History: December 24, 1865: Birth of the Ku Klux Klan

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A Brief History

On December 24, 1865, 6 former Confederate veterans of the recently concluded US Civil War formed the first known chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization largely founded on the principles of White Supremacy and violence against African Americans and those not in agreement with Klan beliefs.  Klansmen were characterized by their scary apparel that hid the identity of the individuals, evolving into the familiar white robes and hoods.

Digging Deeper

As disaffected Confederate veterans across the South formed other chapters and similar organizations, a loose umbrella organization developed with former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest as Grand Wizard in 1867, with the goal of resisting Northern reforms upon former Confederate states, and against “carpetbaggers” and other Northerners (or Southerners that cooperated with the Northern Federal government).

A cartoon threatening that the KKK would lynch carpetbaggers from the Independent Monitor, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1868.

African Americans that tried to exercise their new found rights were attacked and sometimes killed for usurping the perceived role of the White man.

In 1870 Congress labeled the Klan a “terrorist organization” and Forrest claimed over 500,000 Klan members, of which he could raise an army of 40,000 within 5 days.  With no real national organization or membership roles, these numbers are impossible to verify.  The first edition of the Klan ebbed and faded away in the 1870’s under pressure from government agencies and prosecution for crimes.  Extraneous other White supremacist organizations remained scattered throughout the country.

The 1915 movie film, Birth of a Nation, perhaps the first real blockbuster film, revitalized the memory of the original Klan and resulted in a resurgence of anti-Black pro-White sentiment and a rebirth of the Klan.

This time around more than just African Americans were the target of Klan hate, and Catholics and Jews, immigrants, and communists also felt the wrath of the Klan.  Oddly enough, during Prohibition the Klan also opposed bootleggers.

This second birth of the Klan moved North into former Union states as well as the South, and a common threatening activity was the characteristic burning of a cross.  This Klan was adamant about their own brand of “Christian” (Protestant) morality.  Although some churches condemned the Klan and no national church organizations endorsed it, many churches and other civic operations chose to silently endorse Klan activities by failing to speak out against them.  This time women were allowed to form a sort of auxiliary organization, and members were claimed to number around 4 million in the US, mostly in the South and Midwest, but also in other areas and even Canada.  Indiana was perhaps the most heavily invested in the Klan, with perhaps 30% of White men as members, including (1942) the governor of the state.

The Klan started to decline in the mid-1920’s after a precipitous rise after 1915,  with condemnation by mainstream politicians and religious organizations and prosecutions for crimes.  By 1944 at the height of World War II, the Klan had greatly diminished once again.

Since World War II the Ku Klux Klan has devolved into scattered and independent chapters, much smaller than before and heavily infiltrated by FBI and other law enforcement informers.  The secrecy and anonymity of the past is largely gone, as is tolerance for membership.  These splinter groups still espouse White Supremacy and a Protestant Christian religious cover.

Will there be a substantial resurgence of Klan or Klan type organizations and activity?  Will the backlash against illegal immigrants and against Muslims (in light of recent years terrorism and political unrest) cause such a resurgence?  Will the FBI and Homeland Security prevent any such rebirth of the Klan?  Let us know what your predictions are about the future, if any, of the Ku Klux Klan.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.

  • Danielle B

    It truly disgusts me that the Ku Klux Klan was ever formed. I don’t know how a large amount of people thought this was okay. It is appalling that the group evolved to not only killing African Americans, but Jews, Catholics, communists, and immigrants. I like to think this country has grown since then and that the Ku Klux Klan will not resurface.

  • Meghan R

    I am repulsed by the need for the members of the Klu Klux Klan to kill innocent people just because they look, act or believe in different things. I would like to say that this group is no longer in existence, but deep down I feel that the same actions still occur today.

  • Brett N

    I find the idea of some churches being okay with the Klan’s actions to be very surprising. It is good to know that things have been resolved by now.

  • Emmaline K

    I find it repulsive that after such a bloody and brutal war filled with bitter feelings, resentment and hatred, American’s felt that starting an organization based off hate and prejudice was a good idea. Hadn’t we lost enough lives through the war to learn that America needed to stand united? Though sometimes in different forms, history does seem to repeat itself.

  • Amber Moore

    I hate when hateful organizations like the KKK use Christianity to back them. Christianity is about love, not hate of any kind. It is disgraceful that a state official would be a part of this organization. Hopefully there will not be a rebirth of the KKK due to the recent upset concerning Muslims and those of Middle Eastern decent. You would think that by 2016 we would be able to tolerate and celebrate the differences between all humankind.

  • KC

    I do not agree with the KKK using Christianity as a way to get away with their crimes.

  • Madeline Bowen

    I am glad that the KKK has declined heavily throughout the generations and I do not believe it will start up again.

  • Sarah G

    I don’t believe the KKK will resurface, but with the current events that have occurred there is a possibility that a hate organization can resurface against Muslims.

  • NF

    I don’t think KKK will show up again. However, I know that the discriminations toward people from any other countries remain in America. All we have to do is accepting cultures. People who come to the US should know about American culture, and also Americans should know their cultures too. Mutual understandin is necessary for solving this problem.

  • Diana N

    I don’t think that the KKK will resurface, but it is possible that new hate groups can emerge.

  • Ahmed Alnassar

    although the KKK is no longer around i think there is still much racism here in the U.S. but i think that the amount of members was maybe exaggerated.

  • Raquel F

    I never knew that the KKK was rebirthed

  • Morgan

    I think the KKK could resurface again because there is so much racism in the U.S. but I’m sure it’s not just the U.S. but also around the whole world.

  • Nicole Z

    I think it was wrong that KKK used Christianity as a back up for what they did. I don’t think they will resurface. But I feel like there is another hate group, ISIS that are doing similar things that the KKK did. Feel like history repeats itself.

  • Austin Miko

    I can’t believe how many people would actually join the KKK, it’s an astounding amount of people.

  • Amber Pope

    I don’t think the Klan itself will reemerge, but I do think there is enough hate and prejudice in society that we are always going to have people who attack others with violence. There will always be groups like ISIS and the KKK. At this point in time, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get rid of the hatred. Differences will always seem greater than they should be, and there will always be people who are looked down on and trampled, whether its an ethnicity, religion, or just because they’re different.

  • Melody Ortiz

    It is crazy to know how many people would actually be apart of some brutal group. But then again today in history you hear of such groups being around today. I do not think that the KKK will come around again but i do believe that there is still so much hatred and racism and just prejudice people still in this world today.

  • Andrew R

    Reading stuff like this makes me wish I could go back and fight them. Then I think that fighting them would defeat the purpose of justice.

  • Erika Grumbach

    I hate that this group existed. It’s hard to imagine a group of people came together to terrorize other people. It’s horrifying.

  • Sabrina Peelman

    Reading about the Klan just makes me angry. I wish time travel excited so we could go back and stop it from becoming a thing

  • Colton M

    I did not know the Klan fluctuated that much over the decades. I did not know that they were against more groups than just African-Americans.

  • Casey Holtmann

    It is sad that groups like this existed. but unfortunately people and groups like this still exist. It is scary that people can hate so much.

  • Brandon

    The KKK, wearing bed sheets and raciest, a nice history of one of the most infamous groups in history. Pretty bad this group is still around

  • JW

    I really don’t want the Ku Klux Klan to make a resurgence an time soon.

  • Claire Fraser

    I never knew that the KKK was formed from old Confederate soldiers. This makes me so sad to read about. The black community had been through so much and just when they won their freedom they had this to worry about. It is really sad to me that racism is still a huge issue today.

  • Mikayla Hutchings

    It disgusts me that groups like the Ku Klux Klan became successful and attracted so many people. I am glad that this group has diminished, yet it saddens me that racism is still a prevalent issue. I wonder if there will be a time in the future with no racism…

  • Mike Andelbradt

    30% of white males in Indiana in 1942. That is an insane statistic. Racism is still an issue in our country, but I do not believe that klan will rise again mostly due to the negative connotation surrounding their name in our country.

  • Dana Roman

    I have never really read of the way the KKK originally formed but it is a very disturbing group to have emerged to say the least. While I am happy to see it has diminished, I am concerned that one day the group will make a resurgence.

  • Daniel Cora

    With terrorism all over the world, it is hard to say the klan or a different formation of it will never resurface again. And, although these terrorists groups are not called the “KKK”, there are certainly groups of terrorists around the world that target certain groups of people or countries; terrorism is truly terrible.

  • Ellen Liebenguth

    I agree with Daniel in that I think that the Ku Klux Klan will not be the last organization of its kind. As we have seen in our current world and recent events, terrorism is still very much a prevalent issue and very much a threat. Its truly awful and its hard for me to understand how some people can hate their fellow human beings as they do.

  • Lauren Synek

    No one can say for sure whether there will be a resurgence of the KKK or other groups like it. If one did resurface against illegal immigration or against Muslims I would like to think Homeland Security or the FBI would step in. The article mentioned that when the KKK resurfaced in the early 1900s there was not a true sense of secrecy and if it was to resurface again I think it would be fairly easy to find.

  • Matt E.

    I would not doubt the resurgence of the KKK or the emergence of a new hate group, especially with the growing tension surrounding illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism.

    I have confidence the FBI will do their best to contain the situation, and hopefully these types of organizations do not grow into a larger problem.

  • Alexander Correa

    I would not be all that surprised if the KKK resurfaced. Today there have been a lot of racism and problems within the US. Unfortunately I would not be shocked if down south there is even small groups still active to a certain degree waiting to become at large again…

  • Matt Grazia

    Before reading this article I did not know much about the KKK. It is disturbing that groups like this exist in our country. It is amazing to me how fast this group gained a following especially with its inappropriate intentions.

  • Maria Ndini

    I never knew how many people were actually involved in the Klan. Even though the numbers mentioned were hard to verify, the fact that is was even a possibility that the Klan could raise an army of 40,000 within 5 days is terrifying. The power they had was incredible. With all the racism that exists today I do not doubt that many people have thought about creating new hate groups like the KKK. Something like that would be catastrophic and would divide societies even more so let’ hope a group like that can never gain that much power again.

  • Morgan price

    This article about the Klan is so sad and terrifying. It’s hard to believe anyone would think this sort of organization is right and put their belief in it. I could absolutely see people forming groups against Muslims and immigrants in the future as a sort of modern Klan. It seems that many Americans are already on this bandwagon and heavily discriminate against Muslims and Muslim Americans. I hope we can learn from our past this time around.

  • Frank F.

    The Indiana (1942) governor of the state was part of the Klan and having an official from a state being part of this group would be unheard of in todays society. Crazy to think that was an acceptable act to par take in. To see society be a different views from the past is uplifting and even though the Klan still exists it is shut down by the FBI across the country.

  • Amanda Lopuchovsky

    The KKK was a group based on hate and violence. It doesn’t make sense that any religious organization would support them. It still upsets me that The Birth of a Nation was so popular. It spotlights Klan members as heroes. We still have problems with white supremacy groups today including Neo-Nazis and white “skin heads”. Although they are protested against openly now, they are able to hold rallies and organize. It is ridiculous.

  • Nicholas Mog

    It’s surprising that the Indiana governor was a member of the Klan. Who knows what he could have done as governor in the state of Indiana if he chose to act upon his Klan ideas and responsibilities while in office. Hopefully the Klan never resurfaces again like it did in the past.

  • Mark Baniewicz

    This article seems relevant to what is happening in the world today. Conflicts between blacks and whites stemmed back to 1865 when the KKK came to life. Racism and the idea of white supremacy drove this group to treat African Americans terribly. The scattering of the KKK is a step towards racial equality.

  • Hannah Grazia

    I am shocked by the amount of people who had joined the Klan. I could not believe The Birth of a Nation was such a popular movie and influenced so many to join the Klan and its beliefs. I am glad the Klan started to decline in the mid-1920s and I hope it continues to decline and eventually become extinct.

  • Alexandra

    The Klan definitely still has a presence today and especially with recent events, light is being shed on its surprising presents that remains today. There are even prominant political figures who have had their names recently tied to the Klan.

  • Christina Hickey

    The Klan had strong beliefs and they were violent with those beliefs. They did not like African-Americans and wanted to do something about them. The good part is that is had a mass lowering in numbers by the end of WW2 (1944).

  • Peyton Elliott

    The KKK was a terrible group. These men believed that what they were doing was for the good of the country and were willing to die for it, which is very scary. In 1807, there were almost 500,000 members in the Klan, now I know why they were able to cause some much chaos.

  • Erin Kochan

    Maybe I blocked out a lot of the details that I have learned about the KKK over time and in school, but it is shocking to read how big the group became. There spectrum of those who they were against is also much broader than I thought. They had issues with a lot of the things in the world around them.

  • Joshua Dzurko

    I knew the KKK was a big and influential group, but I was not aware that it numbered such a great percentage of the people at one time, even the democrat governor of Indiana. That is crazy to think about. No one would have permitted that if it occurred today. I also find interesting, just from my own experience anyways, that a lot of people forget the KKK is also anti-Catholic and anti-Jew, etc. They just focus on the white supremacist part of it when that is not the whole case.

  • Robert Kratman

    I had no idea that the KKK was so large and I believe the numbers were most likely exaggerated. And one other aspect to think about is that entire towns were forced to become members. Just as the article explains, the KKK’s motto was more of a “If you’re not with us you’re against us.” My grandfather spoke to me once that when he lived in Virginia, he had to join the KKK when he was nine years old, and if people were not apart of the clan, the Klan would not do business with you, tell other people not to do business with you. My grandfather explained to me that it was more dangerous to not be apart of the Klan.

    My grandfather was a great man and not a racist. He joined the military when he was seventeen never to return home either. He married my Puerto-Rican Abuela, when he met her on base and moved to Florida after he retired as a lieutenant-colonel for the Army. I only talked about his early life to give you insight on the KKK. I believe they were hated by most white people and rightfully so which is why they were labeled a terrorist organization.

  • Sarah

    I have a big issue with the term “White Supremacy” and I think it shows whats wrong with the American government still today. This large group influencing people to hate African Americans should be put to a stop. It is the reason we are still at an awkward divide today.

  • Nikos Nacopoulos

    I wasn’t aware that the KKK also targeted any person opposed to them. It is hard to know for sure how many people were involved with the hate group, but I think the estimates are high. 30% of Indiana? Racisim was certainly an issue at that time, but I do not think all racist people were part of the KKK. Given the very negative perception of the KKK, I cannot see them ever regaining much support.

  • Justin Puccetti

    I had heard of “Birth of a Nation” before, but I didn’t know that it had such a formative impact on the KKK. I also didn’t know that there were multiple versions of the Klan, and that each of them had differing aims and goals.

  • Brandon Simpson

    First time hearing the different versions of the Klan, but I do believe in certain parts down south that the Klan still has a presence. Also would not be surprised if it got larger with the recent events around the country.

  • joe leary

    I do believe the Klan still exists out there today. It is not as strong or influential as it used to be, but the Klan could gave followers due to the recent tragedies going on in the US.

    • MP

      yes, I do believe as well that the Klan still exists but is not as popular or strong as it was during this time. I think that at some point the Klan will begin to grow as big as it was back in the day.

  • CM

    it is crazy how many members were in this “terrorist organization.”

  • SR

    It’s kind of crazy that blockbusters first real movie was about this awful event, the movie title being “birth of a nation”

  • LF

    Its amazing that the klan was in operation for so many years,and that it still exists today!

  • PW

    It is crazy to think General Nathan Bedford Forest was the first Grand Wizard. This shows how the South still was upset about the conclusion of the war. The number of people who “joined” the Klan is crazy! It would be interesting to see the actual number of people who were involved and not just an estimate. I didn’t know that the Klan targeted other people like Jews and Catholics. It would be terrifying to live at that time, but it probably still exists today. I wonder who was the brain of this organization. I’m sure there were a lot of people involved.

  • MM

    I had always heard of the KKK but I never actually knew the coming and background story of it. Our nations history of racisim is shocking, considering how many people joined the KKK. It’s also very shocking to think that what was classified as a terrorist organization within the US. I also didn’t know that the Klan had their own specific beliefs of Christianity and targeted others like the Jews or Catholics.

  • MT

    It shocking that the government didn’t truly do anything about the “Klan”. If the government tried to get involved the “Klan” would just disappear which made it very hard for the government to make convictions.

  • Tim Burris

    I didn’t know the clan was such a big part of society at one point to say 30% of Indiana white men were involved in the clan.

  • CL

    It is crazy that the government did nothing about the Klan. I think that the government wanted to take down the Klan, but because it has no official organization this would have been an impossible task.

  • GF

    I’d like to see the KKK try and resurface and come back as strong and powerful as they once were just to see how today’s society would react. Hopefully our government would give more effort than they did years prior. The history of racism in our country is terrible and should have ended years ago.

  • BS

    I’m disgusted that there are enough racist and hateful people in the world that make it possible for groups like the KKK to exist.

  • Kody

    I do not believe that the KKK could even come back at this point. I would like to believe that our government would do something about them if they tried.

  • TC

    I would hope that if the KKK ever did try to resurface there would be enough people against it in the US to be able to stop it if the government did not

  • Michaela Ping

    It baffles me how anyone has enough bigotry in their mind that they would start an entire organization just to hate a group of people.

  • EK

    I was about to say the same thing as Michaela! How can a group of people dislike another group simply based on the pigment of their skin…something which they have no control over?

  • mason saunders

    Why were these people thinking about killing black people on the night before christmas. its ridiculous that these people have no holiday spirit

  • MM

    I really didn’t know that the KKK targeted Jews, Catholics and bootleggers. The government should have put in more effort to take the KKK down.

  • JO

    The goal of the kkk was to reciting the northerners that left the confederate states.

  • AA

    I don’t think that the KKK will ever come back based on the principles of white supremacy against African Americans, but that doesn’t mean they will never come back for a different kind of supremacy.

  • VV

    There is no way that the KKK or any other group like that could happen in todays society

  • SG

    Whenever I think about the KKK I just think that they must have been extremely miserable and self hating inside to going on inside. The KKK are currently trying to start back up but is not going to be anything like it was in the past.

  • Allison Lester

    I cannot believe that we as humans would ever be so hateful towards the African American race, or any race for that matter. It disgusts me that members of the KKK would go after African Americans, considering their great suffering from slavery the Caucasians had already put them through. -Allison Lester

  • AM

    It is hard for me to believe that these practices were still taking place not that long ago. In fact, the Klan may still meet today. I’m unsure. I find this all an interesting part of American history, even though it was terrible.

  • KS

    The fact that there are no ways to prove the amount of people who participated in the doing of the KKK when Forrest was the leader in the 1870’s when it was labeled a terrorist group is scary, as there could have been many more than even the large numbers that we had documented.

  • Reilly

    “Now, when I was a baby, Momma named me after the great Civil War hero, General Nathan Bedford Forrest. She said we was related to him in some way. And what he did was, he started up this club called the Ku Klux Klan. They’d all dress up in their robes and their bedsheets and act like a bunch of ghosts or spooks or something. They’d even put bedsheets on their horses and ride around. And anyway, that’s how I got my name, Forrest Gump. Momma said that the Forrest part was to remind me that sometimes we all do things that, well, just don’t make no sense.”
    This ran through my head the whole time i was reading this. the kkk really “dont make no sense”

  • Kelynn Heckman

    It surprised me that the governor of Indiana was part of the klan

  • David Birkbeck

    Its crazy to know that Forrest could raise an army of 40,000 in 5 days.

  • Kayla Fox

    I have noticed this before, but after reading this article it has been brought to my attention again; the Ku Klux Klan was founded ONE day before Christmas, December 24, 1865. Don’t you think these people should have had more “merry” and “jolly” things on their minds?!

  • Samantha Didon

    I often wonder “How could there have ever been so much hatred on the world at one point for something like this to happen?” But then I think about the Jews and Indians too. It seems as though the hatred in this world is never ending.

  • JT Siurek

    What got to me was the fact that there was so much Klan influence right under all of our noses. High up politicians and local officials alike were effected by the Klan’s influence. It was the fact of the Klan having more power in places that we didn’t know. Looking back on history things could have been a lot worse.

  • Abeer

    I often Wonder , How could happen in the world how kill people like that.

  • lm

    It’s interesting to see how some churchs didn’t verbally support the kkk but didn’t speak out against them, showing that it wasn’t a big concern for them

  • Nic V

    To think that there was actually a large amount of people who were this angry to do such things to other people is crazy. Also, for people of authority to support the KKK is scary.

  • Jacob Oswalt

    The KKK was a ridiculous group and it should have never happened. It is also very difficult to raise a 40,000 person army within just 5 days.

  • Dakota Zimmerman

    Tentions were high after the civil war and i am not shocked a group like this formed in america. The best we can do is socially shame these ideologies so future generations will not follow this path

  • Lori Caudill

    It is hard for me to understand why any association would endorse such a group, especially one of a religious affiliation.

  • Lydia Ott

    The Klu Klux Klan seemed to oppose any kind of outsiders that were not a while male. It is outrageous that so many people would be closed minded and unaccepting of others when they claim to come from a Protestant religious background. God would accept everyone.

  • Audrey Manahan

    I found it interesting that eventually the Klu Klux Klan at one point was targeting Catholics, and the Jewish. In my eyes I have always seen the KKK as a group who opposed the integration of those of a different color, but majority of Catholics, and jews are whites.

  • Elizabeth Bon

    The KKK is such an example of ignorance and hate. The injustices that went on in the south during the height of this group is unspeakable. Unfortunately the KKK is still present today in the form of ISIS, the brutality is much worse and the targets are Christians. I don’t believe we will ever live in a world where there is not some form on injustice going on.

  • Jennifer Maurer

    It is terrible to think that such narrow minded people still exist. Unfortunately, it is so true. People who believe in supremacy and see such drastic inequality in man makes me sad for the world we live in.

  • Brandon Wagner

    I found interesting that the KKK considered themselves of the Protestant faith. A speaker from an MLK event in Ashland’s main argument was, “why could white people consider themselves Christians if they treated slaves the way they did?”

  • Natalie antonio

    It is interesting to me that the KKK deemed themselves of the Protestant faith, and were still so narrow minded. I think that people who live an entitled life are destined for a life time of hate and ignorance.

  • Diana Minich

    I think groups like the KKK are able to form and do horrible things in the name of God, because good people do not speak up and take a stand.

  • Ben McClay

    I think one thing that people often forget is that the Klan were not just haters of the African American race, but other races as well. The article describes that catholics, immigrants, and Jews were also victims of discrimination.

  • Shannon Read

    I feel that even though groups like the KKK are illegal; I feel there are much milder forms of this in today’s world. I mean people aren’t necessarily killing people to the extent that this did, but that some people believe they are superior to others whether it be by race, gender, religious groups, etc. It is sad to think we live in a world where people believe in having superiority.

  • Shuling He

    I have no idea why people not speak out and against the KKK group at that time, and that is one of the reasons the KKK group can grow more and more horrible.

  • Jingshan Jiang

    It is incorrect that people are classified by the color of skin. Klan was a illegal organization that it had racial discrimination and it turned against human rights. I have to say that it is a sad history. We should always remember it and avoid to make the same mistakes.

  • Kala Strong

    I did not realize that the KKK discriminated against groups like the Catholics, Jews, and immigrants. I always knew them as being anti-african american. This makes me wonder why it had so much popularity.

  • Rose Jepson

    With only a small amount of previous knowledge about the history of the Ku Klux Klan, I was surprised to hear that the KKK also discriminated against Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and communists.

  • Jordin Vidmar

    I have always been interested in learning about the Ku Klux Klan. I too had no idea in how many groups of people they discriminated against. I have only heard about their discrimination against the African Americans.

  • Taylor Young

    With little knowledge of the Ku Klux Klan, I was surprised to learn they discriminated against other groups of people besides African Americans. With the high security that we have today in the United States I do not see the Ku Klux Klan coming back in today’s society.

  • Alyssa Hanes

    I have studied the Klu Klux Klan quite frequently in previous history classes but I never really put into perspective how many people that they actually discriminated against until reading this article. I thought they mainly only discriminated against African Americans, but was surprised that this also included Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and communists as well.

  • Daina Thomas

    I hate reading anything about the Ku Klux Klan and how they killed so many people. I understand freedom of speech, but I don’t that they should still be allowed to exist.

  • Keagan Frey

    I believe that there will always be groups such as the KKK. Some will be a large scale groups such as the Nazis and have a long lasting historical affect all over the world. Others will be small underground groups like gangs and clubs.

  • Lessie Parish

    I do believe their could be a resurgence of the K.K.K but never like in the past.Today our society is very diverse and more diversity is being accepted. I have heard about the White Supremacy groups and I know there are still groups like this today but many are very low key. Sadly, I think it is something that will always be around because of the way people are brought up and because of different opinions. I think it is sad that people can live with so much hate in their hearts and find the need to think that they are superior to others because of race or religion. I find it kind of hypocritical that they were against immigrants because this country was founded on immigration. I also find it hypocritical that they called them selves “Christians” but were torturing people. I did not realize that the K.K.K were also against Catholics and Jews. I am also amazed that Forrest had so many followers and that he could get an army of 40,000 within 5 days.

  • Kristin Fellure

    I believe there will always be established and non-established versions of the KKK. It is very unfortunate, but some people still have this old point of view. I do not understand how anyone could treat another human so terribly. I do not understand how the KKK was so large and so many people went along with it.

  • Breanna Beckley

    I knew very little about the Ku Klux Klan and that they had discriminated the African Americans but I did not know that they discriminated so many more groups of people. It is very sad to think that they killed so many people.

  • Azia

    Wow… I thought I knew almost everything about the KKK but now I can add something new to my list.

  • Michaela Ping

    I don’t understand when people, especially those that are Christian, overlook the KKK but still choose to discriminate against Muslims.

  • Travis Tarnowski

    All you ever hear about is how the Ku Klux Klan discriminated about african americans. It was an eye opener to see that they also did the same to christians, jews and more.

  • Hunter Music

    I cannot believe a film or movie revitalized the KKK. It is hard to imagine what US history would be like if the revitalization did not occur.

  • Alexis Dykes

    It is astonishing that the production of a film is considered to be the source of the Ku Klux Klan’s rebirth. This makes me wonder how history may have been different if it weren’t for this factor. Before reading this article, I was unaware that the KKK targeted other populations besides African Americans, such as the Catholics, Jews, communists and immigrants.

  • Dan Sumpter

    I disagree that when a church decides to refrain from speaking out against the Klan, it means they silently endorse them. I believe that they remained silent due to fear.

  • Cara Zang

    I think as long as there is efficient education that is being taught in schools about the KKK then the power the group feels they have will be diminished. We have come a long way and I feel we have gotten away from teaching about this group because no one wants to talk about it. We need to educate about the immoralities of their way thinking and acting so each generation coming up understands this is wrong.

  • Kay McCargish

    I was not aware that Catholics were targets of the KKK.
    I fear they will have yet another resurgence with the current political climate. Fear and hate breed more fear and hate.

  • Luke Lyden

    Its crazy to believe how many people were involved with the Klan. They have done horrific things for a very long time and you can still find members today that show their Klan culture.

  • Shannon Smith

    I don’t believe the KKK will ever flourish in numbers again. In the past people we so naive to cultural diversity. Now we have so much more awareness with the progression of news and availability of media. We are teaching our children at a young age about other cultures, races, and religions, there will b e no place for such hate in their heart unless it is specifically taught by their parents.

  • Chelsey Stillings

    I remember studying the KKK in High School and the amount of hate a the group had. Today we don’t hear about the KKK as much however there are several other gangs that have potential to do harm

  • Kacey Kovac

    It sickens me as someone who is a Catholic that the Klan would discriminate and commit acts of violence against innocent people based on their faith, especiallly since they claim to be Christians themselves. My personal view on Christianity, regardless of denomination, is that it is a religion that pushes you to be the best version of yourself, to act selflessly, and to bestow acts of kindness in order to eventually live eternally in Heaven upon passing away. Obviously, everything that the Ku Klux Klan stands for is the polar opposite of this description. I wonder what the actual paritioners of the Protestant church are doing about the issue of having the Klan using their faith as a “cover” to justify their racisim and outlandish violence. I’m sure that having Klan members in their churches causes a huge rift in their parish.

  • Christie Benton

    I grew up 10 miles from Lodi, Ohio, where there is a lot of participation in the Klan. I was and have continued to be afraid of this organization. I fear any organization that breeds hatred. As a Christian, I have always been taught to support Israel, which includes the Jewish people, and cannot fathom how any sane individual could go against God’s chosen people. What I found interesting in this article was that they were against bootleggers. I never knew that and I come from a long line of bootleggers, so I would guess they’d hate me too. I just feel disgusted, we should all love one another, whites, blacks, blues, yellows, purples, browns, and even bootleggers. From where I stand, the only being capable of judgement is that of God, so I will just pray for them.

  • Jeffrey Keenan

    It is truly hard to believe that the KKK got away with this terrorism. Personally I do not believe that the KKK will ever make a large comeback, due to the fact that law enforcement is much different now days (More involved and serious against terrorist/racist acts). However, I do believe that racism still remains a large issue in this country. I hope to see a day were everybody can get along regardless of race, gender and religion.

  • Jason

    In the time of the Klan, people and organizations got away with a lot of things. I disagree with everything the Klan believed in. They were a form of terrorism. Thank God for the people who stood up against them and tore their organization apart.

  • Jared A. Hutt

    I find it very interesting that this article chose to exclude the fact that the KKK sprang from the democratic party and that it was the republicans that, for all intent and purpose, had snuffed them out.

  • Dan Fidoe

    The Klan will never have another rebirth. The small groups that still exist will remain just that, small groups.

  • Nakia Bridges

    I don’t think there is not room in the world today for an active Klan group or groups. They will remain the same groups and really unseen. I still am lost on how these terrorist group as they call them in the article was able to pull off all the things that they did. Today with the no tolerance that we have in the world for terrorist they would even become open and active as they were back then. This article is one interesting article I will say that .

  • Jeremiah Linden

    As an employee of the correctional system, the Klu Klux Klan’s ideology is still thriving. The only difference is that it comes in the name of Aryan Brother Hood, Skin Head and White Folk Nation. The main problem with the KKK is that it set a path for other groups or other individual followers to reaffirm and set a path for hatred. Hatred based on color, ethnicity, religion, or sex does not just happen in the white race. However, the other types of hatred can find their roots to form from the KKK.

  • Shaun Emerick

    I don’t predict a resurgence from the Klu Klux Klan anytime soon. I believe there will always be chapters out there and I don’t think it will ever completely dissipate, but for the most part our country has developed a more tolerant and accepting mindset. With people being more accepting in our culture today than they ever have been before I don’t think the Klu Klux Klan will get a surge in membership any time soon if ever again.

  • John Milton

    As a correctional officer, I deal with a group called the Aryian Brotherhood that resembles the KKK as far as white supremacy goes. It blows my mind to see that someone or a group could hate someone for their skin color or religion.

  • Juan Rodriguez

    I didn’t know that Klan was started in 1865 by six Confederate veterans and that first Grand Wizard was a Confederate General (Nathan B. Forrest). I was very surprised that in 1870 the U.S. Congress labeled the Klan a ‘Terrorist Organization”. I was shock that Klan organization connected with a specific religion like Protestant church. As a police officer, I have run into some people that claim to be Klan members in Ohio, but they are a small group. I still find hard to grasp that people would hate other people without even knowing anything about them or who they are.

  • Michelle Ross

    I think that groups like this still exist to this day. They might not call themselves the Ku Klux Klan, but they still have the same ideas and beliefs as the Klan does. You even see these groups in the prison system who don’t like the African Americans.

  • Sarah Marie Sykes

    groups like this have always surprised and baffled me. I do not understand how you can hate someone based on the color of their skin and how they are born. As a nurse, i have ran into individuals in our community that claim to be associated with groups like this, and it is very hard for me to understand why anyone would feel that way.

  • jared good

    I think groups like this should be stopped we have a lot of hate crime and you shouldn’t base it off some ones skin color. to this day you still hear about it and there is bad in every color so lets not segregate each other.

  • Misty Prosser

    I find it interesting that the Klan was also against bootleggers. I feel there is a real possibility that hate groups can become more active, hopefully the government is keeping tabs on any threats of this happening.

  • Angela Kessinger

    I believe that there will always be some type of hate group out there. No matter what the issue is there will always be a group of people that disagrees. Depending on how strongly a group feels depends upon how much or what the group will do. Protest begin and as in some recent events, what should be a way of voicing your opinion turns into violence, vandalism and more. I feel that in some situations people will resort back to hiding their faces so that their actions will not cost them their jobs, they will not be recognized by surveillance tapes, and it will be harder for authorities to identify them and charge them with a crime.

  • James Tomassetti

    the kkk Is one of many examples of the trials tribulations this country has faced in effort to bring a true freedom and equality to all that call this country home! It goes to show how deeply rooted this problem started in our nations history.

  • Autum Grandstaff

    History has a way of repeating itself one way or another. I would like to think with the amount of education, resources and research that we have at our fingertips, our society would grow/mature and develop into better people. I would like to think that our nation, or the human species in general, has the ability to empathize and identify with others regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, values, occupations, etc. I would like to say that no, the Klu Klux Klan will not resurface, that it will not continue to function “underground” or behind closed and hidden doors. In the year of 2017, we should not be having any of these groups or beliefs surfacing. We shouldn’t have had is hundreds of years ago though either. I hope that our nation and human race is strong enough today and in the future to make sure we do not allow for this to happen again and bring the current hatred to stop.

  • Kyle Gelenius

    I do not believe the KKK will ever be able to attract the kind of numbers it did earlier on in our nation’s history. However, I do fear a resurgence of hate groups given our current political climate. I am encouraged, however, that the new generations seemingly are more open and more tolerant of people from different cultures, races, religions, and backgrounds. It is important that we, as a nation, continue to work towards the goal of acceptance while eliminating hate in our country. We can start by parents not teaching their children to hate and by changing the narrative of the media, who seemingly drum up old emotions just to make a story.

    Unfortunately, the KKK is a dark stain on our country’s history.

  • Adrian Lewers

    I can see why many people fear the resurgence of the clan due to the recent political situation, however, I believe that Americans in general have a unity for diversity. We embrace so many different religions, cultures, and beliefs. That is what makes this country great. I have and will always have faith in American’s. It saddens me to think of the people that have been hurt due to this groups actions. These crimes are unforgivable.

  • Sean Merritt

    I truely believe the KKK Is the main reason that hate groups exist today. I believe everyone has the right to say what they believe in and say what they don’t believe in, but nothing justifies using violence against anyone due to something they believe in or are against. The KKK may not be like they once were but their presence is still seen in new forms.

  • Rose Sexton

    My husband’s family was involved in state politics in southeast Indiana in the early part of the twentieth century. The Klan presence there was a common thing I suppose and the politicians, some of them, joined just as a point of belonging to the “in crowd” in order to garner votes. It was surprising to read that Indiana had the highest concentration of members at one point.

  • James Cole

    It did surprise me that the KKK was formed by 6 former Confederate veterans on December 24, 1865 soon after the US Civil War ended. Recently I did a report on the KKK, and did not discover this information.

  • Tiffany

    This was an interesting article. I was rather surprised that Indiana held the highest percentage of KKK members at one time. I think, given the recent actions of particular countries, the KKK absolutely still exists and is probably stronger than ever. Maybe not in the sense of what were are accustomed to hearing about in the past but I think, in one form or another, there are and its something we are all trying to sort out.

  • Jessica Kessinger

    This article shocked me by some points that were made, including how the KKK was formed by former confederate veterans. Many people wanted this to stop, nonetheless there will always be a group like the KKK maybe not to the extreme but there will always be a group of people who do not agree with decisions made that are going on in this world.

  • Robin Crandel

    I was unaware that the KKK claims “Christian” beliefs, even if it is their own.

  • Michelle

    Six Confederate officers were so opposed to the Reconstruction Acts brought on by President Lincoln following the Confederate loss in the Civil War that they started up their “club”. After organization, they had support from members of the law, big profile southern democratic politicians, ordinary men, veterans, and other influential society members and grew quickly into a hate group. The best thing that we have done in our society concerning the K.K.K. was infiltrating their ranks and labeling them a terrorist group. One of my favorite books, “They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, does an exceptional job explaining the history of the K.K.K. and incorporates amazing pictures, accounts from people in this time without censoring them, and wonderful visuals throughout the book! It’s a must read!

  • Jacob DeSmit

    I think the pushback from many Americans in response to President Trump’s travel ban suggests that a home-grown group like the Klan is not likely to become a serious threat in the United States anytime soon. Although it is hard to gauge the overall attitude of an entire nation, it seems we are slowly reaching a point where it is becoming largely accepted, particularly among young people, that one race has no right to be dominant over another, and that people don’t deserve to be persecuted against based on their race, religion, gender, etc. That being said, it will be interesting to see to what extent it holds true as the racial makeup of the country skews more towards whites being a minority.

  • McKenna Kapper

    I did not know much about the Ku Klux Klan before reading this article. I found it interesting that they had “Christian” beliefs and also discriminated against other groups, not only African Americans.

  • Jaisun

    I actually had known a lot about this regarding the KKK in the U.S. (history, while not always pretty, has always interested me). While I do think it would be difficult for the KKK to reach their high numbers of membership that it had in the past, I also think people are deluding themselves if they don’t think that type of inflammatory rhetoric spewed by the KKK, resonates with a segment of the U.S.population today. It’s obvious it does.

  • Ashley Betsa

    All I knew about the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is that is was white supremacy based against African Americans. I did not know they also developed hated toward Catholics, Jews, immigrants, communists, and bootleggers. I couldn’t imagine living with that much hatred, it would be miserable! Furthermore, it also shocked me to know women also eventually joined the KKK, to this day I believed it was only men who were involved due to the heinous crimes committed.
    For the sake that is all good, I hope the KKK numbers never rise again!

  • Marquita Smith

    I absolutely hate reading anything about the KKK especially since I am African American it is very hard to try to understand why so much hate because of one’s color. Also I haven’t heard much about the Klan lately but still there is still much hatred.


    I have never understood how much one person can hate another simply because of race, or gender, social status, etc. I recently read an article in my local paper about the KKK and was shocked. I guess I knew there were hate groups but never knew the actual KKK is still in existence. Here is a link to the article. http://www.cantonrep.com/news/20170209/ku-klux-klan-vows-renewed-push-in-ohio-other-states

  • Yang Shao

    The article seem showing that Ku Llux Klan was having discrimination on African American and some religion aspect that was also as part of the target for Ku Klux Klan. It was also showing that Klan was a terrorist organization that can gathering 40,000 people within five days, which is strong and powerful.

  • Robert Conley

    Whenever I read about how the KKK was back in the day, I am always in shock about how open they were. Almost like they are putting out an ad to join them. Their is still hate today but it is not as open.

  • Patrick Barker

    I knew the KKK was a big organization, but those numbers are shocking. 500,000 people and could form armies of 40,000 in five days!

  • Justin Hodson

    This article opened my eyes about the KKK. I had no idea that it basically fell off the map after WWII. It was also shocking to learn just how big the organization actually was.

  • WenYu Zhang

    It was amazing to know Klan as a terrorist organization was having 500,000 members, it was unbelievable to know that he could gathering 40,000 of army within 5 days. When the world War II began, the member of KKK was gradually starting to decreasing.

  • KS

    General Nathan Bedford Forest…Forest Gump’s ancestor, according to the movie and the reason he was named “Forest.” Not exactly the person you should name your child after. It was interesting to see that a large population of KKK ended up in Indiana, a northern state, at one point rather than somewhere down south.

  • Holly

    It is interesting to read this article after what just happened in Virginia. How sad that people feel the need to resort to such hate instead of respecting the choices that each individual has the right to make. The idea of the KKK is just as ridiculous now as it was when first organized in 1865.

  • Dani McBride

    General Nathan Bedford Forest was the original leader for the beginning of the Klu Klux Klan in 1867, which was created to resist Northern reform upon Confederate states as well as carpetbaggers and African Americans. After the movie came out, Birth of a Nation, the KKK was revitalized. This time though, they spread their hatred to Jews, Catholics, and Immigrants too. It’s sad to think about how even though this group started a long time ago, we are still facing similar issues in the US today.

  • BG

    It is interesting that 30 percent of the KKK was in Indiana which is a northern state. To me this is one of the most pathetic groups, and I cannot understand how they proclaim “Christianity” when they choose Hate and violence and burn the cross. It is so sad to see so much hate in a group of people and I hope it never rises to the numbers it once was at the peak of the group.

  • AB

    I find it interesting that the Governor of Indiana was part of the Klan considering they received pressure from government agencies to disperse. I also find it interesting that they choose to burn crosses and churches showed support by not condemning them. To me this goes against all Christian beliefs because this group was a hate group and was very discriminatory.

  • RB

    I thought it was interesting that the KKK not only targeted African Americans but also Jews, catholics, klan haters, and immigrants. Most publicity and movies I’ve seen that had the KKK involved were just targeting the African Americans.

    • Hate groups generally hate more than just one other group.

  • Amanda Chahulski

    This article was very informative for me. I have always enjoyed learning about the KKK, not because I support any aspect of it but because I have always wanted to try and be able to wrap my mind around why they would target the groups that they did. The most informative thing I found in this was that they not only targeted African Americans, which I think everyone knew about, but they also went after the Jewish, Catholics, Immigrants, and anyone who was against the klan in general. The KKK started “hating” everyone pretty much and went after almost all groups of people the could, which is what made this group so powerful and gave them such great ability to expand so easily.

  • Mary Van Scoy

    I find it interesting that the KKK targeted essentially everyone. It’s hard to think about why they would target the groups they did and why they would want to form such a group. Why hate when you can love and accept others.

  • JG

    I find it interesting how the KKK targeted not only a specific group, but really anyone in general who did not agree with their beliefs. The KKK did terrible things to those selected people, and although the KKK has fortunately diminished in size and popularity during today’s time, it is still relevant to today’s world with white supremacy as seen lately in the state of Virginia. Truly sad

  • Alexis Whitright

    I found this article to be quite interesting. I have always thought learning about the KKK was informative and interesting because they had many different ways of thinking that is very difficult for most people now days to wrap their heads around because it was a very inhumane way of thinking.

  • AM

    Its mind-boggling that 30% of Indiana’s white male population and even the governor was invested in the KKK!

  • MT

    There is a lot of interesting information in this article! I’m not sure if another Ku Klux Klan would ever develop right now, but I do believe that the Ku Klux Klan could be classified as a form of terrorism. I also found it interesting that Indiana was the state with the largest population.

  • AB

    I find it interesting how wide their hate was. It just seems like a lost cause since other than racial hatred, most of what they are fighting against is and was always legal. Why would there be motivation to go out of your way to go against anyone different than you?

  • SB

    Although the first KKK was diminished due to government opression, it is scary to think that the second KKK did not earn the same treatment from the government. It is almost as they chose to turn a blind eye. Maybe for the reason of the large numbers of citizens that were involved.

  • CJ

    I do not believe there is any way another real Klu Klux Klan will emerge. Although there are hate groups in the country, none of these compare to the size or horror of the original. It is hard to believe that it was once such a large and powerful group.

  • De Vaughnte Askew

    There are still groups in the country who still follows the beliefs of the KKK. Not they are not publicized or anything but they are still there. As for if they will resurface once again, I feel that there is a small chance of it happening but its a possibility. I believe they won’t come back as the Ku Klux Klan but maybe as some other name.

    Also, on a radom note, Im not sure if I’m the only one but I remember the first Grand Wizard due to Forrest Gump being named after him.

  • HM

    I did not know that the KKK were also against Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and even bootleggers. I thought their hate was only targeted at African Americans.

  • NTM

    I found it interesting that the first KKK was considered a “terrorist organization” because terrorists today have the reputation of being from another country. I do believe a group similar to the KKK could come back with the same intentions towards another group, but I am not confident enough to say it will be towards a certain rate. Rather, it would more than likely be towards a certain religion in my opinion.

  • JJ

    I predict the KKK will continue to grow smaller and eventually diminish completely as time goes on.

  • AP

    It just amazes me that people can do what the KKK did. It makes me angry just to think about how inhumane those people were. I did find the article interesting because it helps us learn how the KKK operated and was able to keep so much secrecy. It also helps us to now know how to better prevent it.

  • Dylan Winkel

    It is crazy how in 1870 Forrest stated that he had 500,000 Klan members and he could also raise an army of 40,000 in 5 days. These numbers are huge back then!!

  • HD

    I thought it was interesting that the Klan not only focused their violence toward African Americans, but to anyone that was in disagreement with their beliefs. Also I was surprised that the group had so many involved even after they diminished several times.

  • MC

    I found it interesting that the article used the term “white supremacists” when describing the KKK, because that is a term heard a lot in the news of today. It is extremely sad that some of these beliefs are still around that stemmed from the Klan.

  • KD

    I am astonished by the fact that we still live in a world with organizations like the KKK. I believe the KKK will always be around because the media gives them attention and uses them to their advantage to fit their political agenda.

  • CY

    I didn’t realize that the KKK discriminated against so many more things than just race. It also is crazy to think that the group claims to be a Christian organization. It shows that all religions have extremist groups.

  • Abdulaziz

    I find it interesting how the KKK watched not only a specific group but really anyone in general who did not agree with their beliefs. The KKK did terrible things to those selected people, and although the KKK has fortunately diminished in size and popularity during today’s time, it is still relevant to today’s world with white supremacy as seen lately in the state of Virginia. Truly sad

  • NN

    I did not know that the KKK were also against Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and even bootleggers. I thought their hate was only targeted at African Americans. It is crazy how in 1870 Forrest stated that he had 500,000 Klan members and he could also raise an army of 40,000 in 5 days.

  • AC

    I found it very interesting that a 1915 film gave a rebirth to the KKK organization. It’s really interesting because the movie appears to have influenced the memory of the KKK, leading me to wonder what kind of influence the movie had alone.

  • ES

    I was only aware that the KKK were targeting African Americans, I had no idea that they targeted other groups such as Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and communists. It also saddens me seeing how many people were involved in the organization in the 1870s.

  • EB

    I had no idea that there were Christians in the US basically supporting the KKK. I also didn’t know they were taunting Jews and Catholics either. It’s interesting how long things last.

  • KM

    It’s crazy that a film directly influenced the rebirth of the KKK. I guess that just proves what a big influence media can have.

  • ML

    I cannot believe that the KKK hated so many different types of groups. I also never realized how big the group was. It’s crazy to think that there were over 4 million people involved.

  • Alexis Mount

    I knew about the existence of the KKK through learning about them in high school history classes, but I had no idea just how massive the group actually was. I also didn’t realize that the KKK targeted Catholics, Jews, immigrants communists and even bootleggers, in addition to African Americans. I also found it interesting that Indiana had the most KKK members, including their governor.

  • JH

    While reading this article, I found it very interesting that the KKK did not just discriminate against African Americans, but also against Catholics, Jews, communists, and bootleggers. This is something I never knew before!

  • Sage Bourdess

    I find this article interesting because there are actually some parts close to me where I am from that used to be (a long time ago) where some of the smaller groups would meet. Just a historical fact.

  • Hailey Lockwood

    I was not aware of how large the KKK was. I can not imagine 500,000 people with such evil motives. I hope the FBI continues to monitor this group for the good of the greater number.

  • Hollis Marie

    I found this to be incredibly shocking, because there are still so many people involved in the KKK. I fell that this is something that needs to be taken care of before it gets even worse.

  • mengting zhang

    This history has interested me because I didn’t know much about the KKK party, although the first KKK reduction was due to the government’s oppression, and then a lot of irrational citizens were involved. Cause a lot of problems

  • burton roberts

    I hope there will never be a resurgence of the Klan ever again. I find it ironic they started on Christmas Eve. A hate group starts the day before Jesus was born. There is no place in society for any type of hate group but unfortunately I don’t ever see them going away.