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The Ku Klux Klan.docx

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Western University
History 2301E
Alison Meek

The Ku Klux Klan 11/12/2012 8:32:00 AM Right Wind Extremism/Terrorism  The racist right o KKK  Anti-Black  The religious right o E.g. Christian Identity/Aryan Nations  Anti-Semitism -> jews killed Christ  The radical right o E.g. militias  Anti-federalism/2 ndamendment  Gov become imperialist, dictatorial  Believe gov. will take your guns  Same context left wing/cults o Different interpretation  Left wing: ideal America o Wanted perfect America, everyone equal  Right wing: Mythological America o Best of America has passed, a white Christian group that founded the US. The Ku Klux Klan  Longest existing terrorist organization in the US  Able to exist because of rights guaranteed by the Constitution o Right to free speech, assembly, and bear arms  Founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, 1866 Origins and Purpose  The Pulaski Klan, 1865-1866 o Pulaski, Tennessee, small rural town o Ex-confederate soldiers  6 of them founded the KKK, after south was defeated o Slave State o Scottish heritage o Boredom  Had nothing to do after 4 years of fighting.  Was meant as a social group, nothing racist or violent about it  Name o Greek kuklos = circle o Klan was added cause of Scottish heritage.  Costumes o Wanted to have excitement o Not meant to scare you, just a fun thing o Costumes evolve, included more pagan/occult/witchcraft symbols o Fear increased, -> what do these symbols mean?  Fraternal organizations o No different then the Kiwanis club etc.  Early actions o Initiation rights, elaborate ceremony, secret rituals o Played public pranks -> make people forget about the past an laugh  Against whites and blacks  Aka. Escapeism  Membership o Lawyers, doctors, farmers o Qualification to join= WHITE and MALE Post Civil War Reconstruction  Abolishment of slavery th o 13 Amendment  abolish slavery  These slaves now free, what do we do with them o 14 thAmendment  citizenship  equal rights…now slaves and owners are equal in eyes of law o 15 thAmendment, 1870  not deny voting rights because or face  In many southern states, blacks outnumber whites  Mississippi -> 60% of population was black…so they would be deciding congress man, mayors etc. The Klan’s Expansion  Expansion o Vigilante army o Target African Americans  Ignore the law  Treat African Americans as slaves o White allies  Were known as race traders o 6 original founders, were disgusted by the new members  The Nashville Convention, 1867 o 6 Founders wanted an org. and a common purpose  Wanted to reign in the vigilante actions st o Nathan Bedford Forrest, 1 Leader  Former confederate General  Quite Moderate o Wanted to create an Organization Structure  Has its own language Klan’s Targets  African American’s o Vote Republican  Party was created to abolish slavery  Black Politicians o Now have power, ability to protect African American’s  Black Teachers o Most slaves were deliberately kept illiterate, not to read bible etc.  Black Women o Simple reason: went after a black man’s wife, you control the man  Northern whites/carpetbaggers o White teachers in black schools  Were teaching English etc. so blacks could get a job  Southern whites o Vote Republican o Equal interactions with African Americans o Aid African Americans  Anyone who helped AA, would get targeted The Klan’s Tactics  In slavery times, slaves were not killed, had economic value  Physical and psychological  Assault and murder o Whippings o Lynching’s  When you kidnap a black man, string him up from a tree, shoot him, beat him and set him on fire o Braining the baby  All about control and power  Black couple walking with their baby  Would take a rock and hit baby on the head, causing brain damage or death  Attacks on property  Sexual assaults o Mutilation o Stimulating sexual acts  Kidnap 2 white men, to have sex with each other  All about power o Rape black women  Also stories of white men being raped  Violent power terrorism Backlash and Decline  Local authorities o Fear o Support(elections)  The US and election of judges and sheriffs  KKK was so big that if u wanted to be elected, you needed their support  Forrest’s’ disbanding of the Klan, 1869 o Was so disgusted with the violence that he disbanded the entire KKK  Thought if he did this, it would help o He spent rest of life trying to make up his KKK membership  Built black schools  The Enforcement Act, 1870 o President Ulysses S. Grant  Former alcoholic, now sober  Former General o Protection of voting rights  Protect 15 thamendment o Use US Army intervention to polling stations so blacks could vote without violence  The KKK Act, 1871 o South Carolian’s Plea  Governor also disgusted o Protect civil rights o Conspiracy  KKK Declared Terrorist Org.  Men coming together to deny civil rights  Use of disguises and intimidation  Pres. Use of Military to enforce civil rights Decline of the Klan  The impact of the 1871 KKK Act o Informants  Those arrested would talk, because nobody wanted to go to jail o Arrests  Court system was clogged  Klan Violence  The Ending of Reconstruction o Northern citizens tried of army going to the south, tried of helping AA o Pulled Northern Army from the south  AA have nothing, left by themselves  Jim Crow Laws and segregation, 1896 o Supreme court declared segregation legal o AA were second class citizens o Klan doesn’t need to exist anymore The Second Era Klan, 1915-1925  Context o Immigration  Lots of non-white immigrants o Religion  KKK believed new religions were ruining America o Modernization and liberalism  Women had right to vote  Technology and Science  KKK doesn’t like modernization, doesn’t know where they fit o KKK was only southern based now every where o 2 nd era Klan also in south because Immigration was everywhere  Nation-Wide Klan Triggers  Mary Phagan o Rape and Murder, April 1915  Leo Frank (Boss) targeted (Jewish) o Governor commuted sentence  The Knights of Mary Phagan o Frank’s Lynching, Aug, 1915  He is guilty because he’s jewish  Became spectacle, (was entertainment)  Make sure jews were kept in their place  Now the clan included anti-Semitism o 1 Ever Cross burning nd  2 Trigger o Birth of a Nation Movie, 1915  Thomas Dixon’s, the Clansman, 1905  DW Griffith’s Movie  KK saved the south from the ape-like African Americans  Film was racist and violent -> Klan was Savior  Burning of the Cross introduced  President Woodrow Wilson’s reaction  Racist and published historian  Given private screening  Said the movie was true, and the KKK was truly the Savior of the American South o Group of men saw it in Atlanta and said they would star the
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