Ku Klux Klan Grows and Contracts



A number of expose`s were printed on the activities of the Ku Klux Klan against Blacks, Catholics, Jews and other minorities. In the early 1920's, the organization had a membership of close to 5 million. After receiving extensive publicity, the Grand Dragon was eventually indicted for murder, and membership dropped to 9,000 by 1930.

Six former Confederate army officers founded the original Ku Klux Klan after the Souths defeat in the Civil War. It attacked newly freed slaves in the southern states and tried to prevent the functioning of some of the reconstruction era state governments. In 1870 a Federal Grand Jury determined that the Klan was a terrorist organization and Federal troops arrested klan members. State militia were also called out against them, and by the early 1870’s the Klan had collapsed completely

The Klan was reborn in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons on Stone Mountain Georgia. The Film Birth of a Nation is primarily credited to have helped restart the Klan. The movie glorified the role of the original Klan in the Reconstruction South. The Klan grew rapidly financing its growth by selling the white hooded robes its member wore. The Klans calling card became a burning cross. In its new incarnation, the Klan not only targeting African Americans but Jews and Catholics who were the majority of the immigrants to the US at the time. It wanted to keep America for white Protestant Americans.

Organizations such newly formed Bnai Brith and National Association of Colored People fought against the Klan. However, the conviction of the D.C. Stephenson the Grand Dragon of the Klan for murder had a profound effect in weakening the Klan. Yet as late as 1928 thousands of Klansman marched in a parade in Washington DC. The Depression and World War II ended the second version of the Klan which had been run as a business.