KU KLUX KLAN HISTORY
(The following information was gathered from public sources)
The original KU KLUX KLAN was founded on December 24, 1865 at the law office of
Judge Thomas M. Jones at Pulaski, Tennessee. The "Jolly Six" as they referred to
themselves were former Confederate Army Veterans.
1. Captain John C. Lester - Knight Hawk
2. Captain John B. Kennedy - Grand Magi
3. Frank O. McCord - Grand Cyclops
4. Calvin E. Jones - (son of Thomas M. Jones)
5. Richard R. Reed - Lictor
6. James R. Crowe - Grand Turk
Grand Cyclops, Grand Magi, Grand Turk, Grand Scribe, Lictors, and Knight Hawks were officers' titles of "The Den". Members were called "Ghouls". Two Lictors were "Outer Guards" and Knight Hawks were "Couriers".
Ku Klux Klan derived from the Greek word Kuklos meaning a circle with no beginning or end. Klan came from the Scottish word Clan referring to a family or a likened group of believers. They added KU to make the name "flow on the tongue" when pronounced.
The Civil War had officially ended in April of 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, VA. The rest of 1865 until 1877 were known as the period of Reconstruction, during which former Confederate States were under Union Army occupation until new state legislatures could be elected. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution formally ended slavery throughout America and the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution (both ratified in 1865) granted voting rights and citizenship to former slaves. Radical Republicans in the US Senate and House of Representatives were determined to "punish" the former Confederacy and "denied citizenship" to any White male who had supported the Confederacy during the War Between the States. Much of the South was in ruin, as most of the fighting has taken place on Southern soil. Confederate money was "worthless" and many people were "broke". This was a "terrible time" for White people!
The Ku Klux Klan started as a "social and fraternal" group. Members dressed up in hoods and robes made of bed sheets, riding at night on horseback to "scare" local folks, especially freed slaves. Slaves thought of them as "Ghosts" of Confederate War dead. By 1866, former Confederate leaders thought of the Ku Klux Klan as a "useful" political tool to help the White South regain political power. In a short amount of time the KKK spread throughout the eleven former Confederate States. Membership was kept "secret", as Union Army would "hang" without a "fair trial" any White suspected of being a Klansman. The first convention of the Ku Klux Klan was held at Nashville, Tennessee in May of 1867. The Klan was so "successful" at reestablishing White rule to the South that several Federal Laws were passed against it.
1865 Alien & Sedition Act
1870 & 1871 Two Ku Klux Acts
1868 The State of Tennessee passed a
separate Anti-Ku Klux Statute.
By about 1872 most Southern States were electing White Legislatures, so the Ku Klux Klan was formally "abolished" about 1874. Reconstruction ended with the presidential election of 1876 when Rutherford B. Hayes was elected US President over Samuel B. Tilden and Union troops were removed from the South in 1877.
General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) was originally asked to head the KKK, but declined due to health reasons. General Nathan Bedford Forrest was then asked and became the GRAND WIZARD of the KU KLUX KLAN in 1866. It was he who formally abolished it about the year 1874.
Imperial Wizards / 5 eras
1st Era - 1866 to approximately 1874
General Nathan Bedford Forrest
Title of "Grand Wizard"
Nathan Bedford Forrest
2nd Era - 1915 to approximately 1925
Col. Simmons formed a "New Klan" on Thanksgiving Eve in November 1915 at Stone Mountian, Georgia. This Klan was opened to White Men in the 48 United States with ancestry going back to the Revolutionary War or before. This Era of the Klan was founded on concepts of Americanism, meaning Christianity and Patriotism. There were between 4 to 5 million members by 1925. Special "Ladies Auxillary" was formed, as the KKK itself was a White male social and fraternal organization.
3rd Era - Late 1920's to mid 1930's
Late 1920's saw a dramatic decline in Klan membership due to several publicized scandals, especially in Indiana. David C. Stephenson was convicted of 2nd degree murder in Indiana. The Great Depression of 1929 and the hard years of 1930 to 1933 also caused membership to fall.
4th Era - Late 1930's to approximately 1945
The KKK was investigated during the 1920's and early 1930's by the US Congress. Eventually the National Office of the KKK was "closed down" in the early 1940's and assets sold off to pay "owed income taxes". During this period a number of states passed "Mask Laws" against public Klan activities. During the 1930's some members of the KKK formed an "alliance of sorts" with the German-American Bund (an American National Socialist organization). Klan membership declined due to the closing of the National Office and the fact that many White men served in the US Armed Forces during World War II.
5th Era -1993 TO PRESENT+
IMPERIAL WIZARD-RAY LARSEN
AND THE INDIANA BASED/NATIONAL KNIGHTS
I.W. RAY LARSEN
NEWS UPDATE. SEPTEMBER 14TH, 2010 RAY LARSEN WILL
OFFICIALLY HAVE BEEN A KLANSMAN FOR 50 YEARS.
History of the National Knights