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Knowing the Klan

15 Aug

Ku_Klux_Klan_Virgina_1922_Parade
Three Ku Klux Klan members standing at a 1922 parade.
Picture credit: Public Domain, Library of Congress

 

Yesterday on our news was the story of a person who had been run out of office in one small town near us, only to show up in another.

He left and moved to a place just down the road a bit.

The causation for this furor was over his association and/or membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

This same group has made the news here repeatedly in the past few years.

We came here in 2004 and had a friend who unknown at first to us, was the son of a former Grand  Dragon of the Florida Klan.

This man was gentle, kind and sweet and had many friends.

It was hard to learn about his father.

We both have very strong feelings about the Klan, who even today still throw flyers into yard’s in mostly Black neighborhoods here in Central Florida, encouraging people to join them.

The papers are put into plastic bags with rocks in them.

Years ago in a College class about silent films, my instructor showed a film, The Birth of a Nation and implied that the Klan was, in the beginning, not just about hate, murders and hangings.

It was more about doing good for those in the South who had been ravaged by the Civil War.

As I read about it now, I can see that this is not the case, at all.

When it began in the 1860’s, it may indeed  have had more altruistic ideas, but as the years went on, these quickly faded and were replaced with those closer to what we now know as the Klan today.

On another personal note, years ago my best friend in California moved to Mississippi.

We were both pretty unhappy about this.

It was not her choice, her husband was from there and wanted to go back home.

To say that she was upset about the radical cultural changes in her life, was an understatement.

She was from California and the difference between the two states in so far as racism and race relations was/is huge, actually, it was more like a chasm.

On my first trip there to see her years later, I was shocked, dismayed and appalled at what I saw.

It was like the Civil War had never happened.

Too many of the local people looked as if all of their hope had been taken away and they were simply trying to just get through life, day by day.

There is one film that for me, best defines what it is like for many African-Americans living there,  or what the state has been like for entirely too many years: Mississippi Burning.

Think you know the Klan?

Think it is gone?

Think again.

As long as there is hate and fear of the differences between color and race, they will always be here, in fact they will flourish.

Those who belong to the Klan are cowards and their hate is what binds them together.

Only education, understanding and acceptance can change this.

These are the things that the Klan are most afraid of, and it is how we can change and defeat them forever.

 

Places to learn more:

Ku Klux Klan

Former Florida cop fired for KKK ties got a new job working in a Florida elementary school

Police in Fla.’s “Friendly City” were KKK members

The Legacy of Harry T. Moore

Ku Klux Klan in Florida

 

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14 responses to “Knowing the Klan

  1. sachemspeaks

    August 15, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    Reblogged this on sachemspeaks.

     
    • Gator Woman

      August 15, 2015 at 3:37 PM

      Thank you so much for sharing this!

       
  2. Karen DeBraal

    August 15, 2015 at 6:21 PM

    Good piece. Used to see racist newsletters in southern Oregon. Hope it is gone but probably it isn’t.

     
    • Gator Woman

      August 16, 2015 at 1:42 PM

      Thank you Karen.
      They are stealthily staying in the shadows, coming out only where they feel ignorance is highest and kindness is lowest.

       
  3. Kentucky Angel

    August 15, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Very informative Donna. I thought the original Klan was supposedly good,but now that I think deeper, I can see I was wrong. It was formed for white people against black people. KKK tried to demonstrate here several years ago, with weeks of advance publicity, police protection provided in advance, all the hoopla needed for some big event. They were sadly disappointed when they arrived to find it was a non-event. One reporter showed up, and wrote the story about the parade that wasn’t, because no one was there to view it. The three or four masked crusaders left town very quietly, with only a photo of their backs as they scurried toward their car. That was one time I was especially proud of my home town.
    How are YOU, Donna?

     
    • Gator Woman

      August 16, 2015 at 1:44 PM

      If only every town, every state would react this way, they would soon disappear and for good!
      We are all great right now. How are you?

       
      • Kentucky Angel

        August 16, 2015 at 1:57 PM

        Getting better. My Mom passed away 3 weeks ago, a grandson 2 months ago, and my last Uncle 3 months ago, so this has been a stressful summer.
        Good to hear you are all well. Please take care of yourselves. I’m not sure I could handle losing anyone else right now.

         
      • Gator Woman

        August 16, 2015 at 2:06 PM

        I/we are so very sad to hear this news of your family. You are in our hearts and our prayers. We understand your pain, we have been there too this summer.

         
  4. cinnabar50

    August 16, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    A very interesting article. I had thought that with the election of Obama as president race relations in the USA had improved, but recent events say otherwise. An openly racist organisation such as the KKK should be banned. Sadly racism is rife everywhere, here in theUK there is just so much racism and animosity towards immigrants, I wonder if we will ever all learn to live together in peace.

     
    • Gator Woman

      August 16, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      Many would have agreed with your hopeful thinking in 2008, now we all know better.
      Obama is badly outnumbered and swimming upstream in a land of narrow minded opposition.
      The Klan is not banned because we hold freedom of speech as a high priority in this Country,
      even when it is laced with hate and extreme prejudice.
      As long as we deny Hate a chance, or place to grow, we can keep it away.

       
  5. FeyGirl

    August 16, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    Excellent… Thanks for reminding us this has far from disappeared.

    To this day, my mother won’t visit me in the South. She was a teacher in Central FLA where I was born — the years before Disney came in and dredged up the swamps. She still has vivid memories of her students who had crosses burning in their yards, vandalism towards their homes — I can’t begin to fathom. These groups still exist, they’re just more INSIDIOUS nowadays. Smarter about their hatred.

     
    • Gator Woman

      August 16, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Oh my dear sweet little Tree Hugger, your words make me so sad.
      Your mother cannot allow them to do this to the two of you.
      If she does, they win!

       
  6. Lilka Raphael

    August 21, 2015 at 12:03 AM

    Great article. Just this week, the klan was passing out flyers only a few miles from where I work and live. I keep hoping the hate will just die out, but they keep passing it on…

     
  7. Gator Woman

    August 21, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Thank you for your kind words.
    As long as there is fear, hate or prejudice, they will continue to flourish.
    They are cowards and evil personified.

     

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