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The Ku Klux Klan is a secret terrorist organization that originated in the southern states during the period of Reconstruction following the American Civil War and was reactivated on a wider geographic basis in the 20th century The original Klan was organized in Pulaski Tennessee during the winter of 1865 to 1866 by six former Confederate army officers who gave their society a name adapted from the Greek word kuklos circle Although the Ku Klux Klan began as a prankish social organization its activities soon were directed against the Republican Reconstruction governments and their leaders both black and white which came to power in the southern states in 1867 The Ku Klux Klans long history of violence grew out of the resentment and hatred many white Southerners felt in the aftermath of the Civil War Blacks having won the struggle for freedom from slavery were now faced with a new struggle against widespread racism and the terrorism brought about by the Ku Klux Klan While the menace of the KKK has peaked and waned over the years it has never vanished William J Simmons a veteran preacher and salesman was a compulsive joiner holding memberships in many different societies and two churches He had always dreamed of starting his own fraternal group and in the fall of 1915 he put his plans into action On Thanksgiving Eve Simmons herded 15 fellow fraternalists onto a bus and drove them from Atlanta to nearby Stone Mountain There before a cross of pine boards Simmons lit a match and the Ku Klux Klan of the 20th century was born In 1920 the re-born Klan consisted only of a few thousand members With the help of two publicists Simmons spread the word of the Klan around the US like wildfire The Klan was to be pro-American which to them meant anti-black anti-Jewish and most importantly anti-Catholic The Klan grew rapidly
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