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Ku-KluxThe Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction$
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Elaine Frantz Parsons

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469625423

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469625423.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Roots of the Ku-Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee

The Roots of the Ku-Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee

(p.27) One The Roots of the Ku-Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee

Elaine Frantz Parsons

University of North Carolina Press

The Klan was founded not by southern plantation owners but by politically moderate, fairly cosmopolitan, border-state professionals in Pulaski, Tennessee. These young white men, facing the political, economic, and cultural collapse of the South in the wake of the war, developed the Klan as a diversion. Yet from the beginning they understood the potential political significance of southern social and cultural organizations such as the Klan, particularly as they confronted a confident and competent group of emerging black leaders in Pulaski. Because of their liminal position between North and South, the Pulaski Ku-Klux drew heavily on ideas circulating in the urban North. The Pulaski Klansmen understood the problem of the Reconstruction-era Klan as a problem of modernity and provided a way for the defeated southern white man to position himself in terms of the modern. This chapter explores the Klan’s slow beginnings in Pulaski, arguing that its growth was later than historians have understood, and traces its transformation into a violent and explicitly political organization more than one year after its beginnings.

Keywords:   Ku-Klux Klan, Pulaski, Tennessee, Freedpeople, Racal violence, Costuming, Klan Prescript, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Frank McCord, Pulaski Citizen

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