Racism/ The Ku Klux Klan term paper 17471

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The Ku Klux Klan

In the southern states of the USA, the period known as “Reconstruction” created a pressure and fear and hate for the African Americans among many of the southern white people. This was because the African Americans were now free people and had the same rights as the white people. This angered many white people and they created groups to support their beliefs and to allow people with the same ideas to gather together and share their ideas. This is how the Ku Klux Klan came into existence.

The Ku Klux Klan began in Pulaski, Tennessee on December 24, 1865. Six men devised the earliest version of the Klan. These men were all ex-confederate soldiers. They were trying to think of an idea to cheer them up because they were upset at the outcome of the Civil War. One of the men suggested that they should start a club and the others thought that would be a good idea. They named their club the Ku Klux Klan after the Greek word kuklos, which meant circle. They chose the circle because it symbolizes unity and perfection. Then they created names for the ranks of the men. The leader was called the Grand Cyclops. These men were so pleased at what they had created that they wanted to show everyone. So they wrapped themselves and their horses up in white sheets and rode through their town. They terrified everyone especially the African Americans.

Even though the club was only meant for fun it became out of control in the years to follow. After the members saw the effects it had on people they decided to use it to their advantage. They first started as a local racial terrorist group that would play evil pranks on black families by burning their houses and churches. But they soon realized what an impact they had on their enemies. They soon started directing their violent actions toward Jews, Orientals and all other non-white races. They even were violent to Catholics and other religions that were not Christians.

By 1879 the membership of the Klan was around eighty-five thousand members. Many of the visitors that came to the town of Pulaski were inspired by the KKK and when they went back home they decided to set up their own dens and branches of the KKK. There were more than a dozen of these groups all of, which were located in the south. Even though the growth of the clan was steady it lacked leadership and discipline, which caused many of the groups to become extremely violent. So the members of the Klan decided to have national convention to help organize and maintain order in the group. At this convention all of the Grand Cyclopes met to set up guidelines for all the groups and they even created their own constitution. Then they decided to appoint a Grand Wizard to be in control of all the dens of the Klan across the United States. Their choice for the position was Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was and ex-confederate general. With General Forrest as their leader they became more powerful than ever before. They became much more extreme and started killing people. The Black Americans in the southern states were usually the victims. In Georgia alone there were 43 shootings, five stabbings, fifty-five beatings and eight whippings. The African Americans became so terrified of the Klan that they were forced to sleep in the woods for safety. But eventually the Klan became so violent that martial law and congressional investigations dismantled it. But it had already accomplished one of its main goals to leave the Blacks with no power and the southern aristocrats and plantation owners’ back into power.

The Klan officially came back in 1915. It was now know as the Invisible Empire of the KKK. This was the second era of the Klan, which reigned from 1915 to 1925. The cause of the rebirth was the fourteen million immigrants that came to America over the past fifteen years and the blacks that were trying to take a spot in the community with the NAACP. This era was the first to use automobiles as part of lynching. They also became involved in politics. In the mid 1920’s the Klan dominated state governments in Oregon, California, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. In some cities Klansmen even became mayors and police chiefs. They even had their own businesses. They ran their own real-estate firm and had their own manufacturing company that would make Klan products. By behaving as a legit lobbying organization this is how the law saw them, which is exactly what they wanted. During this time they also began spreading their ideas of white supremacy and racial discrimination to Canada. They tried to set up Klan’s in Montreal but they eventually died out. They were more successful in Alberta and British Columbia where the white majority was beginning to fear the increase in the Asian immigration that took place there. Even Canada’s first Prime Minister said the “Asian population would not be a wholesome element for this country”.

The third era started in May of 1954 when the civil rights movement caused a very large increase of membership into the Klan. In 1957 as a result of the Montgomery Bus boycott, a group of Klansmen torched four African American churches. During this era they used their own forms of bombs to destroy churches and homes of the black people.

The fourth era overlapped with the ends of the Third era. The leader of this era was David Duke. During the fourth era the most well known act of terrorism occurred in Greensboro in 1979, where the Communist Workers Party rallied against the Klan. The Klan members and some Nazis came together and attacked the marchers and wounded five protestors and killed another nine.

The fifth era of the Klan is currently in action. They have not been as violent as the past eras have been. But activities from den to den vary depending on the preference of the members. Some dens tend to use more violence such as threats, arson, and other forms of brutality to express their viewpoints, while others choose to march and protest opposing views. But regardless of their activities the main goal of the Klan is the progression of the White race. They still believe that minorities are unequal to whites. They strongly disagree with affirmative action and special treatment for minorities. Their purpose now is to stop minorities from rising. They believe that minorities are getting more chances than whites do. They also focus on American political issues such as taxes, social compensation, constitutional rights, and foreign affairs. They think that the American army should not waste their time fighting foreign conflicts. They would rather see our army defend our country alone and no others. They would rather see the troops on the South American border stopping the entry of illegal aliens. They also have many other extreme ideals such as the quarantine of all AIDS carriers, returning prayer to school, and that welfare recipients should be forced to take drug tests. They feel that if these people that are on welfare have enough money for drugs that they don’t need American tax dollars. Another one of their extreme goals is to make purchase of American industry and property illegal to foreigners. They don’t even realize that if that happened that it would destroy their society as well as the USA. They also intend on stopping abortion, outlaw homosexuality, and inter-racial marriages. They believe that everyone should be proud of their race, which means White people have that right to. They feel that all anti-white policies should be disregarded and people be hired, promoted, and given scholarships according to their ability and for no other reasons.

Although the Ku Klux Klan has gone through many changes since it’s beginning, the present Klan is not that different from the original Klan. Even though the Klan has some new objectives it still believes that the White race is superior to all others. They feel that the only way races can develop their full potential and culture is through racial separation. They believe that every race has the natural right to have pride in its heritage and work to better itself. But why is it that the White race is told that it cannot have White Pride.

Bibliography

Imperial Klans of America. http://www.kkkk.net/index.html.

13 April 1998

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. http:/www.kkk.com/intro.htm#stands.

11 April 1998

Ku Klux Klan. http:/www.britanica.com.

1999-2000 Britanica.com Inc.

Word Count: 1403

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