The Ku Klux Klan


The Ku Klux Klan Essay, Research Paper

The Ku Klux Klan, better known as the KKK, was started

in Tennessee in 1866. The people who believed in "White

Pride" came together against the advancement of African

Americans, Jews, and other minorities. The KKK

members were very violent and used harsh actions to get

their point across, but their actions were supported by their

strong belief in their religion and the culture in which they

were brought up in. The Klan did as it believed, they did

what they thought was right and for their time period they

were just acting in the way their culture brought them up to

act. The name Ku Klux Klan comes from the Greek word

kuklos, meaning circle. The oldest symbol of unity is a

circle. The Klan represents itself as the "oldest American

White civil rights group." The KKK’s history has been split

into five eras. Former Confederate General Nathan

Bedford Forrest founded the First Era in 1866. The Klan

was formed during the Reconstruction Era of United States

history. Klan members went on "night rides." On "night

rides" the KKK members dressed in white robes and went

to houses belonging to empowered blacks and instituted

fright into their hearts. They would threaten these blacks

with what would happen if they voted or took positions of

power. They often whipped, mutilated or even killed any

black that didn’t comply with the KKK’s ideas. The

Second Era of the KKK reigned from 1915-1925. This

Second Era of Klansmen came together against the blacks

that were trying to take a spot in the community with the

NAACP. The Klan provided middle-class whites with

stability. This era of the Klan came together against African

Americans, Catholics, Jews, Asians, immigrants, anyone

who had pre-and extra-marital escapades, and many other

minorities. This Klan era was the First Era to use

automobiles as part of the lynching. The Third Era was

started in May of 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that

segregating of public schools by race was unconstitutional.

This generation of Klansmen at one point numbered

40,000. In 1857 as a result of the Montgomery Bus

boycott, a group of Klan members torched four African

American Churches. At one point a count was taken and

there had been over one hundred and fifty acts of racial and

anti-Semitic acts of violence in the south. The Third Era

mainly used their own forms of bombs to destroy residents

and churches of their enemies. The Fourth Era overlapped

with the ends of the Third Era; David Duke was one of the

main leaders. Duke used a sort of Nazi flavor to revamp

the KKK, and his best addition to the Klan was his

manipulation of the media. Dukes main attacks were at

affirmative action, he attracted new youthful members,

recruiting from high schools and colleges. The most well

known act of terrorism occurred in Greensboro in 1979,

where the Communist Workers Party rallied against the

Klan, their motto was "Death to the Klan". KKK members

and Nazis came together and attacked the marchers and

wounded five protestors and killed another nine. Presently

the Fifth Era of the KKK is in action, they haven’t been as

violent as the past four eras, but there are several groups

that are growing in numbers. The Ku Klux Klan’s actions

were very radical. There is one idea that hasn’t changed in

the past one hundred and fifty years, and that is that the

killing of an innocent person is wrong. The KKK killed any

black that had too much power or a lot of influence. Prior

to the Klan’s existence a similar party killed one hundred

and sixteen black people and their bodies were thrown in

the Tallahatchie River. In one Louisiana parish in 1868,

over a two-day period Klansmen killed or wounded two

hundred victims. A large pile of twenty-five dead bodies

was found half buried in the woods. During 1870 in South

Carolina the Klan killed six black people, and whipped

another three hundred until they could barely walk. Mass

killings like these happened regularly all over the South.

The members of the Klan took their culture and religion

and combined it to create justification for any evil actions

they took. Finally, the passing of the harsh Force Act of

1870 and 1871 allowed Federal troops to destroy the

organization. By this time though the damage had already

been done. Members of the Ku Klux Klan are very

dedicated to their religion and cause. To get into the KKK

a person must take an oath that says, "By my own free will

and instance I (NAME) swear, by the mighty God, that I

never to anyone will tell by a hint, sign, action or word

about the secrets, signs, handshakes, keywords or

ceremonies that belongs to the Order ***, neither that I am

a member of this Order, or that I know somebody that is a

member. Also I will submit to the regulations for the Order

*** and it’s commands." This oath showed that by being a

Klan member you must be totally loyal to the cause, as if it

were your religion. The Klan had sacrificial rituals in which

they would wrap crosses with white bandages and then

torch it before they started each meeting. Out of respect for

their "religion" the Klansmen raided and torched the houses

of black men, and they killed and mutilated blacks. The

Puritan’s religion was a well-known religion of the fifteen

and sixteenth century. One ritual of the Puritans was they

killed any suspected witches. What makes Puritans religion

any different from the beliefs of the KKK? There isn’t

much, they both prosecute and kill people who don’t

comply with their way of life. To them, what they were

doing was right. They felt their cause was very important,

and it was to their ways of life. To the members of the Ku

Klux Klan the new laws about no slavery went against their

way of life. The South believed that blacks were inferior

because they were brought up to think that. To this very

day, some people believe that minorities are unequal to

whites. A more common problem today is that people

believe that blacks and other minorities are receiving more

chances than whites are. They disagree strongly with

affirmative action and special treatment for minorities.

Today’s KKK’s purpose is to stop minorities from rising.

These minorities are getting more chances than whites do.

Since so many people believe this so strongly, just as they

did in 1866 when it all began, the KKK still exists. It’s

members still strive to keep the white race on the top of the

hierarchy. People say that racism would decrease if the

American government didn’t put as much emphasize on

skin color and ethnicity. In today’s world if blacks weren’t

given any advantages and made to work as hard as a white

would to make themselves prosperous then the Fifth Era of

the KKK would diminish because they would have nothing

to fight against. Through five eras of the KKK American

racism has come a long way, from slavery to

anti-affirmative action, the KKK has stood its ground and

did what they were brought up to do. Though sometimes

their acting may have been a bit extreme these whites were

brought up to fight for "white pride" and as any member of

a faith they fought for what they thought was right.

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