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After the group of men who have assembled in the front yard depart, Jem asks his father,
"They were after you weren't they?...They wanted to get you, didn't they?"
Atticus asks Jem what he has been reading to think in such a manner; Jem broaches the subject of the Klu Klux Klan having run off some Catholics one time. This remarks amuses Atticus:
"Way back about nineteen-twenty there was a Klan, but it was a political organization more than anything else."
He continues that the KKK paraded by the Jewish merchant of Maycomb, Sam Levy, at whose house they appeared one night, but Mr. Levy shamed the men by telling them they had bought the very white sheets they wore from his store. Further, he tells Jem that "the Ku Klux's gone" and it will never come back.
Originally formed after the Civil War to protect the "purity" of Southern womanhood from the many former slaves that were released from the plantations "to roam" the streets of cities like Atlanta, the KKK sought to also run off the Jewish carpetbaggers from the North who had come to exploit the people and to protect good Baptists from the hated Papists, this organization today is so closely monitored by the FBI that its power is virtually gone, as Atticus remarks. Today there are websites for this organization, but its membership lacks the numbers and strength of the days of old.
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