The Ku Klux Klan is, as one historian has put it, "America's recurring nightmare"--a repeated challenge to American ideals of tolerance that has had extraordinary influence in three different periods in our history. The first came immediately after the end of the Civil War; this first Klan mobilized white Southerners who instigated a reign of terror against black Americans (and white Republicans) in an ultimately successful effort to re-establish white supremacy in the South. In the 1950s and 1960s, the "invisible empire," as the Klan called itself, returned to the South in a desperate--and now ultimately unsuccessful--effort to block the Civil Rights movement from finally winning formal equality for black Americans.
Although these two racist and Southern Klans shape our popular images of the KKK, the era in which the Klan attracted its largest membership was the 1920s. And, interestingly, the 1920s Klan was not centered in the South, nor was its ideology as single-mindedly focused on race. Nevertheless, the initial impetus was both Southern and racist. It was revived in the aftermath of D. W. Griffith's wildly popular 1915 silent film, Birth of the Nation, which presented the late nineteenth-century Klan in a heroic light, and the man who got it started was William Simmons, a former Methodist minister from Georgia. But when the real growth came in the 1920s, the Klan spread well beyond the South. More than three million Americans joined; many of them were urban residents and it won political power in such non-Southern states as Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon. In this period, its public statements were more likely to attack Jews, Catholics, and immigrants than African Americans.
(CNN) --“All we wanna do is adopt a highway,” said April Chambers, secretary of the North Georgia chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. “We're not doing it for publicity. We're doing it to keep the mountains beautiful.
Trayvon Baker's insight:
For many Americans, the Ku Klux Klan has been a symbol for terrorism, racism and evil in America, synonymous with burning crosses, lynchings and hooded men.
I am a very old lady, lived over my three score years; born and reared in the Deep South. I am an admirer of the Ku-Klux Klan because my Father was one of the great many who cleansed our public offices of Negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags. I can very well remember the Reconstruction Days when the White people of the South were oppressed and mistreated by this ungodly corruptible group. And it was this same group who hated the Ku Klux Klan of that time. . . . I have watched the Ku-Klux Klan in its ups and downs; I have also watched those who so bitterly hate this great organization; have found the haters alwayes had something in mind they wanted to keep covered up, but they know each time when the Klan rises their evils will be uncovered. . . . I can remember my Father saying the Ku-Klux Klan will never die. "It was here yesterday, today, and forever." And I firmly believe God has a working hand through this great organization, for if it wasn't for the Ku-Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Days, America would long have been a mongrelized nation. So today God sees the need of a Ku-Klux Klan as never before a nation as full of corruptible filth as America has. . . . Instead of carpetbaggers and scalawags of years past, America has become infiltrated with worse. . . . [I]n the last thirty years Communism began to grow in America. It has set up fronts such as the N.A.A.C.P and other Jewish controlled organizations as peddlers to create hate and brainwash the minds of the American people [to]. . . just about destroy our Christian faith, our freedom of rights, and the American Way of Life. . . . [W]hen you find a hater of the Ku-Klux Klan check his record; watch him; he is full of corruption; he has something in store for himself and not for others. . . America needs cleaning. The evil ones are in power, as it was in the carpetbagger and scalawag days. Your Father and mine had the guts to clean America. Where are your guts?. . . The Ku-Klux Klan will never die and my prayer is this: O God, bless the Klansman that he may fight to keep America free from ungodly things forever more, and their race as pure as the Lily of the Valley. . . . God bless the Klansman, his home, his family, and his country. Above all, God, bless those who hate the Klan, for they know not what they are doing with their brainwashed minds, Amen.
The Department of Homeland Security recently issued a chilling report: Americans, it said, can expect an upsurge in "rightwing extremism" from White nationalists, militias, and groups like the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan, of course, has had a hand in some of the nation's most infamous acts of racial terror and murder. But what does the KKK look like today? Photographer Anthony Karen has documented the modern-day Klan in their homes, at rallies, and at Klan gatherings, taking us deep inside a world we would otherwise never see -- a world most of us might not even want to know about. The unnerving photos featured here, exclusively on LIFE.com, are from his new book, "The Invisible Empire: Ku Klux Klan." "The majority of people I've come across," Karen told LIFE, "you'd only know they were in the Klan if they decided to share that."
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was very active during the 1920s and 1930s – across the nation and in York County, Nebraska. In the South, the KKK was known for inciting racial hatred, specifically against African Americans. In York County, the organization seemed to direct its anger more toward people who went to the Catholic church or new immigrants from other countries.
Helen Bolton remembers that when she lived at home, "They [the KKK] got my dad to come to one of their meetings. My dad said, 'I'm not ashamed of my face. I'm not going to cover my face for anybody.' And I don't know what it was all about. I was just a kid. But, I know they got my dad to come to one the meetings."
Leroy Hankel's family belonged to the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church; they were not Catholic, yet for some reason, the KKK targeted them. "Well, one morning, we came out to the road and there was somebody burning a cross right there in our yard," Leroy says. The action hurt his father deeply. "He didn't like that at all. We knew the Ku Klux Klan done it... He didn't like it. They burned a cross right in front of our house."
The demise of the Second Klan after 1925 resulted from internal corruption and external circumstances. Internal scandals, embezzlement, and immoral behavior at high levels created distrust and disrespect for some Klan officials. One of the most egregious examples is that of D. C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of Indiana and a major figure in the Klan hierarchy, who embezzled funds, raped his secretary and allowed her to die after a suicide attempt, for which he received a sentence of life in prison. Also, the inherent secrecy of the Klan, a lack of accountability, and the large incomes from dues tempted and corrupted officials at all levels. Furthermore, Klan leaders failed to live up to Klan principles. Klan founder, "Colonel" Simmons, was forced from his office in the early 1920s as a result of heavy drinking and poor management. The owners of the Southern Publicity Association, Clarke and Tyler, scandalized members after they were discovered together drunk and half-naked in an Atlanta hotel room.
Moreover, the political and economic circumstances that attracted people to the Klan changed after 1924 for many reasons. Congress enacted restrictions on immigration in 1921 and in 1924. The economy soared to high levels of productivity and prosperity; consumer goods were plentiful. Union activity declined during the 1920s and the labor movement remained weak (membership in the American Federation of Labor fell by 1.5 million). Al Smith, the Catholic governor of New York, lost his bid for the presidency in 1924. The threat of "Bolshevism" had diminished and Hollywood movie makers responded to public criticism by toning down nudity and morally offensive material. Furthermore, the Klan secrecy and fanaticism generated opposition: the Klan failed to win broad political support while political opposition against it solidified. Some states passed legislation, such as the Walker Law in New York in 1923, to regulate the Klan or similar organizations. By the end of the 1920's, the Klan dissolved as a social movement only to return later under different social and political circumstances.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.