Terry Morgan Extended Essay DRAFT 03/03/2010
Why were the Ku Klux Klan feared by many people in the 1920s and 30s.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is a racist organisation that was formed at the end of the American civil war. Its main objective was “white supremacy”. It was formed to keep Black Americans and other religious and diverse nationalities in their place and to make sure America wasn’t over run by black Americans in particular. The KKK disliked anyone who wasn’t a “WASP” (White, Atheist, Saxon, and Protestant).
They also disliked anyone who didn’t share their beliefs. This essay will explain why people feared the KKK in the 1920s 1930s. The KKK was feared for several reasons. These reasons included the Klan’s violent activities such as lynching, the extent of the Klan’s influence and the clandestine nature of the Klan’s activities before coming to a conclusion.
Numerous people feared the Ku Klux Klan because the Klan had influence. The KKK were influential because of numbers, especially in urban areas for example, 40,000 members lived in Detroit USA. Most of the members in these areas were lower-middle class whites who were trying to protect there jobs and housing from the waves of newcomers to the industrial cities. As new populations poured into cities, rapidly changing neighbourhoods created social tensions. Due to the rapid pace in population in the US Midwest. The KKK also grew in booming southern cities such as Dallas and Houston. They had an estimated 3 million members across the USA. Millions joined and at it peaks in 1920s the organisation included about 15 % of the nations eligible population. This threatened black Americans because they thought the KKK might get even greater political influence; encouraging laws against Black Americans. The Klan also bribed various individuals for example, judges, juries and police officer so Black people had nowhere to turn for help when attacked by the Klan. Law enforcement officials also sent Black Americas to jail for crimes they didn’t commit because they were influenced by the Klan’s racist ideas. This terrified black Americans as if the Klan were able to bribe the “law” what chance did they have standing against them.
The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" - Thomas Jefferson (Cultural Racism 1) This excerpt from the Declaration of independence specifically stated that all men are created equal, but that ...
There were many reasons to fear the KKK. One of the main reasons people feared the KKK is they were exceptionally secretive about who they were, this made it more fearsome as people never knew who they were. It could be the person living in your street, the person you pass on your way to work there was no telling who they were. To hide there identity the KKK would dress up in white cloaks and white hoods. This represented a ghost like figure. During the 1920s 1930s many people in America were very superstitious and extremely frightened of these ideas. This made the ghost like figure all the more terrifying to people. Due to their identity being hidden this made it impossible for law enforcement to bring them to justice, this made black Americans feel if the law couldn’t protect them no-one could. This was extremely annoying for Black Americans as it was there right to be protected and they weren’t. This made them feel as though they weren’t American as they weren’t being protected by the law.
The Ku Klux Klan bribed various people to get what they wanted this method often proved successful. The KKK would bribed many juries to send Black Americans to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. This showed Black Americans that the law wasn’t even being kept in the courts this showed the law had no control. They also bribed judges to sentence Black Americans for crimes they also didn’t commit which showed Black Americans they couldn’t trust the courts. The KKK also bribed police offers who’s duties were to protect all citizens of America. They bribed them to cover up crimes they had committed e.g. lynching’s. They also used the police for an alibi to protect them from prosecution. This showed Black Americans that police officers weren’t doing there duty and there rights as Americans weren’t being acknowledged this caused deep anger. They also bribed many witnesses of the crime they had committed to make it as though it never happened. This added to Black Americans being unable to trust White Americans due to no-one being there for them. However many White Americans were scared of the KKK, for the fact that if they told the authorities of the crime they had witnessed or racial discrimination witnessed they would be murdered or there houses burned and other severe antisocial acts against them. This added to the klans influence in America.
Tensions Among Black Activists And White Activists During The Civil Rights MovementIn the mid-1950s, nearly one hundred years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and three hundred years after colonists forced Africans into slavery, Rosa Parks took what is generally considered the first step in the movement that aimed for true equality among blacks and whites. Refusing to give up a ...
The Ku Klux Klan were fearsomely violent against Black Americans. There methods of punishments were extreme for example they would lynch black Americans. They would commit this gruesome act for the simplest of reasons. One example of there extreme violence was the murder of Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a Black American boy from Chicago, Illinois, who was murdered at the age of 14 in Money, Mississippi, a small town in the state’s Delta region, after reportedly whistling at a white woman. He was brutally murdered Till had been beaten and an eye gouged out, before he was shot through the head and thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied to his body with barbed wire. This shows how extreme the KKK were for such innocent acts. This caused serious anger with Black Americans, however this started to show white people how serious this problem had become and it had now gotten to the point they were killing young children for there beliefs. However the murder of Emmett Till was noted as one of the leading events that motivated the American Civil Rights Movement. The KKK didn’t always kill to prove there point another common act of violence committed against Black Americans was being whipped in public usually they would be tied around a tree and whipped repeatedly until there were seriously injured. This seriously humiliated Black Americans as many of them were men and there family would have to sit and watch this sickening act. They often committed these acts to keep there reputation in check and remind people that they were in power and no one was stopping them.
In this large city of ours situated on big spinning ball, inside a vast galaxy, and even larger universe. We sometimes tend to leap out into the unkown embracing and fearing life on other planets, when we can not embrace life or learn not to fear life on our own planet. We as a society have formed our own barriers when those placed upon us have been removed. We rarely see mixed neighborhoods ...
In conclusion Black Americans had many vas reasons to fear the KKK during the 1920s and the 1930s. The worst of which I believe is lynching as it is the most violent act and the most cruellest way to die, it also left many families distraught. I believe all these reasons angered black Americans as they paid taxes just like white Americans however did not receive the same protection and support as white Americans which was extremely unfair.