(New York, NY) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today released a new resource that documents the history, beliefs, violent activities, and evolution of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), America’s oldest and best known white supremacist organization.
Formed in 1865 as a social club by six Confederate army veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee, the KKK quickly became a terror organization targeting black community leaders. Its official membership reached a peak of almost five million in the mid-1920s.
The KKK is no longer a single organization, having evolved into at least four main offshoots and dozens of smaller factions, all of which identify as members of “the Klan” and incorporate “Klan” in their group names. The four largest groups include: the Brotherhood of Klans (BOK); the Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (National Knights); Imperial Klans of America (IKA); and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKKK, a.k.a. The Knights Party), which is the largest group. Today, the Klan’s influence remains significant among U.S. hate groups. The KKK has formal chapters in 41 states, Canada, and in foreign countries.
While some chapters seek to downplay racism in favor of rhetoric that emphasizes white solidarity and preservation of the white race, violence remains an essential group element. In 2014, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. (a.k.a. Miller), the founder of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, murdered three people at Jewish community centers in Kansas and Missouri and was sentenced to death in 2015. When the sentence was read, Cross allegedly responded, “Heil Hitler.”
In 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the Loyal White Knights of the KKK reportedly distributed Klan propaganda with bags of candy to front lawns in Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas, and Mississippi.
Learn more about the history, leadership, and ideology of the KKK, as well as other extremist groups, leaders, propagandists, and terror financiers at counterextremism.com.