Did you know that declaring the Ku Klux Klan a domestic terror group paved the way to disbanding them?
Let me tell you the political tale. It will sound very familiar.
Disgruntled poor white farmers, illegal whiskey distillers, so called “moral reformers,” convicted rapists, and most notably white workers scared of black competition. All KKK.
I grew up in Mississippi. And at one school, the KKK showed up to harass a black school teacher from Illinois.
Imagine 50 men showing up in robes.
And, of course, there was Klan voter suppression. The KKK organized, commiting violence until black people decided it was safer not to vote.
Well, it started by politicians finding their spine and eventually declaring it a domestic terrorist group.
And the second part was organized prosecution of Kln leaders. Historically, it’s known as “The Resistance.”
Particularly in South Carolina in 1872, Attorney General Amos Ackerman’s prosecutions produced a dramatic decline in Klan violence.
The federal government is why the Klan was defeated.
When Klan members were unmasked, neighbors would knock on the Klan members doors and make it clear their group was not welcome.
White neighbors taking a stand stopped the KKK.
But I find this empowering. We have defeated organized hate before, and we can defeat it again.
But it will take actions by the federal government, and it will also take white people standing up to domestic terrorists.
Know who brought it back? Rich white politicians. In fact, rich white Southerners helped establish the first KKK. They wielded the mob for personal gain.
It was black Americans running for office, establishing a community and protecting it fiercely. It’s not enough to have “woke” white people. We must empower black leaders.
You might notice what’s missing. Debating the Klan, giving Klan media interviews, and being civil to the Klan were not historical forces that defeated it.
We didn’t shrug and say “First amendment!” We prosecuted them and intimidated them till they disbanded.