What is the KKK?

The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 by a group of men including John D. Kennedy, Captain John C. Lester and Frank O. McCord, among others, in Pulaski, Tennessee. “The name was derived from the Greek word kylos, meaning ‘circle’. ‘Klan was added for the purpose of alliteration” (“Ku Klux Klan”). The infamous burning-cross icon became a symbol of the KKK in the 1920’s, which was one of many tactics used for intimidation. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of Klan members were the white robes they wore along with cone shaped hats that covered their faces. These costumes accomplished their goal of making them look more outlandish and terrifying, and for the intimidation of their victims (Smith). The Klan was pretty selective in accepting members, contrary to popular belief, only WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) could become members. These members possessed the ideology of white supremacy to all other races and ethnic divisions, similar to the concept of Neo-Nazism, however they claim to have based their beliefs on Christian values and nativism. It is often thought that the KKK only hated African-Americans, but many other groups acquired hatred from the Klan, such as Jews, Catholics (for a short time), homosexuals and various immigrant groups. (Anti-Defamination League).