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In , President Lyndon Johnson delivered a speech publicly condemning the Klan and announcing the arrest of four Klansmen in connection with the murder of a white female civil rights worker in Alabama. The cases of Klan-related violence became more isolated in the decades to come, though fragmented groups became aligned with neo-Nazi or other right-wing extremist organizations from the s onward. In the early s, the Klan was estimated to have between 6, and 10, active members, mostly in the Deep South.

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The Great Migration was the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West from about to Driven from their homes by unsatisfactory economic opportunities and harsh segregationist laws, many blacks The Rosewood Massacre was an attack on the predominantly African-American town of Rosewood, Florida, in by large groups of whites.

The town was entirely destroyed by the end of the violence, and the residents were driven out permanently. The story was mostly forgotten until During the Tulsa Race Riot, which occurred over 18 hours on May June 1, , a white mob attacked residents, homes and businesses in the predominantly black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The event remains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U. The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women aboard a train near Scottsboro, Alabama, in The trials and repeated retrials of the Scottsboro Boys sparked an international uproar and produced two landmark U. The Watts Riots, also known as the Watts Rebellion, was a large series of riots that broke out August 11, , in the predominantly black neighborhood of Watts in Los Angeles. The Watts Riots lasted for six days, resulting in 34 deaths, 1, injuries and 4, arrests, Once fractured, such bonds are difficult to repair, which explains why even today we see elevated rates of violent crime in former KKK strongholds.

Second, past Klan presence also helps to explain the most significant shift in regional voting patterns since While support for Republican candidates has grown region-wide since the s, we find that such shifts have been significantly more pronounced in areas in which the KKK was active. The Klan helped to produce this effect by encouraging voters to move away from Democratic candidates who were increasingly supporting civil rights reforms, and also by pushing racial conflicts to the fore and more clearly aligning those issues with party platforms.

As a result, by the s, racially-conservative attitudes among southerners strongly correlates with Republican support, but only in areas where the KKK had been active. Is the KKK a movement mostly in the rural South? While many of the Klan's most infamous acts of deadly violence -- including the Freedom Summer killings , the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, and the lynching of Michael Donald that led to the lawsuit that ultimately put the United Klans of America out of business for good -- occurred in the Deep South, during the s the KKK was truly a national movement, with urban centers like Detroit, Portland, Denver, and Indianapolis boasting tens of thousands of members and significant political influence.

Even in the s, when the KKK's public persona seemed synonymous with Mississippi and Alabama , more dues-paying Klan members resided in North Carolina than the rest of the South combined. KKK leaders found the Tar Heel State fertile recruiting ground, despite -- or perhaps because of -- the state's progressive image, which enabled the Klan to claim that they were the only group that would defend white North Carolinians against rising civil rights pressures. While this message resonated in rural areas across the state's eastern coastal plain, the KKK built a significant following in cities like Greensboro and Raleigh as well.

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Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports active KKK groups in 41 states, though nearly all of those groups remain marginal with tiny memberships. So, while the KKK originated after the Civil War as a distinctly southern effort to preserve the antebellum racial order, its presence has extended well beyond that region throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Why do KKK members wear white hoods and burn crosses?

Founding of the Ku Klux Klan

Some of the most recognizable Klan symbols date back to the group's origins following the Civil War. The KKK's white hoods and robes evolved from early efforts to pose as ghosts or "spectral" figures, drawing on then-resonant symbols in folklore to play "pranks" against African-Americans and others. Such tricks quickly took on more politically sinister overtones, as sheeted Klansmen would commonly terrorize their targets, using hoods and masks to disguise their identities when carrying out acts of violence under the cover of darkness.

Fiery crosses, perhaps the Klan's most resonant symbol, have a more surprising history.

African-American man convinces Klansmen to leave the KKK through friendship

No documented cross burnings occurred during the first Klan wave in the 19th century. The symbol was quickly appropriated by opportunistic KKK leaders to help spur the group's subsequent "rebirth. Through the s, Klan leaders regularly depicted the cross as embodying the KKK's Christian roots -- a means to spread the light of Jesus into the countryside. A bestselling 45rpm record put out by United Klans of America included the Carolina Klan's Bob Jones reciting how the fiery cross served as a "symbol of sacrifice and service, and a sign of the Christian Religion sanctified and made holy nearly 19 centuries ago, by the suffering and blood of 50 million martyrs who died in the most holy faith.

Has the KKK always functioned as a violent terrorist group? The KKK's emphasis on violence and intimidation as a means to defend its white supremacist ends has been the primary constant across its various "waves. However, during the periods of peak KKK successes in both the s and s, when Klan organizations were often significant presences in many communities, their appeal was predicated on connecting the KKK to varied aspects of members' and supporters' lives.

Such efforts meant that, in the s, alongside the KKK's political campaigns, members also marched in parades with Klan floats, pursued civic campaigns to support temperance, public education, and child welfare, and hosted a range of social events alongside women's and youth Klan auxiliary groups.

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  8. By May 17, for reasons likely related to frustration over steep membership costs and chapter obligations, the Yakima Valley Klan dissolved, and former head Tyler Rogers led the creation of an independent group, the National Organization of the Allied Patmos Patriots. Such instability suggests that the residents of Yakima Valley used the Ku Klux Klan to express their patriotism and their anxieties about foreigners, not the other way around.

    What effect the interaction had upon the two is difficult to discern. Vigilantism was certainly not new to Yakima Valley.

    The Ku Klux Klan and Vigilante Culture in Yakima Valley

    These vigilante groups, often composed of farmers and businessmen, were organized in three different counties. They beat union organizers, took them from jail in an unsuccessful attempt to pack them onto trains leaving town, assisted local police officers with arrests, and helped lay the foundation for associating patriotism and self-government in the valley with extra-legal, violent acts against supposed outsiders. Similar tactics were used to defeat another Wobbly organizing drive in A report by a Field Examiner from the National Labor Relations Board noted that the main protective association in the Valley at the time detailed the depth of such organizing, and its ties to groups such as the Silver Shirts that had sympathies with fascist Germany.

    Chief of Police Harold Robinson can be counted upon… [It] is closely associated with the flourishing Silver Shirts organization in Yakima Valley and to a certain extent the membership is overlapping. Brown, Chair of the Chamber, was himself a Silver Shirt.

    KKK flyers targeting interracial couples left in Houston area

    Not only were union organizers in Yakima Valley repelled, often violently, by a collusion of local officials and vigilante farmers who in the s flirted with fascist organizations. But the late s and s also saw waves of terror directed against Filipino farm workers, Japanese farmers, and African Americans. In November, , vigilantes used the threat of violence to force all Filipinos out of Wapato and Toppenish, supposedly in the name of protecting white women from interracial dating.

    In the Spring of , just months before Yakima Valley residents repelled a Wobbly organizing drive, local vigilantes terrorized Japanese farmers who also tended to employ Filipino labor with a series of arsons, dynamite bombings, and automobile and property destruction. And on July 9, , a mob of over violently attacked a black family and drove dozens of other African Americans from Yakima.

    Ku Klux Klan

    Some in the mob decided to also assault black residents in the town, and not just the transient labor camp, in an attempt to drive them out of the valley. The report went on to suggest that. With the filing of the law suits, everyone shut-up like clams, so that within a few weeks after the episode, it was virtually impossible to get any of the facts by talking to the local citizens.