|Beginning in the mid-1970’s, Ku Klux Klan groups

||began to apply a more respectable image. Some|
|accepted women as members and set up youth groups. |
|The KKK especially appealed to whites who resented |
|both special programs designed to help blacks and |
|job competition from blacks and recent immigrants. |
|Approximately 15 separate organizations existed,|
|including the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the|
|United Klans of America, and the National Klan.|
|By 1980, Klan membership rose to about 10,000|
|members, with still some extremists who often used |
|violence against those who they opposed. In 1979, |
|in Greensboro, North Carolina, Klan members killed |
|five anti-Klan demonstrators. In Mobile, Alabama, |
|there was an incident where Klan members murdered a|
|black youth in 1981. Because of this violent |
|activity, interest in the Ku Klux Klan has|
|declined. This, coupled with some prosecutions for |
|illegal activities, reduced KKK membership in the |
|South to about 6,000 by the late 1980’s.|
|The Ku Klux Klan often refers to itself as the|
|Fifth Era of the Klan and uses the title the |
|Invisible Empire. The Klan is no longer known just |
|as the Ku Klux Klan, but rather uses the title|
|Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.|
|This is an excerpt from an essay written by a|
|member of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan stating |
|some of the views of the Klan of today:|
Late 1800’s The Ku Klux Klan was formed as a social club by a group of
Confederate Army veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee around 1865. A Confederate
General, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was the Klan’s first leader, whose title
was the Grand Wizard. The group adopted the name Ku Klux Klan from the
Greek word kuklos, meaning circle, and the English word clan.

White superiority was the philosophy of the Klan, and they would often use
violence and terrorization of blacks as a means of exercising this
philosophized superiority. The Klan detested the idea of blacks gaining any
rights following the Civil War into the Reconstruction, and terrorized
blacks to prevent them from voting in elections or practicing any other
right. Blacks and white sympathizers were often threatened, beaten, or even
murdered by Klan members in the South; the Klan used the now familiar white
robes and hoods to mask their identity. The Ku Klux Klan became known as
the Invisible Empire as it grew and spread rapidly.

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In 1871, the Force Bill was passed by Congress. This act gave the President
the authority to use federal troops against the Ku Klux Klan if he deemed
the action necessary. Soon after this bill was passed, the Klan all but
disappeared.

Early 1900’s William J. Simmons, a former Methodist preacher, organized a
new Klan in Stone Mountain, Georgia in 1915 as a patriotic, Protestant
fraternal society. This new Klan directed its activity against, not just
blacks, but any group it considered un-American, including any immigrants,
Jews, and Roman Catholics. The Ku Klux Klan grew rapidly from here and had
more than 2 million members throughout the country by the mid-1920’s.

Although the Klan still reverted at times to violence of previous years,
burning crosses, torturing and murdering those who they opposed, most of
the Klan acted through peaceful means. The KKK instead became a more
powerful political force as it elected many public officials throughout the
nation. However, eventually the organization became weakened by
disagreements among the leadership and because of public criticism of Klan
violence. By 1944 the Ku Klux Klan had faded out again.


Mid-1900’s The Klan was revived again in 1946 by an Atlanta physician,
Samuel Green. However, shortly after Green’s death in 1949, the Klan split
into many smaller groups. During the 1960’s, the Civil Rights movement
began and a new wave of violence by the Ku Klux Klan was brought about. In
Mississippi, three civil rights leaders were killed; in Birmingham, Alabama
a church was bombed, killing four black girls. President Lyndon B. Johnson
used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe the Ku Klux Klan and sent
some Klan members to prison. Following this, Klan member ship fell to about
5,000 by the early 1970’s.


|”Racist” and “racism” are provocative words in American society. |
|To some, these words have reached the level of curse words in|
|their offensiveness. Yet, “racist” and “racism” are descriptive |
|words of a reality that cannot be denied. African Americans,|
|Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans|
|(people-of-color) live daily with the effects of both|
|institutional and individual racism.|
|Race issues are so fundamental in American society that they seem|
|almost an integral component. Some Americans believe that race is|
|the primary determinant of human abilities and capacities. Some |
|Americans behave as if racial differences produce inherent |
|superiority in European Americans (whites). In fact, such |
|individuals respond to people-of-color and whites differently|
|merely because of race (or ethnicity). As a consequence, people |
|of color are injured by judgments or actions that are directly or|
|indirectly racist.|
|Much of the attention of the last 20 years has focused on |
|individual racist behavior. However, just as individuals can act |
|in racist ways, so can institutions.|
|Institutions can behave in ways that are overtly racist (i.e.,|
|specifically excluding people-of-color from services) or|
|inherently racist (i.e., adopting policies that while not |
|specifically directed at excluding people-of-color, nevertheless |
|result in their exclusion). |
|Therefore, institutions can respond to people-of-color and whites|
|differently. Institutional behavior can injure people-of-color; |
|and, when it does, it is nonetheless racist in outcome if not in |
|intent.|
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