The KKK or Ku Klux Klan is an organization that believes in white supremacy and is known as one of the first hate groups in America. It has come and gone along several a number of times since its conception and has changed its ideals in those times as well. At first the Klu Klux Klan was only targeted hate crimes on blacks after the civil war today their repertoire of intolerance has grown to include Jews, Catholics and other immigrants. In a sense the Klan has evolved into a group whose intolerance is for anyone who is not American or protestant, a protectionist group that only wants to isolate themselves from the rest of the world which makes them very similar to other hate groups such as the Neo Nazis.
The Ku Klux Klan history can be separated into 3 major era from which they were formed or reformed, grew in size and then in the wake of the hate crimes they committed would be disbanded. The KKK in essence is a hidden phoenix that dies and comes forth once more when the tides of the political climate call for dissent from white America.
The first Klan
The KKK had its humble beginnings as an ideological brotherhood that was founded in June 1866 in the small town of Pulaski Tennessee. Many people wonder what the KKK meaning is, in fact its Greek for circle, cluclos was then had its “:C’s” turned to “K’s” to make KKK The social fraternity that would become the KKK was started by six confederate veterans that believed that the north was intent on imposing on the southern states rights. What would come to be known as a white supremacist group in the future was little more than a social club for disgruntled civil war veterans with a distaste for the reconstruction of the north. Their numbers grew because KKK members would parade around town in outlandish costumes that sparked the curiosity of the men around town.
This first KKK is hardly recognizable as the Klan of today as their iconic symbols had not yet been made standard. As their numbers grew they would go on night rides often dressed in all white and claiming to be ghosts of the civil war terrifying the newly freed blacks. Soon the aggression started and a number of members started beating some of the blacks crossing the line from ideology to hate crime, soon the lynchings would start. At this point the Ku Klux Klan was basically the phantom army of the Democratic Party in the south.
For the most part The KKK was made up of an angry mob of people that believed they were wronged by the union and had a general hatred for the federalization of the United States and the hampering of States’ rights. The tone of the first Klan was not so much a white supremacist group as much as it was an angry mob of disgruntled dissidents. The first Ku Klux Klan was disbanded in 1870 a federal grand jury found that and labeled the Ku Klux Klan was a terrorist organization and was prosecuted for the hate crimes committed, this signaled the decline of the first Klan.
The second Klan
In 1915 the Ku Klux Klan would rise to prominence once more, after the film The Birth of a Nation that sensationalized the first clan was released many white Americans started the revival. Many of the Ku Klux Klan iconography that is easily recognized today such as the white pointed robes was due to this film, prior to the release of The Birth of a Nation this was not associated with the KKK. According to KKK History the official rebirth was at Stone Mountain in Georgia when Joseph Simmons gave life to the clan once more.
The second Klan was largely led by protestant ministers and had a general dislike for those other than white protestant Americans. The Klan spread their hate to other agendas such as anti-Semitism, Anti-immigration, and anti-Catholic views. One of the most well known Ku Klux Klan symbols are the burning cross, it was during this second Klan when that tradition was started. The large majority of the Klansmen that made up this second Klan were lower to middle class workers who wanted job security, and in an age before social security joining an organization such as the Ku Klux Klan was one way of assuring that their health and their family could be maintained during hardships or times of illness. The second Ku Klux Klan can be seen as the golden years, as they had the largest number of members having around 4 million Klansmen in the ranks. It was during this time that the Klan had the greatest political influence; the KKK was the instrument for which public officials around the United States were voted into office. The nail in the coffin for this second Ku Klux Klan was in 1944 when the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien against the organization amounting to $685,000. The Klan was dissolved and until today the Ku Klux Klan has not been one unified and national organization.
The Third Klan: The Ku Klux Klan Today
After 1944 the Klan has never unified as a single organization, instead the Ku Klux Klan today is made up of many smaller self governed organizations found all over America. No longer does the Klan have the same political power they once wielded, instead of senators, governors, and congressmen looking for their favor, today they avoid them like the plague. These small Ku Klux Klan groups that exist primarily in the south which still maintain the ideals of White Supremacy and hatred against those who are not white American Protestants. Many of the Klansmen today have turned in their ceremonial KKK white robes for fatigues and assault rifles, these militant groups although small still instill fear in the black community. The modernized Klan even has its own KKK website and Klan TV which help to spread their ideals to those who wish to join their ranks. Due to the fact that the Klan is no longer a nationally syndicated organization many subsets of the KKK now exist and often form alliances with other hate groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood and certain factions of Neo Nazis due to their shared belief in white supremacy and white pride.
Although the modern KKK is vocal in their hatred for other races and other religions, they do not openly support the slaying and beating of other races, their defense lies in the fact that Americans have the right to do what they wish and cannot be accountable as accessories to their actions.
The Ku Klux Klan and what it stands for can’t help but become a part of our every day culture. From movies to books, riots to rallies, the complexity and dynamics that makes up not only the present of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) but KKK history has become a part of our culture. This section of our website highlights particulars of our culture that relate to the KKK.
Oftentimes our culture is the best insight into secret societies and invisible empires. By exploring the culture surrounding these individuals we can better understand the fundamental philosophies and ideologies that have driven such groups to where they are today. Please use the menu bar above to find out more information on KKK Culture.