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The study of the Ku Klux Klan in this paper exposes the readers to the activities of the group and the way it advanced fear and terror in the people living in the United States of America, especially in the south. The progression of the group is studied alongside the jaunts that Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird explores growing in a society marred by racism (59). The study is important to explore different escapades through which the activities of the KKK relate to the lessons Scout learned about prejudice, hypocrisy, and racism among the people living in the United States.
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Where the KKK Originated
The organization was founded in the year 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee by the Confederate ex-soldiers. They started it as a secret society to repress the progressive Reconstruction activities in the south. They were against the policies that sought to elevate rights of the African Americans living in the south. The first leader of the group was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate General. Later, he tried to disband it in 1869, but the KKK group continued to thrive to execute its intended activities. The group used terrorist raids against white Republicans and African Americans at night. Their approaches included the destruction of property, intimidation, assault, and murder of their target subjects. They also aspired to determine the results of the upcoming elections through such intimidations. They were unhappy with the new immigrant communities and the minorities were being protected by the government policies. They sought to establish an order of white supremacy.
The government later used different approaches to counterattack the group. The Republicans organized militia groups to break up the KKK movements. In 1871, the Congress allowed President Ulysses S. Grant to use the military to suppress it. The KKK was highly radical and intimidated people in the south of America including the government. The most regrettable thing is that even after the end of KKK, the spirit of racism continued among the people living in the United States of America. That is why the subject of racism became a very common theme to different writers around that time. Even though fictional stories would not communicate about specific things that happen in reality, they depict what ails the society.
KKK Impacts on Blacks and the Minorities in the U.S
The organization sought to reinstate the white supremacy in the United States of America. The government tried to suppress it in the nineteenth century, but the white Protestants nativists later revived it in the twentieth century (Ray 5). It was so determined to oppose the rapid movements of the immigrant communities in the United States of America in the 1910s and 20s. They were also jittered by the African American civil rights movements that were at top notch during the 1950s and 60s. To show their grievances, they burnt crosses and staged parades. They also used marches and rallies t to denounce immigrants, Jews, blacks, Catholics and other organized labors in the south. Additionally, they bombed black schools and churches while waging violence against the blacks and white activists, since they were the ones promoting the protection of the minority rights. The KKK group concurred the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction. It is important to note that the radical members of the Republican Party actively drove the agendas of Reconstruction, and that is why Republicans were among the targets of the KKK. The auspices of the Great Depression in the 1930s affected the group and made it weak. Despite the weakening of the KKK during the periods of the Great Depression, the hatred against the blacks continued silently in the entire American society.
The Influence of the KKK on the Local Governments and Its Connection to the Novel to Kill a Mockingbird
The activities of KKK threatened the government in the south (Ku Klux Klan 157). Horrendously, the Confederate veterans who started KKK as a secret movement were supported by the local clansmen that were against the Reconstructionist thoughts that sought to give attention to promote the rights of the African Americans in the United States. Their main aim was to champion the white supremacy. They were greatly opposed to creating an order where the whites and the blacks would be the same in the United States. In addition, they were not comfortable with the continued acceptance of immigrant communities in the country. Generally, they were racist. Lee depicts the same theme of racism in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel paints an image of the life of a young person growing in the United States of America during the 1930s.
Scout, a daughter of Atticus Finch, a white lawyer who was hired to represent Tom Robinson who was falsely accused of rape was humiliated just for accepting to defend his client (Lee 59). Tom, a black man was taken to court not on any basis of truth, but because of the color of his skin. The story puts to light a period in the United States where people were not judged by the contents of their characters, but by their tribal or ethnic extractions. Scout as the protagonist in the story is more worried by the states of affairs that punish innocent people. His father, a prominent lawyer is more concerned about the morals of his children and involves them in an interlocutory conversation asking them to live by empathy and informed philosophy rather than superstition and ignorance. This shows that a society of discrimination and intimidation is not good for the young people. It gives them a bad example that is not good for their growth and development.
This study explores the effects of racism in the United States of America, more so in the south by the KKK group. Lee depicts the same in his novel, which tells the readers about the inner world of a young person growing in the United States during the 1930s. The people who advanced the feelings of racism used intimidation, violence, and terrorism to silence those that advocated for equality. Just as the KKK group attacked the Republican activists, Robinson’s lawyer was attacked in his effort to defend his client. Studying the activities of the KKK movement alongside the novel by Lee makes the readers appreciate the way literature communicates the things that happen in the society. Notably, it is important to reiterate that the study is important to explore different escapades in which the activities of the KKK relate to the lessons Scout got about the prejudice and hypocrisy as well as racism among the people living in the United States.
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- KKK, Ku Klux Klan. “Ku Klux Klan (KKK).” The Cambridge Guide to African American History (2016): 157.
- Lee, Harper. “To kill a mockingbird.” Litigation (1990): 58-68.
- Ray, John. “The American Roots of Fascism.” retrieved from ht-tp://ai-jane. org/bb/thread-8697-post-202944. html.