KKK in the 1920′s
KKK in the 1920s: II Phase of the Group
Does the name KKK or Ku Klux Klan tell you anything about the organization that is perhaps the most well know white hate groups in the world? If not, it has to do with the lull in activities of the group because of strict action of the officials against those indulging in any violence or issuing threats to colored population. In any case, conditions in the society are nothing like they were in 1920’s when not just the activities but the membership of the Klan also ran in millions, more than 5 million according to an estimate. That was also the time, if one reads KKK history, when the activities of the extreme right wing white supremacy group were not confined to southern states only.
It is a fact that the first phase of KKK was restricted to 1860’s only and was limited to southern states where whites felt that blacks were advancing and getting their share of the pie. Prosecution of the members indulging in violence against blacks suppressed the activity of the Klan to a great extent. By the turn of the century many thought the Klan to have become extinct. In fact, it was in 1915 that the 2nd Klan was formed in Georgia that grew in popularity mainly because of widespread white sentiment that preached Americanism and protested against African Blacks getting similar rights as other citizens. However, the popular sentiment was also against Jews that resulted in anti Semitism. Members also hated communism and feared it to take roots in the country. At its peak, the Klan is supposed to have nearly 5 million members. There are some who attribute the foundation of the 2nd Klan to the release of the film The Birth of a Nation, a movie that glorified the first Klan and its activities. Another incident that fanned the feelings of white supremacy was the lynching of a convict (who had raped and murdered a white factory worker) getting life imprisonment after his death sentence was commuted by the Governor. Both these incidents have been cited in KKK website where there are many other interesting incidents narrated.
The time during which 2nd phase of Ku Klux Klan arose was also the time when race relations in US were at their nadir with thousands of black from eastern and southern Europe immigrating to the US making local whites insecure politically and economically. The members of the 2nd Klan retained the robes and the burning of the cross that were the symbols of the 1st Klan. Sympathies of a large section of the white population were largely responsible for the activities and membership of the group fanning to all parts of the country.
Those who are seeing a spurt in the activities of KKK in recent times know that this is the third phase of the Klan with much reduced membership across the country. Perhaps a black African American becoming the President of the country has been a strong factor in the resurgence of the activities of the organization.
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