The Re-Birth and Demise of the KKK

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KKK= Ku Klux Klan

'Kuklos'- Circle

Circle of brotherhood

Secret racist organisation set up to spread its views and to defend tradition within America

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Formed in Pulaski in Tenessee- within the deep south

Set up in 1866- known as the reconstruction era

Originally set up due to the south feeling that they were being exploited by the north (carpetbaggers)- Northern people moving south)

Created to protect the south, later changed to protect whites from blacks

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In 1915

All down to preacher, William Simmonds

The Klansmen (book)- history of the kkk

This book became a film,- 'The birth of a nation'- (DW Griffith) which was increadibly popular

25,000 turned up to the premiere in Georgia

Film inspired a love of the kkk, promoting slavery and lynching as well as showing African American as beasts

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Widening of Movement and Influence

Spread throughout the south up to the mid-west

Made easy to join by having  a membership scheme- $10 to join

Once member you can buy items e.g. robe, hat, robes for horses, purification ceremony-pure water

Members 250,000-1920 yet by 1925 it had 5 million

They had a huge influence not just on ordinary people but also lawyers, police men and judges

Lynching was not a federal crime- not illegal thus 95% of victims were African American also 95% were male

Strange Fruit was a poem turned into a song- about lynching

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The Re-emergence

Re-emerged due to rural protestant American becoming defensive over influx in immigration, heightened nationalism also helped the growth

D.W.Griffiths film 'Birth of a nation' had significant impact due to depictiong blacks as threats, also the glorification of the Klan

It influenced a new generation of prejudiced Americans, showing the revival of the south being down to patriotism and loyalty to the Klan.

Doc Simmons was key in the re-founding, in 1915 it was marked with the setting fire to a large cross in Atlanta, Georgia

Pledge was made to'save white christian civilisation, with 'the fiery cross' becoming the organization's leading publication

Simmons was the National Chief and Imperial Wizard

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The Re-emergence 2

Said they were defenders of the American way, 'defending...Morality, Americanism, Protestantism and White Supremacy.'

they felt African Americans, Jews, Catholics and foreigners ( not from north west Europe) challenged this- the red scare added to this

Membership was not just the poor and downtrodden who were marginalised, there was also those who were middle class

It was not exclusively rural, southern-dramatic increases came from northern central states- Indiana, Ohio, Illinois

Those that were supposed to be impartial e.g. local police and judges were Klan dominated

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The Re-emergence 3

1920- Experienced publists- Elizabeth Taylor and Edgar Clark joined- providing effective fundraising

Pushed out Simmons from day to day control, yet 1924 they fell, as Tyler died and Clark wasin prison for fruad

Exalted Cyclops of Dallas Klan- Hiram Weasley Evans took over as the Imperial Wizard

His leadership saw them get their greatest influence-1925


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The Demise

David Curtis (D.C) Stephenson- Grand Dragon of Indiana Klan- (virtually) ran the whole state 1924

His private life destroyed the organisation's influence

Convicted of ****** his 28 year old secretary on a overnight train

This along with other scandals, some finanical, showed the characteristics of the 'Gardians of American value' to be very different to their ideals

Thus in 1930 it only had 200,000 members, not as influencial yet still malicious influence in some areas, for African Americans and others that were victums to violence, it was still as source of terror.

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Geographic influence varied-
1925-40% members in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois
-25% in old south

Pacific coast (not Maine) and New England untouched

Political influence apparent during the 1924 democratic convention, they also has some senators and congressmen in Deep South and Indiana

The KKK was one of many pressure groups supporting prohibition and restricting immigration. To many it was just another social club, yet to others it was a way of terrorism towards a different ethic origin wearing a clock of respectability

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