Ku Klux Klan





    Status: Active
    AKA: KKK, Klu Klux Klan
    Formed: 1864
    Area of Operations: United States; Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia
    Headquarters: United States
    Ideology: Political (Nationalist), Religious (Christian Identity), Social (White Supremacist)
    Group Size: 5,500 - 6,000 members
    Known Leaders:

    Charles Barefoot, Joseph Bednarsky

    Group Affiliations: Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, Aryan Circle, Aryan Guard, Aryan Nations, Connecticut White Wolves, Hammerskin NationNational Alliance, National Socialist Movement, Nazi Low RidersThe Creativity Movement, The Nationalist Movement, White Aryan ResistanceWhite Revolution
    Headquarters of the Imperial Klans of America


     Organizational History

     Though the specific aims of different KKK groups vary, the organization wants to establish a “White America” in which nationality is defined by race, the government protects “white jobs” instead of giving them to minorities, and protects American industry and land from being sold to foreign competitors.

    There are an estimated 158 chapters operating in the United States. About two-thirds of the active KKK chapters are in the southern region of the United States while another third of the chapters are located among the Midwestern states.

    The original Ku Klux Klan was organized by former Confederate soldiers who were opposed to Reconstruction in the southern United States after the civil war. However, this group was disbanded a few years after because the founder, Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, disagreed with the violent measures being used by members. Despite the formal disbandment of the organization, local KKK groups continued to operate, and to use violent actions against minorities and other targets.{Ref.Cite("Dixon, T. and Keller, A. I. (1905). The clansman- An historical romance of the Ku Klux Klan. New York : Doubleday, Page & Company. ")}} The continued activity of local KKK elements is a recurring theme throughout their history; it would be difficult for even the most powerful KKK leader to claim total control over the organization. The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1915 by William J. Simmons in Georgia. Though both the new Klan and the original Klan had formed in the southern US, the second KKK would far exceed its predecessor in both size and geographic boundaries. Providing the impetus for the new Klan was a film called The Birth of a Nation, a film that glorified the original KKK and provided a popular image of the group that is still active today.[1]The new Klan addressed more issues it deemed offensive to the white race; these new issues included asserting the supremacy of the white race and anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism. Despite the Klan’s period of dominance and popularity in the early 1900s, bad publicity attracted the attention of the federal government. In 1944 the Internal Revenue Service filed charges against the group for back taxes in excess of $600,000. The organization was effectively dissolved. The name Ku Klux Klan then began to be used by a number of independent groups.


    At its peak in the 1920s KKK membership was estimated at 4 to 5 million;[2] as of 2005 there are an estimated 5,500 to 6,000 dedicated Klan members. [3]


    • Alabama Empire Knights of the KKK (AEK-KKK)
    • American Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan (Alabama)
    • American Klan Association
    • California's Invisible Empire
    • California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (CA.K-KKK)
    • Church of the National Knights of the KKK
    • Carolina Knights of the KKK (CK-KKK; North Carolina based)
    • Confederation of Independent Orders
    • Confederate Knights of the KKK
    • Confederate National Congress (CNC; merged with CK-KKK 1989)
    • Federated Knights of the KKK in South and North Carolina
    • Federation of Klans, Knights of the KKK (FKK-KKK; K-KKK splinter group, draws significant number of supporters from this group in Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, and Kentucky)
    • Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Tennessee)
    • Georgia's New Order of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
    • Illinois Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (IK-KKK; one of the largest KKK organizations in the Midwest with about 100 members)
    • Independent Northern and Southern Klans (Indiana based; NK-KKK splinter)
    • Indiana Realm of the KKK
    • International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KK-KKK)
    • Invincible Empire, Knights of the White Rose (California based)
    • Invisible Empire (formed in 1975; one of the biggest Klan factions)
    • Iowa's White Knights of the KKK
    • Justice Knights of the KKK (Tennessee based)
    • Keystone Knights of the KKK (KK-KKK)
    • Klan Youth Corps (KKK's youth group for kids 18 and under)
    • Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (K-KKK; the biggest faction still active in the United States today)
    • Knights of the White Camellia (Texas based)
    • Knights of the White Rose
    • Lake County Triple K Club (small Illinois Klavern affiliated with the Invisible Empire)
    • Michigan Knights of the KKK (MK-KKK)
    • Michigan Realm of the Knights of the KKK (MRK-KKK; splinter of MK-KKK)
    • Missouri New Order KKK
    • National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP; Pat Buchanan removed to people from his 1996 presidential campaign because of connection with the NAAWP)
    • National Knights
    • National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
    • Nevada KKK
    • New Empire KKK (North Carolina based)
    • New Jersey's White Knights of the KKK
    • New Order Party, Knights of the KKK (NOP, K-KKK; Missouri based)
    • North Carolina's White Knights of Liberty
    • Northwest United Klan (splintered from Connecticut Invisible Empire because the group was seen as too moderate and lacked confrontational approach)
    • Ohio's Independent Invisible Knights
    • Ohio Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (OH.K-KKK; NK-KKK splinter)
    • Order of the Fiery Cross, K-KKK (Lake County, IL, Klavern)
    • Pennsylvania's White Knights of the KKK
    • Southern White Knights (SWK; Georgia based)
    • Realm of Florida (Invisible Empire affiliated)
    • Tennessee's United Empire Knights of the KKK
    • Texas Emergency Reserve (military arm of the K-KKK in Texas; established training camps at five rural sites to drill with weapons and practice ambush and demolition tactics. A lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Klanwatch Program ordered the camps closed in 1982, when they were found to be in violation of a Texas law over 100 years old. The law bans "military companies" which privately create a military organization having a "command structure, training, and discipline so as to function as a combat or combat support unit" other than those authorized by the governor. The SPLC claims that over 2,500 members were trained by the group.)
    • United Klans of America (UKA; one of the biggest KKK factions; led anti-civil rights actions in the south during the 1960s)
    • White Heritage Knights of the KU Klux Klan (California based)
    • White Knights
    • White Knights of the KKK (WK-KKK; Missouri based)
    • White Patriots Party (WPP; CK-KKK successor; focused on military training with weapons and explosives. They are suspected to be in connection with a machine gunning of a gay bookstore that left two people dead. Using a North Carolina law the Southern Poverty Law Center's Klanwatch Project forced the group's leadership to sign a court order prohibiting paramilitary activity. After the group continued to train, the leaders were convicted of criminal contempt, and after appealing all the way to the Supreme Court, were eventually jailed. The SPLC claims that over 1,000 members were trained by the group.)


    Through the specific aims of different KKK groups vary, the organization wants to establish a "White America" in which nationality is defined by race, the government protects "white jobs" instead of giving them to minorities, and protects American industry and land from being sold to foreign competitors.[3]


    A number of different ideological influences have been observed throughout the history of the Klan, however, the main ideological theme of the group is white supremacy. Past ideological influences have included conservative Christian values (anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic) and American nationalism. In recent years, Christian identity beliefs have also become more dominant among different KKK groups.[3]

    Areas of Operation

    There are an estimated 158 chapters operating in the United States, about two-thirds of the active KKK chapters are in the southern region of the United States, while another third of the chapters are located among the Midwestern states. The following list shows the states and cities where the highest frequency of KKK activity had been recorded:[3]

    • Alabama (Muscle Shoals, Birmingham, Daphne)
    • Arizona (Phoenix, Siloam Springs)
    • Arkansas (Bentonville, Concord, Little Rock)
    • Delaware (Harbeson)
    • Florida (Valrico, Oceanway)
    • Georgia (Athens)
    • Idaho (Cataldo)
    • Indiana (Osceola, South Bend, Gary, Crown Point)
    • Kentucky (Covington, St. Matthews, Louisville)
    • Louisiana (New Orleans, Iowa, Lafayette, Longville)
    • Maryland (Sharpsburg, Hagerstown)
    • Massachusetts (Newton, Needham, Westwood)
    • Michigan (Ann Arbor, Roseville)
    • Mississippi (Jackson, Philadelphia)
    • Missouri (Potosi, Springfield, St. Louis)
    • New Jersey (Jersey City)
    • New York (New York City, Mount Vernon)
    • North Carolina (Benson, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro)
    • Ohio (Lima)
    • Oklahoma (Tulsa)
    • Oregon (Portland)
    • Pennsylvania (Boswell, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Norristown)
    • South Carolina (Sumter)
    • Tennessee (Nashville, Newport, Greenville, Chattanooga)
    • Texas (Jasper, Bryan, Santa Fe, Big Spring, Tomball, Houston)
    • Virginia (Hillsville, Amelia, Yorktown, Ashburn)
    • Washington


    During the KKK's early history each state where the group had a was referred to as a realm. Each realm was under the control of a Grand Dragon that had a staff of Hydras, normally eight. Counties where the group wielded influence were referred to as dominions, and were overseen by a Grand Titan who had a staff, referred to as Furies. A county was a province ruled by a Grand Giant and four Night Hawks. The local cells were referred to as dens. Although the new Klan has adopted much of the previous stated terminology, the status of various Klan groups as independent of one another has fundamentally changed the meaning that leadership titles have within the various organizations.[3]


    The majority of funding for Klan groups comes from three sources: personal funds obtained through extra-organizational employment, membership dues, and the sales of Klan products and paraphernalia. The price of Klan products as well as membership dues can vary from one Klan group to another. Some groups fare quite well financially through the sale of products. For example, the White Camelia Knights claims to have sold at least a thousand copies of a book written by the group's Grand Dragon at a cost of $18.00 per book.[3]

    Targets and Tactics

    The Klan has historically targeted minority groups that compete economically with lower-class whites. Throughout the group’s history, some of the relevant Klan targets have included Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, homosexuals, Catholics, anti-Prohibitionists, and drug dealers.

    The KKK is involved in both violent and non-violent activity. The latter includes public rallies and protests, and even “adopt-a-highway” programs designed to present a good image of the Klan. By far the most common Klan activity is communication; meetings, protests, and internet propaganda. This is preferable to most Klan groups because it offers the opportunity to gain new recruits, and it is legal. However, Klan members continue to be implicated in violence ranging from cross-burnings, possession of bombs and bomb making material, to instructing others how to use destructive devices.[3]

    Different weapons in the possession of Klan members have been uncovered during police operations. Weapons range from small caliber handguns to AK-47s and Uzis. In addiction, a number of police raids in past years have uncovered explosives and bomb-making materials, including dynamite, ammonium, nitrate, and hand grenades. [3]


    For the early Klan, membership in a local Klan group also meant that Klan members were affiliated with a national Klan organization.[4] This was also true during the early years of the resurrection of the Klan. Local Klan groups were the chief recruitment tool for the national organization. Indeed, the only way that a person could become affiliated with the Klan was by becoming acquainted with a local representative, as opposed to directly contacting higher ranking members.[5] This is no longer the case; each Klan group must fend for itself when recruiting new members, and many have been known to compete with one another for new recruits. One of the most popular and effective methods of recruitment now is the internet.[6] In addition to the internet, KKK groups are known to conduct mass mailings in targeted neighborhoods, spread leaflets on lawns, and spread their message through white power music.[3]


     KKK Rally.jpg


    Ku Klux Klan parade in Springfield, OH in 1923.[7]  

    KKK Rally II.jpg

    Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan hold an annual rally in Pulaski, TN in July 2009.[8] 


    KKK Tattoo.jpg

    KKK member displays tattoo during annual gathering in TN in July 2009.[9]

    KKK Rally TN.jpg

    Members of the KKK rally in a town in West Virginia in June 2003.[10]

    KKK David Duke.jpg

    Former KKK Grand Wizard living in Austria.[11]

    KKK Logo.jpg

    Logo from Virgil's White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan website. [12]


    1. MacLean, N. (1994). Behind the mask of chivalry: the making of the second Ku Klux Klan. New York: Oxford University Press.
    2. Hamilton, N. A. (2002). Rebels and renegades: a chronology of social and political dissent in the United States. New York: Routledge.
    3. Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG). 2006. Extremist Groups: An International Compilation of Terrorist Organizations, Violent Political Groups, and Issue-Oriented Militant Movements. Huntsville, TX: Office of International Criminal Justice.
    4. Wade, W. C. (1998). The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
    5. Chalmers, D. M. (1987). Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan. 3rd. ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
    6. Anti-Defamation League. (2001). Poisoning the web: hatred online, internet bigotry, extremism and violence. [1] (Accessed July 22, 2004)
    7. Ku Klux Klan. (2005, July 1). Ohio History Central. Retrieved from [2]
    8. KKK Rally in Tennessee. (2009, July 11). LIFE. Retrieved from [3]
    9. Ku Klux Klan Holds Annual Gathering in TN. (2009, July 11). Inform. Retrieved from [4]
    10. Ridley, J. (2008, May 21). Why we hate. Esquire. Retrieved from [5]
    11. Former KKK grand wizard living in Austria. (2009, May 13). The Telegraph. Retrieved from [6]
    12. Virgil's White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan website. Retrieved from [7]

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    KKK Members in Regalia
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     KKK David Duke.jpg
    David Duke, former leader of the KKK
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     KKK Logo.jpg
    KKK Logo
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     KKK Rally II.jpg
    Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
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     KKK Rally TN.jpg
    KKK Rally in West Virginia
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     KKK Rally.jpg
    KKK rally in 1923
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     KKK Tattoo.jpg
    KKK Tattoo
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