(Archive - Week of January 29, 2005)

Senator Robert Byrd, of West Virginia, is alleged to have been a member of the Ku Klux Klan

The New York Times reported in 1971 on a letter Mr. Robert Byrd, West Virginia, wrote in 1946, after leaving the Klan. Writing to the Klan's Imperial Wizard, Mr. Byrd identified himself as a former Kleagle and recommended a person to serve as state Klan coordinator. He wrote, "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. . . . It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the Union. Will you please inform me as to the possibilities of rebuilding the Klan realm of W. VA?"

Here are the highlights of what was reported regarding Sen. Byrd's past: He was a member of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1940s; he was a staunch opponent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, even resorting to filibustering the legislation in an attempt to kill it; he was the only senator in American history to vote against confirming Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, the only two African-Americans ever appointed to the nation's highest court; he repeatedly used the word "nigger" in an interview with Fox News in March 2001.

So let's imagine the firestorm that would've erupted if a Republican senator (say, Trent Lott) had commented that a man with Byrd's track record would have been right for America during the Civil War, a war fought over slavery.

Membership Requirements for the Men
Not allowed in the ranks if not able to declare an unqualified allegiance to the constitution.

Not allowed in this movement who cannot pledge themselves to the protection, preservation, and advancement of White race. No one is allowed if you are not able to practice Brotherhood.

Only Pure white Christians allowed. 18 years of age, and who can dedicate their lives to the KKK.

The KKK is a strict law abiding organization. You will be SWORN to uphold law.

The KKK concedes the right of every Christian citizen the right to worship God as he sees fit.

Membership Requirements for the WOMEN
Open to white gentile females.

Native born citizens. Over 18 years of age. Not Catholic, socialist, communist, or so forth.

To be endorsed by at least two Klansmen or WKKK kegler or imperial commander. Owned no allegiance to any foreign gov't or sect. Six month Klan jurisdiction requirement.

A bit of history of why, how, and where, the Klans was formed
The first branch of the Ku Klux Klan was established during the month of May 1866, in Giles County, Pulaski, Tenn. which is five shotgun sounds from my own birthplace in Lawrence County, Tenn. At the end of the American Civil War radical members of Congress attempted to destroy the white power structure of the Rebel states. The Freeman's Bureau was established by Congress on 3rd March, 1865. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In the year that followed the bureau spent $17,000,000 establishing 4,000 schools, 100 hospitals and providing homes and food for former slaves.

Attempts by Congress to extend the powers of the Freemen's Bureau was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson in February, 1866. In April 1866, Johnson also vetoed the Civil Rights Bill that was designed to protect freed slaves from Southern Black Codes (laws that placed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working in certain occupations).

The election of 1866 increased the number of Radical Republicans in Congress. The following year Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act. The South was now divided into five military districts, each under a major general. New elections were to be held in each state with freed male slaves being allowed to vote. The act also included an amendment that offered readmission to the Southern states after they had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and guaranteed adult male suffrage. Johnson immediately vetoed the bill but Congress re-passed the bill the same day.

The first branch of the Ku Klux Klan was established in Pulaski, Tennessee, in May, 1866. A year later a general organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in April, 1867. Most of the leaders were former members of the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard was Nathan Forrest, an outstanding general during the American Civil War. During the next two years Klansmen wearing masks, white cardboard hats and draped in white sheets, tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites. Immigrants, who they blamed for the election of Radical Republicans, were also targets of their hatred. Between 1868 and 1870 the Ku Klux Klan played an important role in restoring white rule in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

At first the main objective of white supremacy organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Brotherhood, the Men of Justice, the Constitutional Union Guards and the Knights of the White Camelia was to stop black people from voting. After white governments had been established in the South the Ku Klux Klan continued to undermine the power of blacks. Successful black businessmen were attacked and any attempt to form black protection groups such as trade unions was quickly dealt with.

Radical Republicans in Congress such as Benjamin Butler urged President Ulysses S. Grant to take action against the Ku Klux Klan In 1870 he instigated an investigation into the organization and the following year a Grand Jury reported that: "There has existed since 1868, in many counties of the state, an organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire of the South, which embraces in its membership a large proportion of the white population of every profession and class. The Klan has a constitution and bylaws, which provides, among other things, that each member shall furnish himself with a pistol, a Ku Klux gown and a signal instrument. The operations of the Klan are executed in the night and are invariably directed against members of the Republican Party. The Klan is inflicting summary vengeance on the colored citizens of these citizens by breaking into their houses at the dead of night, dragging them from their beds, torturing them in the most inhuman manner, and in many instances murdering."

Congress passed the Ku Klux Act and became law on 20th April, 1871. This gave the president the power to intervene in troubled states with the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in countries where disturbances occurred. Although Ulysses S. Grant used this legislation several times, the Ku Klux Klan. However, because its objective of white supremacy in the South had been achieved, the organization practically disappeared.


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