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Ku Klux Klan: Shrouded Brotherhood or Hooded Americanism - Essay Example

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The Ku Klux Klan was started in the town of Pulaski, Tennessee, sometime between Christmas 1865 and June 1866. At first, it was only “a thing for amusement” but how this small group grew into an organization for terrorism is an interesting topic for this paper. …
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Ku Klux Klan: Shrouded Brotherhood or Hooded Americanism
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Download file to see previous pages James Crowe stated emphatically that the original Ku-Klux Klan was “purely social and for our amusement.” The organization had no practical, humanitarian, or political significance, and just obligated its members to “have fun, make mischief, and play pranks on the public”. The Klan’s pranks were warmly welcome by the depressed townspeople of postwar Pulaski. The group sometimes invaded barbecue and outdoor evening parties. In one moonlight picnic, the horsemen came out of the woods wearing “rather a pretty and showy costume”, and danced to the music and cavorted with the delighted guests, disguising their voices in low, mysterious tones.
They formed six offices, and these were: The Grand Cyclops (Mc Cord) which functioned as president, the Grand Magi as vice-president, the Grand Turk was served by Crowe, while Lester and Jones served as Night Hawks. Reed served as Lictor charged with maintaining order within the meetings.
The little town of Pulaski had had a mixed population, most of Scottish ancestry. Before the war, Giles county had been a major slave-holding region, and after the war the freedom of so many blacks made whites extremely nervous. Reports from the Freedmen's Bureau soon described Pulaski as a scene of repeated disturbances committed on freedmen and a convenient rendezvous point for "roughs" and rowdies from neighboring towns. The place was dominated with emancipation, sporadic violence, and economic chaos, aggravated with a natural disaster which was a severe cyclone in December 1865 that tore through the splendid plantations (32).
It was in this situation that the six veterans formed "the circle". It had evolved, naturally, because from the beginning the klan had no centralized governance, other chapters or locals were formed and operated autonomously.
"The Klan was born during the restless days after the civil war, when time was out of joint in the South and the social order was battered and turned upside down" (Chalmers, 1981:2).
The Klan offered some relief from the deadly monotony of small town life.
However, the conversion of klan purposes from amusement to terrorism was demonstrated when representatives of various local klan "dens" held a unifying convention in Nashville,Tenn, in 1867. They first elected former Confederate Army General Forrest as their grand wizard. Also the U.S. Congress enacted laws which sought to bestow civil rights on the recently freed slaves. (O'Donnell & Jacobs 2006:5-6)
Under General Nathan Bedford Forrest as Imperial Wizard, they formulated the fundamental objective of the Ku Klux Klan which was "maintenance of the supremacy of the white race". Membership was restricted to those who would oppose not only Negro "social and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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