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The Klu Klux Klan called themselves the white knights because they rode around on horses. They wore white sheets over their heads and dressed their horses in white sheets and rode in neighborhoods where black people lived. They brought terror into the lives of the African Americans. The symbol of the Klu Klux Klan was the burning cross. A KKK member once stated, "We do not burn the cross to symbolize the destruction of it, but to enlighten it."
The name Klu Klux Klan derived from the Greek word "kuklos," meaning circle or wheel. The Klu Klux Klan was considered to be a "fraternal organization." It grew out of the Civil War to protect and preserve the white race. It was to ensure the "voluntary separation" of the races. In many cases that meant the termination of blacks, Catholics, and Jews.
The Ku Klux Klan is one of America's oldest and most feared groups. Motivated by the dream of a world with only one race, the KKK uses violence and does things that are against the law to support their cause. They have been in the shadows for over 130 years, and occasionally continue to succeed in America's society today.
The Ku Klux Klan began during the rebuilding process after the Civil War in the Southern United States. The southern people had suffered a lot from the effects of the Civil War. Many of them lost their homes and plantations; many also lost friends and loved ones to the war.
In 1865, six men from a small town in Tennessee began what has grown to be the largest and most feared "hate group" in the United States. The men decided to make a club to help relieve the stress of the times. All of the men were poor and could not afford to make uniforms for the group, so they decided to use plain, white sheets. They wore the sheets over their backs and put pillowcases on their heads. They also draped the sheets over their horses. In the beginning, the men only wanted to play pranks on people to try to cheer them up after the terrible war. But the people were more frightened than they were cheered up. They soon figured out what they could do with these fearful pranks. They saw the chance to get the South back to the way it used to be. The KKK soon began to ride through political rallies, and people often fled the rallies out of fear. Word quickly spread across the South about these masked men. Many people loved the idea and wanted to be involved. The Klan quickly grew. A leader was soon needed to control the large group. Their first choice was Southern General Robert E. Lee. Although he supported the group and its cause, he was very sick at the time and could not handle the task. Their next choice was a man named Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was quickly accepted as the "Grand Wizard." He had absolute power over the Klan members. The men were eager to do what he said; they trusted him like he was their father. Many men were in need of a sense of belonging and the KKK gave them this to them. The Klan was very secretive; all of the members were safe from people knowing their real identities. Because of this secrecy, they gained the alternate name of, "The Invisible Empire".
The Klan really began to take control in the year of 1868. They promised to rid the south of anyone who didn't support them. They stole the people's goods, beat them, and even killed them. These murders were known as "lynching". They would drag the person to the center of the town and hang them in front of everyone. This was very effective; people feared it would happen to them if they had anything to do with the blacks.
After the U.S. Government removed troops from the South in the late 1800's, the Klan achieved its goal. Many of the groups moved on and Forrest left the Klan. Once the 1900's came around, it started again. This time the goal was much larger; they wanted to rid America of all non-white, Christian, Americans. The new Klan was different from the old version in many ways. The old Klan wanted to set things back to the old ways. They wanted their freedom back and wanted nothing more. The new Klan was far more violent. People were lynched, and beaten for no more than being a certain race, nationality or religion.
The Klan was spread all across the country. The Klan also secretly ran many towns. They elected many officials. Town leaders couldn't seem to convict accused members for anything. Their power was stronger than the town's own government and law itself. The thought of the hooded men was far more frightening than jail. However, in the late 1920's, many politicians who once remained quiet spoke out and fought against the Klan. This was the beginning of the Klu Klux Klan's "end."
The Klan hasn't been as strong since that time. For the past 50 years, it has had many ups and downs. The Klan was also much different in its organization than earlier times. The new KKK is separated into many small groups. There are many inner struggles, most divisions claim to be original descendants and follow the old ways.
The KKK is a problem that won't stay away for long. The KKK will be around for a period and then disappear. Although it has gotten much better since the late 1800's and early 1900's, I believe we have not seen the last of the Klan and we will continue to see much more. As long as there are differences between people in the world, there will be hate, and the Ku Klux Klan will be there to make it worse. They may be quiet for many years, but you can count it that they will be back. They are, "The Invisible Empire," and will always be the dark side of American History.
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"Klu Klux Klan - KKK." 123HelpMe.com. 28 May 2015