What was the goal of the Ku Klux Klan? How did this group get together? And are there still some klans out there?

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d-white5309 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) are a white supremacist group that emerged in the American South in the years after the Civil War (c. 1865). Initially, the KKK was formed by a small number of former confederate soldiers who believed that white people were superior to African-Americans and were opposed to equal rights for racial minorities.

Although the KKK are generally spoken of as a single group, they're really a number of small groups that are loosely connected. Moreover, the size and influence of the KKK has fluctuated over the last century. They were likely at their largest and most influential from the 1930s through the 1960s, when the black civil rights movement was gaining power.

Because they're aren't a single entity, it would be inaccurate to say that they all believe any particular thing. In some cases, members are racial separatists who believe that black people and white people should not mix in any way, whereas other ideologies extend their beliefs to include other minority groups like Jews and Muslims. Many people consider the KKK a domestic terrorist group because they have, over the years, engaged in extreme tactics to spread their message and enforce their beliefs. This has included everything from the production and dissemination of racist literature to more troubling things like torture, bombings, and murder.

Over the last century, the KKK has had varying levels of influence in things like political elections, particularly one-time Klan leader David Duke, who ran for president in 1988 and '92. Although they are far less powerful or prominent than they have been in the past, the KKK is still active in many parts of the United States, particularly in the South. 

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