The Ku Klux Klan, or the KKK, has existed in several forms since the American Civil War, and it’s essentially a terror and hate organisation who pursuit a white supremacist agenda, Protestantism and nationalism. . The organisation began almost immediately after the war, and was started in Tennessee by Confederate veterans, who became right wing extremists and targeted recently freed black slaves, which involved terrorism, kidnapping, lynching and murder. Whilst the movement lasted a little over a decade, the secretive organisation made itself well known, and it took the passing of the *Enforcement Acts to put an end to it.
*The Enforcement Acts were bills passed in 1871 that were created to protect African-Americans, give them the right to hold office, vote, jury service and equality rights. The actions of the Ku Klux Klan became stunted, and suppressed, and whilst they forced many black citizens out of public office, they brought plenty of unwanted attention; thus the creation of the Enforcement Acts.
In 1915, the second movement of the Ku Klux Klan was born once again from hatred towards African-Americans, and this time they portrayed rabid religious bigotry and xenophobia. By the 1920s the ideology of the movement appealed to a large portion of America‘s south, who claimed allegiance to ‘one hundred percent Americanism‘, and this was symbolised by the Holy Bible, the hood and robes, and the burning cross.
“The Klan had used fear, intimidation and murder to brutally oppress over African-Americans who sought justice and equality and it sought to respond to the young workers of the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the same way.” – Charles B Rangel
When you look at the KKK, that’s an organisation that’s existed on and off, in several incarnations over 150 years, that’s founded on fascism, nationalism, racism and religion, it makes you wonder how anyone could say that Hitler and his Nazi party couldn’t be true Christians as their policies were unChristian. How is the KKK any different to the agenda of the Nazi party? It’s based on religious bigotry and white supremacy with a dose of obsessive nationalism, and fascism. People from all areas of life are KKK members. From preachers, judges, law enforcement, lawyers, doctors and just about anyone else who hates non–whites.
The second wave of the KKK was reinstated by a Methodist preacher called William J Simmons, who named himself ‘Second Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, after being inspired by the movie ‘The Birth of a Nation‘. For the first few years there were only a few thousand members, but it’s popularity grew and the numbers that pledged allegiance to the Klan went into the hundreds of thousands, especially in the Midwest where they were deeply religious, and they were vehemently against immigrants and anyone not born a Protestant. At its peak the Klan claimed to include 15% of America’s population, approximately 5,000,000 white men. By the 1940s several splinter cells had broken away from the main KKK, but due to corruption and criminal activities it eventually died off, and remained in limbo for a period.
“We advocate for living separately within America. We are a benevolent, fraternal, Christian, white-civil-rights organization. We are for family and for God. We see our race and our heritage going away and being harmed by intermixing with these mongrel races. It has to stop.” – James Zarth
When the civil rights movement was happening during the fifties and the sixties the Ku Klux Klan rose again, but this time many different groups operated, and many were in allegiance with police departments, where there was much corruption and murdering of black citizens. Alabama became a notorious breeding ground for the Klan, and especially Birmingham, which got the sad nick name of Bombingham, due to the amount of homes of black people that were bombed. Throughout the civil rights movement many activists‘ homes in Alabama, and Mississippi were bombed, and authorities turned a blind eye as the Klan was in allegiance with many governors who were no doubt Klan members themselves.
“What we really want to do is to be left alone. We don’t want Negroes around. We don’t need Negroes around. We’re not asking — you know, we don’t want to have them, you know, for our culture. We simply want our own country and our own society. That’s in no way exploitive at all. We want our own society, our own nation….” – David Duke
David Duke is perhaps one of the most notorious Klan members, and he’s responsible for forming the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan organisation, after he left the American Nazi Party (ANP), who shares the same views and policies that Adolf Hitler’s German Nazi party had. Between 1975 and 1980, Duke was the Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He’s been described by many as perhaps the most well known, and influential racist that America has, so it’ll come as no surprise that he’s a very strong Donald Trump supporter, but you’ll find that many white supremacists are. Not only has he been accused of racism on many occasions, he’s also been known to have misogynistic, homophobic and antisemitic views, and is a strong denier of the holocaust.
As much as the majority of the American public claim that they aren’t a racist nation, the evidence speaks for itself. You don’t get 5,000,000 supporters of a movement if there isn’t ingrained racism. There are many public, outspoken preachers, like Greg Locke, who reside in hillbilly states, where there’s a church on every corner, and are obsessed with gun rights, and ironically claim to be pro–life, and vehemently support Trump. There are literally dozens of factions of the Klan, and I wonder just how many high profile preachers, politicians, judges and celebrities have allegiance with their disgraceful, bigoted views.