The ABC’s Of The Ku Klux Klan And Their Updated Motivations

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This world of ours has seen too much hate being spread, and it is heart-wrenching that instead of making love, we chose to make war (Jason Derulo is extremely displeased!).

When we all thought that the Civil War was finally over and that America would smoothly transition towards the Reconstruction Period, out came one of the worst hate groups in all of America’s history. The Klan, as it was commonly called, is an American white supremacist group that primarily targets African Americans.

According to a recent study by CBS News, the number of hate groups in the US rose with the candidacy of Donald Trump and the SPLC estimates that the KKK has over 5,000-8,000 members nationwide. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center also states that at present times the Ku Klux Klan is making alliances with followers of the militia movement, neo-Nazis, right-wing extremists, and white power skinheads to boost their membership.

Though in the 21st Century they have been increasingly prosecuted by law enforcement agencies, this menace still exists today.   

Origins 

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On December 24, 1865, six confederate members from Pulaski, Tennessee created the original Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War. George Gordon, who practised law at the time was one of the first members of The Klan and developed the Prescript which heavily supported the white supremacist belief. 

Later on confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest became the first ‘grand wizard’ of the Klan and hence the hate group’s national leader in 1867. By 1870 the KKK was extended to almost every southern state and rivaled against Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing economic and political equality for Black Americans.

The Klan would often use public violence against black people and their allies. This involved the burning of houses, attacking, and killing black people also leaving their bodies on the roads. The use of violence was also implemented to settle local grudges and old personal feuds.  In the early 20th Century the Klan would often burn crosses and stage marches, parades, and rallies to denounce immigrants and African Americans.  

Intentions 

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According to the observations made by historian Eric Foner, the Klan was primarily organized to serve as a military force to promote the interest of Southern Aristocracy, the planter class, who desired to restore white supremacy. Their political purposes were to affect power relations throughout Southern society in both private and public circles. 

The intentions were to reverse Reconstruction efforts and re-establish control over the black labor force as well as restoring racial subordination in every aspect of life. To achieve these malevolent goals members of the Klan worked and utilized their efforts to curb black people from acquiring education, obtain economic advancement, have voting rights, and the right to keep or bear arms. 

In order reach, such ends the Klan soon spread their acts of terrorism against people including the assignation of political leaders such as Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds and several other prominent public figures.

According to a Georgia-based reporter in 1870 the Ku Klux wasn’t an organized band of criminals, it was in fact made of up of people who committed horrendous crimes and calling themselves the Ku Klux. Their act of extreme corruption included the bombing and burning of black schools as well as churches.  

Ambitions 

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While the first and the third iteration of the Klan were evidently hate-groups aimed toward blacks, the second emergence of the Klan fueled by the efforts of William Joseph Simmons was something else. It was in this period that nationwide membership of the clan reached somewhere around 3 million to 5 million people, the highest ever recorded so far in its short history.

The growth was based on new anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and Prohibitionist agenda. The second Klan, therefore, saw threats from every direction. 

According to historian Brian R. Farmer national Klan lecturers were predominantly Protestant ministers. Furthermore, the Klan goals at the time were to shield the chastity of womanhood, maintain white supremacy, as well as protect and maintain ideals of pure Americanism through exalted ritualism.

By 1930s when James A. Colescott took the role of the imperial wizard, the Klan also rose in opposition to communism.  

Recent Motivations 

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According to a report by ADL (Anti-Defamation League), a non-governmental Jewish organization, the Ku Klux Klan despite their long-term trend of decline, still remain with a persistent ability to attract attention. While their groups are most disjointed and small in strength, they have been continually changing their name and leadership in recent times. 

Just over 30 active Klan groups remain in the United States, and their association with criminal activity has remained consistent. In a BBC news report, a KKK donation account was suspended by PayPal in 2019. The ADL study also states that the Klan has lately been ridiculed for its inability to establish stability, and more than half of the currently active Klan groups have been formed only in the last five years.

A decade ago where prominent Klan groups including the likes of Church of National Knights, Mississippi White Knights, and White Camelia Knights exhibited consistent activity. Today they are facing diminishing numbers with approximately 3,000 Klan members nationwide. KKK groups that are active include the following:

  • EBBOK – Elders Blood-NBlood Out Knights
  • Great Lake Knights based in Alpena, Michigan
  • LWK – Loyal White Knights based in North Carolina
  • Pacific Coast Knights of Spokane, Washington

Students looking for a personal statement service need to understand that our world and international law has no room for racial discrimination. Our future generations must no follow the pitfalls of our previous generations but move ahead with compassion and empathy for all human beings regardless of color, race, ethnicity, and place of origins.

Discrimination in any form is vile and dreadful in nature which is why educators must make an emphasis to teach young minds about the horrifying outcomes of prejudice and social injustice.     

Operations 

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According to a BBC report on the Organization and Methods of the Ku Klux Klan, the following observations were recorded regarding how this detestable hate group operated:

  • Operations were carried out with extreme secrecy and to become a member, you would have to be at least 16 years old, white American, and Protestant. 
  • They would burn large wooden crosses beside the homes of people they wished to frighten.
  • Their lynching attacks on target individuals included kidnapping, whipping, mutilation, hanging, and murders. 
  • The KKK often blamed the high number of immigrants flooding into the USA as a growing reason for unemployment.
  • Poor white people would often join the clan in hopes that the Klan will safeguard their way of life.
  • While slavery was declared illegal in 1863, it existed until 1865 with the idea of white supremacy remaining strong in southern states.
  • The 14th Amendment of 1868 and the 15th Amendment of 1870 was combatted through the Jim Crow Laws which enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.
  • Black people were imposed to pay tax in order to vote. Furthermore, they had to pass a difficult literacy test, and even when they passed, they were usually threatened not to vote anyway.
  • The KKK believed that the WASPs were the most important group within America, and Blacks were inferior. WASPs refer to White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.  

 Methods 

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The Ku Klux Klan during its initial years after its original formation in 1865, would follow unique practices shrouded in mystery. The name itself was derived from the Greek word ‘kuklos‘ which means the circle of friends.

They will hide their identities, names, and even try to distort their voices for disguising themselves. Some would even use children whistles for communication. While their dens were mostly decentralized, they would arm themselves and operate as independent bands without a unified purpose.

For those they want to impact, KKK would use intimidation which often resorted to violent acts being committed by their members and bringing distraught to the lives of others. Side by side, the KKK also encouraged companionship amongst members regarding ethnic beliefs and cultural heritage. Some of the methods used included:

  • Posting threats in local newspapers.
  • In-person warnings specifically to Black Americans and even white republicans that were considered foreigners. 
  • Walking down on town streets with arms and ammunition with masks on their faces.
  • Setting ablaze barns, town halls, homes, and other spaces. Downright committing arson.
  • In their second era, KKK would often target not only Black people but also Catholics and northerners.
  • Additionally, those who committed adultery, teenagers who disobeyed their parents and even people who did not attend Church would be targeted.  
  • Journalists who reported on KKK activities and people who support southern Black people were also targeted. 

Tactics

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Klan members would often wear masks and robes to hide their identities and would carry out the majority of their attacks during the night. Sometimes to incite fear in superstitious black people, they would proclaim to be ghosts of Confederate soldiers. Many of them would choose local and rural areas for their planned acts of violence. Amongst many horrid things, some were truly abhorrent such as:

  • Attacking black members of the Loyal Leagues.
  • Burning of crosses as the emblem of sincere and unselfish devotedness of all Klansmen.
  • Intimidating Southern Republicans and Freedmen’s Bureau workers.
  • Killing black political leaders. 
  • Taking the heads of families and leaders of churches along with weekly assaults and murders.  
  • Armed guerilla warfare killed thousands of Black people.
  • Masked men would shoot into houses and burned them with occupants still inside.
  • They would also force successful black farmers off their land.
  • In order to suppress Black people from voting, deadly campaigns were held that would end with thousands of fatalities. 
  • They would not even resent killing American civil right activists.
  • Even captives from jail will be taken and shot.
  • A violent Klan in Dallas, Texas, even whipped white men who were accused of abandoning their families, wife-beating,  adultery, and refusing to pay child support.

Conclusion 

The KKK has been one of the most notorious hate groups and with over 155 years of existence, continues to be a menace to the American society. Their beliefs regarding racial discriminations, especially against the subordination and take control of Black Americans is what makes them an abhorrent group. 

The Klan almost always uses violence to intimidate people and has not shown compassion towards people of color, thus killing them without remorse or any kind of resentment. I hope this post was able to provide you with some meaningful understanding of the Ku Klux Klan and why they are one of the nefarious hate groups in the world.    

Author Bio 

Samantha Kaylee currently works as an Assistant Editor at Crowd Writer. This is where higher education students can acquire professional personal statement writing service from experts specializing in their field of study. During her free time, she likes to indulge herself in pop culture and binge-watch TV series online.

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