By Nancy K. MacLean
On Thanksgiving evening, 1915, a small band of hooded males accumulated atop Stone Mountain, an impressive granite butte simply outdoor Atlanta. With a flag fluttering within the wind beside them, a Bible open to the 12th bankruptcy of Romans, and a flaming go to mild the evening sky above, William Joseph Simmons and his disciples proclaimed themselves the recent Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named for the notorious mystery order within which a lot of their fathers had served after the Civil warfare. not sure in their footing within the New South and eager for the provincial, patriarchal international of the previous, the lads of the second one Klan observed themselves as a military in education for a battle among the races. They boasted they had bonded into ''an invisible phalanx...to stand as impregnable as a tower opposed to each encroachment upon the white man's liberty...in the white man's nation, below the white man's flag.''
Behind the masks of Chivalry brings the ''invisible phalanx'' into large sunlight, culling from heritage the names, the existence tales, and the riding passions of the nameless Klansmen underneath the white hoods and gowns. utilizing an strange and wealthy cache of inner Klan documents from Athens, Georgia to anchor her observations, writer Nancy MacLean combines a fine-grained portrait of an area Klan global with a penetrating research of the second one Klan's principles and politics national. No different right-wing stream has ever accomplished as a lot strength because the Ku Klux Klan of the Twenties, and this e-book indicates how and why it did. MacLean finds that the flow mobilized its hundreds of thousands of yank fans mostly via campaigns waged over concerns that at the present time will be known as ''family values'': Prohibition violation, premarital intercourse, lewd videos, anxieties approximately women's altering roles, and concerns over waning parental authority. Neither elites nor ''poor white trash,'' many of the Klan rank and dossier have been married, middle-aged, and center type. neighborhood conferences, or klonklaves, featured readings of the mins, plans for recruitment campaigns and Klan barbecues, and distribution of academic materials--Christ and different Klansmen was once one renowned tome. still, as mundane as lawsuits usually have been on the neighborhood point, crusades over ''morals'' constantly operated within the carrier of the Klan's higher schedule of virulent racial hatred and middle-class revanchism. the boys who deplored intercourse between youngsters and sought to revive the ability of husbands and fathers have been additionally sworn to reclaim the ''white man's country,'' striving to take the vote from blacks and bar immigrants. evaluating the Klan to the eu fascist events that grew out of the crucible of the 1st international battle, MacLean continues that the awesome scope and frenzy of the circulate mirrored much less on individuals' energy inside of their groups than at the demanding situations to that energy posed through African americans, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and white ladies and adolescence who didn't obey the Klan's canon of appropriaite behavior. In vigilante terror, the Klan's evening riders acted out their movement's brutal choice to take care of inherited hierarchies of race, type, and gender.
Compellingly readable and impeccably researched, The masks of Chivalry is an unforgettable research of a very important period in American historical past, and the social stipulations, cultural currents, and traditional males that equipped this archetypal American reactionary circulation.
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Additional info for Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan
These locals then formed a city central federation in 1914. Although no evidence survives of union organizing among local textile workers, operatives at the Southern Mills conducted an impromptu work stoppage when management tried to introduce piecework. "They would starve first," they said. 9 The insurgence of white labor could scarcely be separated from the disgruntlemerit spreading among African Americans, even before the war. Young people especially resented the curbs on their freedom. " An expert in agricultural economics concurred, pointing to "the growing aversion on the part of the negro to supervision.
29 Like rising skirts, the rise of smoking among young white women became a controversial issue. Whereas the new dress styles indicated a decline in female sexual modesty, female smoking threatened to dissolve gender distinctions altogether. " Although only about thirty female students at the University of Georgia smoked in these years, they were also the first generation of co-eds. As such, they appeared to many to be the wave of the future. 30 The very newness of such behavior, adopted as it was in an already turbulent social context, made it seem seditious.
This campaign caused panic among leading whites, who hauled out their white employees to offset black votes. 18 The proportion of blacks involved in such outspoken protest was tiny; the challenge their undertakings posed to the status quo was great. Even more fearsome to racist whites than the NAACP were black veterans of the Great War. The mere vision of an AfricanAmerican man in a uniform, a symbol commanding respect, could arouse white fire-eaters to violence. But the threat posed by black soldiers was not merely symbolic.