The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Oldest Terrorist Organisation



From the First African-American President to One Supported by the Ku Klux Klan: Trump Wins in Upset | Democracy Now! – Donald J. Trump was elected 45th president of the United States on Tuesday, defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton in a stunning upset that reverberated around the world. Trump carried at least 279 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 218, although Trump appears to have narrowly lost the popular vote. Donald Trump has never held elective office. He opened his campaign in 2015 with a speech calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. He openly mocked his opponents, reporters, Asians, African Americans and the disabled. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, and he was heard in a 2005 videotape boasting about sexually assaulting women. Throughout the campaign, Trump drew the enthusiastic support of white nationalists and hate groups. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana, cheered the outcome of the election. Duke tweeted, “This is one of the most exciting nights of my life -> make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump! #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.”

Why isn’t the KKK designated as a terrorist organization?—Hopes&Fears – If, say, an American citizen were a known affiliate of al-Qaeda, they would stand to face some serious legal consequences. Why is an often violent hate group allowed to hold parades and recruit out in the open? Professor Randolph Michael McLaughlin of Pace University specializes in civil rights and has successfully faced the KKK in court. He tells Hopes&Fears, “The term ‘terrorist’ has been overused only in connection with Muslim extreme groups who have committed acts of terror. To my knowledge, it has never been used to designate homegrown American groups that terrorize minority groups.”

That turns out to be true. Homegrown “terrorist groups” simply don’t get designated the same way as a member of ISIS. And while hate crime laws have stiffened the penalties that a domestic terrorist group might face, it would be extremely difficult to label a domestic group as terrorists. We spoke with Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League about the numerous reasons why this is the case.

Ku Klux Klan: A History of Racism | Southern Poverty Law Center – This is a history of hate in America — not the natural discord that characterizes a democracy, but the wild, irrational, killing hate that has led men and women throughout our history to extremes of violence against others simply because of their race, nationality, religion or lifestyle.

Since 1865, the Ku Klux Klan has provided a vehicle for this kind of hatred in America, and its members have been responsible for atrocities that are difficult for most people to even imagine. Today, while the traditional Klan has declined, there are many other groups which go by a variety of names and symbols and are at least as dangerous as the KKK.

Some of them are teenagers who shave their heads and wear swastika tattoos and call themselves Skinheads; some of them are young men who wear camouflage fatigues and practice guerrilla warfare tactics; some of them are conservatively dressed professionals who publish journals filled with their bizarre beliefs — ideas which range from denying that the Nazi Holocaust ever happened to the contention that the U.S. federal government is an illegal body and that all governing power should rest with county sheriffs.

Despite their peculiarities, they all share the deep-seated hatred and resentment that has given life to the Klan and terrorized minorities and Jews in this country for more than a century.

The Klan itself has had three periods of significant strength in American history — in the late 19th century, in the 1920s, and during the 1950s and early 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its height. The Klan had resurgence again in the 1970s, but did not reach its past level of influence. Since then, the Klan has become just one element in a much broader spectrum of white supremacist activity.

Enforcement Acts – Wikipedia – The Enforcement Acts were three bills passed by the United States Congress between 1870 and 1871. They were criminal codes which protected African-Americans’ right to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws. Passed under the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, the laws also allowed the federal government to intervene when states did not act to protect these rights. The acts passed following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which gave full citizenship to anyone born in the United States or freed slaves, and the Fifteenth Amendment, which banned racial discrimination in voting.

At the time, the lives of all newly freed slaves, as well as their political and economic rights, were being threatened.[1] This threat led to the creation of the Enforcement Acts.[2]

Ku Klux Act passed by Congress – Apr 20, 1871 – HISTORY.com – With passage of the Third Force Act, popularly known as the Ku Klux Act, Congress authorizes President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations, and use military force to suppress the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

Founded in 1865 by a group of Confederate veterans, the KKK rapidly grew from a secret social fraternity to a paramilitary force bent on reversing the federal government’s progressive Reconstruction Era-activities in the South, especially policies that elevated the rights of the local African-American population. The name of the Ku Klux Klan was derived from the Greek word kyklos, meaning “circle,” and the Scottish-Gaelic word “clan,” which was probably chosen for the sake of alliteration. Under a platform of philosophized white racial superiority, the group employed violence as a means of pushing back Reconstruction and its enfranchisement of African-Americans. Former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was the KKK’s first grand wizard and in 1869 unsuccessfully tried to disband it after he grew critical of the Klan’s excessive violence.

Most prominent in counties where the races were relatively balanced, the KKK engaged in terrorist raids against African-Americans and white Republicans at night, employing intimidation, destruction of property, assault, and murder to achieve its aims and influence upcoming elections. In a few Southern states, Republicans organized militia units to break up the Klan. In 1871, passage of the Ku Klux Act led to nine South Carolina counties being placed under martial law and thousands of arrests. In 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Ku Klux Act unconstitutional, but by that time Reconstruction had ended, and the KKK had faded away.

Second Enforcement Act of 1871 – Wikipedia – The Enforcement Act of 1871 (17 Stat. 13), also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Force Act of 1871, Ku Klux Klan Act, Third Enforcement Act, or Third Ku Klux Klan Act, is an Act of the United States Congress which empowered the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to combat the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other white supremacy organizations. The act was passed by the 42nd United States Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on April 20, 1871. The act was the last of three Enforcement Acts passed by the United States Congress from 1870 to 1871 during the Reconstruction Era to combat attacks upon the suffrage rights of African Americans. The statute has been subject to only minor changes since then, but has been the subject of voluminous interpretation by courts.

This legislation was asked for by President Grant and passed within one month of the president’s request for it to Congress. Grant’s request was a result of the reports he was receiving of widespread racial threats in the Deep South, particularly in South Carolina. He felt that he needed to have his authority broadened before he could effectively intervene. After the act’s passage, the president had the power for the first time to both suppress state disorders on his own initiative and to suspend the right of habeas corpus. Grant did not hesitate to use this authority on numerous occasions during his presidency, and as a result the first era KKK was completely dismantled and did not resurface in any meaningful way until the first part of the 20th century.[1] Several of its provisions still exist today as codified statutes, but the most important still-existing provision is 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Civil action for deprivation of rights.

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