Ku Klux Klan's Responsibility for the Lack of Economic and Social Progress of Black Americans in the 1920s and 1930s

Topics: Ku Klux Klan, Black people, Jim Crow laws Pages: 5 (2006 words) Published: March 4, 2013
To What Extent Was The Ku Klux Klan Responsible For The Lack Of Economic And Social Progress Of Black Americans In The 1920’s And 1930’s ?

In the 1920’s and 1930’s the Ku Klux Klan cause a lot of problems for black Americans‘. By 1920 the Klan had claimed membership of between 3 to 5 million white Americans mainly from Southern States. They also had widespread support and in states like Oklahoma and Oregon exercised enormous political influence. Judges, state police, congressmen, senators and even one supreme court judge were Klansmen. The Klan caused a lot of fear in black people, through their beatings, intimidations, murders and mutilations. But although these problems created by the KKK contributed to the lack of progress, economically and socially, of black Americans there were still other reasons for this. Reasons like prejudice and racism which were common in the 1920’s and was even the norm in the southern states. Another reason that black Americans couldn’t progress was due to Economic factors as the coloured men and women were always at the bottom of society. Also the failure of Black Organisations to provide a unified message meant that coloured people had no one message to rally round. Political factors such as the right to vote also caused problems for the progress because although they had the right to vote there were still restrictions preventing them voting. The lack of progress meant black people were suffering socially and economically but also legally Black Americans had no place in society due to legal judgments being passed.

One of the most striking features of the early 1920s was the rapid growth of the second Ku Klux Klan which stopped the economic and social progress of black people, to an extent. The Ku Klux Klan was reformed in 1915 by William J. Simmone, a preacher from Alabama and Kentucky. In the 1920s, the KKK‘s numbers largely increased. The Klan moved in many states to dominate local and state politics. In 1924 the Klan succeeded in engineering the elections of officials from coast to coast, including the mayors of Portland, Maine, and Oregon. In some states, such as Colorado and Indiana, they placed enough Klansmen in positions of power to effectively control the state government. Known as the "Invisible Empire," the KKK was still a secret organisation. This caused a lot of fear in the black population. The KKK’s power in the politics meant that if the klan lynched or intimidated anyone in the black community the person responsible would be praised instead of punished for their crime. In September 1925 the KKK emerged and had a parade in Washington. “the invisible empire” was on full display to America. A local newspaper reported: “The parade was grander and gaudier, by far than anything the wizards had prophesied. It was longer, it was thicker, it was higher in tone. I stood in front of the treasury for two hours watching the legions pass.” This showed the surprise of the onlookers to the parade……………………………….... The KKK also created a lot of fear. They would brutally attack Black Americans, murder and harshly intimidate their victims. Jesse Washington, an illiterate farm hand, only 17 years old, in Wacco Texas was accused of raping and murdering a 53 year old white women. During his trial a white mob broke into the court room, dragging him away. Farms, businesses and even schools were closed to “enjoy the lynching”. People watched while he was doused in coal oil, castrated, his finger cut of and his body set alight while tied to a post this became known as the Wacco Horror. Although the lynching violated Texas law, not a single member of the savage mob was convicted or even tried or questioned for the murder. Even although there was never any evidence against the young boy. In the mobs eye he was black and therefore guilty. A local reporter had asked what if he wasn’t guilty? He was then answered by a man who said “He was a nigger, he must have been guilty for something” This murder...
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