The Klan Unmasked

The Ku Klux Klan has been the most organized of the many
different White supremacy groups that came into being after the Civil
War. The ill-reputed Knights of the Klan have been involved in countless
incidents of human rights violations against blacks and other minority
groups in America. Especially in the South, during and after the
Reconstruction period, the Klan played a major part in formulating and
forcefully employing many of the Jim Crow laws, that delayed black mans
true freedom for a century.
Stetson Kennedy is a native of Jacksonville, Florida
where the Klan was very active. Kennedy saw first hand the working of the
Klan when a maid in his house was taken for a ride by the Klan and badly
tortured. Kennedy developed a hatred for the Ku Klux Klan and wanted to
do all he could to limit the influence of and put a stop to its hate
mongering. He wrote a book Palmetto Country in which he blasted the
myth that the Klan was formed to save the South from Scalawags,
Carpetbaggers and Negroes. This was the view held widely throughout the
South and took root more so as it was romantically depicted in Southern
writers publications and the ground breaking movie The Birth of a
Nation. Kennedy noted that the Klan was actually the handiwork of the
rich Southern plantation holders, who wanted to keep the black labor
force under chains similar to those of slavery.
Also, Kennedy noted that the few things written about the
KKK were editorials rather than exposes. He felt the need for not just
words but for legal evidence against the Klans inside machinations. For
that purpose someone would have to go under a Klan robe and turn the
hooded orders dirty linen for all the world to see. The author decided
to volunteer for the job and thus began his adventures as a Klan-buster,
in the headquarters of the Klan at the time in Atlanta. The first few
chapters relate his experiences at the Klan meetings and his mostly
successful efforts to report the planned acts of hooded terrorism to

Soon enough, Kennedy had enough incriminating evidence
against the Klan. In an action packed moment in the courthouse, Kennedy
disrobed from under his Klan mask in front of stunned Klansmen who had
thought he was one of them. Kennedy testified against the vicious
organization, and played an important role in bringing the Klan to its
Through the remainder of the book, Kennedy relays his
experiences working against other similar outfits, like the Colombians in
Florida, who had Nazi leaders perpetrating anti-Negro, anti-Catholic and
anti-Semitic sentiments. As a result of his daring confrontations with
the Klan and other organizations, Kennedy has had to face numerous
threats to his life and property.

The Klan Unmasked is a real eye-opener into the
devilish machinations of the Ku Klux Klan. Instead of sermonizing about
the issue, Kennedy takes a very daring and practical approach and
enthralls the readers with his Klan-busting adventures. It portrays the
dangers of falling into the vicious business of hate-mongering very
effectively and makes us think hard about the racial and social problems
facing American society as it enters a new century.

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