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Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Over the years many people havecreated
groups to support their beliefs. These groups allow people with the same
ideas to gather together and work out plans to advance their ideas. All
of the groups that have been established have not necessarily gained a
positive image from the public. One example is the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku
Klux Klan originated over one hundred years ago and has gone through many
eras and changes since its beginning. Although many people know the Ku
Klux Klan exists, they do not understand its purpose or how it has changed
throughout its life.
After the Civil War ended, the Southern
states went through a time known as Reconstruction. Ex-Confederate soldiers
had returned home now, and they were still upset about the outcome of the
war. It is at this point in time that the Ku Klux Klan became a part of
everyday life for many Southerners. In the beginning the Ku Klux Klan was
started to be a way for people who had the same views to spend time together.
The original members meant of the Ku Klux Klan to be a "hilarious social
club" that would be full of aimless fun (Invisible Empire, p.9), though
in later years the Ku Klux Klan became known for their violence against
people outside the white race and people who associated with them. Contrary
to what most people believe, the Ku Klux Klan was started because of a
few people wanted to have some innocent fun, not because they were intending
to start a chain of violence on anyone outside the white race.(The Klan,
The Ku Klux Klan began in Pulaski, Tennessee,
a small town south of Nashville. On the night of December 24, 1865
six ex-confederate soldiers were sitting around a fireplace it the law
office of Judge Thomas M. Jones.(Invisible Empire, p.9) These six friends
were having a discussion and were trying to come up with an idea to cheer
themselves up. One of the men suggested that they should start a club and
the rest of the men agreed with the idea. After discussing the mew idea,
the men decided to meet again and retired for the night. The second meeting
was again at Judge Thomas M. Jones' law office and was attended by the
same six men. During this meeting the group decided it need a name. After
many hours of deliberating they decided on the name derived from the Greek
word kuklos, meaning circle Ku Klux.("Intro. to the Knights of the KKK",
p.2) The group later added "Klan" to the word to make the phrase complete.
At this time the group decided what to call the different ranks of the
members, starting with the leader, the Grand Cyclops, all the way down
to the ghouls, or members of no rank. When the men had finished organizing,
they were overjoyed about their group, and they decided to show everyone
their creation. The members wrapped themselves and their horses in sheet
and rode through the small town and terrified everyone, especially Negroes.
No doubt, this is the harmless little club that later would be taken to
extremes by its members.
Admittedly, the Ku Klux Klan did become
out of control in later years, but when it was first created it had no
specific meaning; it was a way just to have fun. After the members saw
the effect the group's appearance had on people, they began to use the
results to their advantage. Because the Klan resembled ghost, many of the
citizens of Pulaski believed them to be dead soldiers of the Confederate
Army when they saw them riding on their horses through the small town.
While Negroes were busy avoiding the Ku Klux Klan, its purpose changed.
The Ku Klux Klan began aiming its violent actions toward Negroes, Jews,
Orientals, and various other members of society that did not belong to
the white race. Although violence was already occurring against non-whites
before the organization of the Ku Klux Klan, the Klan used this fact as
a way to keep their "enemies" under control. No one denies that the Ku
Klux Klan became a brutal force over the years, but the fact remains that
violence was not the reason the group was founded.
It is true that all groups and club must
go through changes, but many changes of the changes which the Ku Klux Klan
endured were not necessarily the best for everyone. Shortly after the Ku
Klux Klan's first ride, its members began to cause a major impact on society.
Many members decided that the Klan could be used
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Reconstruction Era, Antisemitism in the United States, Hate crime, Ku Klux Klan, Persecution of Jews, White supremacy in the United States, Ku Klux Klan auxiliaries, Ku Klux Klan members in United States politics
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