Add KKK Marker To Lee Park
More from Dec. 19, 2016 Blue Ribbon Report 1893–1926 pages 71–127(47-meg report here and here.)
Charlottesville, Virginia (Jan. 2, 2017) — Nobody knows the exact date in 1921 when the first local chapter of the social club was finally organized as Charlottesville Klan No. 9 of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Hundreds of businessmen and professionals "met around the tomb of Jefferson at the midnight hour one night last week and sealed the pledge..." (Blue Ribbon Report page 105. Tuesday, June 28, 1921, Daily Progress.) Later the powerful educated elite Democrats began to blame poor dumb redneck Republicans as a strawman, who actually opposed the Invisible Empire.
The first Klan formed on Christmas Eve 1865. Because the Klan has been banned since 1871 as a domestic terrorist group, its members hid their identities and operated at night, and often said how proud they were. As modern race protests like Ferguson are scheduled for midnight, there's no such thing as a legitimate protest in the dark of night. The US Department of Justice was created to put down the white-on-black race riots, contrasting with the modern DOJ inciting black-on-white riots, violence and intimidation.
If your true goal was to preserve white pride and heritage, you would join the Anglo-Saxon Club. Of course there would be overlap of membership. Enemies of the KKK would paint all Anglos as white supremacist. Just as today, the NAACP is called black supremacist when there's Black Lives Matter influence. A black could be a member of the Anglo club just as whites can join the NAACP. In addition, a mixed Inter-Race group did form to push back against the KKK.
At the national level, the Golden Age of Race Relations lasted only a few months and maybe 1870s until 1915 Birth of a Nation first Hollywood feature film revives the Klan mythology. National membership surges and peaks at 6 million in 1924, falls to 30 thousand by 1930.
In Charlottesville the Golden Age lasts from 1865 until 1917 near-lynchings or July 1918 local chapter of NAACP or June 1921 first local chapter of KKK. The peaceful period began 1865. The principal of Jefferson School feared a "calathump" or riot from the all-white-male UVA students on a drunken stroll from Court Square back to Grounds.
But it never happened. Everybody heard the news of racial strife. They kept expecting it to break out here in Charlottesville. Any day now.
On July 12, 1898 there was a staged lynching of a black prisoner being transported by rail (page 126). Four miles west of Charlottesville, the train stopped in a 150-person crowd. Charged with attempted rape of a white woman, John Henry James is hanged and then shot an estimated 40 times in a volley from the crowd.
The Richmond newspaper warns of a dark future. But Charlottesville's Golden Age keeps on rolling for another 20 years. Blacks and whites were united that this public assassination was somewhat justified, as the previous lynching of a white man had been, the only two lynchings in the local Golden Age. Besides, using racism to justify terrible crimes would pervert the system and create insatiable criminals of the unpunished.
By 1872, the federal government's evident willingness to bring its legal and coercive authority to bear had broken the Klan's back and produced a dramatic decline in violence throughout the South. So ended the Reconstruction career of the Ku Klux Klan.
At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million people nationwide.
The organization of the Ku Klux Klan coincided with the beginning of the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more radical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting President Andrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865 to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto. Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, and each state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal male suffrage.
Ku Klux Klan Violence in the South
From 1867 onward, African-American participation in public life in the South became one of the most radical aspects of Reconstruction, as blacks won election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress. For its part, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violence against Republican leaders and voters (both black and white) in an effort to reverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy in the South. They were joined in this struggle by similar organizations such as the Knights of the White Camelia (launched in Louisiana in 1867) and the White Brotherhood. At least 10 percent of the black legislators elected during the 1867-1868 constitutional conventions became victims of violence during Reconstruction, including seven who were killed. White Republicans (derided as “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”) and black institutions such as schools and churches—symbols of black autonomy—were also targets for Klan attacks.
By 1870, the Ku Klux Klan had branches in nearly every southern state. Even at its height, the Klan did not boast a well-organized structure or clear leadership. Local Klan members–often wearing masks and dressed in the organization’s signature long white robes and hoods–usually carried out their attacks at night, acting on their own but in support of the common goals of defeating Radical Reconstruction and restoring white supremacy in the South. Klan activity flourished particularly in the regions of the South where blacks were a minority or a small majority of the population, and was relatively limited in others. Among the most notorious zones of Klan activity was South Carolina, where in January 1871 500 masked men attacked the Union county jail and lynched eight black prisoners.
The Ku Klux Klan and the End of Reconstruction
Though Democratic leaders would later attribute Ku Klux Klan violence to poorer southern whites, the organization’s membership crossed class lines, from small farmers and laborers to planters, lawyers, merchants, physicians and ministers. In the regions where most Klan activity took place, local law enforcement officials either belonged to the Klan or declined to take action against it, and even those who arrested accused Klansmen found it difficult to find witnesses willing to testify against them. Other leading white citizens in the South declined to speak out against the group’s actions, giving them tacit approval. After 1870, Republican state governments in the South turned to Congress for help, resulting in the passage of three Enforcement Acts, the strongest of which was the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.
For the first time, the Ku Klux Klan Act designated certain crimes committed by individuals as federal offenses, including conspiracies to deprive citizens of the right to hold office, serve on juries and enjoy the equal protection of the law. The act authorized the president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and arrest accused individuals without charge, and to send federal forces to suppress Klan violence. This expansion of federal authority–which Ulysses S. Grant promptly used in 1871 to crush Klan activity in South Carolina and other areas of the South–outraged Democrats and even alarmed many Republicans. From the early 1870s onward, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South as support for Reconstruction waned; by the end of 1876, the entire South was under Democratic control once again.
Revival of the Ku Klux Klan
In 1915, white Protestant nativists organized a revival of the Ku Klux Klan near Atlanta, Georgia, inspired by their romantic view of the Old South as well as Thomas Dixon’s 1905 book “The Clansman” and D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “Birth of a Nation.” This second generation of the Klan was not only anti-black but also took a stand against Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners and organized labor. It was fueled by growing hostility to the surge in immigration that America experienced in the early 20th century along with fears of communist revolution akin to the Bolshevik triumph in Russia in 1917. The organization took as its symbol a burning cross and held rallies, parades and marches around the country. At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million people nationwide.
The Great Depression in the 1930s depleted the Klan’s membership ranks, and the organization temporarily disbanded in 1944. The civil rights movement of the 1960s saw a surge of local Klan activity across the South, including the bombings, beatings and shootings of black and white activists. These actions, carried out in secret but apparently the work of local Klansmen, outraged the nation and helped win support for the civil rights cause. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered a speech publicly condemning the Klan and announcing the arrest of four Klansmen in connection with the murder of a white female civil rights worker in Alabama. The cases of Klan-related violence became more isolated in the decades to come, though fragmented groups became aligned with neo-Nazi or other right-wing extremist organizations from the 1970s onward. In the early 1990s, the Klan was estimated to have between 6,000 and 10,000 active members, mostly in the Deep South.
On April 20, 1871 the Republicans passed the anti-Ku Klux Klan Act outlawing Democratic terrorist groups. The Miller Center reported:
“On April 20, 1871, at the urging of President Ulysses Grant, Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Act. Also known as the third Enforcement Act, the bill was a controversial expansion of federal authority designed to give the federal government additional power to protect voters. The act established penalties in the form of fines and jail time for attempts to deprive citizens of equal protection under the laws and gave the President the authority to use federal troops and suspend the writ of habeas corpus in ensuring that civil rights were upheld.
Founded as a fraternal organization by Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan soon became a paramilitary group devoted to the overthrow of Republican governments in the South and the reassertion of white supremacy. Through murder, kidnapping, and violent intimidation, Klansmen sought to secure Democratic victories in elections by attacking black voters and, less frequently, white Republican leaders.
In related news – Republicans led the charge on civil rights and women’s rights.
This list was originally compiled by Michael Zak at Grand Ole Partisan and then posted at Free Republic:
West sold one of the parcels to become Stonewall Jackson Park at Court Square.
John West was a black real estate developer, who built Vinegar Hill and sold parcels to blacks. Land = Civil Rights. Rise of black society and black culture. National black leaders held Charlottesville as a model for black empowerment. There was a Golden Age of race relations in a boomtown intersecting two railroads. But in most places, blacks were not allowed to buy land.
Not until 1950s urban renewal began that the 1920s At-Large City Council was able to chip away at the real estate. A book is published. "Urban Renewal: The End Of Black Culture In Charlottesville."
The Blue Ribbon Report says West "became a prosperous barber" with white customers. Good gig if you can get it. West owned a part of the McKee block and his own house at 313 W. Main. Of course West was a wealthy land developer, born into slavery, son of the Gibbons, slaves of a UVA professor.
The Lee Connection to Charlottesville. Col. Charles Venable served under Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Civil War and delivered Lee's final order at Appomattox surrender.
The sculptor of the Jackson monument also created the Booker T. Washington figure at Tuskegee Institute. Washington visited Charlottesville as a paragon of black empowerment.
Evidence of Black Society. It was a strange time. Newspapers would report on race riots and racial fervor, including opposition and rebuttals. Few pages or days later would be reports on Black Society, 2,000 blacks attend a July 4th celebration, black soldiers returning from World War One. NAACP leader W.E. Dubois asked blacks and whites to unite to defeat German militant slavery.
Germany tried to stir revolt in USA. Panic over a colored soldier. A white veteran wrote a letter to the paper to calm the fears. That letter started the first ROTC at UVA.
UVA "President Alderman promptly communicated with the War Department asking that one or more units of the Reserve Officer Training Corps be established here, and asked that Lieutenant-Colonel James A. Cole, U.S. A[rmy], retired, a resident of Charlottesville, Va., be detailed as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at this University. (The Alumni Bulletin of the University of Virginia 1917. Blue Ribbon Report page 84.)
1917–1926 KKK era in Charlottesville.