Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mapping the Rise of the Ku Klux Klan

Between the First and Second World Wars the second Ku Klux Klan managed to open chapters in every state in the United States and become prominent in many major cities. The second KKK preached "One Hundred Percent Americanism" and opposed Jews, blacks, Catholics and immigrants. At its peak the organization claimed that about 15% of all white adult males in the USA were members of the KKK.

The Virginia Commonwealth University has created an interactive map which visualizes the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan between 1915 and 1940. Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan shows how the second Klan spread from the Deep South across the whole United States. While the first Klan of Reconstruction and the third Klan of the Civil Rights era were both largely confined to the Deep South, the second Klan established chapters across the whole country.

If you press play on the VCU map you can watch how the second Klan branches out from Georgia & Alabama to spread across the whole of the U.S. between 1915 and 1940. Each dot on the map shows a local unit or 'klavern'. If you click on a dot on the map you can discover the klavern's name and the year it was established.

If you want an idea about where extreme far right organizations are operating today you can refer to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map. This interactive map shows the locations of hate groups operating in the United States according to the latest annual SPLC census of hate groups. The SPLC defines a hate group as an organization which "has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics".

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