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Thompson also related that KKK leaders showed great concern about a series of civil lawsuits filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center , claiming damages amounting to millions of dollars.

Klansmen curtailed their activities in order to conserve money for defense against the lawsuits. The KKK also used lawsuits as tools; they filed a libel suit in order to prevent the publication of a paperback edition of Thompson's book, but were unsuccessful.

A fifth woman, Fannie Crumsey, was injured by flying glass in the incident. Attempted murder charges were filed against the three KKK members, two of whom — Bill Church and Larry Payne — were acquitted by an all-white jury.

The third defendant, Marshall Thrash, was sentenced by the same jury to nine months on lesser charges. He was released after three months.

The US attorney prosecuted the case. After exhausting the appeals process, Hays was executed by electric chair for Donald's death in Alabama on June 6, Her lawsuit against the United Klans of America was tried in February They had to sell off their national headquarters building in Tuscaloosa.

Duke has an account on Stormfront which he uses to post articles from his own website. He also polls forum members for opinions and questions, in particular during his internet broadcasts.

The modern KKK is not one organization; rather it is composed of small independent chapters across the United States.

Analysts believe that about two-thirds of KKK members are concentrated in the Southern United States , with another third situated primarily in the lower Midwest.

The Klan has expanded its recruitment efforts to white supremacists at the international level. This decline has been attributed to the Klan's lack of competence in the use of the Internet , their history of violence, a proliferation of competing hate groups , and a decline in the number of young racist activists who are willing to join groups at all.

They remain a collection of mostly small, disjointed groups that continually change in name and leadership. In , however, the number of KKK chapters nationwide grew from 72 to The SPLC released a similar report stating that "there were significant increases in Klan as well as black separatist groups".

Recent KKK membership campaigns have stimulated people's anxieties about illegal immigration , urban crime, civil unions , and same-sex marriage.

Keith Akins argued that "Klan literature and propaganda is rabidly homophobic and encourages violence against gays and lesbians.

Since the late s, the Klan has increasingly focused its ire on this previously ignored population. Many KKK groups have formed strong alliances with other white supremacist groups, such as neo-Nazis.

Some KKK groups have become increasingly "nazified", adopting the look and emblems of white power skinheads.

The American Civil Liberties Union ACLU has provided legal support to various factions of the KKK in defense of their First Amendment rights to hold public rallies, parades, and marches, as well as their right to field political candidates.

The coroner declared his death a homicide. Ancona's wife and stepson were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing.

The prosecutor in the case believes that the killing "happened because of a marital dispute" and was not connected to Ancona's Klan participation. The February 14, , edition of the Linden, Alabama , weekly newspaper The Democrat-Reporter carried an editorial titled "Klan needs to ride again" written by Goodloe Sutton — the newspaper's owner, publisher and editor — which urged the Klan to return to staging their night rides, because proposals were being made to raise taxes in the state.

In an interview, Sutton suggested that Washington, D. The editorial and Sutton's subsequent comments provoked calls for his resignation from Alabama politicians and the Alabama Press Association, which later censured Sutton and suspended the newspaper's membership.

In addition the University of Southern Mississippi 's School of Communication removed Sutton — who is an alumnus of that school — from its Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame, and "strongly condemned" his remarks.

Sutton was also stripped of a distinguished community journalism award he had been presented in by Auburn University 's Journalism Advisory Council.

In Australia in the late s, former One Nation member Peter Coleman established branches throughout the country, [] [] and circa the KKK has attempted to infiltrate other political parties such as Australia First.

Recruitment activity has also been reported in the United Kingdom. After the Nazis took over Germany, the group disbanded and its members joined the Nazis.

A Ku Klux Klan group was even established in Fiji in the early s by white American settlers, although its operations were quickly put to an end by the British who, although not officially yet established as the major authority of Fiji, had played a leading role in establishing a new constitutional monarchy that was being threatened by the activities of the Fijian Klan.

Membership in the Klan is secret. Like many fraternal organizations, the Klan has signs that members can use to recognize one another. Throughout its varied history, the Klan has coined many words [] [] beginning with "Kl", including:.

All of the above terminology was created by William Joseph Simmons, as part of his revival of the Klan. The imperial kludd was the chaplain of the Imperial Klonvokation and he performed "such other duties as may be required by the imperial wizard".

The imperial kaliff was the second highest position after the imperial wizard. Because there are multiple Ku Klux Klan organizations, there are multiple official websites.

To find a website, try entering the full name of a particular organization into a search engine. Following are third-party lists of such organizations:.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American white supremacist group. For other uses, see Clansman disambiguation and KKK disambiguation.

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To Captain Morton came the peculiar distinction of having organized that branch of the Ku Klux Klan which operated in Nashville and the adjacent territory, but a more signal honor was his when he performed the ceremonies which initiated Gen.

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He was already a "colonel" in the Woodmen of the World , but he decided to build an organization all his own.

On Thanksgiving Eve , Simmons took 15 friends to the top of Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, built an altar on which he placed an American flag, a Bible and an unsheathed sword, set fire to a crude wooden cross, muttered a few incantations about a "practical fraternity among men", and declared himself Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Woodrow Wilson: A Biography. Random House Digital, Inc. Archived from the original on April 14, Retrieved June 27, Blee, Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the s , p.

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McFarland Publishing. Imperial Kludd: Is the Chaplain of the Imperial Klonvokation and shall perform such other duties as may be required by the Imperial Wizard Axelrod, Alan New York: Facts On File.

Baker, Kelly J. Barr, Andrew Drink: A Social History of America. Blee, Kathleen M. Women of the Klan. Brooks, Michael E. Charleston: The History Press, Chalmers, David M.

Durahm, N. Backfire: how the Ku Klux Klan helped the civil rights movement. Cunningham, David. Feldman, Glenn Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, — Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press.

Fleming, Walter J. Neale Publishing. Foner, Eric Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, — Perennial HarperCollins. Fox, Craig. Franklin, John Hope Race and History: Selected Essays — Louisiana State University Press.

Fryer, Roland G. Quarterly Journal of Economics. Gordon, Linda Reviewed by Kruse, Kevin M. January 1, Linda Gordon's new book captures how white supremacy has long been part of our political mainstream".

The Nation. Horn, Stanley F. Ingalls, Robert P. New York: G. Putnam's Sons. Jackson, Kenneth T. The Ku Klux Klan in the City, — ed. New York: Oxford UP.

Kennedy, Stetson The Klan Unmasked. University Press of Florida. Lay, Shawn Lender, Mark E. Drinking in America.

New York: Free Press. Lewis, George. Lindemann, Albert S. Cambridge University Press. McVeigh, Rory. McWhorter, Diane Miller, Robert Moats.

Moore, Leonard J. Nelson, Jack Newton, Michael; Newton, Judy Ann Parsons, Elaine Frantz The Journal of American History.

Pegram, Thomas R. In Holder, Harold D. Rhodes, James Ford Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history. Richard, Mark Paul.

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Morton founded a chapter in Nashville, Tennessee. The first Klan had mixed results in terms of achieving its objectives. It seriously weakened the black political leadership through its use of assassinations and threats of violence; it drove some people out of politics.

On the other hand, it caused a sharp backlash, with passage of federal laws that historian Eric Foner says were a success in terms of "restoring order, reinvigorating the morale of Southern Republicans, and enabling blacks to exercise their rights as citizens".

Rable argues that the Klan was a political failure and therefore was discarded by the Democratic Party leaders of the South.

He says:. The Klan declined in strength in part because of internal weaknesses; its lack of central organization and the failure of its leaders to control criminal elements and sadists.

More fundamentally, it declined because it failed to achieve its central objective — the overthrow of Republican state governments in the South.

After the Klan was suppressed, similar insurgent paramilitary groups arose that were explicitly directed at suppressing Republican voting and turning Republicans out of office: the White League , which started in Louisiana in ; and the Red Shirts , which started in Mississippi and developed chapters in the Carolinas.

They were described as acting as the military arm of the Democratic Party and are attributed with helping white Democrats regain control of state legislatures throughout the South.

While Simmons relied on documents from the original Klan and memories of some surviving elders, the revived Klan was based significantly on the wildly popular film The Birth of a Nation.

The earlier Klan had not worn the white costumes and had not burned crosses; these were aspects introduced in the book on which the film was based.

When the film was shown in Atlanta in December of that year, Simmons and his new klansmen paraded to the theater in robes and pointed hoods — many on robed horses — just like in the movie.

These mass parades would become another hallmark of the new Klan that had not existed in the original Reconstruction-era organization.

Beginning in , it adopted a modern business system of using full-time, paid recruiters and it appealed to new members as a fraternal organization, of which many examples were flourishing at the time.

The national headquarters made its profit through a monopoly on costume sales, while the organizers were paid through initiation fees.

It grew rapidly nationwide at a time of prosperity. Reflecting the social tensions pitting urban versus rural America, it spread to every state and was prominent in many cities.

The second KKK preached "One Hundred Percent Americanism" and demanded the purification of politics, calling for strict morality and better enforcement of Prohibition.

Its official rhetoric focused on the threat of the Catholic Church , using anti-Catholicism and nativism. The second Klan was a formal fraternal organization , with a national and state structure.

During the resurgence of the second Klan in the s, its publicity was handled by the Southern Publicity Association. Within the first six months of the Association's national recruitment campaign, Klan membership had increased by 85, From there were two Ku Klux Klan organizations: that founded by Simmons, and a splinter group founded by D.

Internal divisions, criminal behavior by leaders — especially Stephenson's conviction for the abduction, rape, and murder of Madge Oberholtzer — and external opposition brought about a collapse in the membership of both groups.

The main group's membership had dropped to about 30, by It finally faded away in the s. The "Ku Klux Klan" name was used by numerous independent local groups opposing the civil rights movement and desegregation , especially in the s and s.

During this period, they often forged alliances with Southern police departments, as in Birmingham, Alabama ; or with governor's offices, as with George Wallace of Alabama.

As of , researchers estimate that there are just over 30 active Klan groups existing in the United States, [55] with about chapters.

Today, many sources classify the Klan as a "subversive or terrorist organization". Historians generally classify the KKK as part of the post-Civil War insurgent violence related not only to the high number of veterans in the population, but also to their effort to control the dramatically changed social situation by using extrajudicial means to restore white supremacy.

In , Mississippi governor William L. Sharkey reported that disorder, lack of control, and lawlessness were widespread; in some states armed bands of Confederate soldiers roamed at will.

The Klan used public violence against black people and their allies as intimidation. They burned houses and attacked and killed black people , leaving their bodies on the roads.

Many prominent southern Jews identified wholly with southern culture, resulting in examples of Jewish participation in the Klan. At an meeting in Nashville, Tennessee , Klan members gathered to try to create a hierarchical organization with local chapters eventually reporting to a national headquarters.

Since most of the Klan's members were veterans, they were used to such military hierarchy, but the Klan never operated under this centralized structure.

Local chapters and bands were highly independent. Former Confederate brigadier general George Gordon developed the Prescript , which espoused white supremacist belief.

For instance, an applicant should be asked if he was in favor of "a white man's government", "the reenfranchisement and emancipation of the white men of the South, and the restitution of the Southern people to all their rights".

Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest was elected the first grand wizard , and claimed to be the Klan's national leader. Despite Gordon's and Forrest's work, local Klan units never accepted the Prescript and continued to operate autonomously.

There were never hierarchical levels or state headquarters. Klan members used violence to settle old personal feuds and local grudges, as they worked to restore general white dominance in the disrupted postwar society.

The historian Elaine Frantz Parsons describes the membership:. Lifting the Klan mask revealed a chaotic multitude of antiblack vigilante groups, disgruntled poor white farmers, wartime guerrilla bands, displaced Democratic politicians, illegal whiskey distillers, coercive moral reformers, sadists, rapists, white workmen fearful of black competition, employers trying to enforce labor discipline, common thieves, neighbors with decades-old grudges, and even a few freedmen and white Republicans who allied with Democratic whites or had criminal agendas of their own.

Indeed, all they had in common, besides being overwhelmingly white, southern, and Democratic , was that they called themselves, or were called, Klansmen.

Historian Eric Foner observed: "In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class , and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy.

Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society.

It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party's infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.

Those political leaders assassinated during the campaign included Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds , three members of the South Carolina legislature, and several men who served in constitutional conventions.

Klan members adopted masks and robes that hid their identities and added to the drama of their night rides, their chosen time for attacks.

Many of them operated in small towns and rural areas where people otherwise knew each other's faces, and sometimes still recognized the attackers by voice and mannerisms.

Few freedmen took such nonsense seriously. When they killed black political leaders, they also took heads of families, along with the leaders of churches and community groups, because these people had many roles in society.

Agents of the Freedmen's Bureau reported weekly assaults and murders of blacks. They drove successful black farmers off their land.

Klan violence worked to suppress black voting, and campaign seasons were deadly. More than 2, people were killed, wounded, or otherwise injured in Louisiana within a few weeks prior to the Presidential election of November Although St.

Landry Parish had a registered Republican majority of 1,, after the murders, no Republicans voted in the fall elections. White Democrats cast the full vote of the parish for President Grant's opponent.

The KKK killed and wounded more than black Republicans, hunting and chasing them through the woods. Thirteen captives were taken from jail and shot; a half-buried pile of 25 bodies was found in the woods.

The KKK made people vote Democratic and gave them certificates of the fact. By the November presidential election , Klan intimidation led to suppression of the Republican vote and only one person voted for Ulysses S.

Klansmen killed more than African Americans in a county [ which? Milder encounters, including some against white teachers, also occurred.

In Mississippi , according to the Congressional inquiry:. Each man wore a long white robe and his face was covered by a loose mask with scarlet stripes.

She was ordered to get up and dress which she did at once and then admitted to her room the captain and lieutenant who in addition to the usual disguise had long horns on their heads and a sort of device in front.

The lieutenant had a pistol in his hand and he and the captain sat down while eight or ten men stood inside the door and the porch was full.

They treated her "gentlemanly and quietly" but complained of the heavy school-tax, said she must stop teaching and go away and warned her that they never gave a second notice.

She heeded the warning and left the county. By , two years after the Klan's creation, its activity was beginning to decrease.

Many influential Southern Democrats feared that Klan lawlessness provided an excuse for the federal government to retain its power over the South, and they began to turn against it.

Hill stating "that some of these outrages were actually perpetrated by the political friends of the parties slain.

They put an end to violence by threatening Klansmen with reprisals unless they stopped whipping Unionists and burning black churches and schools.

Armed blacks formed their own defense in Bennettsville, South Carolina , and patrolled the streets to protect their homes. National sentiment gathered to crack down on the Klan, even though some Democrats at the national level questioned whether the Klan really existed, or believed that it was a creation of nervous Southern Republican governors.

In January , Pennsylvania Republican senator John Scott convened a congressional committee which took testimony from 52 witnesses about Klan atrocities, accumulating 12 volumes.

This added to the enmity that Southern white Democrats bore toward him. The governor of South Carolina appealed for federal troops to assist his efforts in keeping control of the state.

A riot and massacre occurred in a Meridian, Mississippi , courthouse, from which a black state representative escaped by fleeing to the woods.

In , President Ulysses S. Grant signed Butler's legislation. The Ku Klux Klan Act and the Enforcement Act of were used by the federal government to enforce the civil rights provisions for individuals under the constitution.

The Klan refused to voluntarily dissolve after the Klan Act, so President Grant issued a suspension of habeas corpus and stationed federal troops in nine South Carolina counties.

The Klansmen were apprehended and prosecuted in federal court. Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest boasted that the Klan was a nationwide organization of , men and that he could muster 40, Klansmen within five days notice.

However, the Klan had no membership rosters, no chapters, and no local officers, so it was difficult for observers to judge its membership.

In , a federal grand jury determined that the Klan was a " terrorist organization" [] and issued hundreds of indictments for crimes of violence and terrorism.

Klan members were prosecuted, and many fled from areas that were under federal government jurisdiction, particularly in South Carolina.

Forrest called for the Klan to disband in , arguing that it was "being perverted from its original honorable and patriotic purposes, becoming injurious instead of subservient to the public peace".

In many states, officials were reluctant to use black militia against the Klan out of fear that racial tensions would be raised.

This and extensive violence and fraud at the polls caused the Republicans to lose their majority in the state legislature. Disaffection with Holden's actions contributed to white Democratic legislators impeaching him and removing him from office, but their reasons for doing so were numerous.

Klan operations ended in South Carolina [] and gradually withered away throughout the rest of the South. Attorney General Amos Tappan Ackerman led the prosecutions.

By , the federal government's evident willingness to bring its legal and coercive authority to bear had broken the Klan's back and produced a dramatic decline in violence throughout the South.

So ended the Reconstruction career of the Ku Klux Klan. New groups of insurgents emerged in the mids, local paramilitary organizations such as the White League , Red Shirts , saber clubs, and rifle clubs, that intimidated and murdered black political leaders.

In , the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Harris that the Klan Act was partially unconstitutional. It ruled that Congress's power under the Fourteenth Amendment did not include the right to regulate against private conspiracies.

It recommended that persons who had been victimized should seek relief in state courts, which were entirely unsympathetic to such appeals. Klan costumes, also called " regalia ", disappeared from use by the early s, [] after Grand Wizard Forrest called for their destruction as part of disbanding the Klan.

The Klan was broken as an organization by In the film The Birth of a Nation was released, mythologizing and glorifying the first Klan and its endeavors.

The new organization and chapters adopted regalia featured in The Birth of a Nation ; membership was kept secret by wearing masks in public.

Director D. Griffith 's The Birth of a Nation glorified the original Klan. Much of the modern Klan's iconography is derived from it, including the standardized white costume and the burning cross.

Its imagery was based on Dixon's romanticized concept of old England and Scotland, as portrayed in the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott.

The film's influence was enhanced by a false claim of endorsement by President Woodrow Wilson. Dixon was an old friend of Wilson's and, before its release, there was a private showing of the film at the White House.

A publicist claimed that Wilson said, "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.

The White House issued a denial of the "lightning" quote, saying that he was entirely unaware of the nature of the film and at no time had expressed his approbation of it.

The first and third Klans were primarily Southeastern groups aimed against blacks. The second Klan, in contrast, broadened the scope of the organization to appeal to people in the Midwestern and Western states who considered Roman Catholics, Jews, and foreign-born minorities to be anti-American.

The Second Klan saw threats from every direction. According to historian Brian R. Farmer, "two-thirds of the national Klan lecturers were Protestant ministers".

Colescott of Indiana took over as imperial wizard, opposition to Communism became another primary aim of the Klan. New Klan founder William J.

Simmons joined 12 different fraternal organizations and recruited for the Klan with his chest covered with fraternal badges, consciously modeling the Klan after fraternal organizations.

The organizer kept half the money and sent the rest to state or national officials. When the organizer was done with an area, he organized a rally, often with burning crosses, and perhaps presented a Bible to a local Protestant preacher.

He left town with the money collected. The local units operated like many fraternal organizations and occasionally brought in speakers.

Simmons initially met with little success in either recruiting members or in raising money, and the Klan remained a small operation in the Atlanta area until The group produced publications for national circulation from its headquarters in Atlanta: Searchlight — , Imperial Night-Hawk — , and The Kourier.

The second Klan grew primarily in response to issues of declining morality typified by divorce , adultery , defiance of Prohibition, and criminal gangs in the news every day.

The Klan had a nationwide reach by the mids, with its densest per capita membership in Indiana. It became most prominent in cities with high growth rates between and , as rural Protestants flocked to jobs in Detroit and Dayton in the Midwest, and Atlanta , Dallas , Memphis , and Houston in the South.

Close to half of Michigan's 80, Klansmen lived in Detroit. Members of the KKK swore to uphold American values and Christian morality, and some Protestant ministers became involved at the local level.

However, no Protestant denomination officially endorsed the KKK; [] indeed, the Klan was repeatedly denounced by the major Protestant magazines, as well as by all major secular newspapers.

Historian Robert Moats Miller reports that "not a single endorsement of the Klan was found by the present writer in the Methodist press, while many of the attacks on the Klan were quite savage.

The Southern Baptist press condoned the aims but condemned the methods of the Klan. Many nationally and regionally prominent churchmen did condemn it by name, and none endorsed it.

The second Klan was less violent than either the first or third Klan were. However, the second Klan, especially in the Southeast, was not an entirely non-violent organization.

The most violent Klan was in Dallas, Texas. In April , shortly after they began gaining popularity in the area, the Klan kidnapped Alex Johnson, a black man who had been accused of having sex with a white woman.

They burned the words KKK into his forehead and gave him a severe beating by a riverbed. The police chief and district attorney refused to prosecute, explicitly and publicly stating they believed that Johnson deserved this treatment.

Encouraged by the approval of this whipping, the Dallas KKK whipped 68 people by the riverbed in alone. Although Johnson had been black, most of the Dallas KKK's whipping victims were white men who were accused of offenses against their wives such as adultery, wife beating, abandoning their wives, refusing to pay child support or gambling.

Far from trying to hide its vigilante activity, the Dallas KKK loved to publicize it. The Dallas KKK often invited local newspaper reporters to attend their whippings so they could write a story about it in the next day's newspaper.

Although many people in Alabama were outraged by the whippings of white women, no Klansmen were ever convicted for the violence.

In Simmons handed the day-to-day activities of the national office over to two professional publicists, Elizabeth Tyler and Edward Young Clarke.

It appealed to new members based on current social tensions, and stressed responses to fears raised by defiance of Prohibition and new sexual freedoms.

It emphasized anti-Jewish , anti-Catholic , anti-immigrant and later anti-Communist positions. It presented itself as a fraternal, nativist and strenuously patriotic organization; and its leaders emphasized support for vigorous enforcement of Prohibition laws.

It expanded membership dramatically to a peak of 1. By the s, most of its members lived in the Midwest and West. Nearly one in five of the eligible Indiana population were members.

In the South, where the great majority of whites were Democrats, the Klansmen were Democrats. In the rest of the country, the membership comprised both Republicans and Democrats, as well as independents.

Klan leaders tried to infiltrate political parties; as Cummings notes, "it was non-partisan in the sense that it pressed its nativist issues to both parties".

Klan leaders hope to have all major candidates competing to win the movement's endorsement. The Klan's leadership wanted to keep their options open and repeatedly announced that the movement was not aligned with any political party.

This non-alliance strategy was also valuable as a recruiting tool. The Klan drew its members from Democratic as well as Republican voters.

If the movement had aligned itself with a single political party, it would have substantially narrowed its pool of potential recruits. Religion was a major selling point.

Kelly J. Baker argues that Klansmen seriously embraced Protestantism as an essential component of their white supremacist, anti-Catholic, and paternalistic formulation of American democracy and national culture.

Their cross was a religious symbol, and their ritual honored Bibles and local ministers. But no nationally prominent religious leader said he was a Klan member.

Economists Fryer and Levitt argue that the rapid growth of the Klan in the s was partly the result of an innovative, multi-level marketing campaign.

They also argue that the Klan leadership focused more intently on monetizing the organization during this period than fulfilling the political goals of the organization.

Local leaders profited from expanding their membership. Historians agree that the Klan's resurgence in the s was aided by the national debate over Prohibition.

In , two hundred Klan members set fire to saloons in Union County, Arkansas. Membership in the Klan and in other Prohibition groups overlapped, and they sometimes coordinated activities.

A significant characteristic of the second Klan was that it was an organization based in urban areas, reflecting the major shifts of population to cities in the North, West, and the South.

In Michigan, for instance, 40, members lived in Detroit , where they made up more than half of the state's membership.

Most Klansmen were lower- to middle-class whites who were trying to protect their jobs and housing from the waves of newcomers to the industrial cities: immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, who were mostly Catholic or Jewish; and black and white migrants from the South.

As new populations poured into cities, rapidly changing neighborhoods created social tensions. Because of the rapid pace of population growth in industrializing cities such as Detroit and Chicago, the Klan grew rapidly in the Midwest.

The Klan also grew in booming Southern cities such as Dallas and Houston. In the medium-size industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts , in the s, the Klan ascended to power quickly but declined as a result of opposition from the Catholic Church.

There was no violence and the local newspaper ridiculed Klansmen as "night-shirt knights". Half of the members were Swedish Americans , including some first-generation immigrants.

The ethnic and religious conflicts among more recent immigrants contributed to the rise of the Klan in the city. Swedish Protestants were struggling against Irish Catholics, who had been entrenched longer, for political and ideological control of the city.

In some states, historians have obtained membership rosters of some local units and matched the names against city directory and local records to create statistical profiles of the membership.

Big city newspapers were often hostile and ridiculed Klansmen as ignorant farmers. Detailed analysis from Indiana showed that the rural stereotype was false for that state:.

Indiana's Klansmen represented a wide cross section of society: they were not disproportionately urban or rural, nor were they significantly more or less likely than other members of society to be from the working class, middle class, or professional ranks.

Klansmen were Protestants , of course, but they cannot be described exclusively or even predominantly as fundamentalists.

In reality, their religious affiliations mirrored the whole of white Protestant society, including those who did not belong to any church.

The Klan attracted people but most of them did not remain in the organization for long. Membership in the Klan turned over rapidly as people found out that it was not the group which they had wanted.

The lessening of social tensions contributed to the Klan's decline. The distinctive white costume permitted large-scale public activities, especially parades and cross-burning ceremonies, while keeping the membership rolls a secret.

Sales of the costumes provided the main financing for the national organization, while initiation fees funded local and state organizers.

The second Klan embraced the burning Latin cross as a dramatic display of symbolism, with a tone of intimidation.

Its lighting during meetings was often accompanied by prayer, the singing of hymns , and other overtly religious symbolism.

Griffith used this image in The Birth of a Nation ; Simmons adopted the symbol wholesale from the movie, and the symbol and action have been associated with the Klan ever since.

By the s, the KKK developed a women's auxiliary, with chapters in many areas. Its activities included participation in parades, cross lightings, lectures, rallies, and boycotts of local businesses owned by Catholics and Jews.

The Women's Klan was active in promoting Prohibition, stressing liquor's negative impact on wives and children. Its efforts in public schools included distributing Bibles and petitioning for the dismissal of Roman Catholic teachers.

As a result of the Women's Klan's efforts, Texas would not hire Catholic teachers to work in its public schools. As sexual and financial scandals rocked the Klan leadership late in the s, the organization's popularity among both men and women dropped off sharply.

The second Klan expanded with new chapters in cities in the Midwest and West, and reached both Republicans and Democrats, as well as men without a party affiliation.

The goal of Prohibition in particular helped the Klan and some Republicans to make common cause in the North. The Klan had numerous members in every part of the United States, but was particularly strong in the South and Midwest.

In Indiana, members were American-born, white Protestants and covered a wide range of incomes and social levels. Catholic and liberal Democrats — who were strongest in northeastern cities — decided to make the Klan an issue at the Democratic National Convention in New York City.

Their delegates proposed a resolution indirectly attacking the Klan; it was defeated by one vote out of 1, After weeks of stalemate and bitter argumentation, both candidates withdrew in favor of a compromise candidate.

In , Klan members were elected to the city council in Anaheim, California. The city had been controlled by an entrenched commercial-civic elite that was mostly German American.

Given their tradition of moderate social drinking, the German Americans did not strongly support Prohibition laws — the mayor had been a saloon keeper.

Led by the minister of the First Christian Church, the Klan represented a rising group of politically oriented non-ethnic Germans who denounced the elite as corrupt, undemocratic and self-serving.

The historian Christopher Cocoltchos says the Klansmen tried to create a model, orderly community. The Klan had about 1, members in Orange County, California.

The economic and occupational profile of the pro- and anti-Klan groups shows the two were similar and about equally prosperous.

Klan members were Protestants, as were most of their opponents, but the latter also included many Catholic Germans.

Individuals who joined the Klan had earlier demonstrated a much higher rate of voting and civic activism than did their opponents.

Cocoltchos suggests that many of the individuals in Orange County joined the Klan out of that sense of civic activism.

The Klan representatives easily won the local election in Anaheim in April They fired city employees who were known to be Catholic, and replaced them with Klan appointees.

The new city council tried to enforce Prohibition. After its victory, the Klan chapter held large rallies and initiation ceremonies over the summer.

Klan opponents in took back local government, and succeeded in a special election in recalling the Klansmen who had been elected in April The Klan in Anaheim quickly collapsed, its newspaper closed after losing a libel suit, and the minister who led the local Klavern moved to Kansas.

In the South, Klan members were still Democratic, as it was essentially a one-party region for whites. Klan chapters were closely allied with Democratic police, sheriffs, and other functionaries of local government.

Due to disenfranchisement of most African Americans and many poor whites around the start of the 20th century, the only political activity for whites took place within the Democratic Party.

In Alabama, Klan members advocated better public schools, effective Prohibition enforcement, expanded road construction, and other political measures to benefit lower-class white people.

By , the Klan was a political force in the state, as leaders such as J. Thomas Heflin , David Bibb Graves , and Hugo Black tried to build political power against the Black Belt wealthy planters , who had long dominated the state.

He was a former Klan chapter head. He pushed for increased education funding, better public health, new highway construction, and pro-labor legislation.

Because the Alabama state legislature refused to redistrict until , and then under court order, the Klan was unable to break the planters' and rural areas' hold on legislative power.

Scholars and biographers have recently examined Hugo Black's Klan role. Ball finds regarding the KKK that Black "sympathized with the group's economic, nativist, and anti-Catholic beliefs".

In President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Black to the Supreme Court without knowing how active in the Klan he had been in the s. He was confirmed by his fellow Senators before the full KKK connection was known; Justice Black said he left the Klan when he became a senator.

Many groups and leaders, including prominent Protestant ministers such as Reinhold Niebuhr in Detroit, spoke out against the Klan, gaining national attention.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League was formed in the early 20th century in response to attacks on Jewish Americans , including the lynching of Leo Frank in Atlanta, and to the Klan's campaign to prohibit private schools which was chiefly aimed at Catholic parochial schools.

Opposing groups worked to penetrate the Klan's secrecy. After one civic group in Indiana began to publish Klan membership lists, there was a rapid decline in the number of Klan members.

After its peak in , Klan membership in most areas began to decline rapidly. Specific events contributed to the Klan's decline as well.

In Indiana, the scandal surrounding the murder trial of Grand Dragon D. Stephenson destroyed the image of the KKK as upholders of law and order.

By the Klan was "crippled and discredited". Stephenson was the grand dragon of Indiana and 22 northern states. In he had led the states under his control in order to break away from the national KKK organization.

At his trial, he was convicted of second-degree murder for his part in the rape, and subsequent death, of Madge Oberholtzer.

Stephenson and the other salesmen and office seekers who maneuvered for control of Indiana's Invisible Empire lacked both the ability and the desire to use the political system to carry out the Klan's stated goals.

They were uninterested in, or perhaps even unaware of, grass roots concerns within the movement. For them, the Klan had been nothing more than a means for gaining wealth and power.

These marginal men had risen to the top of the hooded order because, until it became a political force, the Klan had never required strong, dedicated leadership.

More established and experienced politicians who endorsed the Klan, or who pursued some of the interests of their Klan constituents, also accomplished little.

Factionalism created one barrier, but many politicians had supported the Klan simply out of expedience.

When charges of crime and corruption began to taint the movement, those concerned about their political futures had even less reason to work on the Klan's behalf.

In Alabama, KKK vigilantes launched a wave of physical terror in They targeted both blacks and whites for violations of racial norms and for perceived moral lapses.

Grover C. Hall , Sr. Today the paper says it "waged war on the resurgent [KKK]". Sheriffs cracked down on activities. In the presidential election , the state voters overcame their initial opposition to the Catholic candidate Al Smith , and voted the Democratic Party line as usual.

Although in decline, a measure of the Klan's influence was still evident when it staged its march along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.

By , Klan membership in Alabama dropped to less than 6, Small independent units continued to be active in the industrial city of Birmingham.

KKK units were active through the s in parts of Georgia, with a group of "night riders" in Atlanta enforcing their moral views by flogging people who violated them, whites as well as blacks.

In March , they were implicated in the beating murders of a young white couple taken from their car on a lovers lane, and flogged a white barber to death for drinking, both in East Point, a suburb of Atlanta.

More than 20 others were "brutally flogged". As the police began to investigate, they found the records of the KKK had disappeared from their East Point office.

In , three lynchings of black men by whites no KKK affiliation is known took place in the South: Elbert Williams was the first NAACP member known to be killed for civil rights activities: he was murdered in Brownsville, Tennessee , for working to register blacks to vote, and several other activists were run out of town; Jesse Thornton was lynched in Luverne, Alabama , for a minor social infraction; and year-old Austin Callaway , a suspect in the assault of a white woman, was taken from jail in the middle of the night and killed by six white men in LaGrange, Georgia.

In major Southern cities such as Birmingham, Alabama , Klan members kept control of access to the better-paying industrial jobs and opposed unions.

During the s and s, Klan leaders urged members to disrupt the Congress of Industrial Organizations CIO , which advocated industrial unions and accepted African-American members, unlike earlier unions.

With access to dynamite and using the skills from their jobs in mining and steel, in the late s some Klan members in Birmingham used bombings to destroy houses in order to intimidate upwardly mobile blacks who moved into middle-class neighborhoods.

Activism by these independent KKK groups in Birmingham increased as a reaction to the civil rights movement of the s and s.

Independent Klan groups violently opposed the civil rights movement. Members of the Communist Workers' Party came to North Carolina to organize textile workers and pushed back against racial discrimination there, taunting the KKK, resulting in the Greensboro massacre.

Colescott , an Indiana veterinary physician , and Samuel Green , an Atlanta obstetrician. They could not revive the Klan's declining membership. Local Klan groups closed down over the following years.

After World War II , the folklorist and author Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the Klan; he provided internal data to media and law enforcement agencies.

He also provided secret code words to the writers of the Superman radio program, resulting in episodes in which Superman took on the KKK.

Kennedy stripped away the Klan's mystique and trivialized its rituals and code words, which may have contributed to the decline in Klan recruiting and membership.

The historiography of the second Klan of the s has changed over time. Early histories were based on mainstream sources of the time.

But since the late 20th century, other histories have been written drawing from records and analysis of members of the chapters in social histories.

The KKK was a secret organization; apart from a few top leaders, most members never identified as such and wore masks in public.

Almost all the major national newspapers and magazines were hostile to its activities. The historian Thomas R. Pegram says that published accounts exaggerated the official viewpoint of the Klan leadership, and repeated the interpretations of hostile newspapers and the Klan's enemies.

There was almost no evidence in that time regarding the behavior or beliefs of individual Klansmen. According to Pegram, the resulting popular and scholarly interpretation of the Klan from the s into the midth century emphasized its Southern roots and the violent vigilante-style actions of the Klan in its efforts to turn back the clock of modernity.

Scholars compared it to fascism in Europe. It was, in this view, a movement of country parsons and small-town malcontents who were out of step with the dynamism of twentieth-century urban America.

The " social history " revolution in historiography from the s explored history from the bottom up. In terms of the Klan, it developed evidence based on the characteristics, beliefs, and behavior of the typical membership, and downplayed accounts by elite sources.

They discovered that the original interpretation was largely mistaken about the membership and activities of the Klan; the membership was not anti-modern, rural or rustic and consisted of fairly well educated middle-class joiners and community activists.

Half the members lived in the fast-growing industrial cities of the period: Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, were Klan strongholds during the s.

Studies find that in general, the KKK membership in these cities was from the stable, successful middle classes, with few members drawn from the elite or the working classes.

Pegram, reviewing the studies, concludes, "the popular Klan of the s, while diverse, was more of a civic exponent of white Protestant social values than a repressive hate group.

Baker argues that religion was critical — the KKK based its hatred on a particular brand of Protestantism that resonated with mainstream Americans: "Members embraced Protestant Christianity and a crusade to save America from domestic as well as foreign threats.

In Indiana, traditional political historians focused on notorious leaders, especially D. Stephenson , the Grand Dragon of the Indiana Klan , whose conviction for kidnap, rape, and murder of Madge Oberholtzer helped destroy the Ku Klux Klan movement nationwide.

In his history of , Kenneth Jackson already described the Klan of the s as associated with cities and urbanization, with chapters often acting as a kind of fraternal organization to aid people coming from other areas.

Social historian Leonard Moore titled his monograph Citizen Klansmen and contrasted the intolerant rhetoric of the group's leaders with the actions of most of the membership.

The Klan was white Protestant, established Americans who were fearful of change represented by new immigrants and black migrants to the North.

They were highly suspicious of Catholics, Jews and blacks, who they believed subverted ideal, Protestant moral standards. Violence was uncommon in most chapters.

In Indiana, KKK members directed more threats and economic blacklisting primarily against fellow white Protestants for transgressions of community moral standards, such as adultery, wife-beating , gambling and heavy drinking.

Up to one third of Indiana's Protestant men joined the order making it, Moore argued, "a kind of interest group for average white Protestants who believed that their values should be dominant in their community and state.

Northern Indiana's industrial cities had attracted a large Catholic population of European immigrants and their descendants.

The next day the Klansmen counterattacked. Finally the college president and the football coach Knute Rockne kept the students on campus to avert further violence.

In Alabama, some young, white, urban activists joined the KKK to fight the old guard establishment. Hugo Black was a member before becoming nationally famous; he focused on anti-Catholicism.

But in rural Alabama the Klan continued to operate to enforce Jim Crow ; its members resorted more often to violence against blacks for infringements of the social order of white supremacy.

Racial terrorism was used in smaller towns to suppress black political activity; Elbert Williams of Brownsville, Tennessee , was lynched in for trying to organize black residents to register and vote.

That year, Jesse Thornton of Luverne, Alabama , was lynched for failing to address a police officer as "Mister".

After the decline of the national organization, small independent groups adopted the name "Ku Klux Klan", along with variations. They had no formal relationships with each other, or connection to the second KKK, except for the fact that they copied its terminology and costumes.

Beginning in the s, for instance, individual Klan groups in Birmingham, Alabama , began to resist social change and blacks' efforts to improve their lives by bombing houses in transitional neighborhoods.

The white men worked in mining and steel industries, with access to these materials. There were so many bombings of blacks' homes in Birmingham by Klan groups in the s that the city was nicknamed " Bombingham ".

During the tenure of Bull Connor as police commissioner in Birmingham, Klan groups were closely allied with the police and operated with impunity.

When the Freedom Riders arrived in Birmingham in , Connor gave Klan members fifteen minutes to attack the riders before sending in the police to quell the attack.

In states such as Alabama and Mississippi , Klan members forged alliances with governors' administrations. In some cases they used physical violence, intimidation, and assassination directly against individuals.

Continuing disfranchisement of blacks across the South meant that most could not serve on juries, which were all-white and demonstrably biased verdicts and sentences.

According to a report from the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta , the homes of 40 black Southern families were bombed during and Some of the bombing victims were social activists whose work exposed them to danger, but most were either people who refused to bow to racist convention or were innocent bystanders, unsuspecting victims of random violence.

There was considerable resistance among African Americans and white allies to the Klan. In , newspaper publishers W. Horace Carter Tabor City, North Carolina , who had campaigned for three years, and Willard Cole Whiteville, North Carolina shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service citing "their successful campaign against the Ku Klux Klan, waged on their own doorstep at the risk of economic loss and personal danger, culminating in the conviction of over one hundred Klansmen and an end to terrorism in their communities".

When the KKK held a nighttime rally nearby, they were quickly surrounded by hundreds of armed Lumbee. Gunfire was exchanged, and the Klan was routed at what became known as the Battle of Hayes Pond.

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI had paid informants in the Klan, for instance in Birmingham in the early s, its relations with local law enforcement agencies and the Klan were often ambiguous.

The head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover , appeared more concerned about Communist links to civil rights activists than about controlling Klan excesses against citizens.

As 20th-century Supreme Court rulings extended federal enforcement of citizens' civil rights , the government revived the Enforcement Acts and the Klan Act from Reconstruction days.

Federal prosecutors used these laws as the basis for investigations and indictments in the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner ; [] and the murder of Viola Liuzzo.

They were also the basis for prosecution in in Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic. In , the House Un-American Activities Committee started an investigation on the Klan, putting in the public spotlight its front organizations, finances, methods and divisions.

After federal legislation was passed prohibiting legal segregation and authorizing enforcement of protection of voting rights, KKK groups began to oppose court-ordered busing to desegregate schools , affirmative action , and the more open immigration authorized in the s.

Thompson also related that KKK leaders showed great concern about a series of civil lawsuits filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center , claiming damages amounting to millions of dollars.

Klansmen curtailed their activities in order to conserve money for defense against the lawsuits. The KKK also used lawsuits as tools; they filed a libel suit in order to prevent the publication of a paperback edition of Thompson's book, but were unsuccessful.

A fifth woman, Fannie Crumsey, was injured by flying glass in the incident. Attempted murder charges were filed against the three KKK members, two of whom — Bill Church and Larry Payne — were acquitted by an all-white jury.

The third defendant, Marshall Thrash, was sentenced by the same jury to nine months on lesser charges. He was released after three months.

The US attorney prosecuted the case. After exhausting the appeals process, Hays was executed by electric chair for Donald's death in Alabama on June 6, Her lawsuit against the United Klans of America was tried in February They had to sell off their national headquarters building in Tuscaloosa.

Duke has an account on Stormfront which he uses to post articles from his own website. He also polls forum members for opinions and questions, in particular during his internet broadcasts.

The modern KKK is not one organization; rather it is composed of small independent chapters across the United States. Analysts believe that about two-thirds of KKK members are concentrated in the Southern United States , with another third situated primarily in the lower Midwest.

The Klan has expanded its recruitment efforts to white supremacists at the international level. This decline has been attributed to the Klan's lack of competence in the use of the Internet , their history of violence, a proliferation of competing hate groups , and a decline in the number of young racist activists who are willing to join groups at all.

They remain a collection of mostly small, disjointed groups that continually change in name and leadership. In , however, the number of KKK chapters nationwide grew from 72 to The SPLC released a similar report stating that "there were significant increases in Klan as well as black separatist groups".

Recent KKK membership campaigns have stimulated people's anxieties about illegal immigration , urban crime, civil unions , and same-sex marriage.

Keith Akins argued that "Klan literature and propaganda is rabidly homophobic and encourages violence against gays and lesbians. Since the late s, the Klan has increasingly focused its ire on this previously ignored population.

Many KKK groups have formed strong alliances with other white supremacist groups, such as neo-Nazis. Some KKK groups have become increasingly "nazified", adopting the look and emblems of white power skinheads.

The American Civil Liberties Union ACLU has provided legal support to various factions of the KKK in defense of their First Amendment rights to hold public rallies, parades, and marches, as well as their right to field political candidates.

The coroner declared his death a homicide. Ancona's wife and stepson were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing.

The prosecutor in the case believes that the killing "happened because of a marital dispute" and was not connected to Ancona's Klan participation.

The February 14, , edition of the Linden, Alabama , weekly newspaper The Democrat-Reporter carried an editorial titled "Klan needs to ride again" written by Goodloe Sutton — the newspaper's owner, publisher and editor — which urged the Klan to return to staging their night rides, because proposals were being made to raise taxes in the state.

In an interview, Sutton suggested that Washington, D. The editorial and Sutton's subsequent comments provoked calls for his resignation from Alabama politicians and the Alabama Press Association, which later censured Sutton and suspended the newspaper's membership.

In addition the University of Southern Mississippi 's School of Communication removed Sutton — who is an alumnus of that school — from its Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame, and "strongly condemned" his remarks.

Sutton was also stripped of a distinguished community journalism award he had been presented in by Auburn University 's Journalism Advisory Council.

In Australia in the late s, former One Nation member Peter Coleman established branches throughout the country, [] [] and circa the KKK has attempted to infiltrate other political parties such as Australia First.

Recruitment activity has also been reported in the United Kingdom. After the Nazis took over Germany, the group disbanded and its members joined the Nazis.

A Ku Klux Klan group was even established in Fiji in the early s by white American settlers, although its operations were quickly put to an end by the British who, although not officially yet established as the major authority of Fiji, had played a leading role in establishing a new constitutional monarchy that was being threatened by the activities of the Fijian Klan.

Membership in the Klan is secret. Like many fraternal organizations, the Klan has signs that members can use to recognize one another. Throughout its varied history, the Klan has coined many words [] [] beginning with "Kl", including:.

All of the above terminology was created by William Joseph Simmons, as part of his revival of the Klan. The imperial kludd was the chaplain of the Imperial Klonvokation and he performed "such other duties as may be required by the imperial wizard".

The imperial kaliff was the second highest position after the imperial wizard. Because there are multiple Ku Klux Klan organizations, there are multiple official websites.

To find a website, try entering the full name of a particular organization into a search engine. Following are third-party lists of such organizations:.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American white supremacist group. For other uses, see Clansman disambiguation and KKK disambiguation.

Protestantism second Klan [19] Christian Identity second and third Klans [20]. Interview with Nathan Bedford Forrest. Why the Ku Klux.

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