Extreme Reactions Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a hate group responsible for violence against blacks (and their white supporters), was an unforeseen consequence of Reconstruction. Although some government officials and members of the public did warn against the prospect of white vigilante groups forming after the war, the scope and range of the Klan and its activities took many observers by surprise. In truth, most of these Klan organizations were independent outfits only loosely affiliated with each another; some of them even actively competed against one another. Still, there is no doubt that they managed to disrupt postwar efforts to bring civil rights to African Americans living in the South.

The rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a hate group responsible for violence against blacks (and their white supporters), was an unforeseen consequence of Reconstruction. Although some government officials and members of the public did warn against the prospect of white vigilante groups forming after the war, the scope and range of the Klan and its activities took many observers by surprise. In truth, most of these Klan organizations were independent outfits only loosely affiliated with each another; some of them even actively competed against one another. Still, there is no doubt that they managed to disrupt postwar efforts to bring civil rights to African Americans living in the South.

Several descriptions of Klan activities are presented in this section. These range from an unofficial “notice” by a KKK group to a black Republican elected official in Georgia to various accounts of violence and faulty elections in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee to a book chapter recalling Klan outrages in South Carolina written by a black “‘Carpet-Bagger’ [i.e., Northerner] Who Was Born and Lived There.”

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