Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan | Ku Klux Klan Act | Ku Klux Kan Apush | Ku Klux Klan Ranks

InKu Klux Klan | Ku Klux Klan Act | Ku Klux Kan Apush | Ku Klux Klan Rankstroduction Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan at the history of the United States of America, there is generally little to be proud of; there was 400 years of black oppression through slavery, the slaughter of the Native American population and prejudicial treatment of the Chinese workers during the construction of the railway. In each of this scenarios, one aspect is common; the notion of white supremacy. True, the United States has in deed come a long way into being more racially inclusive. In fact, inclusion has been a strong topic given that even the LGBT[1] group was able to get protections from discrimination. However, the fact is racialism is a cancer that simply refuses to die. The most telling aspect of this was the recently concluded United States elections which any observer will point out that it did bring out the racial bias that the United States still has. There is however no relic of the past racial injustices that occurred as powerful as the Ku Klux Klan infamously known as the KKK (“Ku Klux Klan”, 2016). The masked group, which has seen maiming and killings based on racial profiling, upholds the notion of white supremacy. What is the KKK all about and what are its objectives?

Background: The KKK

It is fundamental to understand that the 20th century was heavily marked by civil rights movements around the world. Coincidentally then, there were ethnically based groups all of which stood for the rights of their members. A keen example of this can be the Black Panthers. Ethnically based on African Americans, the Black Panthers were serious activists who moved to at all cost protect the rights of African Americans and its members from the frequent attacks that they were victims of from the police and white supremacy groups. Interestingly, unclassified documents show that the government went through great strains to ensure that the Black Panthers died off including tapping on their telephones and putting its members of the FBI[2] watch list. Understandably then, the Black Panthers died off in the course of the year. It therefore becomes a question then, how were the KKK able to survive to the 21st century whereas they are responsible for a lot of grotesque and racial based crimes such as hanging of black people, maiming them and destruction of private property.

Founding of the KKK

The issue of racial integration was not well received in the south. Yes, they lost the civil war and the constitution outlawed slavery however, as it came to be apparent, it takes more than a war and constitutional amendment to change the social prejudice of a people. In the south, African Americans were not people; they were property. Naturally, the idea that they were equal did not seat well with the southern population. With this background, a group of former Confederate soldiers met at a social club in Pulaski Tennessee in 1866 where they formed the first branch of the KKK. The name was derived from the Greek name kyklostranslated to mean circle. By the summer of 1967, the Klan has phenomenally grown in the south to the extent that they chose a leader who as referred to as The Grand Wizard former Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest to preside over it (KKK, 2016).

History of the Klan  

It is important to remember that after the civil war, the Republican government unrolled the period of Reconstruction. This was aimed at bringing the African American population to equal status economically, socially and politically with the white population. This was naturally rejected by the Democrat party which had a strong following in the south. In fact, after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson who succeeded him was very lenient when it came to reconstruction. However, given that the Republican Party was the majority and the shadow the Abraham Lincoln had cast onto it, congress was able to veto the President and pass the Reconstruction Act. The provisions of the Reconstruction Act required the subdivision of the south into five military districts with each state affording equal protection to former slaves and male suffrage to them as was required by the 14th constitutional amendment.

It is important to understand that by the time of reconstruction, the black population in the south had was large. Naturally, most blacks were members of the Republican Party, which was called the Party of Lincoln. In the largely Democrat South, the power of the African American having a vote was too large. They could sway electoral results to any way they chose. In fact, given that not too long ago, the African Americans were property, now they were humans who were voting. This transition was simply too radical for the largely conservative south to comprehend or accept. The southern political class and the disoriented white population found its solace in the KKK. They could hide behind masks and in the name of white supremacy and given bravery by the KKK, they could carry out acts of terror on the African American population without fear of legal ramifications. Being the nature of politicians and knowing which part of their bread is buttered most simply failed to do anything to the KKK; in fact, most supported it for reasons of political mileage while attributing its actions to poor southern whites. Symbols of black autonomy and self-progression such as black schools, churches and leaders were violently attacked. The burning cross and the noose became symbols synonymous with the KKK and objects of terror to the African American south population.

Ku Klux Klan | Ku Klux Klan Act | Ku Klux Kan Apush | Ku Klux Klan Ranks

While most southern whites irrespective of class supported the KKK in the larger south, it did not have a centralized formation. Despite this, its objectives readily found fertile ground in the south. The common actions would be for a group of white southerners to dress in the Klan’s uniform of robes and masks then attack a black population. Whereas they may have acted independently, their uniform and acts of violence would be attributed to the Klan contributing to its notoriety and fame. This went on that by 1871 Congress was forced to pass the Enforcement Acts. The Enforcement Acts ascribed certain actions by the KKK as federal offences and gave the executive authority to use federal forces to suppress them. This was seen in 1871 when Ulysses Grant crushed the KKK in South Carolina. Nevertheless, military aggression was not enough to end what had political and social backing. The southern Democrats were rabid in the protection of the KKK to an extent that Republican politicians started being weary. By the close of 1876, the south was under white supremacy with the Democrat being the strongest party. Any dissention against this establishment by minorities was swiftly dealt with using uncanny methods such as intimidation through the KKK (“Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Era”, 2016).

As the 19th century gave way to Jim Crow, the KKK became less radical as they were. This was until 1915 in Atlanta Georgia where white Christian Protestants organized its revival. At this time, a lot was happening in the global arena. The First World War meant that a lot of immigrants were moving into USA which was then neutral to the war. The surge of immigrants meant that the new KKK was not only anti-black but extended its hate towards Jews, foreigners and Catholics. It increasingly associated itself with the Christian church with the cross and the burning cross being a used fear tactic. By the time the 1920s were rolling in, the KKK had grown to over 4 million members. The interesting aspect is by the time of the depression, it lost a huge part of its membership which it later reclaimed at the height of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Though to this day the KKK is still alive, its membership has fallen significantly to comprise largely of neo-Nazis in the south. However, if the recent presidential election is proof enough, the group still has its ethnic hate agenda which sadly has come to be a reflection of the general social climate of America (“Ku Klux Klan”, 2016).

KKK and America Today

The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. In fact, by the second half of this century, the minority population will be larger than the white native population. The sad aspect about the history of America is that it keeps on repeating a pattern that usually pulls it backward. After slavery was abolished; Jim Crow stopped reconstruction, when the civil rights movement achieved non-discrimination; assassination of Black leaders such as Martin Luther and Malcolm X meant that few steps were taken towards full assimilation of African Americans, recently, the voting of Barack Obama was a historic achievement that was supposed to bring in a post racial era in the USA; the reality is that the recent elections took America back to its racial days (“WGBH American Experience | PBS”, 2016). The aspect of superiority based on race is simply absurd. So absurd is this aspect that in order for it to hold true to those who forward it, it must be propped up by racial and backward laws such as Jim Crow. Those who defy those laws must be beaten to submission through fear and terror tactics such as those of the KKK (“Ku Klux Klan in the Twentieth Century”, 2016).

Critically looking at the KKK, why does it hide behind Christianity? Well, Christianity has in the history of America been used to support white superiority. After all, does the good book not tell slaves to be in complete obedience of their master? Does it not call for the respect of authority? Are not descendants of Ham cursed?In fact, in the days of slavery, it was essential to convert a slave’s religion to Christianity including their name. As observers noted, the more religious a slave was the more submissive. It was simply an act of terror done in the name of Christianity. It then begs the question, what difference does the KKK have with a radical Islamic group that carries out acts of terror in the name of Islam? The truth is that there is none. It therefore leaves one surprised that the US government will spend billions of dollars in military crusade aimed at fighting Islamic terrorism whereas a domestic terror group such as the KKK has defied the odds to exist through three centuries.

Conclusion

The social composition of the United States is such that one has to accept the place and importance of minorities. They are part of the United States and they greatly contribute the well-being of this nation. However, while their contribution is significant, hate groups such as the KKK will intentionally overlook their contribution and simply point out to their lack of belonging to a wanted racial class making them targets of hate crimes. A nation that is in constant fight within itself will ultimately crush never to rise. Hate groups such as the KKK should be done away with. The fact is that they divide an already divided nation further through their actions. In most cases, the targeted group will join together to form a gang aimed at its protection. In the end, a cycle of violence and retaliatory violence becomes a norm with everyone becoming a loser. That is why the KKK is a threat to the internal security of the United States (Queally, 2016).

References

KKK, T. (2016). Ku Klux Klan – Facts & Summary – HISTORY.comHISTORY.com. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from .history.com/topics/ku-klux-klan

Ku Klux Klan. (2016). Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from

Ku Klux Klan. (2016). Nytimes.com. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from nytimes.com/topic/organization/ku-klux-klan

Ku Klux Klan (KKK) History. (2016). Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from

Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Era. (2016). New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from .georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/ku-klux-klan-reconstruction-era

Ku Klux Klan in the Twentieth Century. (2016). New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/ku-klux-klan-twentieth-century

Queally, J. (2016). Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim erupts in violence; 3 are stabbed and 13 arrestedlatimes.com. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-klan-rally-in-anaheim-erupts-in-violence-one-man-stabbed-20160227-story.html

Queally, J. (2016). Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim erupts in violence; 3 are stabbed and 13 arrestedlatimes.com. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-klan-rally-in-anaheim-erupts-in-violence-one-man-stabbed-20160227-story.html

the definition of Ku Klux Klan. (2016). Dictionary.com. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from dictionary.com/browse/ku-klux-klan

WGBH American Experience | PBS. (2016). American Experience. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/flood-klan/

WGBH American Experience | PBS. (2016). American Experience. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/grant-kkk/

You are being redirected…. (2016). Archive.adl.org. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from

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