Ku Klux Klan -- Daniel Muller

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Post–World War II Klan

The Brown v. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court in 1954 gathered southern whites in a movement of "massive resistance" to federal urges for desegregation, and the Klan came out as a giant threat to that movement. In 1955 the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan gathered on top of Stone Mountain, which they had done when the klan emereded during the 1920's. There was about 3,500 members present The group was extremely violent, as shown through 1950 to 1960 by hundreds of attacks against African Americans and white activists of the civil righrts movement going on during the decade.

In the 50s and 60s the south had become the main battle ground for civil rights. This promoted southern whites to sign up for the Klan as “Soldiers in the fight against black equality.” After a day known as black Monday to Klansmen, on which the supreme courts outlawed racially separated schools. Klan activities then became much more common. This was the Brown vs. Board of education ruling.

Independent Klans formed all around the south. Burning crosses became the Klans main form of intimidation. They also used other methods of oppression such as economic boycotts, beatings of minorities and murders. 1960 – The longest lasting of all Klan organizations was founded, the UKA (The United Klans of America), by Robert Shelton. This organization played a major role in beating of freedom fighters. At Birmingham station a bus full of black freedom fighters was met by a mob which included many Klansmen. The people aboard the bus were beaten as well as anyone else in the mob’s way. The police were in on the attack having been told by the Klan to not show up at that bus station for a set amount of time. The police’s excuse made by Bull Connor was that it was mother’s day so a lot of policemen were with their family.

Martian Luther king soon became the Klan’s worst enemy. When Martian came to Birmingham the Klan responded. Much of the beatings and bombings of Blacks in the city were perpetrated by Klansmen with the help of the police putting a blind eye to it all. The most gruesome response came at the 16th street Baptist church in September of 1963. Four black girls were attending Sunday school at the church. While the children were moving to the basement a bomb went off, blowing up the church. All four girls were killed, all stacked on top of each other. UKA was suspected of doing this. All charges against them were dropped. No one was arrested.

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White Knights of Mississippi led by Sam Bowers was another very active KKK group. College students were brought to Mississippi for what was a civil protest called “Freedom Summer” organized by a civil rights group called KOFO. This outraged Klansmen and caused them to target Mickey Swarner, who was a KOFO leader. After Mickey went out to examine a burnt church he was falsely arrested. The FBI arrested 18 people for the crime.

The Klan was also active politically. Klan members stood firmly behind elected officials who supported segregation. Politicians supporting integration were considered enemies of the Klan. One person in particular spoke outright against the Klan. This man was Lynden Johnson. His name was used after he had signed the civil rights act in a KKK murder of three African American soldiers. This was committed by the UKA. An all white jury found the people responsible not guilty. The FBI again attempted to convict the Klansmen after no arrests were made.

The FBI did more than just persecute the Klan however. FBI members were able to arrest more and more Klan members because they themselves had infiltrated it.The Federal Bureau of Investigation used an extensive network of informers to prevent and stop Klan activities in Georgia and other southern states. By about the early 1970s the FBI estimated that there were fewer than 2,000 active Klansmen in the nation after their work of infiltration and convictions of KKK members.

The Klan still goes on to this day. In the mid-1970s an independent Klan faction in Louisiana, under the leadership of David Duke recruited new members from across the nation, and other factions in the Klan located throughout the nation. There are still sparse Klan meetings throughout the U.S. to this day, manly in the southern U.S.

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