensboro, North Carolina in November
Resisting the Ku Klux Klan Movement
• It’s not a single organization but independent chapters across US
• Members have significantly reduced
• With increase in hate crimes and discrimination, membership has
also started increasing