The Ku Klux Klan1





The Ku Klux Klan


In the southern states of the USA, the period known as “Reconstruction” created a pressure and fear and hate for the African Americans among many of the southern white people. This was because the African Americans were now free people and had the same rights as the white people. This angered many white people and they created groups to support their beliefs and to allow people with the same ideas to gather together and share their ideas. This is how the Ku Klux Klan came into existence.
The Ku Klux Klan began in Pulaski, Tennessee on December 24, 1865. Six men devised the earliest version of the Klan. These men were all ex-confederate soldiers. They were trying to think of an idea to cheer them up because they were upset at the outcome of the Civil War. One of the men suggested that they should start a club and the others thought that would be a good idea. They named their club the Ku Klux Klan after the Greek word kuklos, which meant circle. They chose the circle because it symbolizes unity and perfection. Then they created names for the ranks of the men. The leader was called the Grand Cyclops. These men were so pleased at what they had created that they wanted to show everyone. So they wrapped themselves and their horses up in white sheets and rode through their town. They terrified everyone especially the African Americans.
Even though the club was only meant for fun it became out of control in the years to follow. After the members saw the effects it had on people they decided to use it to their advantage. They first started as a local racial terrorist group that would play evil pranks on black families by burning their houses and churches. But they soon realized what an impact they had on their enemies. They soon started directing their violent actions toward Jews, Orientals and all other non-white races. They even were violent to Catholics and other religions that were not Christians.
By 1879 the membership of the Klan was around eighty-five thousand members. Many of the visitors that came to the town of Pulaski were inspired by the KKK and when they went back home they decided to set up their own dens and branches of the KKK. There were more than a dozen of these groups all of, which were located in the south. Even though the growth of the clan was steady it lacked leadership and discipline, which caused many of the groups to become extremely violent. So the members of the Klan decided to have national convention to help organize and maintain order in the group. At this convention all of the Grand Cyclopes met to set up guidelines for all the groups and they even created their own constitution. Then they decided to appoint a Grand Wizard to be in control of all the dens of the Klan across the United States. Their choice for the position was Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was and ex-confederate general. With General Forrest as their leader they became more powerful than ever before. They became much more extreme and started killing people. The Black Americans in the southern states were usually the victims. In Georgia alone there were 43 shootings, five stabbings, fifty-five beatings and eight whippings. The African Americans became so terrified of the Klan that they were forced to sleep in the woods for safety. But eventually the Klan became so violent that martial law and congressional investigations dismantled it. But it had already accomplished one of its main goals to leave the Blacks with no power and the southern aristocrats and plantation owners’ back into power.
The Klan officially came back in 1915. It was now know as the Invisible Empire of the KKK. This was the second era of the Klan, which reigned from 1915 to 1925. The cause of the rebirth was the fourteen million immigrants that came to America over the past fifteen years and the blacks that were trying to take a spot in the community with the NAACP. This era was the first to use automobiles as part of lynching. They also became involved in politics. In