Background: Ku Klux Klan

The Ku Klux Klan first began during the Reconstruction Period (1865-1877), where the federal government took charge to rebuild the South after the Civil War (1861-1865). It was a secret society that consisted of mainly members of the old planter class and ex-confederate soldiers. Their goal was to maintain white supremacy and control elections. They aimed to keep African Americans powerless. They attacked blacks who owned land, blacks who "prospered", teachers of black children, and other freed men because they were able to read and write. They used whippings and lynching.

Because of lgeal, financial, and political problems, their activities served for the democratic party and they attacked Republicans. They killed hundreds of African Americans in the South. In countries were the Klan was, Republicans stayed away from the polls. In 1944, the Final Disbandment was made.

The Klansmen wore white robes and their faces hidden by masks. They muffled their horses hooves and covered them with white sheets. They posed as the ghosts of ex-confederate soldiers, back from the dead and for revenge. By the 1870s, the Klan declined and was destroyed because of white Republicans who organized to break up the Klan. And then they had the congressional legislator restrict them.

The Ku Klux Klan arose again later in 1915 under William J. Simmons. This second Klan had a wider program and added to "white supremacy", than the first. They were anti-Catholicism and also anti-Semitic. Unlike the first Klan, the second was less violent. They focused on marches, voted for Klan political leaders, and attended rallies where crosses were burned. Its peak was at the mid-1920s, having more than 3 million members. Many follwers of different whites and classes joined but, they came from mainly the middle and lower classes. Then the Klan began to decline fast. Its fall was mainly due to laws prohibiting the secrecy.K

After WWII, there were several attempts to revive the Klan but they failed. The Klan emerged again at the time of the Civil Rights Movement, looping to crush it, but they only powered the movement. Robert Shelton led the white knights of Mississippi. These new groups attacked blacks and civil rights workers. But these attacks would limit the freedom of the Klan and such was the case of Bobby Person vs. Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Today the Ku Klux Klan still exists and holds power. They are responsible for many attacks and killings of blacks, immigrants, Jews, and Catholics.


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