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Kkk In The 1920S Essay, Research Paper
The Ku Klux Klan, is a secret terrorist organization that
originated in the southern states during the period of
Reconstruction following the American Civil War and was
reactivated on a wider geographic basis in the 20th century. The
original Klan was organized in Pulaski, Tennessee, during the
winter of 1865 to 1866, by six former Confederate army officers
who gave their society a name adapted from the Greek word kuklos
(”circle”). Although the Ku Klux Klan began as a prankish social
organization, its activities soon were directed against the
Republican Reconstruction governments and their leaders, both
black and white, which came to power in the southern states in
The Ku Klux Klan’s long history of violence grew out of the
resentment and hatred many white Southerners felt in the
aftermath of the Civil War. Blacks, having won the struggle for
freedom from slavery, were now faced with a new struggle against
widespread racism and the terrorism brought about by the Ku Klux
Klan. While the menace of the KKK has peaked and waned over the
years, it has never vanished.
William J. Simmons, a veteran, preacher and salesman, was a
compulsive joiner, holding memberships in many different
societies and two churches. He had always dreamed of starting his
own fraternal group and in the fall of 1915 he put his plans into
action. On Thanksgiving Eve, Simmons herded 15 fellow
fraternalists onto a bus and drove them from Atlanta to nearby
Stone Mountain. There, before a cross of pine boards, Simmons lit
a match and the Ku Klux Klan of the 20th century was born.
In 1920, the “re-born” Klan consisted only of a few thousand
members. With the help of two publicists, Simmons spread the
word of the Klan around the U.S. like wildfire. The Klan was to
be pro-American, which to them meant anti-black, anti-Jewish and
most importantly, anti-Catholic. The Klan grew rapidly from a
few thousand members to millions of Klansmen. Now that the Klan
was growing they made it very clear that their hatred was to be
directed towards Asians, immigrants, bootleggers, dope, graft,
night clubs and road houses, violation of the Sabbath, sex, pre-
and extra-marital escapades and scandalous behavior.
The Ku Klux Klan was infamous for their violent, racist, and
immoral acts of pure hatred towards “impure” Americans. Lynching
was not an uncommon ritual for the Klan. Klansmen would often
break into the homes of African American and kidnap them. They
then would whip them repeatedly while they would chant phrases
exhulting white supremacy. After viciously whipping their victim
they would hang them and leave them for others to see. They
wanted to put fear into the hearts of their enemies. Between
1918 and 1927, there were no fewer than 417 lynchings of blacks.
Surprisingly, the Klan was most prominent in the Midwest,
rather than the South. The Imperial Wizard(highest ranking
klansman) Hiram Evans, a dentist, said that they were proud of
being “hicks, and rubes and drivers of second hand fords.”
However the more respectable members abandoned the Klan when
national organizer David Stephenson of Indiana was convicted of
sadistic sexual murder and exposed the Klan’s corruptions to the
In the mid-1920s, inept and exploitive leadership, internal
conflict, and alleged Klan immorality and violence badly damaged
the Klan’s reputation, thereby causing increased political
opposition. By 1929 the Klan had been reduced to several thousand
members. Today the Ku Klux Klan is still active. Fortunately
the Klan’s population is still rather low and very scattered
across the United States. However, as long as there are seeds of
hatred the reality of the K.K.K. will remain an evil within our
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