They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group Summary & Study Guide

Susan Campbell Bartoletti
This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of They Called Themselves the K.K.K..
This section contains 598 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group Study Guide

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group Summary & Study Guide Description

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a very thorough history of the beginning of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee. She explains the atmosphere in the South as the war ends and the destruction that awaits the returning soldier. The Confederates are not allowed to do business or have political positions for too long after their return. Many men who are accustomed to working and being leaders have too much time and too much resentment. It is suggested that the KKK started as a social club. The men who started it had once been in fraternities in the South. Other historians believe that it started to take over their old position of being in control of the black man. What first may have been horseplay and some fun of grown men in sheets riding through a picnic soon became a full-fledged hate group who committed horrible atrocities.

Bartoletti introduces the reader to President Johnson and his Reconstruction attempts. Since Johnson was a Southerner and understood the people of the South and how much things were changing for them, he was more lenient than the Congress believed he should have been. He allowed the South to pass some laws that protected them from the black freedmen but put the freedmen back into a slave role. Bartoletti goes into Johnson's near impeachment and the total loss of power for the president. The United States needed a strong leader and they decided that was U.S. Grant. The black man was supposed to be able to vote and many did. The old masters were astounded when the freedmen voted Republican. The Democrats of the South didn't forget that Lincoln had been a Republican.

The KKK grew more frightened of the changing South. They were afraid that the black freedman would get control entirely and enslave the white planters. After exploring the political scene, Bartoletti devotes a chapter to education of the Negro and then the spiritual aspect of the whole culture. In every chapter she tells the personal stories of some of the freedman and the Klan. She makes the reader shudder as she describes the horror of being threatened during the night. The black family never felt safe, not even in their own home. The whippings were described as well as hangings and other killings. The freedman found no help or any justice in the white man's court in the South.

Grant finally convinced others to pass the Ku Klux Klan Act which allowed the government to move federal troops into a state or states with internal problems. If the people of the state were not living free and equal under the law, the federal government could move in and set things right for the oppressed citizens. Grant did move federal judges and U.S. marshalls in with the army and rounded up KKK members in mass. There were courts and the freedmen came with their claims. The Klan was scattered and not allowed to call itself the Klan for some years afterwards. As Grant left office, the KKK was supposedly punished and disbanded. Hays came into office with a promise to leave the South alone. Reconstruction was over.

In the Epilogue, Bartoletti gives the history as it continued through time. This epilogue is a summary rather like those the reader finds in a high school textbook. Bartoletti skims over the Civil Rights Acts and the assassinations. There is a timeline at the end of the book which traces the history from beginning of Civil Rights to the present.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 598 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group Study Guide
Copyrights
BookRags
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group from BookRags. (c)2016 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.