The Ku Klux Klan often shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist terrorist hate group whose ultimate targets are African Americans, Jews, Latinos, Asian Americans, Catholics, Native Americans as well as immigrants, leftists, homosexuals, Muslims, and atheists.
The Ku Klux Klan was established in 1865 and it extended to almost every southern state by 1870 and became a viable instrument for white southern opposition to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies that aimed at creating political and economic equality for Black Americans.
The Ku Klux Klan had been in existence in three distinct eras; such as white nationalism, anti-immigration and especially in later iterations Nordicism, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, Prohibition, right-wing populism, anti-communism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-atheism.
Moreover, its members conducted underground, secret campaigns of threats and violence directed at white and Black Republican leaders.
Meanwhile, Congress passed legislation designed to stop Klan terrorism, the reestablishment of white supremacy fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s.
After a period of depreciation, White Protestant nativist groups restored the Klan in the early 20th century, burning crosses and organizing rallies, parades and marches pronouncing immigrants, Catholics, Jews, African Americans and organized labour.
Though, the civil rights movement of the 1960s also saw an increase in Ku Klux Klan activity, such as bombings of Black schools, churches, harmful attacks against Black and white activists in the South. In this vein, a group, consisting of many former Confederate veterans, founded the first branch of the Ku Klux Klan as a social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865.
“The first two words of the organization’s name purportedly derived from the Greek word “kyklos,” meaning circle.”
In the summer of 1867, local branches of the Klan met in a general organizing convention and founded what they called an “Invisible Empire of the South.”
The incumbent, Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest opted as the first leader, or “grand wizard,” of the Klan; he governed over a hierarchy of grand dragons, grand titans and grand cyclopses.
Subsequently, the organization of the Ku Klux Klan corresponded with the beginning of the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more radical members of the Republican Party in Congress.
After turning down, President Andrew Johnson’s relatively lax Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865 to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto.
Conclusively, under its provisions, the South was categorized and divided into five military districts, and each state was required to ratify the 14th Amendment, which consented to “equal protection” of the Constitution to formerly enslaved people and enacted universal male suffrage.
- Ku Klux Klan – Wikipedia