Compare and contrast the KKK's revival with Marcus Garvey's UNIA movement.

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The KKK, or Ku Klux Klan, was reborn to express a sense of race-based nationalism, as was Marcus Garvey's UNIA, or United Negro Improvement Association. Originally founded in the 1860s, the KKK experienced a rebirth in the early 20th century in response to fears that African Americans and others, such...

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as Jews, Catholics, and foreigners, were gaining more power. The group advocated nationalism for whites, meaning that the privileges of the United States would be restricted only to whites. The KKK fought against racial integration.

Garvey's UNIA, which experienced its heyday in the 1920s, advocated black nationalism. Garvey and his followers felt that there was no place in the United States for African American people and that they would never be fully accepted into American society. They believed that they had to own their own businesses, as well as return to Africa in large numbers. Both movements shunned integration and did not believe the United States could ever be a multiracial community. However, the KKK resorted to extreme violence to achieve its goals, while Garvey's UNIA was not violent. This is a critical difference between the two movements.

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Both were fraternal organizations that developed as a result of social and political conditions at the time. The Ku Klux Klan first organized in response to a rise in black power and influence in the South during Reconstruction, and it was revived in the 1920s to oppose the changes of modernity, such as increased immigration and the greater visibility of black people in politics. The UNIA mainly appealed to poor black people after the First World War, perhaps as a response to the violence that many returning black soldiers experienced in cities throughout the country, leading to a season of riots nicknamed "Red Summer." However, the organization drew a lot of criticism from black people in power, such as members of the NAACP. Marcus Garvey, the founder of the UNIA, was critical of the NAACP for what he perceived as their wish to assimilate black people into white American society. On the other hand, the Ku Klux Klan appealed both to poor whites and to those who had political and economic power.

Another key difference is that the UNIA was a repatriation movement. The repatriation movement began in the United States in 1816 and was led by Quakers who wanted freedom for black people but believed that it would be less feasible in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln also expressed favor for repatriation, supporting the Quakers' idea of sending former black slaves to colonize Liberia. Garvey wanted to do the same but intended to include all members of the black diaspora.

Despite the favor that some whites expressed for repatriation, both in support of black freedom and to be rid of black people, there is a belief among some historians that the Black Star Line, the ship line that would have carried black people back to Africa, was sabotaged by the US government. Garvey was later prosecuted for mail fraud and sent to prison for five years. The UNIA movement ended with Garvey's imprisonment. On the other hand, the Ku Klux Klan, which is an organization that seeks to maintain white dominance in a nation that was colonized by people of European descent, still exists from its nascence to today.

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The major point of similarity between these two is that both can be seen as expressions of nationalism.  Garvey’s UNIA was an expression of what we now call black nationalism.  The KKK was an expression of the feeling that white, native-born, Protestant Americans were and should remain superior to other people.

Though both were expressions of nationalism, they were fundamentally different.  First, the UNIA was not particularly opposed to any group.  The KKK was opposed to immigrants, Catholics, Jews, and non-whites, among others.  Second, the UNIA symbolized the sorts of changes the KKK feared.  The 1920s were a time of great change in the United States.  UNIA (along with things like the Harlem Renaissance) was part of that change while the KKK was part of a backlash against the changes.

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