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"K" is for the Ku Klux Klan

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  "K" is for the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan was a paramilitary organization formed during Reconstruction to oppose the Republican Party and restore white supremacy in the South. It was particularly strong in the predominantly white upcountry counties. President U. S. Grant declared a state of rebellion in ten South Carolina counties and suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Many Klan leaders fled the state and the organization ceased to exist. A 20th century KKK was founded in 1915, which glorified its Reconstruction predecessor and added hatred of Jews and Catholics to its devotion to white supremacy. This later Klan disbanded in the 1940s, but reappeared sporadically in response to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The 20th century Ku Klux Klan did exist in South Carolina but was not as politically powerful as in other states.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.