81 Facts About Ku Klux Klan


The first Klan used terrorism—both physical assault and murder—against politically active Black people and their allies in the Southern United States in the late 1860s.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,878

The third Ku Klux Klan used murders and bombings from the late 1940s to the early 1960s to achieve its aims.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,879

Griffith's 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation, which mythologized the founding of the first Ku Klux Klan, it employed marketing techniques and a popular fraternal organization structure.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,880

Second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent references to a false mythologized perception of America's "Anglo-Saxon" blood, hearkening back to 19th-century nativism.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,881

Ku Klux Klan groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement promoting resistance and white supremacy during the Reconstruction Era.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,882

Historian George C Rable argues that the Klan was a political failure and therefore was discarded by the Democratic Party leaders of the South.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,883

Ku Klux Klan declined in strength in part because of internal weaknesses; its lack of central organization and the failure of its leaders to control criminal elements and sadists.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,884

In 1915, the second Ku Klux Klan was founded atop Stone Mountain, Georgia, by William Joseph Simmons.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,885

The earlier Ku Klux Klan had not worn the white costumes and had not burned crosses; these aspects were introduced in the book on which the film was based.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,886

The Red Knights were a militant group organized in opposition to the Ku Klux Klan and responded violently to Ku Klux Klan provocations on several occasions.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,887

Second Ku Klux Klan was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,888

Several members of Ku Klux Klan groups were convicted of murder in the deaths of civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964 and of children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,889

In 2004, a professor at the University of Louisville began a campaign to have the Ku Klux Klan declared a terrorist organization in order to ban it from campus.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,890

Existence of modern Ku Klux Klan groups has been in a state of consistent decline due to a variety of factors from the American public's negative distaste of the group's image, platform, and history, infiltration and prosecution by law enforcement, civil lawsuit forfeitures, and the radical right-wing's perception of the Ku Klux Klan as outdated and unfashionable.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,891

The Ku Klux Klan was one of a number of secret, oath-bound organizations using violence, which included the Southern Cross in New Orleans and the Knights of the White Camelia in Louisiana.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,892

The Ku Klux Klan used public violence against Black people and their allies as intimidation.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,893

At an 1867 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, Ku Klux Klan members gathered to try to create a hierarchical organization with local chapters eventually reporting to a national headquarters.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,894

Since most of the Ku Klux Klan's members were veterans, they were used to such military hierarchy, but the Ku Klux Klan never operated under this centralized structure.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,895

Ku Klux Klan argued that many Southerners believed that Black people were voting for the Republican Party because they were being hoodwinked by the Loyal Leagues.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,896

Ku Klux Klan members used violence to settle old personal feuds and local grudges, as they worked to restore general white dominance in the disrupted postwar society.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,897

The Ku Klux Klan soon spread into nearly every Southern state, launching a reign of terror against Republican leaders both Black and white.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,898

Ku Klux Klan members adopted masks and robes that hid their identities and added to the drama of their night rides, their chosen time for attacks.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,899

Ku Klux Klan attacked Black members of the Loyal Leagues and intimidated Southern Republicans and Freedmen's Bureau workers.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,900

Ku Klux Klan violence worked to suppress Black voting, and campaign seasons were deadly.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,901

Ku Klux Klan was ordered to get up and dress which she did at once and then admitted to her room the captain and lieutenant who in addition to the usual disguise had long horns on their heads and a sort of device in front.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,902

Many influential Southern Democrats feared that Ku Klux Klan lawlessness provided an excuse for the federal government to retain its power over the South, and they began to turn against it.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,903

The Ku Klux Klan Act and the Enforcement Act of 1870 were used by the federal government to enforce the civil rights provisions for individuals under the constitution.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,904

The Ku Klux Klan refused to voluntarily dissolve after the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, so President Grant issued a suspension of habeas corpus and stationed federal troops in nine South Carolina counties by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,905

Hundreds of Ku Klux Klan members were fined or imprisoned during the crackdown.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,906

However, the Ku Klux Klan had no membership rosters, no chapters, and no local officers, so it was difficult for observers to judge its membership.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,907

In 1870, a federal grand jury determined that the Ku Klux Klan was a "terrorist organization" and issued hundreds of indictments for crimes of violence and terrorism.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,908

Ku Klux Klan members were prosecuted, and many fled from areas that were under federal government jurisdiction, particularly in South Carolina.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,909

Many people not formally inducted into the Ku Klux Klan had used the Ku Klux Klan's costume to hide their identities when carrying out independent acts of violence.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,910

Historian Stanley Horn argues that "generally speaking, the Ku Klux Klan's end was more in the form of spotty, slow, and gradual disintegration than a formal and decisive disbandment".

FactSnippet No. 1,806,911

Ku Klux Klan operations ended in South Carolina and gradually withered away throughout the rest of the South.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,912

Ku Klux Klan costumes, called "regalia", disappeared from use by the early 1870s, after Grand Wizard Forrest called for their destruction as part of disbanding the Ku Klux Klan.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,913

The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons at Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, with fifteen "charter members".

FactSnippet No. 1,806,914

Much of the modern Ku Klux Klan's iconography is derived from it, including the standardized white costume and the burning cross.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,915

The second Ku Klux Klan, in contrast, broadened the scope of the organization to appeal to people in the Midwestern and Western states who considered Catholics, Jews, and foreign-born minorities to be anti-American.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,916

Much of the Ku Klux Klan's energy went into guarding the home, and historian Kathleen Blee says that its members wanted to protect "the interests of white womanhood".

FactSnippet No. 1,806,917

Simmons initially met with little success in either recruiting members or in raising money, and the Ku Klux Klan remained a small operation in the Atlanta area until 1920.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,918

Second Ku Klux Klan grew primarily in response to issues of declining morality typified by divorce, adultery, defiance of Prohibition, and criminal gangs in the news every day.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,919

The Ku Klux Klan had a nationwide reach by the mid-1920s, with its densest per capita membership in Indiana.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,920

Second Ku Klux Klan was less violent than either the first or third Ku Klux Klan were.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,921

Ku Klux Klan leaders tried to infiltrate political parties; as Cummings notes, "it was non-partisan in the sense that it pressed its nativist issues to both parties".

FactSnippet No. 1,806,922

The Ku Klux Klan's leadership wanted to keep their options open and repeatedly announced that the movement was not aligned with any political party.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,923

The Ku Klux Klan drew its members from Democratic as well as Republican voters.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,924

In 1922, two hundred Ku Klux Klan members set fire to saloons in Union County, Arkansas.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,925

Significant characteristic of the second Ku Klux Klan was that it was an organization based in urban areas, reflecting the major shifts of population to cities in the North, West, and the South.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,926

The Ku Klux Klan grew in booming Southern cities such as Dallas and Houston.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,927

Ku Klux Klan attracted people but most of them did not remain in the organization for long.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,928

Second Ku Klux Klan embraced the burning Latin cross as a dramatic display of symbolism, with a tone of intimidation.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,929

The Women's Ku Klux Klan was active in promoting Prohibition, stressing liquor's negative impact on wives and children.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,930

Second Ku Klux Klan expanded with new chapters in cities in the Midwest and West, and reached both Republicans and Democrats, as well as men without a party affiliation.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,931

Ku Klux Klan had numerous members in every part of the United States, but was particularly strong in the South and Midwest.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,932

The Ku Klux Klan moved north into Canada, especially Saskatchewan, where it opposed Catholics.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,933

The leading presidential candidates were William Gibbs McAdoo, a Protestant with a base in the South and West where the Ku Klux Klan was strong, and New York governor Al Smith, a Catholic with a base in the large cities.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,934

In 1924, Ku Klux Klan members were elected to the city council in Anaheim, California.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,935

The Ku Klux Klan had about 1,200 members in Orange County, California.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,936

Ku Klux Klan members were Protestants, as were most of their opponents, but the latter included many Catholic Germans.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,937

Individuals who joined the Ku Klux Klan had earlier demonstrated a much higher rate of voting and civic activism than did their opponents.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,938

Ku Klux Klan chapters were closely allied with Democratic police, sheriffs, and other functionaries of local government.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,939

Ku Klux Klan pushed for increased education funding, better public health, new highway construction, and pro-labor legislation.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,940

In major Southern cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, Ku Klux Klan members kept control of access to the better-paying industrial jobs and opposed unions.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,941

In terms of the Ku Klux Klan, it developed evidence based on the characteristics, beliefs, and behavior of the typical membership, and downplayed accounts by elite sources.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,942

The Ku Klux Klan was white Protestant, established Americans who were fearful of change represented by new immigrants and Black migrants to the North.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,943

However, in rural Alabama the Ku Klux Klan continued to operate to enforce Jim Crow laws; its members resorted more often to violence against Black people for infringements of the social order of white supremacy.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,944

The White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan formed in 1964 after splitting from the Original Knights.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,945

Shelton's United Ku Klux Klan continued to absorb members from the competing factions and remained the largest Ku Klux Klan group unto the 1970s, peaking with an estimated 30,000 members and another 250,000 non-member supporters during the late 1960s.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,946

In states such as Alabama and Mississippi, Ku Klux Klan members forged alliances with governors' administrations.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,947

In 1953, newspaper publishers W Horace Carter, who had campaigned for three years, and Willard Cole shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service citing "their successful campaign against the Ku Klux Klan, waged on their own doorstep at the risk of economic loss and personal danger, culminating in the conviction of over one hundred Klansmen and an end to terrorism in their communities".

FactSnippet No. 1,806,948

Gunfire was exchanged, and the Ku Klux Klan was routed at what became known as the Battle of Hayes Pond.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,949

In 1965, the House Un-American Activities Committee started an investigation on the Ku Klux Klan, putting in the public spotlight its front organizations, finances, methods and divisions.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,950

Since the late 1970s, the Ku Klux Klan has increasingly focused its ire on this previously ignored population.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,951

February 14,2019, edition of the Linden, Alabama, weekly newspaper The Democrat-Reporter carried an editorial titled "Ku Klux Klan needs to ride again" written by Goodloe Sutton—the newspaper's owner, publisher and editor—which urged the Ku Klux Klan to return to staging their night rides, because proposals were being made to raise taxes in the state.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,952

Ku Klux Klan specified that he was only referring to hanging "socialist-communists", and compared the Klan to the NAACP.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,953

Klan was present in Cuba, under the name of Ku Klux Klan Kubano, directed against both West Indian migrant workers and Afro-Cuban and using the fear of the 1912 Negro Rebellion.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,954

Ku Klux Klan group was established in Fiji in 1874 by white American and British settlers wanting to enact White supremacy, although its operations were quickly put to an end by the British who, although not officially yet established as the major authority of Fiji, had played a leading role in establishing a new constitutional monarchy, the Kingdom of Fiji, that was being threatened by the activities of the Fijian Klan, which owned fortresses and artillery.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,955

The Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan used different titles; the only titles to carry over were "Wizard" for the overall leader of the Ku Klux Klan and "Night Hawk" for the official in charge of security.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,956

Ku Klux Klan has utilized a variety of symbols over its history.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,957

Triangular Ku Klux Klan symbol is made of what looks like a triangle inside a triangle, similar to a Sierpinski triangle, but in fact represents three letter Ks interlocked and facing inward, referencing the name of the group.

FactSnippet No. 1,806,958