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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

Ku-Klux Skepticism and Denial in Reconstruction-Era Public Discourse

Ku-Klux Skepticism and Denial in Reconstruction-Era Public Discourse

(p.181) Five Ku-Klux Skepticism and Denial in Reconstruction-Era Public Discourse

Elaine Frantz Parsons

University of North Carolina Press

Klan denial remained remarkably persistent throughout and after the Klan period. As reams of testimony and massive stores of physical evidence of Klan violence poured into Washington, D.C., not only Democrats but sometimes even Republicans expressed regular doubt about its authenticity. Yet this was a period of great growth in professional journalism, and the reports newspapers were providing were of unprecedented quality and detail. Federal and state governments’ information-gathering mechanisms likewise expanded during this period, partly in order to deal with the challenge of proving the existence of the Klan. The image of the Klan as at once apparent and invisible, and the status of Klan accounts as detailed and rigorously documented yet also incredible, was a productive feature of Klan discourse. The very ambiguity of the Klan’s status played an important role in the reconciliation of North and South.

Keywords:   Klan denial, trauma, Ku-Klux Klan, lying, objectivity, Horace Greeley, collective memory, partisan press, Election of 1872

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