Tracking Hate Groups

I used the above picture during a week-long summer history institute a year ago; I also use this image in my US history classes to illustrate the notion of American terrorism, religion, and white supremacy during Reconstruction. It seems that many believe the KKK existed before Reconstruction — but that is simply not the case. Whites seeking to recapture the South in the name of God and white supremacy sought to terrorize blacks and sympathetic whites. If you look at the image carefully, it portrays a change of the guard. At one point, blacks were enslaved and thus controlled by environmental factors that worked against them. After the 13th Amendment, blacks were legally emancipated but never fully protected by the 14th and 15 Amendments of the Constitution. If I had things my way, I would seek to posthumously impeach every American president from Andrew Johnson to Herbert Hoover for their unwillingness to enforce the Constitution. I am going to let FDR and Ike after the hook just a bit, but only because there was enough pressure placed on them to act.

Above: Map of American Hate Groups

I am very careful in my classes to illustrate that the KKK took on their  role as racist in the name of Christianity; however, the reality regardless of their justifications was one that does not speak towards Christianity. The United States consist of a number of hate groups. Many of them claim to be doing the will of God. In truth, we as Americans know this is not the case. Moreover, Americans recognize that said groups only undermine the mission and faith of many loyal followers of Jesus Christ. Before 9/11, the worst act of terrorism to take hold on American soil was that of the Oklahoma City bombing. I say this noting that home-grown terrorism by Americans is an issue.

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5 thoughts on “Tracking Hate Groups

  1. Some of our students are having real-time lessons about this; the social studies teacher is having the students write letters to Lowe’s in response to their caving to the hate group in Florida by pulling their advertising from All American Muslim. One girl, who identifies as a born-again Christian, is struggling with this – it’s the first time, I think, that she’s been directly confronted with the hypocrisy of those who claim to follow her faith, and it’s tough on her. I have the feeling that she and I will be talking a lot in the coming week.

  2. This is an issue within the Muslim community. Americans focus so much on the rise of Islamic terrorist without paying attention to the domestic issues here in the states.

  3. Any opinion on the rise of television regarding its impact on race relations? The civil rights movement was no longer an abstract, distant thing, but it was front-and-center in living rooms across the country. The fog was being lifted from the mirrors, and what Americans saw in their reflections regarding race relations was not pretty. The instantaneous feedback from the Vietnam War turned public opinion in the same way, as preconceived notions were being contradicted by film evidence.

    Mass communication can be used for good (truth) or ill (propaganda). When used for good, it can cause the KKKockroaches to scurry for cover and make people aware of injustice. To see the flip/evil side of mass communication, check out childrens’ programming in Palestine where the token Jew is dressed up like a pig. Note: raw news footage is more honest than scripted programming in any country, be it 1960 or 2060. Irony: the hoods the Klan used to instill fear and maintain anonymity had the opposite effect on TV—a marketing nightmare from a television standpoint.

    True: a few Presidents had their hands full with World Wars and with economic depressions, but the lack of Constitutional enforcement is certainly a blemish on all of their records. A fig leaf to their defense would be that a masted ship is hard to turn when the winds are still, even with dynamic leadership. Still, it would have been nice to see someone at least try. In my opinion, television was an important breath of fresh air to put some wind in the sails. On a global level, the internet could do much the same thing for those that have access to it (assuming there is freedom of speech).

  4. Matt S,

    “Any opinion on the rise of television regarding its impact on race relations?”

    I hinted at this a great deal in a recent presentation I gave at a conference. I do have a post coming on this topic; however, it does not address the position of hate groups.

    As for presidents, I think many would be shocked at how weak JFK was on this matter. It really took MLK Jr. and the CR movements march on DC to get him to act. But, JFK was a Democrat who needed southern voters.

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