The Role of the Ku Klux Klan in Preventing Equality
Despite the civil rights amendments being passed over 40 years ago, racism continues to thrive in America. A good example of this is the southern-based organization called the Ku Klux Klan. Immediately following the Civil War, this group came about during the Reconstruction Era. Because of the ratification of the 13th amendment, ending slavery in the south, the KKK emerged with a cause that has yet to be put to rest…the rise of white power.
Although slavery was abolished, racism was not. Because the government had started recognizing African Americans as more than just slaves, the Klan decided they would have to take matters into their own hands. They felt extremely betrayed by the U.S. government. As one supporting KKK web-site claimed, "The KKK movement provided for the people of the south the leadership and rallying point to begin their arduous struggle to regain their lost dignity and indeed, the values of Western Civilization."
They began their protest by lynching, tar and feathering, whipping, beating, and killing African Americans in the south. Because Blacks had been given rights, the Klan felt it was their duty to prevent the former slaves from using them. For years, the harassment from the KKK was successful. Until the civil rights movement of the 60's, it seemed as if the Ku Klux Klan had achieved their goal. The Klan rose again, even stronger than before with hundreds more people joining their "movement". The Klan doesn't use the same tactics as they did years and years ago. Realizing they would get more attention using intelligent words as opposed to violence, the Klan changed their image. Although they continue to burn crosses in front of Black's homes and churches, their reasoning behind it sounds harmless. One KKK web-site says, "The fiery cross is used as a Klan symbol representing the ideals of Christian Civilization. In no way does it represents the desecration of the cross, for it actually represents the 'lighting of the cross', that is, the truth and the light of our sacred doctrine: the blazing spirit of Western Christian Civilization." Now, the KKK holds peaceful protests in front of civil rights organization buildings, the White House, and so on. Because of their peaceful and more educated sounding approach, the Klan gets more positive attention from unintelligent southerners.