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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: 24 September 2021

Ku-Klux Attacks Define Southern Public Life

Ku-Klux Attacks Define Southern Public Life

(p.109) Three Ku-Klux Attacks Define Southern Public Life

Elaine Frantz Parsons

University of North Carolina Press

Klan attackers, government officials, and Klan victims each for their own reasons, intended for the story of Klan attacks to circulate. Ku-Klux, of course, dictated many of the terms of the attack, coercing victims to behave in certain ways and constraining them from behaving in others. Government officials wanted to hear certain sorts of stories, and used their authority to elicit certain sorts of attack narratives while preventing the expression of others. Victims, while the least powerful of these three, were usually the only ones present for the attack who could speak of it without incriminating themselves. While sometimes silenced by their fear of Ku-Klux, their need of government officials’ support, and the necessity of speaking in a way that to some degree both reflected the moment of violence orchestrated by the Klan and was considered relevant by those taking testimony, they nevertheless had the nontrivial power to choose to speak certain words, in certain ways, and to withhold others. In that way, they substantially shaped the nature of Klan narratives in circulation.

Keywords:   Victim testimony, Ku-Klux Klan, Performative violence, Minstrelsy, Racial violence, Congressional testimony, Reconstruction era, Trauma

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