Aim : Examine how fear and violence was used against Black Americans in the South
A Climate of Fear Jim Crow laws and restrictions on Black people’s right to vote helped to maintain white power over Black people. Fear was also used to control Blacks and many lived in fear of ‘lynching’. ‘Lynching’ describes a variety of murders, tortures and punishments given to Black Americans,. Black people would be whipped, hanged or even burned alive by a mob of people who were happy to watch.
Women as well as men were lynched. Around 4,743 people were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 of them black, 73 percent of them in the South.
The charred body of 17 year old Jesse Washington. He was a mentally disabled boy found guilty of rape and murder. After his 4 minute long trial he was seized by a white mob, brutally tortured and burnt alive. There were no consequences for the members of the mob.
What Did Ku Klux Klan Believe In? The Klan was an extreme ‘WASP’ organisation. Klansmen believed that Black Americans were inferior human beings. They were also against Catholics, Jews and even divorced women. The Klan justified its actions by saying they were protecting ‘the American way of life’.
How Was the Klan Organised? The Klan was known as the Invisible Empire. The Klan was led by a ‘Grand Wizard’. Local Klan organisation were called Klaverns All members had to be native-born Americans, White, Protestant males, aged 16 or over. The KKK are most famously known for wearing white robes and masks with pointed hoods.
What Did the Klan Do? Klansmen often burned crosses on hillsides and near the homes of people they wished to frighten. If their victims still did not do what they wanted, they were kidnapped, whipped, mutilated or murdered. Masked Klansmen would march through the streets of towns and cities, threatening people with punishment and warning others to leave town. The Klan lynched many Black Americans.
Why Did Support for the KKK Increase? By 1900 it seemed the KKK had died out but after 1920 the organisation grew quickly. Unemployment was growing. New immigrants were flooding into the USA Poor Whites saw the Klan as their protectors In the South the Klan’s main targets were Black Americans.
How Important Was The Klan? The Klan was an illegal organisation using terrorist organisation. Due to the secrecy surrounding it, few Klansmen were arrested. In many communities, local police officers, sheriffs, judges supported the Klan. Others were bribed and blackmailed to turn a blind eye to what was happening.
Tasks Complete the Activities on page 47 of your workguide questions 1-2. Copy the diagram on page 53 on ‘The Klan’s Influence. Complete the Activities on page 51 of your workguide questions 1-3.