A few years ago, my mother told me something thought provoking: we had once lived on the same block as the leader of the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. That had been in Charlotte, North Carolina, around 1994. The Ku Klux Klan, according to Blaine Varney in Lynching in the 1890’s, used to “…set out on nightly ‘terror rides’ to harass ‘uppity Negroes’….” They are far more infamous, however, for their “lynching”—nightly “terror rides” that included murder—of African Americans. Varney tells us lynching levels reached their pinnacle in 1892, with 161 recorded murders that year. In modern times, most Americans would agree that the Klan, along with any form of white supremacy, has no place in society—and pointing out its survival is a good way to imply that we, as a people, are still not perfect.
The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (JBAKC) is committed to fighting against the continued existence of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the oppression and white supremacist doctrine it idolizes. The JBAKC was founded in 1978, in part by one Lisa Roth; she and others formed the group after investigating Klan ties to New York State prisons. The New York Klan incorporation papers they found told all: every New York State Klan member was employed as a guard in the Napanoch, New York prison. What’s more, the person who had incorporated the Klan’s state chapter was none other than the head of the guard unit there (Trodd 281). In Take a Stand Against the Klan, the JBAKC outlines its fight against the Ku Klux Klan, and urges its readers to stand up against white supremacy by supporting liberation struggles.
As might be conjectured by the name of the group, the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee takes after John Brown...
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... the nation. And it definitely advises us to be vigilant against those who would still claim superiority over people of color—there’s clearly more racism than some Americans may be aware of. The one minor flaw the JBAKC makes is to perhaps get “too persuasive” in this piece. That is, if it were to be labeled “extremist,” it could take away from the information and their message. Unfounded claims, also, could debunk their message as erroneous to the general public. However, imperfections aside, one thing most Americans can agree on is that racism ought to be a thing of the past in our free society, and Take a Stand Against the Klan is an effective and fiery call to action on that account. And if it fails to provoke action, at the very least its controversy provokes thought—one way or another bringing us one step closer to ending white supremacy and oppression.
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