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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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Race and Violence in Union County, South Carolina

Race and Violence in Union County, South Carolina

(p.215) Six Race and Violence in Union County, South Carolina

Elaine Frantz Parsons

University of North Carolina Press

The translocal, disembodied idea of the Klan had to take root in specific local communities. This chapter explores the Klan’s emergence in Union County, South Carolina, a community with its own robust and articulated culture of racial violence. Based on a network analysis of social relationships taken from the county’s criminal indictment records, this chapter explains what, structurally, happened to patterns of violence in Union County when the Klan emerged there in 1868 and then again in 1871. In the wake of the Civil War, an effective black leadership emerged in the county that not only gained desirable elective and patronage positions, made meaningful connections with powerful leaders beyond the county, and began to prosecute white criminal actors and vice businesses that had long been tolerated in the county, and that many whites in the county depended upon. While much Klan violence seems to have been committed by small local groups, two incidents were notable exceptions to this pattern: the two deadly jail raid executions conducted by large groups of socially elite Ku-Klux. This chapter argues that in these larger attacks, these elites worked in collaboration with local established violent actors to suppress the threat of the new black leadership.

Keywords:   Union County, South Carolina, Network analysis, William Faucett, Ku-Klux Klan, Southern violence, lynching, Governor Robert K. Scott, J. Alexander Walker, Southern criminal life

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