Ku Klux Klan is the name mainly given to two distinct secret societies that played a
part in American history, although other less important groups have also used the
name. Thefirst Ku Klux Klan was an organisation that thrived in the South during the
Reconstruction period following the Civil War. The second was a nation-wide
organisation that flourished after World War I. Subsequent groups calling themselves
the Ku Klux Klan sprang up in much of the South after World War II and in response
to civil-rights activity during the 1960s.
The Ku Klux Klan was formed as a social club by a group of Confederate
Army veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee around 1865. The Ku Klux Klan was not started
because of racial animosity nor did they have any political motivation, they just
dressed in their white sheets and pillow covers and played pranks during the night.
The group adopted the name Ku Klux Klan from the Greek word kuklos, meaning
circle, and the English word clan.
In 1867, the Ku Klux Klan began to focus on
racism. It was at this time that a Confederate General, Nathan Bedford Forest, took
charge and was named thefirst Imperial Wizard. Under the leadership of Forest, the
Klan began terrorising the South, with their prime target being African Americans and
black supporters. They also targeted white Southern Republicans and the school
teachers who worked with African Americans.
White superiority was the philosophy of the Klan, and they would often use
violence and terrorisation of blacks as a means of exercising this philosophised
superiority. The Klan detested the idea of blacks gaining any rights following the
Civil War into the Reconstruction, and terrorised blacks to prevent them from voting
in elections or practising any other right. Blacks and white sympathisers were often
threatened, beaten, or even murdered by Klan members in the South; the Klan used
the now familiar white robes and ho…