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Racism in America: The Ku Klux Klan


The immigration policy we have just seen was really a form of racism (discrimination against people because of their colour/nationality). There was a fear among American W.A.S.P.s that Catholics and Jews would swamp them, if immigration was not checked. In certain parts of the USA they feared the Negroes. The Ku Klux Klan began in the South after the civil War. Poor whites resented the freeing of Negro slaves and were determined to keep them in their place, i.e. inferior. Negroes who were considered "uppity" were tarred and feathered or even lynched. There was strict segregation (separation of the races) .On buses and in cinemas Negroes had to sit in their own areas, which were not as comfortable. They were not even allowed to sit in the same restaurant or go to the same schools as whites. (Have you seen or read "To kill a mockingbird"?) By 1925 there were 5 million members of the Ku Klux Klan and it was spreading to the north-eastern cities, e.g. Chicago, Cleveland, New York etc. This was because Negroes were moving there to find jobs and a better standard of living than in the South. They found them, but still encountered widespread discrimination, though obviously not as bad as 'it had been in the South.

Things to ask yourself

What is the Ku Klux Klan?
Which groups did they oppose in America in the 1920's and why?

Pages in this unit

The USA in the 1920's, Isolationism, Racism, Prohibition and Gangsterism, The "Roaring Twenties", American History Links, The American Revolution, American History Activities






In this unit:



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