Ku Klux Klan, 1865 till now

This 17 May 2014 video says about itself:

Confronting racism face-to-face – BBC News

Mo Asumang, daughter of a black Ghanaian father and a white German mother, talks to BBC News about her experiences making her new documentary, The Aryans, in which she confronts racists, both in Germany and among the Ku Klux Klan in America.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

150 years of lynchings, hate and burning crosses

Monday 12th October 2015

THE Ku Klux Klan, with its long history of violence, lynchings, burning crosses — all in the name of Jesus and white supremacy — is the oldest and most infamous of US hate groups.

Black US citizens have always been the Klan’s main enemy, but that hasn’t stopped the hooded Klansmen turning their hate on to Jews, Mexicans, other immigrants, and latterly to gays and lesbians, civil ceremonies and same-sex marriages. Today much of their spleen is vented on Muslims.

Despite all that hate the Klan has always seen itself as a strictly Christian organisation always strongest in the Bible belt of the Southern states.

One theory on how the Klan got its name has them using the word for circle, kuklos, from the classical Greek. Most scoff at the idea of these racist rednecks knowing anything of classic Greece.

Arthur Conan Doyle, who put a Klan member in one of his Sherlock Holmes stories, believed the name replicated the sound of a rifle being cocked.

The defeat of the slave-owning states in the civil war really upset those who believed God had given them, the white races, the right to rule over lesser breeds.

It didn’t take long for some of these white supremacists to found undercover organisations that would try to reverse the victories of the civil war that had only finished in April of 1865.

The first Klan was founded in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, by six veterans of the Confederate Army. It started as a secret vigilante group that targeted freed slaves and their allies black and white.

This seriously weakened the black political establishment. Murder and violence frightened some black people out of politics.

Early in its history the Klan introduced laughable ranks and titles like imperial wizard, grand dragons, grand titans and grand and exalted cyclops, all part of what they grandly declared was an invisible empire.

The white-hooded costumes, violent night rides, lynchings, tar-and-featherings, rapes, burning of black churches and other violent attacks on those challenging white supremacy became the hallmarks of the Klan.

The Klan became less popular as the Southern Establishment introduced official segregation and Jim Crow laws. The negro had officially become a second-class citizen and persecution by the Klan became almost unnecessary.

The popularity of this racist group would wax and wane with three distinct periods of growth in its history. The first after its founding, then in the 1920s and finally with the growth of the black civil rights movement from the late ’50s and ’60s.

In the ’20s a rekindled Klan organised against new threats to what it saw as the purity of the white race and its protestant religion. Catholic and Jewish immigrants from eastern and central Europe were the new enemy.

That fear of immigrants drew many members into the Klan. In 1925 it was claiming four million members. It certainly had enough to stage a huge march on Washington. It also boasted huge social and political influence, with hundreds of Klan-backed candidates elected to local, state and even federal office.

A series of sex scandals, internal political wrangling and battles over power undermined its support. Newspaper exposés of corruption by Klan leaders dramatically reduced its membership and influence.

The Klan arose a third time during the 1960s to oppose the growing civil rights movement and to preserve segregation.

It was fighting a losing battle against an unstoppable political force but that didn’t stop bombings, murders and other attacks.

One of the most heinous Klan crimes was the murder of four young girls killed while preparing for Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Since the ’70s the Klan has struggled with splits and divisions. Infiltration by government agents has led to prosecutions and court cases.

Today the Klan takes it place on the extreme right wing of US politics with many other tiny and ineffectual white supremacist, racist and even overtly nazi organisations.

There are at least a dozen varieties of Klans, each one claiming to be the true church, the true descendents of the Klan that came to birth in Tennessee a century and a half ago. Best estimates suggest that there are perhaps only up to 10,000 US citizens who support various manifestations of today’s Klan.

Some Klan factions are openly racist and fascist, sharing their platforms with nazis who publically praise Adolf Hitler.

Others take a much more subtle approach, cloaking their racism with more reasonable-sounding demands for civil rights for whites.

Today US society is still deeply racist. Examples of segregation, although in theory illegal, are still easy to find. Hate crimes such as the Charleston church shooting in June this year, where Dylann Roof shot nine black people dead at a prayer meeting, show the racist attitudes of the Klan are alive and well. Dylann Roof paid tribute to the Klan on his web site.

Fortunately more and more people white and black are combating racism wherever it raises its ugly head. But sadly it will still be a long time before the cowardly white-hooded nightriders and their fiery crosses are banished from the Deep South forever.

Alabama, USA cheerleading coach sacked for reporting Ku Klux Klan propaganda

Ku Klux Klan and White Pride T-shirts, worn by cheerleading coach Brian McCracken, and Brian McDowell, respectively

By Justin Block in the USA:

Alabama Cheerleading Coach Dismissed After Reporting Racist T-Shirt Worn By Fellow Coach

08/26/2015 01:38 PM EDT

An Alabama cheerleading squad has lost two of its coaches after a pair of racist T-shirts appeared at an August practice.

Brian McCracken, the assistant vice president of a Boaz, Alabama cheerleading team, resigned from his post late last week after wearing a Ku Klux Klan shirt to a North Alabama Youth Football & Cheerleading League practice, reports local Alabama affiliate, WAFF. The shirt’s text reads, “The Original Boys In The Hood,” and offensively makes a comparison to the 1991 film “Boyz N The Hood,” which focuses on gangs South Central Los Angeles.

“We have zero tolerance for any kind of discriminatory apparel or anything,” said Jones to WAFF.

Jones responded to the incident by contacting McCracken and banning him from wearing racially inflammatory shirts to cheer practice — something that shouldn’t really have to be said — but nonetheless, it was Tipton who was ultimately punished, not McCracken.

According to WAFF, the next time Tipton showed up at practice, Boaz’s cheerleading vice president and Brian’s wife, Melynnda McCracken, asked her to not come back.

“I’m just disgusted because I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong besides make a complaint that should have been kept private to begin with,” Tipton said. “I asked why and she could not give me any reason.”

Both Brian and Melynnda have since resigned, reports WAFF, but the Tipton family iterated that the damage has already been done — not to the parents, who completely fumbled the situation, but to the kids, who had to witness this racially-inflamed drama first-hand.

“It’s hard for a biracial child that is 4 and 5 to understand what racism is,” Kayleigh’s husband, Cody Tipton, said. “It just outrages me and a lot of other parents but no one will stand up to it because of the consequences their children will get.”

Why post-1865 Reconstruction failed for African Americans

1874 cartoon by Thomas Nast, about violence by organisations like the Ku Klux Klan and the White League against African Americans in the southern states of the USA

This is an October 1874 cartoon from Harper’s Weekly, by Thomas Nast, about violence by organisations like the Ku Klux Klan and the White League against African Americans in the southern states of the USA.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands today:

US government offered little protection to black population

The federal government ignored the rights of the black population after the American Civil War. Historian Mark Leon de Vries discovered that the national government virtually did not help at all. Doctorate ceremony on 23 April.

Terror campaign by the Ku Klux Klan

After the American Civil War (1861-1865) the national government passed a number of laws that should provide far-reaching social and political equality for blacks in the southern United States. This did not happen: a group of conservative whites in the region, the Ku Klux Klan, vehemently protested against this policy and orchestrated a campaign of terror against blacks and whites who supported them.

Government did not maintain its own laws

But not only local opposition was a cause of the sorry state of black Americans. De Vries: “Politicians from the north did little to enforce their own laws in the south. That was because the topic did not really live in the north, where relatively few blacks lived. It did not help the government much electorally to deploy people and resources accordingly. In addition, after some time the recovery of the relationship with the southern states became increasingly important.”

Red River Valley: hotbed of violence

De Vries discovered this by the study of violence against blacks in the Red River Valley, Louisiana. “According to statistics, this was one of the regions where most violence occurred against black people. That was also because the federal court was far away: to get there you had to travel a few days, first on the Red River, then along the Mississippi. When the water was high enough, at least. Law enforcement was done mainly by local sheriffs and judges who disliked the ideas from the north.”

Washington knew of abuses

He believes that compliance with the laws certainly would have had effect on the position of black people. “First, because the violence in the area noticeably decreased in those places where local federal officials themselves took the initiative to enforce existing laws. Because there were abuses in the Red River Valley, Washington heard that too. After a few years, after federal enforcement was greatly reduced, violence flared up again. Second, if the legislation would have brought nothing, why did the southerners there resist it so much?” De Vries was the first historian who through the study of a particular subject area studied how the national government in the United States reacted to violence against blacks.

Echo of the past

De Vries explains on the basis of his research there is a link between the past and the present. “The racial terror and lawlessness of that period reverberates in the recent murders of black Americans.” Does he think that even now the national government should intervene more actively? “That’s a tough question. You can see that now more organs react to abuses. The policeman who recently shot and killed black man Walter Scott will be prosecuted, the police union does not support him. Let’s hope that change in culture will continue.”

In the Walter Scott case, it was extremely important that a bystander made an amateur video. If there would have been no video, then things might unfortunately have gone like in the case of the death of Michael Brown.

Also translated from Leiden University about this:

The prevailing view, often based on research into federal level politics, is that the failure of Reconstruction was a more or less inevitable consequence of the compromises that the Republican party had to make and of, as a consequence, the relatively conservative reforms that they endorsed.

This research suggests, in contrast, that the failure of Reconstruction was by no means inevitable.

It was due to the refusal of the federal government to maintain in practice its reforms, limited as they were. These reforms could have achieved much more if the federal government would have found an adequate response to the violent opposition among the white population. The outcome of Reconstruction was therefore not so much a “compromise of principles,” but overall a capitulation to terror.

Ku Klux Klan prison guards’ murder plot in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

25 June 2014

Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or just the Klan is the name of three distinct movements in the United States. They first played a violent role against African Americans in the South during the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s. The second was a very large controversial nationwide organization in the 1920s. The current manifestation consists of numerous small unconnected groups that use the KKK name. They have all emphasized secrecy and distinctive costumes, and all have called for purification of American society, and all are considered right-wing.

The current manifestation is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members as of 2012.

The first Ku Klux Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members made their own white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.

The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, and adopted a standard white costume (sales of which together with initiation fees financed the movement) and code words as the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades. The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to the USA’s “Anglo-Saxon” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism. Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan.

From News4JAX in the USA:

KKK murder plot highlights racism in prison

Author: Kent Justice, Weekend anchor, reporter

Published On: Apr 02 2015 10:35:12 PM EDT Updated On: Apr 03 2015 12:13:00 AM EDT


A crime story filled with racism, corruption and undercover success has three Union County men under lock and key following a four-month investigation by local, state and federal agents.

All three men worked for the Department of Corrections Lake Butler facility where investigators believe that Thomas Jordan Driver, with co-worker David Moran, and with former guard in-training Charles Newcomb conspired to get revenge on an inmate by killing him.

The state has not named the target of the murder plot but they do identify all three men as known members of a specific group in the Ku Klux Klan.

Federal agents apparently infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in order to uncover and stop the plot before the three men could complete their deadly scheme with the final nail in the coffin being a staged murder scene that was supposed to be proof of the heinous crime.

“A lot of times in these cases, we have people come in and say we really didn’t mean it. But when the FBI staged this crime scene and these photographs were shown to each of these men, they were happy about it. They shook the source’s hand. The source even went to the point of asking them, “Is this what you wanted?” They each said yeah. They were happy about it. They were literally happy about it,” statewide prosecutor, Nick Cox, said.

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke in direct and powerful terms concerning the joint effort to stop the murder plot.

“I’ll tell you, we will not tolerate nor will we ever remain silent over the violence of hatred embedded in prejudice in this country,” Bondi said.

Bondai and other experts tracking hate groups said that this case is shocking because three present or past corrections officers were involved, planning to kill the inmate when he was released, because he had fought with one of those officers. And disturbing because of their alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

“To actually have three people involved with the correctional system plotting the murder of a former inmate who annoyed one of them, yes I think that’s fairly amazing,” Mark Potok, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. “It’s a very, very unusual case in this day and age. Historically of course, the prisons and Police Department, particularly in the Deep South, and that includes Florida, were filled with Klansmen. But that hasn’t been true for many years. It’s very unusual to come across these cases.”

Officials said the officers were tied to a specific group of the Ku Klux Klan, called the Traditionalist American Knights, whose imperial wizard made threats last fall during the upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri.

“In November he sent out a pamphlet in which he threatened to use “lethal force” against the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri if they in any way threatened his members. That got a lot of attention,” Potok said.

Potok says the KKK doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention in recent years because most members don’t operate out in the open and don’t operate in cities.

It is usually, he said, in rural areas and the larger group doesn’t initiate actions like the corrections officers are accused of.

“So what we see are people who act as lone wolves, that’s really the dominant thing that’s happening. They get tired of the hate groups which seem to never actually do anything other than rant and rave about their enemies. They take it upon themselves to one day walk out their door and start to kill,” Potok said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says racism is alive and well even though America has evolved in past 50 years from a civil rights standpoint, that prisons have become an ideal place for racism to survive.

“Many of the prisons are controlled, or at least partly controlled, by race-based prison gangs and it’s an environment in which racial hatred really flourishes. So it’s not terribly surprising when some of that rubs off on correctional officials,” Potok said.

Florida’s Department of Corrections has seen turnover at the top and down through the ranks in recent years, following complaints of racism and the mistreatment of prisoners.

Re-name Selma Edmund Pettus bridge, petition

This video from the USA says about itself:

Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama (March 7, 1965).

From change.org, about Alabama in the USA:

Petitioning U.S National Park Services and 2 others

Remove Selma’s KKK Memorialization: Rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Fifty years ago, the Voting Rights Movement marched through Selma and over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The marches across the bridge led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and today the bridge is a symbol of nonviolent victory for change!

Unfortunately, the bridge is STILL named after a man who served as Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, was a Confederate General, and was later elected as a United States Senator.

The bridge was the site of “Bloody Sunday”. On March 7, 1965, hundreds of nonviolent protesters attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery for their right to vote. But as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met by Alabama state troopers and deputized civilians who were armed with billy clubs, tear gas, and cattle prods and attacked the marchers and drove them back to Brown Chapel Church.

How could a landmark that holds so much significance for the civil rights movement be named after a man who not only supported slavery, but held one of the highest positions within the Ku Klux Klan?

It’s time for the state of Alabama, the city of Selma, and the National Park Service to remove a KKK leader’s name from the historic bridge.

Selma and the Voting Rights Movement altered the course of history forever, and Selma has done too much for this country to remain unchanged. Selma is currently 80% African American, with a black mayor and majority African American local city officials. The name Edmund Pettus is far from what the city of Selma should honor. Let’s change the image of the bridge from hatred and rename it to memorialize hope and progress.

Please sign our petition calling on Selma and Alabama leaders and the National Park Service to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

On the evening of March 25, 1965, Viola Liuzzo, the 39-year-old mother of five children, was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan following the march from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights and against Jim Crow segregation. Liuzzo, the wife of a Teamsters Union business agent, was a student at Wayne State University in Detroit: here.

German Pegida Islamophobic fuehrer Bachmann, Hitler copycat

The image of Lutz Bachmann styled as Adolf Hitler was published by the Dresden Morgenpost after a reader spotted it on Facebook

Apparently, for German Pegida Islamophobic leader Lutz Bachmann, his present long criminal record is not long enough yet. He wants to emulate the biggest criminal of all time, Adolf Hitler.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Germany’s Pegida chief Lutz Bachmann ‘poses as Hitler’ with the caption: ‘He’s back!

The leader of the right-wing anti-immigration group has since deleted his Facebook profile

Adam Whitnall

Wednesday 21 January 2015

The leader of the German right-wing political movement Pegida has come under fire after it was claimed he posed as Hitler in a Facebook post with the caption: “He’s back!”

Lutz Bachmann is the leader and most recognisable figurehead of the “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West” group, which has attracted up to 25,000 people to its anti-immigration marches in Dresden.

But in an online article entitled “The Two Faces of Lutz Bachmann”, the Dresden Morgenpost reproduced pictures which it claimed were from his Facebook profile showing him posing “in the style of Adolf Hitler”, as well as another from December 2012 of a Ku Klux Klan member and the slogan: “Three Ks a day keeps the minorities away.”

The images were all allegedly posted by Bachmann long before Pegida came to prominence with its first major marches in September. The leader, who insists his group’s views are “moderate”, reportedly deleted his Facebook profile after he was contacted by Morgenpost.

One of the newspaper’s readers, whose name was not revealed, provided screenshots which she claimed showed a Facebook conversation where Bachmann seemed to say there was no such thing as a “real war refugee” and describe immigrants as “cattle” and “garbage”.

“He spoke in a derogatory manner about other people who didn’t live up to his ideas,” she said. “When I challenged him, he blocked my profile.”

The “Hitler” picture has since appeared on the front page of Germany’s Bild, and Bachmann has not denied that it appeared on his page. …

Read more:

Anti-Islam demos spark furious right-wing power struggle

‘Pegida’ movement attack migrant youths

Angela Merkel: ‘They have hatred in their hearts’

See also here.

Update: The founder of the PEGIDA movement has stepped down, following a furore over an image of him on Facebook sporting a Hitler-style toothbrush mustache. Lutz Bachmann had at first tried to laugh off the image as a joke: here.

Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann steps down over Hitler photograph: here.