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Identify a quote/text from a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's.

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victoriax | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted December 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM via web

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Identify a quote/text from a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 2, 2012 at 4:16 PM (Answer #1)

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Consider the words of one "Colonel" William Joseph Simmons.  Seeking to develop the resurgence of the Klan in the 1920s, Simmons became a prominent voice of the movement and the group's goals.  This was seen in a speech in Atlanta in 1921:

It is indeed strange that if we organized to persecute the Roman Catholics, Jews, and Negroes that nothing has been done against them. In the United States the question is not and should never be whether a citizen is a Protestant, a Roman Catholic, a Jew, or a Negro, but whether he is a loyal American.

In his speech, one notices how the focus of the Klan's rise was the idea of appealing to patriotism, suggesting that the Klan's only focus was to develop the idea of a "loyal American."  Simmons develops this idea that the Klan is "misunderstood," suggesting that it is more of a social organization dedicated to advancing the ideas of "true" American notions of the good.  In this, Simmons makes it evident that Klan is more of a defender of American values than it is an aggressive force dedicated to silencing voices.  For Simmons, being able to articulate this vision of the Klan so early in its rise was fundamental in its ascent to a noteworthy position in American society and gave a refrain still heard today.

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