➡ [Epub] ➛ The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America By Wyn Craig Wade ➫ – Lectinshield.co.uk

The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America summary The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America, series The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America, book The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America, pdf The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America, The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America 65364b11ab In The Fiery Cross, Wyn Craig Wade Traces The History Of The Klan From Its Beginnings After The Civil War As A Social Club In Pulaski, Tennessee, To The Present The Reader Follows The Klan S Resurgence In After DW Griffith S Epic Film The Birth Of A Nation Depicted Klan Members As Heroic Saviors Of The Old Southern Society, To The Swearing In Of President Warren G Harding As A Klansman In The Green Room Wade Explores The Klan S Championing Of White Supremacy As A Response To The Civil Rights Movement In The S, Through To Their Present Day Activities, Aligning Themselves With A Variety Of Neo Fascist And Right Wing Groups In The American West He Concludes By Offering An Assessment Of The Klan S Future The Fiery Cross Provides An Exhaustive Analysis And Perspective On This Dark Shadow Of American Society

10 thoughts on “The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America

  1. says:

    In honor of newly appointed US AG Jeff Sessions, I have put Shakespeare Co on hold in order to read The Fiery Cross the Ku Klux Klan in America by Wyn Craig Wade.It s divided into three books 1865 1915, 1915 1930, and 1930 1987 this last date the year of the book s publication I ve just finished the first book, covering the Reconstruction period, the part of the history that is most familiar to me President Grant summed up the Klan s aims as by force and terror, to prevent all political action not in accord with the views of the members, to deprive colored citizens of the right to bear arms and of the right of a free ballot, to suppress the schools in which colored children were taught, and to reduce the colored people to a condition closely allied to that of slavery The book introduced me to a figure that I don t recall encountering previously, a Democratic congressman who served as the Klan s primary apologist on the 1871 Congressional investigation into Klan violence, a racist with the unlikely and prophetic name Philadelph Van Trump A sample question from Van Trump in trying to discredit testimony by African American witnesses to Klan violence, Is not the negro a vainglorious animal if entrusted with any authority Though the phrasing is antiquated, it accurately characterizes the sentiment that animated much of the opposition to President Obama, including that of the current president Wade summarizes the Klan s effect during this period In retrospect, the Ku Klux Klan and its kindred organizations didn t weaken Radical Reconstruction nearly as much as they nurtured it So long as an organized, secret conspiracy swore oaths and used cloak and dagger methods in the South, Congress was willing to legislate against it legislation that would provide vital safeguards for the cause of racial equality in the future Not until the Klan was beaten and the former Confederacy turned to open methods of preserving the Southern way of life did Reconstruction and its Northern support decline I suppose that s largely true, but I think it somewhat downplays the importance of Democratic electoral victories in the South in 1868 70, victories enabled in part by unrestricted Klan activity in suppressing Republican opposition, white and black Now on to 1915 and D W Griffith.In book 2 of The Fiery Cross covering 1915 1930, Wyn Craig Wade makes a convincing case that the Ku Klux Klan would have remained an episode in the history of Reconstruction if it had not been for D W Griffith The Klan of the 20th century was not a revival or continuation of its 19th century namesake, but an attempt to embody a fictional creation, first outlined in the minority report of the 1870s Congressional investigation, later elaborated and dramatized by novelists such as Thomas W Dixon and ultimately in the film The Birth of a Nation, based on Dixon s The Clansman One of the Klan s signature symbols and means of intimidation which gives Wade his title, the burning cross, was not associated with the historic Klan, but was a fiction included in Griffith s film, taken from Dixon who probably got the idea from the Scottish romances of Walter Scott What Griffith did was essentially give racism in the US a brand symbol which would serve as an immediately recognizable signal to its adherents and a wordless but unambiguous threat to its potential victims.In this section of his book, Wade describes a rapidly expanding national organization raking in lots of cash such concentrations of influence and money made for inevitable leadership battles covered here, for me, in too great detail The Klan of the early 20th century was in its public face a fraternal organization, a Protestant fundamentalist social group, and on occasion a political machine, though hatred and fear, now expanded to include Jews, Catholics, and immigrants as well as African Americans, still seemed the primary motivations it could offer its members In documenting the Klan as a national organization, Wade largely neglects the individual incidents of violence and intimidation that were carried on by Klan members, though not openly sanctioned by national and state leadership This focus gave this section of the book a rather detached and somewhat irrelevant quality for me he fails to make the case that the manipulations and ambitions of these few men within the Klan organization had any effect on American history The final chapter of this section is an in depth look at the Klan in Indiana in the early 1920s, where the organization was widespread and heavily influential in politics and law enforcement The Indiana Klan in Wade s account was largely a cult of personality centered around a charismatic leader When in 1925 that leader was found guilty of the horrific abduction, rape and murder of a young woman, the organization he led fell almost completely apart Wade attributes the decline of the national Klan in the late 20s largely to this incident, but I was not convinced that the fall of one state leader could have such a widespread effect on the relatively large membership of a national organization I suspect that other influences may have led to a falling off in Klan membership, such as its failure to meet the social and business needs members looked for in fraternal organizations and, particularly in the North, its continued association with violent intolerance I d think that the increasing unpopularity of Prohibition, which the Klan supported and occasionally enforced, also caused a not insignificant number of members to leave the group.Next, the final section of Wade s book covers a broad range of events including the New Deal, WW II, and the civil rights era.The third section of The Fiery Cross by Wyn Craig Wade deals with several phases of the Ku Klux Klan during the years 1930 1987, the book s publication date The moribund Klan of the late 1920s became revitalized in the 1930s as a force in union busting The late 30s saw some Klan groups attempt to form a united front with Nazi sympathizers in the German Bund, a movement that foundered with the outbreak of WWII and the concurrent repulsion, which has proven to be temporary, of the vast majority of Americans for Nazism.Post war attempts to give the Klan a less barbarous image while still retaining its bigoted appeal took the form of white pride groups, but this foundered both from lack of appeal to upscale racists and increased violence against court ordered and Federal government enforced integration.The story of the Klan in the Civil Rights era, which Wade refers to as the Second Reconstruction , is a distressing progression of assaults and murders committed by Klan members, abetted actively or passively by local law enforcement, and unpunished by judges and juries in those cases which managed to be brought to court Only with the 1980s and the Southern Poverty Law Center s formation of Klanwatch does Wade indicate that successful prosecutions of Klan violence became common By then, however, much of the Klan s agenda had become mainstream, with its supporters and fellow travelers seeking to enforce its racist ideology through the passage and interpretation of laws rather than the breaking of laws A Klan Imperial Wizard said in 1980, The Republican platform reads as if it were written by a Klansman, a statement which has only become true in subsequent elections Though I disagreed at times with some of the conclusions Wade drew from his story, his presentation of the facts of Klan history is cogent and thorough I read this book to get some perspective on the present situation in the US Though there has been undeniable progress in civil rights, the opposition to racial equality in this country is relentless and electoral complacency has allowed it to gain a strong foothold nationwide Voting rights are seriously endangered at the present moment and I consider that those currently in power would, if possible, roll back civil rights to a point just short of slavery The police shootings and beatings of unarmed and unresisting African Americans in recent years seems in many ways a continuation of the violent assaults and murders committed by Klansmen against helpless and often random victims Resist.

  2. says:

    Recent events made me think of this book that I read than a decade ago A well written account of the KKK that strips away any pretense of a benign brotherhood Recommended.

  3. says:

    This book which was published almost thirty years ago still appears to be the best survey history available of the Ku Klux Klan While it is clearly time for a new work that will draw on the recent academic monographs, this book is unlikely ever be truly superseded as it is extremely solid.Wade divides the history of the Ku Klux Klan into three sections In the first section, the movement was led by former Confederate officers and manned by veterans from the enlisted rank with the objective of preventing the former slaves from acquiring either political or social freedoms in the New South During this phase the various Klan chapters lynched and employed other means of the physical intimidation to prevent Blacks from voting Solidly supported by the general white population, the Klan essentially won its war when in 1877, Rutherford Hayes agreed to withdraw the Federal Army from the South in exchange for being awarded the presidency in a disputed election.The Klan then went into an era of dormancy to be revived in 1915 following the release of D.W Griffith s notorious film The Birth of a Nation which glorified the hooded vigilantes The movie did not stimulate racism in America so much as it created a huge market of adult males willing to pay annual dues in order to belong to a secret society with racist values that allowed members to wear spooky costumes and participate in occult rites During this phase, Klan organization put as much emphasis on denouncing Jews and Catholics as it did on denigrating blacks With this formula the Klan enjoyed strong public support in both the North and the South but fell apart because of various sexual and financial scandals involving the organizational leaders who had been raking in enormous revenues through the sales of memberships The third phase began in the 1950 s as Klan chapters began to sprout in order to fight the civil rights movement through murders and other violent acts During this phase, the Klan was vehemently detested in the North and fervently supported in the South The author who lived through this period struggles to maintain a moderate tone as he clearly has a deep seated hatred of both the Klan and its collaborators What Wade found particularly infuriating was the fact that Klan members who committed murders were never convicted in the courts no matter how strong the evidence was against them It is Wade s ill concealed rage that makes this book feel dated This is not to say that Wade was in any way wrong to feel the way he did It is just that future historians who will not have lived through the period will almost certainly employ a neutral tone in describing the odious members of the Klan and their abominable actions.Wade concludes his book noting that the Klan appeared had gone into another dormancy and predicting that it wall likely revive again at some point in the future.

  4. says:

    This was a challenging book to read on several different levels I read it because the KKK is such an enigma to me I wanted to see if I could understand what would motivate people to be a part of such a violent and despicable group My first issue with this book is that I was ashamed to be reading it despite the fact that that book is anti KKK I initially brought it on my commute to work but I found that on the train and subway I was completely paranoid that someone would see it and misinterpret it, especially when there were pictures of robed klansmen I eventually restricted my reading to home which meant it took me much longer than usual to finish.The second problem was that some parts of the book contained gruesome descriptions which I had trouble dealing with I would feel physically ill and depressed after reading the worst of them.So why the high rating Well this is a relatively academic book so it wouldn t be for everyone, but it really did open my eyes about certain periods of history One of the things that took me by surprise was the role that the movie Birth of a Nation played for the Klan The KKK had pretty much died out before the movie came out in 1915 When I ve seen those brief black and white clips from the movie I ve always assumed that the Klansmen were the bad guys in the film, but instead they are the heroes Unbelievable In terms of my goal of understanding how people could believe in such horrible things, I guess I learned a little but this was mostly history rather than getting into people s motives and minds There were the truly violent and crazy members of course, but there were also many people who initially came to a meeting without knowing much about it and then had trouble leaving because of the Klan s power and intimidation to both safety and livelihood Other factors were the anonymity provided by the robes which allowed people to do things they normally wouldn t and the belief that they were protecting their way of life and families Of course none of that excuses their vile actions.Overall a disturbing but thorough history.

  5. says:

    The review below that says it feels dated is on point I can hardly say it s a flaw with the book itself, but the fact that this was written at a time when it was apparently still necessary to critique the racist historiography of the early twentieth century gives some of the book an oddly defensive tone that seems unnecessary today Aside from that, I liked it it s the best kind of popular history, engagingly written and also thoroughly researched, panoramic in scope, and fascinating Would very much read again.

  6. says:

    This book was my first exposure to the idea that Reconstruction was actually a good thing as conceived, and not just about money grubbing carpetbaggers or whatever the myth is Excellent book.

  7. says:

    Living in the country as I did, the bus ride to school always lasted over an hour, and in elementary school I remember being utterly petrified by older students telling we younger horror stories They spoke of monsters in white sheets, demons from hell, who could rise from the ground, or who lived in the woods, and would come out at dusk or emerge from a fog and snatch little children up, returning to their lairs to eat them This was my earliest exposure to the Ku Klux Klan After having read The Fiery Cross, I wonder if those stories have some basis in 19th century folk history, of parents warning their young against the obscene danger that continued to erupt in the hundred years that followed the Civil War The Fiery Cross is a history of America s own hydra, of a hooded beast that has risen and been slain numerous times, yet always comes back the Invisible Empire, an organization where sheets hide a confusing jumble of motives, fears, and hatreds.Although Lincoln s armies prevailed against those of the south, the Confederate cause was not totally lost until Andrew Johnson faced off against a Republican congress and was defeated A southerner himself, Johnson s plan for quickly grafting South back into the Union left Congress with a bitter taste in its mouth What had been the point of the war, of those hundreds of thousands of men and boys dying, of all of the money spent, if the South was simply to be welcomed back with open arms Not settling for anything less than a total remolding of the south, Congress introduced its own re admittance programs, incorporating various amendments and federal administrations like the Freedman s Bureau Southern resistance manifested itself almost immediately, bristling at outside meddling and the humiliation of having been made second class subjects of the law in their own land The most forceful opposition came from shattered remnants of the Confederate army, either refusing to give up the fight or seeing resistance easier than submission, and the ranks of the old slave patrols Both bands of men moved about and acted autonomously, taking the law into their own hands when they saw fit Their violence against the new invasion of not only Union troops, but northern lawyers, government agents, and teachers, found a means of easy expression in the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan.Curiously, the Klan proper did not begin as a political organization according to the author, six young men formed a secret society complete withe elaborate titles and costumes for the pure purpose of gallivanting around the countryside at night, raising hell and having fun When they started playing pranks on freedmen, however, pretending to be the ghosts of Confederate dead, things grew far nastier As the Klan grew in number, it took a life of its own, one demanding purpose and that purpose came to protect the supremacy of white southerners, both against the Yankee invader and against the usurping blacks The civil war continued again, this time under cover of night, and fought with terror than muskets Although the Klan would be reorganized as a strict hierarchy, anyone with a bedsheet and the desire for vengeance could cause trouble Hooded hooliganism so swept the south that the Grand Wizard of the Klan ordered the organization s self destruction, and President Grant was forced to declare martial law to quell the anarchy.The Klan collapsed when the North washed its hands of the South, ending reconstruction and allowing the old planters to redeem their nation Soon attempts at subduing blacks through fear and criminal means would find success in binding them by the law.The Klan would revive in the early 20th century, but not as simple reaction against one government program Credit for reviving the group is generally given to The Birth of a Nation, a highly innovative piece of film making that depicted the Klan as righteous saviors of civilization against moral bankruptcy In truth, public response to Birth of a Nation was managed carefully by a evangelical preacher who thought the old clan admirable Reusing old charters and titles, but adding a bit organization, he effected a comeback that was potent and less obvious The new Klan still maintained its racial message and support of segregation, but it was heavily influenced by the Fundamentalist movement, and drew support from the rising fear of social and moral anarchy The early decades were a frightening world for many Americans organized crime was on the rise, immigration from Europe continued apace and brought with it all kinds of new, strange, and sometimes dangerous ideas Although from the 21st century it is easy to sit in judgment of our predecessors a century go for panicking about flappers and jazz, this was an age of labor riots and anarchist assassinations, in which increasingly very little could be taken for granted America was changing the country emptying out, the cities swelling Farmers were in debt and industrial workers utterly at the mercy of their employers Against this chaos, the Klan pitched itself as a rear guard of civilization If political machines and bribe taking cops wouldn t keep bedlam in check, the caped crusaders would leaving ominous messages outside the doors of evil doers like men failing to support their wives, or blacks attempting to move into a white neighborhood They held high the cross and flag, offering a social club that gave aid to its ailing members and offered them a chance to fight back , either as a political organization or through old fashioned thuggery They were a cult, a gang, an invisible empire justified unto themselves and utterly sinister Between World War 2 and the revelation that a Klan chieftan had kidnapped a young girl and tried to eat her, however, the second Klan fell apart Later iterations have never achieved much than being vague threats they have certainly lost whatever reputation they cultivated as guardians of civic order cannibalism will do that and settled for being lunatics on the fringe, content merely to stir up trouble.The Fiery Cross is an exceptionally well done history of a dismal subject, relying heavily on letters and charters for the 1870s clan, and interviews for the modern iteration Despite having grown up in the South, I knew next to nothing about the thing that is the clan, and I say thing because there s never been just the one organization It is instead an idea, a symbol rather like the V for Vendetta masks, not to slander those activists that creates association without unification One hopes that the Klan s day is now past, despite its occasional resurfacing Given that they have descended to becoming recurring characters on The Jerry Springer Show, there is is room for optimism The most fascinating section for me was that on the second Klan, given that its perverse masquerade as a civic organization manages to launch it to national success, flouring not only in the South, but in the northeast and especially the midwest.Related Race with the Devil My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love, Joseph Pearce

  8. says:

    Wyn Craig Wade s The Fiery Cross is an engaging, somewhat sensationalized account of the Ku Klux Klan in its various iterations from Reconstruction through the 1980s Wade s book is full of lurid details about Klan violence and sexual depravity which often feel too potboilerish to seem credible He also perpetrates numerous myths Woodrow Wilson s reaction to Birth of a Nation, Warren Harding as Klansman that a careful historian would have avoided At the same time, he smashes the myth of the Klan as an initially benevolent organization gone bad, showing their activities escalating from racist mischief to violence and political corruption very quickly, their capitalizing off sociopolitical trends resentment over Reconstruction, 1920s Nativism and evangelical activism, the Civil Rights Movement to enhance their power and relevance their Phoenix like resurgence over the decades doesn t speak well of America s attitudes towards race It s especially depressing to read now that we have a President who received David Duke s full throated endorsement.

  9. says:

    It took me a while to get through this, but not for lack of interest This book chronicles the creation and rise of the KKK, its rifts, declines and resurgences, and its internal and external power struggles It contains a thorough history, and is well detailed with often sickening anecdotes I especially appreciated Wade s inclusion of some of the official paperwork of the Klan in the appendices charters, credo, directives, etc I would term the documents laughably ill conceived and hypocritical citing ideals like character , peace , love and morality as if they could be compatible with the Klan , had they not been used to mobilize Americans in acts of barbarity that could have no humor injected I wish I had an updated version of Wade s work to include the 2000s, but that would be the largest of my complaints.

  10. says:

    in depth history and workings of the klu klux klan i had no idea how pervasive the klan was since reconstruction, and how much it appealed to ordinary people s arrogant and yet secret, always secret superiority the book highlights the charismatic and brilliant leaders of the kkk in its many forms, as well as the intellectual and idealistic people who fought against it, and were at times victims of the heartless brutality of the klan anonymous mob vigilante daring at its worst, the klan appealed to so many, including presidents and senators and governors truly disturbing insight into an american institution.

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