Few groups are as hated as the Ku Klux Klan (aka KKK). Their core philosophy is one of discrimination and hatred. They also have a long history of using violence to get their misdirected point across to others. In addition to the hooded outfits, cross burning and endless fires, there are a lot of facts you probably don’t know about this organization.
A few facts that didn’t make the list are pretty bizarre. For example, did you know Zach Galifianakis interviewed the Grand Wizard of the KKK? It happened as an episode of Comedy Central’s show Dog Bites Man. The most pressing question has to be when he asked the Grand Wizard if he’d ever seen the movie Big Momma’s House 2. Galifianakis considers this moment a major career highlight.
Also, you may not have known the KKK is not just one group. There have been several Klan groups that started up only to disband. There are really three eras, the first was after the Civil War, but didn’t last long. The most successful was the Klan from the early 1900s that hated pretty much everyone, including alcohol. With millions of members, they were a force to reckon with and were the group that introduced the burning crosses. This group pretty much went away by the 1930s. After the civil rights movement the group started back up, although more modestly than today and continues on in its current form where its many entities spread out and not just one group. More recently, the hacker group Anonymous has released the hidden identities of approximately 1,000 members based primarily in the United States, rumored to include politicians and state senators.
Looking for more? We’ve got black cops, Superman and of course, David Duke. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about the KKK:
15. Witness Protection
Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. was a Green Beret in the US Army and also started the Ku Klux Klan chapter (Carolina Knights). His group was active, planning to assassinate Morris Dees, a civil rights attorney. Miller was caught and ordered not to partake in any military activities. He didn’t listen and was caught with weapons that included grenades. How did he get busted? Police arrested him in the back seat of a car with a trans sex worker that was black. He got out of serving time by being an FBI informant and being granted immunity. He then went on to write a book, do the talk show circuit, among other things. Miller couldn’t stay away from his evil side though, eventually shooting three people outside a Jewish center while shouting “Heil Hitler.”
14. David Duke Pens Sex Tips
Many know Duke as a Grand Dragon and founder of Knights of the KKK. He even flirted with running for President. The big difference with Duke’s Klan was that they wore suits versus the traditional garb. That’s really the extent of difference. What many don’t know is that in 1976, Duke wrote a woman’s self-help book. He didn’t use his name; instead, penning it under “Dorothy Vanderbilt.” The book titled Finder’s Keepers – Finding and Keeping the Man You Want is no longer available, but there are a few copies still floating around. The book offers many tips including his reference to oral sex as a bedtime snack.
13. KKK Welcomes A Black Cop
When the KKK decided to move to Colorado Springs, black police officer Ron Stallworth decided to apply. He sent a white narcotics officer to take his place when making appearances, but took all the phone calls. He even talked to David Duke on several occasions. Duke used to tell Stallworth that he could tell if someone was black by the way they talked. Apparently Duke wasn’t as perceptive as he thought. Eventually Stallworth became an important member, but of course was working as an undercover cop the whole time. This didn’t end well for the Klan.
12. The Westboro Baptists vs. The KKK
The KKK hates gays, Jews and most Christians. The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) agrees with all of these views except they don’t believe in the military. For the KKK (pro military), those are fighting words. The two often clash; one example was at Arlington Cemetery in 2011. A few members of the WBC showed up on Memorial Day to denounce the praise of soldiers (their favorite slogan is “Thank God For Dead Soldiers”). The KKK showed up to counter their protest. Luckily the police were there because I don’t think humanity in general needs an all-out cemetery brawl between the WBC and KKK.
11. Even Superman Has Fought With The Klan
In the 1940s, you would gather around the radio to listen to The Adventures of Superman. One particular episode titled “Clan of the Fiery Cross” put good guy superhero Superman against the evil KKK. Why the show was made it what’s interesting though. Stetson Kennedy was a Southerner that infiltrated the Klan, learning of their customs secrets and passwords. When local authorities wouldn’t do anything, he went to Superman, or at least the radio show and they agreed to help expose the Klan. The show broadcast details of KKK rituals and passwords. This is one case where Superman didn’t need superpowers to show up his villain.
10. Summer Getaway
In the early 1900s, Rockport, Texas was a special place to make your skin crawl. This was where Klansman and their followers went to “be safe.” It was called the Kool Koast Kamp, which is reason enough to never go, regardless of the racism and general creepiness. The resort offered a safe place where “red-blooded Americans” didn’t have to worry about being harmed and that the “Kamp” was as safe as a woman’s embrace for young daughters. It doesn’t say only white people are allowed, but yeah, only racist white people were allowed to swim without “extreme dress.” Sounds like fun!
9. A Black Pastor Owns A KKK Store
There is a town in South Carolina named Laurens which gets its name after an 18th century slave trader. Racism has always been a part of this town; a recent example is Echo Theatre, a theatre that African-Americans had to enter from a separate door and keep their distance from the whites, relegated to watching from the balcony. The theatre is now home to the Redneck Shop, a store that sells Klan and Nazi paraphernalia. The story is run by racist John Howard, but the theatre is owned by a black pastor Reverend David Kennedy. How this happened is somewhat complex and very boring (deed transfers), but it is another example of how the KKK chooses to abide by their rules based on convenience and profit.
8. KKK Neighborhood Watch
If you want to never sleep again, move to Fairview Township in Pennsylvania where the KKK formed a neighborhood watch complete with brochures handed out that stated “You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake!” The KKK group was the Traditional American Knights led by Frank Acona, who said the group wasn’t looking to target or discriminate. They just wanted to put an end to all the crime in their area. His crew decided to remove their hooded uniforms and patrol wearing everyday clothing; however, I bet it was pretty easy to spot which people were actively patrolling.
7. The KKK Attempted To Create Their Own Country
Convicted Texan and big picture Klansman, Michael Perdue, wanted the island of Dominica to be his own. To make this happen he decided to help put Dominican Prime Minister, Patrick John, back in power in exchange for the island. The plan was to invade the island and just “take it over,” eventually building a casino and trafficking cocaine. The invasion was nicknamed “Operation Red Dog” and everything was set. Unfortunately for the KKK, the boat captain ratted them out and a SWAT team would take everyone into custody. After it was realized that John was planning to murder Perdue once he got his power back. Maybe SWAT should have really let Perdue go …
6. A Jewish Klansman
Dan Burros went into the Army and then after trying to kill himself was released. He went on to start the American Nazi Party and later join the KKK. He was a go-getter and quickly climbed the KKK ladder, becoming the Grand Dragon of New York. Oh, did he forget to tell everyone he was Jewish? That was something he hid. Then there was the article. The New York Times printed an article “State Klan Leader Hides Secret of Jewish Origin.” When Burros saw the headline he immediately grabbed a gun and shot himself. He was with several witnesses. The initial shot wasn’t fatal so he finished the job by taking a second shot, this time in his temple.
5. The Forrest Gump KKK Connection
Tom Hanks’ character, Forrest Gump, was named after Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a rich slave owner. After the South lost the Civil War, he decided to become part of the Ku Klux Klan, eventually becoming their leader, or Grand Dragon. This original version of the Klan was very short-lived; lasting only a couple years after Forrest had become the leader. Part of Forrest is perception; some choose to focus on the good (there is a public school named after him) while others will look at the violence, hatred and death.
4. The Lumbee Tribe Beats The KKK
Using aggression and violence has always been the preferred method of persuasion for the KKK. However, there was one time they messed with the wrong group, the Lumbee Tribe. The KKK, led by James Cole, the Grand Dragon, planned a protest of burning crosses and other Klan stuff because one of the women had been accused of sleeping with a white man. The Klan showed up, but they were greatly outnumbered by the Lumbee men. They had guns and started unloading on the KKK. The battle royal would be called the “Battle of Hayes Pond” and images made it into Life magazine. Cole would be prosecuted for inciting a riot. The Lumbee’s continue to celebrate this event.
3. Klan Baseball
In the 1920s, the Klan had a few good baseball teams and they played against all-black teams all the time. This was decades before Jackie Robinson. The KKK also played against the Hebrew All-Stars and there was rarely any incident. Questions that linger include how they can justify playing with non-white people and of course the big one – what did their uniform look like? Did they just where the hoods? Doesn’t seem like a good baseball uniform.
2. KKK Adopts Rosa Parks Highway
In 1994, the KKK applied to adopt a stretch of highway in Missouri. They would be responsible for maintenance and clean-up for the stretch of roadway. Initially they were denied, but a court then later overturned the ruling and allowed the KKK to own a strip of the highway. Missouri however got to name the stretch of highway, settling on Rosa Parks Highway. The KKK didn’t protest, instead just took it as an insult and justified their way. The response was somewhat surprising given their aggressive nature. No surprise is the number of times the KKK cleaned up their stretch or road. That would be zero times.
1. KKK Is Kid-Friendly
The Andrew Show is about a boy named Andrew Pendergraft who is blonde. He likes talking about movies, sports and why white people shouldn’t mix with people of color. This hater was a pawn on a show financed by the KKK to help spread their kid-friendly message. Every episode would start with Andrew saying “This show is for all the white kids out there!” He then takes current events and makes a connection to white supremacy. One time he critiqued Jackie Chan for dating a white woman. If there was ever a time to allow Jackie Chan to dropkick a child, this is it, right? This kid even once compared a cake with white frosting and toppings being “damaged” because it could never be white again.
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