Ku Klux Klan Facts

Ku Klux Klan Facts
The Ku Klux Klan is an American political organization and white supremacist group that has gone through many ideological and stylistic changes since it originated in 1865. The first era of the Klan began as a secret organization to challenge Reconstruction in the South. Its members were disenfranchised former Confederates who wore white hoods to conceal their identifies and to terrify former black slaves. The early Klansmen committed their acts of violence at night, which is how they became known as the "night riders." The first Klan's targets were primarily white Republicans and blacks who attempted to vote. Due to a combination of anti-Klan laws, and the fact that whites had essentially retaken control of the states in the South, the first era of the Klan was over by 1872. The second era of the Klan formed in 1915 and was notably different than the first Klan in many ways. Although the second era of the Klan did not totally eschew violence, it members were more middle-class and mainstream, peaking at up to six million members, many of whom were important businessmen and politicians. The second era of the Klan was more popular in the Midwest and the West than the South and its enemies included Jews and immigrants in general. The second era of the Klan ended due to a number of scandals and America's entry in World War II. The third era of the Klan is said to have begun after World War II and lasted until the present, although many scholars say the second Klan was only during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. The third Klan recalled the violence of the first Klan and was almost entirely based in the South. Some scholars of extremist groups say that the Klan is currently in its fourth or fifth era, although others say it's still in the third era.
Interesting Ku Klux Klan Facts:
The world "Ku Klux Klan" is believed to have been derived from the Greek word for circle, kyklos.
The Klan was born on December 24, 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Confederate veteran Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Klan organizer and leader was elected the first "Grand Wizard" or leader. With that said, the first era of the Klan was highly decentralized, which was one of the reasons why it was effective.
The Civil Rights Act of 1871 allowed the president to suspend habeas corpus and round up many Klansmen.
The second Klan was founded by William Joseph Simmons in an elaborate ceremony in Stone Mountain, Georgia. It wasn't until the second era of the Klan that the Klan began doing cross lightings/burnings.
The silent film Birth of a Nation by director D.W. Griffith was a sympathetic treatment of the first era of the Klan and was basically a recruiting tool for the second era of the Klan.
In addition to being anti-Jewish, the second Klan was pro-prohibition and anti-Catholic.
The second Klan was much more centrally controlled, which meant that when Indiana Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson was convicted of drugging and murdering a woman it led to a sharp decline in membership.
Floggings were a common method of intimidation used by the Klan in its second era.
The third era of the Klan was marked by regional and state Klan groups that were autonomous of each other. The largest of these groups was the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Mississippi. Led by Samuel Bowers, the White Knights had thousands of members in Mississippi and were responsible for numerous acts of violence, most notably the murders of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner in 1964.


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