The Most Shocking Events within the Ku Klux Klan

The Ku Klux Klan has a long and disturbing history of terrorism, violence, and white supremacy in the United States:The original Ku Klux Klan was founded immediately after the Civil War in 1866 by Confederate veterans in Tennessee. The group quickly became a vehicle for Southern white resistance to Reconstruction and the newly gained rights of freed slaves. Klan members sought to restore white supremacy through intimidation and violence against Black freedmen and their white supporters. The Klan reached its peak between 1868-1870, being largely responsible for the restoration of white rule in several Southern states.The Klan’s organized terrorism included nighttime raids, whippings, murders, and other attacks designed to terrorize and disenfranchise Black voters and Republican supporters. For example, in Georgia the Klan’s political violence was so effective that Republican gubernatorial candidate Rufus Bullock won the 1868 election, but by the November presidential election, only one vote was cast for the Republican candidate due to Klan intimidation at the polls.The Klan also used violence to try to control the social behavior of freed slaves, burning Black churches and schools, attacking teachers, and killing those who did not show proper deference. However, Black Georgians fought back against these attacks, rebuilding their communities and institutions.While the original Klan largely disappeared by the 1870s, it was revived in the early 20th century, with the release of the film “The Birth of a Nation” providing a falsely heroic portrayal that helped fuel its resurgence. The Klan continued to terrorize and target African Americans, as well as Catholics, Jews, and other minority groups. It remains an active, if diminished, domestic terrorist organization today.In summary, the Ku Klux Klan has engaged in unimaginable acts of terrorism, violence, and white supremacist ideology throughout its history, using fear, intimidation, and murder to try to maintain racial segregation and white political power in the South.

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