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Exercise 3: "Ku Klux Klan"

Richard makes a little money by selling newspapers from Chicago. One day he came to the house of a friend of the family. The man told him that the papers he was selling were full of Ku Klux Klan writings. The members of this organisation keep blacks from voting and getting good jobs and sometimes they kill them. If he sold the papers he would help these white people. Richard didn`t know that and stopped his job at once.

What do you know about the Ku Klux Klan? Let`s try to find out some facts about this criminal organisation. Read the following article and answer the questions in the green box at the bottom of this page.


Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan, secret terrorist organization that originated in the southern states during the period of Reconstruction following the American Civil War and was reactivated on a wider geographic basis in the 20th century. The original Klan was organized in Pulaski, Tennessee, during the winter of 1865 to 1866, by six former Confederate army officers who gave their society a name adapted from the Greek word kuklos ("circle"). 

The Klansmen generally believed in the innate inferiority of blacks and therefore mistrusted and resented the rise of former slaves to a status of civil equality and often to positions of political power. Thus, the Klan became an illegal organization committed to destroying the Reconstruction governments from the Carolinas to Arkansas. Attired in robes or sheets and wearing masks topped with pointed hoods, the Klansmen terrorized public officials in efforts to drive them from office and blacks in general to prevent them from voting, holding office, and otherwise exercising their newly acquired political rights. It was customary for the Klansmen to burn crosses on hillsides and near the homes of those they wished to frighten. When such tactics failed to produce the desired effect, their victims might be flogged, mutilated, or murdered. These activities were justified by the Klan as necessary measures in defense of white supremacy and the inviolability of white womanhood.


"Ku Klux Klan." Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
http://encarta.msn.com (17 Feb. 2001)

© 1999-2000 Microsoft Corporation.
All rights reserved.


a) What kind of organisation is the Ku Klux Klan?
b) When and where was the original Klan organized?
c) What do the Klansmen believe in?
d) Describe the clothes of a Klansman.
e) What do they do to public officials and to blacks?
f) How do they frighten people?
g) What can happen to their victims?
h) What do they want to defend by their activities?


Exercise 4

© A. Düpmeier