The name of the Ku Klux Klan is “derived from the Grrek word ‘kyklos,’ meaning circle” (Wikimedia Foundation). ‘Klan was added for the purpose of alliteration” (“Ku Klux Klan”). The infamous burning-cross icon became a symbol of the KKK in the 1920’s, which was one of many tactics used for intimidation. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of Klan members were the white robes they wore along with cone shaped hats that covered their faces. These costumes accomplished their goal of making them look more outlandish and terrifying, and for the intimidation of their victims (Smith).
The Klan was pretty selective in accepting members, only WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) could become members. These members possessed the ideology of white supremacy to all other races and ethnic divisions, similar to the concept of Neo-Nazism, however they claim to have based their beliefs on Christian values and nativism. It is often thought that the KKK only hated African-Americans, but many other groups acquired hatred from the Klan, such as Jews, Catholics , homosexuals and various immigrant groups. Anti-Defamination League). Even though the stock started to gain their stocks and shares didn’t stop the Great Depression from happening (Kelly). Many people wonder why any group of people would posses such a hatred Dubbs 3 for certain groups of people. While there is no legitimate justification, one factor contributing to their hate was the rapid economic progression in the North, and the stagnant economy of the South.
This may have been what angered the white southerners so much that they put blame onto the black population, along with leftover racial disputes from the times of slavery (Trueman). People of today also wonder how society could permit such destruction of life, and also support it. Back then, the Klan had many sources of income including membership fees, funds acquired from various events and sales of Klan propaganda, as well as free will donations. “This income made the Klan’s many forms of media and strategy possible, such as mass mailings, pamphlets and public events and protests.
They also did community service projects such as ‘adopt a highway’ programs to make themselves look good in the eyes of their communities” (Anti-Defamanation League). The members of the Ku Klux Klan did everything in their power to prevent the black community from exercising their newly acquired rights, which was often done during massive events. During a typical KKK event, they dressed in robes symbolizing their rank, then went on nighttime raids, during which they would whip and murder blacks and any of their supporters (“Ku Klux Klan”).
These events, unfortunately, were extremely effective. This lack of a political presence is what allowed the Klan to exist for such a long period of time. KKK existed from the initial founding until around 1870, “when congress passed the KKK act which allowed authorities to end such activities by force and penalize anyone who affiliated with terrorist organizations” (“Ku Klux Klan”). At this time, blacks were the only targets of the KKK, for the most part.