The Ku Klux Klan in the 1960’s

The Ku Klux Klan.

Ku Klux Klan advert from the 1960's

Poster advertising the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960’s

The Ku Klux Klan has existed in different formats for a long time. The Klan was designed to ensure White Supremacy and promoted Anglo-Saxon ideals. It had a large following in the Southern States and its members were instrumental in ensuring that the Jim Crow Laws existed and had a history of using violence against Blacks. In the 1960’s the Ku Klux Klan reemerged as a political force. Faced with the increasing number of rights for Black and Hispanic Americans an increasing number of people looked to the Klan to ‘defend’ their superior position. The Klan worked as it had done in the past, by utilising fear and violence to attempt to ensure continued white supremacy. The authorities found it difficult to tackle the problem of the Ku Klux Klan as many members of the Klan were people who had positions of authority, such as Polce Officers.

Sources

Source: Ron Laynter talking in 1972 about being abducted.

“a powerful flashlight was turned on me and I began to see a City of Houston police officer removing my blindfold. …across his face and over his head he wore the mask and hood of the Ku Klux Klan, the secret terror organization dating back to the American Civil War. … His face was hidden, the number of his police badge was covered with masking tape and so were the identifying numbers on his Houston police car.

Source: Ron Laynter

In one hand he held a big black Bible. In the other he held a hair trigger semi-automatic rifle. On his head he wore a Western hat with a Confederate flag. He spoke of God and love, but on the wall behind him was a yellow Klan bumper sticker of hate. It listed as “signs of the Anti-Christ” peace movements, the United Nations, Jews and communism. A giant American flag was pinned on the wall in a nearby room next to the rest rooms and beside an assortment of Confederate flags was a badge sticker on a wall saying “Friend of Police.” A collection of loaded rifles and shotguns stood in various corners around the room.

Source: Robert F Williams, 1959

In 1957 the Klan moved into Monroe and Union County (N.C.). Their numbers steadily increased to the point wherein the local press reported 7500 at one rally. They became so brazen that mile-long motorcades started invading the Negro community.

These hooded thugs fired pistols from car windows. On one occasion they caught a Negro woman on the street and tried to force her to dance for them at gun point. Drivers of cars tried to run Negroes down. Lawlessness was rampant. Instead of cowing, we organized an armed guard. On one occasion, we had to exchange gunfire with the Klan.

Each time the Klan came on a raid they were led by police cars. We appealed to the President of the United States to have the Justice Department investigate the police. We appealed to Governor Luther Hodges. All our appeals to constituted law were in vain.

Links

Spartacus encyclopedia – detailed narrative history of the Ku Klux Klan. Scroll down for information on the Klan during the 1960’s.

Wikipedia – later Klans, the KKK in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

Global Security – article about Ku Klux Klan activities in the 1960’s.

Museum Stuff – timeline of Klan activities during the 60’s and some very good links.

The United States c1945-1971

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