Ku Klux Klan Essay

1359 words - 5 pages

Ku Klux Klan It was the boredom of small town life that led six Confederate veterans to form a social club named the Ku Klux Klan. Eventually, the initials KKK took on terrifying connotations. Before its six founders realized what happened, the Ku Klux Klan had become something that they may not have originally intended it to be; something deadly serious. It seems incredible how an organization so violent, so opposed to the principles of justice and equality could have held such power three times, yet that power would instantly vanish. The power would rise rapidly and drop just as fast for what reason? The KKK has had four major periods of power yet was unable to maintain their position because of their inability to control their violence. After the birth of the KKK in December of 1865, there was a rapid growth of interest from out-of-towners. This eventually would contribute to the first downfall of the Ku Klux Klan in 1869. Shortly after the founders, one of which was Nathan Bedford Forrest the "leader", created the name for the Klan they began to do a bit of "˜showing off'. Dressing themselves and their horses in white sheets they rode around the town. This resulted in such a reaction that they decided to adopt these outfits as their official uniforms while adding pointed hats. They began having ceremonies to initiate new members to the Klan in a similar way to that of college fraternities. (www.unf.edu/dept.equalcploecll.htm) All of this excitement got the attention of men from other towns who soon became members too. With this increase of Klansmen their original philosophy began to alter. They were no longer just a social club but a secret society who opposed the advancement of blacks, Jews and other minority groups. By 1866, the Klan began having a chilling effect on local blacks. They started visiting their homes and terrorizing them to keep them from voting or exercising any other rights they had gained during Reconstruction, the period following the end of the American Civil War in 1865 that freed blacks of slavery. The Klan threatened, beat, and murdered many blacks in the South during this period. (Ingalls) The Ku Klux Klan's power began to increase as they discovered they had the ability to exert fear on others and control the people in their communities. Being hidden behind sheets allowed evil members to carry out bad activities without feeling guilty or the fear of reprisals. Overall, things were out of control beyond what was originally intended. The KKK spread rapidly throughout the Southern United States becoming more and more violent and becoming known as the "Invisible Empire". The following year, it was announced that all Ku Klux Klan groups were to send a representative to Nashville for a meeting that would determine the Klan's response to the new federal Reconstruction policy. In Nashville, they decided that white supremacy was going to be the fundamental philosophy of the Ku Klux Klan. Soon...

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