Ku Klux Klan

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  • The first iteration of the Ku Klux Klan was founded in the 1860s. It fought against the Republican state governments during the Reconstruction Era, using violence against African American leaders.
  • The Second Ku Klux Klan was prominent during the 1920s and was founded in Atlanta, Georgia by William J. Simmons. They were prominent in the urban areas of the Midwest and West. They opposed Catholics, Jews, and immigrants. This second Ku Klux Klan appealed mainly to white protestants.
  • This Ku Klux Klan was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure. In the mid-1920s the Ku Klux Klan peaked with 4-5 million men. This iteration of the Klan also introduced cross burnings and mass parades.
  • The most nationally successful endeavor achieved by this new breed of the KKK was their march down Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington on August 8th of 1925 which attracted nearly 60,000 members who were previously recruited by the paid public relations entrepreneurs in Edward Young Clarke and Elizabeth Tyler
  • The Ku Klux Klan had a very detrimental role to those groups that they targeted, however they did instill a feeling of radical nationalism that nobody had witnessed before, and allowed the American citizens to replicate that nationalism heading into the Red Scare and Communism against Russia
  • Before its major decline later in 1928, and again in 1944, the KKK made a splash in the political scene. Because most members resided in the South, a majority of the clan was democratic. Few members found steady political success, save for Bibb Graves who was elected to the Alabama governor's office, as well as Hugo Black, who was elected U.S. Senator in 1926. The KKK's political influence still impacts the nation today, as even Senators like Robert Byrd, a Klan recruiter, are welcomed into political offices
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