A brief account outlining the post-Civil War origins of the KKK:
"The original Ku Klux Klan began in 1865 as a social club of young men in Pulaski, Tennessee. Its ghostly uniform and rituals frightened superstitious Negroes; and when Klansmen discovered this fact accidentally, they lost little time in recruiting membership to 55,000."
A report on the August, 1925 KKK march in Washington, D.C.:
"The parade itself marshaled 'from 50,000 to 60,000 white-robed men and women' as the correspondent of the The New York 'Times' estimates, and H.L. Mencken tells us in the New York 'Sun'":
"The Klan put it all over its enemies. The parade was grander and gaudier, by far than anything the wizards had prophesied. It was longer, it was thicker, it was higher in tone. I stood in front of the treasury for two hours watching the legions pass. They marched in lines of eighteen or twenty, solidly shoulder to shoulder. I retired for refreshment and was gone an hour. When I got back Pennsylvania Avenue was still a mass of white from the Treasury down to the foot of Capitol Hill - a full mile of Klansmen..."
Click here to learn about the origins of the term "Jim Crow".
In 1928 the presiding übermensch of the KKK, Hiram Evans (1881 - 1966), saw fit to make a sartorial change in his terrorist organization by declaring that there would be no need in the future for any face-covering to be worn by any member. The article is primarily about the rapid "disintegration" that the Klan was experiencing and the tremendous loss in it's over all social appeal throughout the country.
"It was a success, temporarily, because it appealed to the playboy instinct of grown-ups and offered burning phrases of patriotism as the excuse for gallivanting about... It failed because its 'patriotism' was not real, but ancient bigotry in new a guise... It failed finally, because the genuine American sense of humor finally asserted itself and laughed at the Klan out of court."
Teddy Roosevelt's (1858 - 1919) magazine THE OUTLOOK, was often quite critical of the Ku Klux Klan, yet in this brief notice the editors seemed surprisingly Milquetoast in their reporting of the organization's growth and assorted activities. The article passively noted bizarre rumors that stood in contrast to the Klan's history:
"There have been some queer developments in the Ku Klux Klan. Thus in Georgia it has been alleged that Negroes have been asked to join..."
Attached is a 1922 report from THE LITERARY DIGEST regarding how remarkably close two KKK candidates for governor came to winning their respective state primaries. The two political contests in question, Oregon and Texas, caught national attention and became popular subjects for concern across the United States:
"The closeness of the vote ought to be a warning...If the Ku Klux Klan insists on entering politics, good citizens must show it the way out."
This article reported on the alarming growth and surprising appeal that the KKK was attaining in 1922. The unnamed journalist described numerous incidences that clearly reflected the Klan's open contempt for law throughout the country- concluding that the KKK "was beyond redemption." The article revealed that the newspaper editors who lived and worked in those regions where the Klan was most active had greater contempt for them than we otherwise might have been lead to believe.