They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

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They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 172
Cover Price: $ 19.00

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"Boys, let us get up a club." With those words, six restless young men raided the linens at a friend’s mansion in 1866. They pulled white sheets over their heads, hopped on horses, and cavorted through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee. Soon, the six friends named their club the Ku Klux Klan and began patterning their initiations after fraternity rites, with passwords and mysterious handshakes. All too quickly, this club would grow into the self-proclaimed “Invisible Empire,” with secret dens spread across the South. On their brutal raids, the nightriders would claim to be ghosts of Confederate soldiers and would use psychological and physical terror against former slaves who dared to vote, own land, attend school, or worship as they pleased. This is the story of how a secret terrorist group took root in America’s democracy. Filled with chilling and vivid personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and other primary sources, this is a book to read and remember.

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Background Information

The Ku Klux Klan is a secret organization dedicated to the promotion of white interests over those of black Americans, starting shortly after the Civil War. Tennessee represented the western frontier at the time of the Revolution and was a border state in the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Confederate States of America was formed by the states that seceded from the Union in 1861 and was dissolved in 1865.