Ku Klux Klan papers

Ku Klux Klan papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Ku Klux Klan (1915- ). Athens Klan #5 (Athens, Ga.).
Title: Ku Klux Klan papers
Dates: circa 1924-1927
Quantity: 0.4 Linear feet (1 document box)
Abstract:The collection consists of materials found in an old house in Bogart, Georgia. Collection includes correspondences of the Athens Klan #5, a Klan summons, a warning letter, receipt stubs, an advertisement for a Klan barbecue, minutes of Klan meetings, membership application form and recommendation card, a Klan hood and sash, and miscellaneous family photographs found with the collection.
Coll. Number: ms2214

Biographical/Historical Note

"A secret society dedicated to white supremacy in the United States, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has existed in various forms since it was first organized in Tennessee shortly after the end of the Civil War (1861-65). The original Klan of Reconstruction was suppressed by the federal government in the early 1870s, but in following decades its violent activities were increasingly rationalized and even romanticized, most notably in Thomas Dixon's popular novels, The Leopard's Spots (1902) and The Clansman (1905). The popularity of The Birth of a Nation, and specifically its appearance in Atlanta in December 1915, proved the major impetus for the reemergence of the Klan. Equally significant was the Leo Frank case, which culminated in his August 1915 lynching in Marietta by a group of armed men who had organized themselves as the Knights of Mary Phagan, named for the young murder victim in the case. The anti-Semitic sentiments aroused by that case (Frank was Jewish), along with the ongoing racism fueled by Griffith's film, led William J. Simmons, a local recruiter for men's fraternal societies, to establish a new KKK. Restricting the group's membership to white American-born Protestant men, Simmons designed the notorious hooded uniform, composed an elaborate ritual for the secret order, and secured an official charter from the state of Georgia. On Thanksgiving evening in 1915, Simmons and sixteen other members of the new order, several of whom also belonged to the Knights of Mary Phagan, ascended Stone Mountain, ignited a flaming cross, and proclaimed the rebirth of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The revived Klan grew slowly during the years of World War I (1917-18), but in 1920 the secret order changed its solicitation procedures and began to attract hundreds of thousands of recruits from across the nation. Much of the second Klan's appeal can be credited to its militant advocacy of white supremacy, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and immigration restriction, but the organization also attracted the support of many middle-class Americans by advocating improved law enforcement, honest government, better public schools, and traditional family life." -- "Ku Klux Klan in the Twentieth Century" from the New Georgia Encyclopedia, http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2730&sug=y (Accessed May 19, 2009)


Arranged in chronological order.

Index Terms

Application forms.
Athens (Ga.)--Race relations--History--20th century--Sources.
Athens (Ga.)--Social conditions--20th century--Sources.
Fund raising--Georgia--Athens--History--20th century--Sources.
Hoods (headgear)
Ku Klux Klan (1915- ). Athens Klan #5 (Athens, Ga.). -- Finance
Ku Klux Klan (1915- ). Athens Klan #5 (Athens, Ga.). -- History--20th century--Sources
Ku Klux Klan (1915- ). Athens Klan #5 (Athens, Ga.). -- Membership
Ku Klux Klan (1915- ). Athens Klan #5 (Athens, Ga.). -- Records and correspondence
Ku Klux Klan (1915- ). Athens Klan #5 (Athens, Ga.). -- Uniforms
Membership cards.
Racism--Georgia--Athens--History--20th century--Sources.
Receipts (financial records)
Sashes (costume accessories)
White supremacy movements--Georgia--Athens--History--20th century--Sources.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Ku Klux Klan papers, circa 1924-1927. MS 2214. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

For related materials located in the Hargrett Library, see also the following collections: MS 582(m) Ku Klux Klan collection; MS 712 Ku Klux Klan- Athens Klan #5 records; MS 1491 Lyman W. Denton-The Ku Klux Klan and the days of reconstruction; MS 1694 The revival of the Ku Klux Klan; MS2667(m) Ku Klux Klan in Georgia; MS2955(m) Ku Klux Klan ephemera collection; MS 3685 Knights of the Ku Klux Klan pamphlet; MS 3686 Women of the Ku Klux Klan; MS 3690 Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Charter for Bowden, Georgia.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Fragment, Letter of Resolution
2Letter to Athens Klan #5
5Athens Klan #5 Letterhead
6Receipt Stubs
7Membership Form & Recommendation
8Warning Letter
9Minutes of Meetings
12Miscellaneous Photographs and Receipts