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Essay/Term paper: The klan unmasked

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Book Reports

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The Ku Klux Klan has been the most organized of the many

different White supremacy groups that came into being after the Civil

War. The ill-reputed Knights of the Klan have been involved in countless

incidents of human rights violations against blacks and other minority

groups in America. Especially in the South, during and after the

Reconstruction period, the Klan played a major part in formulating and

forcefully employing many of the Jim Crow laws, that delayed black man"s

true freedom for a century.

Stetson Kennedy is a native of Jacksonville, Florida

where the Klan was very active. Kennedy saw first hand the working of the

Klan when a maid in his house was taken for a ride by the Klan and badly

tortured. Kennedy developed a hatred for the Ku Klux Klan and wanted to

do all he could to limit the influence of and put a stop to its hate

mongering. He wrote a book "Palmetto Country" in which he blasted the

myth that the Klan was formed to "save the South" from Scalawags,

Carpetbaggers and Negroes. This was the view held widely throughout the

South and took root more so as it was romantically depicted in Southern

writers publications and the ground breaking movie "The Birth of a

Nation". Kennedy noted that the Klan was actually the handiwork of the

rich Southern plantation holders, who wanted to keep the black labor

force under chains similar to those of slavery.

Also, Kennedy noted that the few things written about the

KKK were editorials rather than exposes. He felt the need for not just

words but for legal evidence against the Klan"s inside machinations. For

that purpose someone would have to go under a Klan robe and turn the

hooded order"s dirty linen for all the world to see. The author decided

to volunteer for the job and thus began his adventures as a Klan-buster,

in the headquarters of the Klan at the time in Atlanta. The first few

chapters relate his experiences at the Klan meetings and his mostly

successful efforts to report the planned acts of hooded terrorism to


Soon enough, Kennedy had enough incriminating evidence

against the Klan. In an action packed moment in the courthouse, Kennedy

disrobed from under his Klan mask in front of stunned Klansmen who had

thought he was one of them. Kennedy testified against the vicious

organization, and played an important role in bringing the Klan to its


Through the remainder of the book, Kennedy relays his

experiences working against other similar outfits, like the Colombians in

Florida, who had Nazi leaders perpetrating anti-Negro, anti-Catholic and

anti-Semitic sentiments. As a result of his daring confrontations with

the Klan and other organizations, Kennedy has had to face numerous

threats to his life and property.

"The Klan Unmasked" is a real eye-opener into the

devilish machinations of the Ku Klux Klan. Instead of sermonizing about

the issue, Kennedy takes a very daring and practical approach and

enthralls the readers with his Klan-busting adventures. It portrays the

dangers of falling into the vicious business of hate-mongering very

effectively and makes us think hard about the racial and social problems

facing American society as it enters a new century. 

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