“We’ll go to the utmost ends of the Earth to hunt down the last of Satan’s spawn”(The Book). According to Ray Sanchez from CNN “There were almost twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists as by Islamic extremists in the U.S. from 2008 to 2016”(Sanchez). These attacks were racially motivated because of the deep rooted racism. After the Civil War groups such as the Klu Klux Klan formed, they couldn’t accept the fact that they were now supposed to be equal to blacks. This inability to accept equality is still prevalent in today’s white nationalist groups. Radical groups like the KKK have a surprising amount of similarities such as their terrorist acts as well as their core ideals with the white nationalists groups today.
The creation of the KKK dates back to the end of the Civil war. As bad as it sounds the creation of this kind of racial group was pretty predictable. Slavery had been prevalent for years and had imprinted the idea that they (Southern white people) were superior to their black counterparts. Then all of the sudden the Union wins the war along with the 13,14, and 15 amendments being passed legally making them equal. This equality was pushed to much to fast for white southerners to accept. Their solution? The formation of the KKK along with many other similar minded groups. More specifically the Klan was formed by former Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest and he also served as the Grand Wizard, or overall leader of the Klan and certainly played a significant role in its organized spread in early 1868. Bedford saw the destructive nature of what he created and successfully disbanded the organization, until 1915 when the silent film The Birth of A Nation was released that highly promoted the Klan and depicted them as “heros”. After the Civil War there was supposed to be an era of reconstruction to acclimate people into the new (free black) America, but the creation of the KKK, among other ways, was southerners attempt of combating total equality. Today’s white supremacist groups are branched off into many other groups who share some of the same values and ideologies. The rebirth of the Klan attracted millions before getting wiped away again in the 1930’s. It was till it was brought back in the 50’s and 60’s during the Civil Rights movement. The Civil Rights acts of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 put an almost end to segregation as well as the Klan. Still, there were many angry agitated white supremacists. They left the mainstream and and split off into many other racist organizations touching every corner of the nation.
The KKK was a group of southern white men who were fighting for their, or their father’s racial ideals. One of the main goals of these southerners was to “control the recently enfranchised freedpeople”(Klu). They were not willing to give up their power of African Americans so instead of owning them through slavery they used terror tactics. In one instance, after a group of African Americans protested the acquisition of a black man in Tulsa Oklahoma, the Klan was responsible for the murder of “Between 21 and 200 Black people”(12). This was just a small incident considering the total number of people lynched.“Researchers said they determined that 3,959 black people were killed in racial terror lynchings”(Berman,). The Klan cemented their dominance by using these deaths and public demonstrations of power to scare the rest into submission. Not only did the Klan out right kill African Americans, they served as the enforcement of Jim Crow laws. “The political enforcement of Jim Crow was entirely in Democratic hands. The Ku Klux Klan functioned as the paramilitary wing of the Democratic party, and it was used to drive Republicans out of the South after the Civil War”(National). The Jim Crow laws essentially restricted the rights of African Americans like the right to vote. The Klan would use their terror tactics as enforcement for these anti-black laws and to force the Republicans who sought to end the laws out of the south. In one instance they completely controlled the voting process in Orthope county. “1,144 people had voted Republican in April, while only 116 dared to vote Republican in November when Reed’s armed Klansmen surrounded the polls”(Klu). Not only did the Klan deny African Americans the right to vote, they made sure that only Political leaders that matched their views be elected.
White Supremacist groups formed from the origination of the KKK. Due to the Civil Rights acts put in place this caused the splitting up of the main KKK organization into many other racially motivated ones. The Neo-Nazis use websites such as the Daily Stormer and Stormfront to present their platform and plan. Another group is the neo-Confederates who have similarities as Neo-Nazis but with an added reminiscence of pre Civil War history. Then there’s the Alt- Right. A term originated by Richard Spencer. This group is typically a younger crowd who are more against an offended by political correctness. They scorn mainstream liberals, immigrants, feminists, and Social Justice Warriors. The goal remains the same throughout these groups. It is to create “a white-ethno state where each race lives in a separate nation”(Sanchez). Another one of if not the most influential motives for modern day white supremacy was the publication of the book The Turner Diaries. This book was written in 1978 by William Pierce a renowned white supremacist. The novel stars Earl Turner who is leading a white nationalist movement in the United States that results in genocide of all non-whites and Jewish people. “Since its publication the book has inspired countless acts of violence”(The Book). The most famous attack was the Oklahoma City attack which took place in 1996. It was a truck bombing coordinated and executed by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in downtown Oklahoma. This tremendous attack killed 168 people and wounded over 680 others. The blast caused damage to over 324 building within a 16 block radius. Since this event there has been countless others such as the the Charleston church shooting in which Dylann Storm(shooter) walked into a black church killing nine African Americans. Also the Centennial Olympic Park bombing committed by Eric Rudolph, who set a bomb killing a black spectator and wounding over 111 people. All of these attack were racially motivated.
Throughout most of america’s history there has always been a strong presence of white supremacy. This ideology has reared its ugly face throughout the years, first through the KKK then, modern white nationalist groups. Both of these groups share the similar ideology that whites are superior to all other races. There horrific acts of violence such as lynchings, bombings and shootings all were racially motivated. With white supremacy still very prevalent in this day and age people need to stand up and take action against it due to its core values being unconstitutional. Some actions that could be taken is a more aggressive and direct attempt at dismantling these white nationalist groups. Also more education through public schools about the reality of the horrible acts that spur from white nationalism.
Article by Hank Sanford and Connor King
“Klu Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Era.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, 4 Dec. 2005, www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/ku-klux-klan-reconstruction-era.
“National Review.” The Corner, 25 Oct. 2017, www.nationalreview.com/corner.
Sanchez, Ray. “Who Are White Nationalists and What Do They Want?” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 Aug. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/08/13/us/white-nationalism-explainer-trnd/index.html.
“The Book That Lies at the Heart of White Nationalist Violence.” ThinkProgress,
Berman, Mark. “Even More Black People Were Lynched in the U.S. than Previously Thought, Study Finds.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 10 Feb. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/02/10/even-more-black-people-were-lynched-in-the-u-s-than-previously-thought-study-finds/?utm_term=.5c937cd36239.
“12 Horrific Crimes Committed By The KKK Between 1921 And 2016 .” Essence.com, www.essence.com/culture/horrific-kkk-crimes.