By Nancy K. MacLean
On Thanksgiving evening, 1915, a small band of hooded males accumulated atop Stone Mountain, a majestic granite butte simply outdoor Atlanta. With a flag fluttering within the wind beside them, a Bible open to the 12th bankruptcy of Romans, and a flaming pass to gentle the evening sky above, William Joseph Simmons and his disciples proclaimed themselves the hot Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named for the notorious mystery order during which a lot of their fathers had served after the Civil conflict. not sure in their footing within the New South and eager for the provincial, patriarchal international of the earlier, the lads of the second one Klan observed themselves as a military in education for a battle among the races. They boasted they'd bonded into ''an invisible phalanx...to stand as impregnable as a tower opposed to each encroachment upon the white man's liberty...in the white man's nation, lower than the white man's flag.''
Behind the masks of Chivalry brings the ''invisible phalanx'' into vast sunlight, culling from historical past the names, the lifestyles tales, and the riding passions of the nameless Klansmen underneath the white hoods and gowns. utilizing an strange and wealthy cache of inner Klan files from Athens, Georgia to anchor her observations, writer Nancy MacLean combines a fine-grained portrait of a neighborhood Klan global with a penetrating research of the second one Klan's rules and politics national. No different right-wing circulate has ever completed as a lot strength because the Ku Klux Klan of the Twenties, and this ebook indicates how and why it did. MacLean unearths that the flow mobilized its thousands of yank fans principally via campaigns waged over matters that this present day will be known as ''family values'': Prohibition violation, premarital intercourse, lewd videos, anxieties approximately women's altering roles, and concerns over waning parental authority. Neither elites nor ''poor white trash,'' lots of the Klan rank and dossier have been married, middle-aged, and heart category. neighborhood conferences, or klonklaves, featured readings of the mins, plans for recruitment campaigns and Klan barbecues, and distribution of academic materials--Christ and different Klansmen was once one renowned tome. still, as mundane as complaints usually have been on the neighborhood point, crusades over ''morals'' regularly operated within the carrier of the Klan's higher schedule of virulent racial hatred and middle-class revanchism. the lads who deplored intercourse between teenagers and sought to revive the ability of husbands and fathers have been additionally sworn to reclaim the ''white man's country,'' striving to take the vote from blacks and bar immigrants. evaluating the Klan to the ecu fascist routine that grew out of the crucible of the 1st international conflict, MacLean keeps that the impressive scope and frenzy of the circulate mirrored much less on individuals' energy inside their groups than at the demanding situations to that strength posed through African american citizens, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and white girls and formative years who didn't obey the Klan's canon of appropriaite behavior. In vigilante terror, the Klan's evening riders acted out their movement's brutal selection to take care of inherited hierarchies of race, type, and gender.
Compellingly readable and impeccably researched, The masks of Chivalry is an unforgettable research of an important period in American background, and the social stipulations, cultural currents, and usual males that equipped this archetypal American reactionary circulation.
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Additional resources for Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan
The Atlanta NAACP, whose membership reached 1,700 in 1919, prosecuted cases of debt peonage and defended two blacks who had killed whites in self-defense. Harking back to the abolition crusade, Atlanta members constructed "a system of underground railroads for . . " The chapter also undertook a massive, successful voter-registration drive in 1919. In one month, they bought over a thousand new black voters to the polls in Atlanta— more than double the number who had taken part in some past elections.
Small-farm owners and tenants alike counted on the labor of all family members. 36 Like rural landlords, mill managers favored large families and penalized small in their employment and housing policies. 37 Kin also furnished aid no one else would in times of unemployment, illness, or incapacity. "38 Nearly all social relations, in fact, still bore the stamp of an older patriarchal model that subordinated individual needs and rights to the welfare of hierarchical collectivities. That model sanctioned private violence in the service of public order.
The "truth" of the link lay less in personnel than in a common vigilante spirit. An appeal to that spirit would always be part of the Klan. Its promise of swift and secret vengeance, more than anything else, distinguished it from contemporary organizations with whom it shared ideas, rituals, and members. Nothing in the early years helped more to make that promise come to life than D. W. Griffith's film extravaganza, Birth of a Nation, released in the same year as the second Klan's creation. In this racist epic of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the restoration of white rule, Griffith harnessed all the emotive power of modern film-making technique to convince viewers that black men were beasts and white vigilantes were the saviors of American civilization.
Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan by Nancy K. MacLean