Origins of the Ku Klux Klan • Also known as the Invisible Empire of the South • 1st branch was established in Tennessee May 1866 • Branches grew up in Southern states • 1868 - 1870 KKK played an important role in restoring White rule in Southern states • Similar organisation existed called… • White Brotherhood • Men of Justice • Constitutional Union Guards • Knights of the White Camelia
Origins of the Ku Klux Klan • 1st main objective was to stop Black people from voting • It also undermine the power of Blacks • Successful Black businessmen were attacked • Any attempt to form Black protection groups (e.g. Trade Unions) was quickly dealt with • By 1871 because its objective of White supremacy in the South had been achieved, the organisation practically disappeared
KKK reforms • KKK was reformed in 1915 by William J. Simmons, a preacher • He was influenced by the film Birth of a Nation • Birth of a Nation showed the KKK saving white families from groups of Blacks intent on rape and looting • By 1920 race tension increased in America and so the Klan grew again
Ideas and beliefs of the KKK • Extreme WASP organisation • Against and believed the following groups were inferior • Blacks • Catholics • Jews • Socialists • Communists • Immigrants • Anyone thought to be ‘un American’ • Against civil rights laws • Said their actions were to protect ‘the American way of life’
Organisation of Klan • Led by a Grand Wizard of the Empire (leader) • Officers below this were given such names as Grand Dragon, Grand Titan, and Grand Cyclops. • Local Klan organisation were called Klaverns
Activity • Put the title “Methods used by the KKK in creating terror and fear” • Draw a circle to begin a spider diagram • Using the information on slides 8 – 14 to complete the spider diagram.
Methods • Aim was to create fear and terror amongst those considered ‘un American’ especially Blacks • Wore masks, white cardboard hats and were draped in white sheets
Methods • Attacked Blacks and their homes, usually at night • Left behind burning crosses near homes of people they wished to frighten • Many Black people who lived in lonely farm shacks sometimes believed it was ghosts had come to kill them
Late at night she was awakened by the thudding of horses’ hooves as nightriders, branding torches and yelling like banshees, swept into the clearing and rode round and round her cabin. She never knew when they might set fire to the place, burning her to death inside, and some nights she was so terrified that she would get out of bed, creep through the woods to the roadway and trudge the twelve miles to Durham, preferring the dark, lonely but open road to the risk of being trapped in the farm.
Methods • Burned churches and schools and drove thousands of people out of their homes
Methods • Victims might be kidnapped, whipped, mutilated or murdered (often by lynching)
The Negro was taken to a grove, where each one of more than five hundred people, in the Ku Klux Klan ceremonial, had placed a pine knot around a stump, and asked if he had anything to say. The fire was lit and a hundred men and women, old and young, grandmothers among them, joined hands and danced around while the Negro burned. A big barn dance was held in a barn nearby that evening in celebration of the burning, many people coming by car from nearby cities to the gala event. 1921 Washington Eagle newspaper described the death of a Black man accused of murdering a white woman in Georgia.
Methods • Marched through streets of towns and cities carrying posters threatening various persons with punishment and warning others to leave town
Membership • Native born Americans, White, Protestant • Had to be 16 and over • Membership included all classes from the poor and uneducated to governors, senators, judges, sheriffs and members of the police in Southern states • At its peak 1 out of 8 American males between the ages of 21-65 were members
Membership Typical questions asked of new recruits • Are you native born American citizens? • Were your parents born in the United States of America? • Are you of the white race or of a coloured race? • Have you ever been a member of the Catholic Church? • Are any of the members of your immediate family members of the Catholic Church? • Do you believe in the principles of a PURE Americanism? • Do you believe in White Supremacy? • Do you owe any kind of allegiance to any foreign nation, government, institutions, sect, people ruler or person? • Can you always be depended on?