Political Influence of the KKK
Fact that Cannot be Ignored
Those who are aware of KKK history know that this extreme right white supremacy group has been active in some form or the other in the country for the last 150 years though there are three distinct phases that are identified with the Klan as the members of the clan or the tribe like to refer them as. The basis of KKK has all along been belief in the supremacy of the whites and the tendency to blame all personal as well as collective misfortunes on presence of ethnic groups, particularly blacks.
The swift action by the authorities against the culprits of violence against black and other ethnic groups in the 1st phase of the Klan lead to a demise in the activities of the organization though it served its purpose well, striking terror in the minds of the black community through cross burning and staging rallies shouting slogans against blacks blaming them for all the misfortunes of the whites. There were sporadic cases of use of violence and burning of properties of blacks that were enough to make KKK a hate group among the society.
It is worthwhile to note that the group resurfaced after dying a death on its own. It was formed again in 1915 though the conditions, both political as well as social were quite different from what they were in the 1st phase in 1860’s. This was the time when Ku Klux Klan flourished a lot and penetrated deep in the country. Whereas it was limited to southern states only in the 1st phase, the movement spread to northern areas as well in the 1920’s and had a massive membership that stood at nearly 5 million.
For any movement to sustain and also to flourish, what is required is membership, financial support, and some sort of political influence. Now political influence comes only when some people with influence in the society become members of such an organization. This works as a moral boost for the organization members feel more secure and try to legitimize their activities. It is a known fact that USA has always been a melting pot of races and the very existence of the country is because of immigration of ethnic groups from many parts of the world. It was when this ethnic diversity began to show in administration with black senators and colored congressmen that whites began to feel worried.
It was the 2nd phase of the Klan in the 1920’s that had a support of nearly 1/5th of the country’s population with membership accounting for nearly 5 million people. Most of the people supporting white supremacy belonged to the Midwestern states. Of the many officials that are counted as supporters of the group, Edward Jackson, the Republican Governor of Indiana in 1924 is perhaps the most prominent. He is blamed to have worked to employ Klansmen in the state machinery.
In some states like Alabama, KKK actually showed desire for political and social reform during this period and garnered support of a majority of whites for some time.
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