The Ku Klux Klan, which is commonly called the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist hate group. And anyone who is familiar with their history will sure have a lot to say about their hate for black people in America.
But one thing that would come as a surprise to many is the reports that the KKK has black members. Many African-Americans would argue that this is a lie. Of, course, it will be a hard pill to swallow. But before we refute this, let us read through. At the end of this expose, then we can share our views.
Dr. Amos N. Nelson, who is a Pan-African thinker, scholar, author, and a professor of psychology at the City University of New York, wrote extensively on this subject. He said that one of the last things today's biased media wants people to know is that there were Negro members of the Ku Klux Klan.
He said that no one has ever written a book about them to the best of his knowledge though such a book would be of great historical interest. In fact, very little documentation of this part of American history has survived. The little that has survived speaks volumes and proves that Americans do not know their own history. He gave his own sources of information and quoted from them.
His first source of Negro Klan membership is the book, "The Ku Klux Spirit", by J.A. Rogers, who was a noted Negro historian of the 1920s. The book ‘Ku Klux Spirit’ was first published in 1923, by Messenger Publishing Co. It was later republished in 1980, by Black Classic Press. On page 34 of his book, a passage read: "A fact not generally known is that there were thousands of Negro Klansmen. These were used as spies on other Negroes and on Northern Whites."
In the 1920s, there were plenty of original Klansmen still living and also many other people of both races who lived during the Reconstruction Era. It was possible for J.A. Rogers to have interviewed many. Of course, why would a Black historian make such a thing up? And assuming he did make it up there would have been many people who would have objected. His book would not have lived to this day. But it actually did.
Dr. Amos N. Wilson’s second source is a book written by Albion Winegar Tourgee, a Carpetbagger. In 1880 he published his book titled "A Fool's Errand", (New York: Fords, Howard and Hubert). It was then republished in 1989 by Louisiana State University Press as, "The Invisible Empire". On page 79 of his book, a passage read: "There were no Colored men in the band (of Klansmen) that night. Their hands were not covered. I could see their boots and pants, and I could judge from their hands and feet. Most of them were genteel people, besides being white people. I could also have told by their language if there had been any Colored people among them. Their language was that of white men, and cultivated men."
So, why does Albion claim that no Colored men were riding with the Klan that night unless he had seen Colored men with the Klan previously? The men were in their robes since he had to look at their uncovered hands to see that no Colored men were among them. If he was not telling the truth, why would a Carpetbagger, of all people, ever make such a thing up?
Dr. Wilson’s third source is, "Ku Klux Klan, It's Origins, Growth, and Disbandment", a book by J.C. Lester (one of the six founding fathers of the first Ku Klux Klan) and D.L. Wilson (another early Klansman). The book was originally published in 1884. The book was then reprinted in 1905. In that edition, Walter L. Fleming, Ph.D., added an introduction to give more credits to it. Again in 1905, there were still many original Klansmen who would have argued the contents of the book. In the introduction, this was Fleming's statement: "Many of the genuine Unionists later joined in the movement (the KKK), and there were some few Negro members, I have been told."
Now, this latter book we are told that there were "some few Negro members". In the one before it we were told that there "were thousands of Negro Klansmen." But that should be relative. When we consider that the original KKK had over 400,000 members, "some few Negro members" could have amounted to several thousand Blacks.
Dr. Wilson’s fourth source is a more modern book, titled "Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography", by Jack Hurst. On page 305 it quoted: "...(the Klan was) reorganized to oppose radical proponents (the Radical Republicans) of what it perceived to be Black domination, NOT to scourge Blacks themselves. Although it has been written that Ku Klux Klan ranks were open only to the more than 100,000 honorably discharged ex-Confederate veterans, the hierarchy in some areas and some instances seems to have accepted and even recruited Blacks, provided they went along with Conservative-Democratic political philosophy. In Memphis of late 1868, sixty-five Blacks organized a "Colored Democratic Club" under the watchful eye of Klansman-editor Gallaway - - who according to an account in the Appeal, "made a motion on behalf of the White men present, that they give employment and protection to Colored democrats."
So, the Klan did not only accept and recruit Blacks in some areas but also a Klan leader made a motion that White men should give employment and protection to Colored democrats. That in itself speaks volumes of the KKK pf that era.
Sr Wilson’s fifth source is the book: "Jesse James and the Lost Cause" by Jesse Lee James, Pageant Press, N.Y., 1961. And his sixth source is a book titled: "Jesse James was one of His Names" by Del Schrader with Jesse James III, Arcadia, CA, Santa Anna Press, 1975.
When the Klan was revived in 1915 it was majorly just for Protestant White men. With time the Klan added the Women of the Ku Klux Klan, teenager and children's groups, groups for the foreign-born, and also Colored men.
Concerning the Colored Klansmen of the 20th century, Dr. Wilson’s first source is, "Women of the Klan, Racism, and Gender in the 1920's", by Kathleen M. Blee. On page 169, he found the passage, " Even more strangely, the Klan tried to organize an order of Black Protestants, a Klan "Colored division" in Indiana and other states. Despite promises that the new order would have "all the rights of membership" of the White Klan, much preparation went into ensuring that the values of white supremacy would be preserved as the Klan expanded its racial base. The group was to wear red robes, white capes, and blue masks and was prohibited from being seen in public with White Klansmen or handling any membership funds."
Presently, no one has the facts of how far the Colored Men's Klan went or how long they lasted. When the men's Klan was disbanded in 1944, the Women of the Ku Klux Klan organization did not. They changed their name to the Women's Christian Patriotic Association and continued till the 1960s. Dr. Wilson wondered if this order of Black Protestants has changed its name and is still with us to this day with its origins unknown to historians as well as its own present members.
To further add to this topic, Wilson’s next source of information is from the KKK, itself. In their book, "K.K.K. Friend or Foe: Which?", written by attorney Blaine Mast, and published in 1924, a chapter is dedicated to discussing the KKK and its relationship with the Black population of America. In this chapter, these passages are seen:
"The KKK claims that there is no good reason why the Colored people may not form a Ku Klux Klan of their own, and, as far as the writer knows, such an institution may exist in America. Indeed, we were credibly informed that some months ago a Klan gathering took place in an adjoining state, which was attended by some 20 colored men, for a general invitation had been extended. Those Negroes were so favorably impressed with what a distinguished speaker said, and with the general character and demeanor of the meeting, that they approached the speaker and others in authority and inquired if it were not possible for the Colored people to form a Klan of their own race. If they could get permission to organize, they were anxious to do so and hoped for assistance from the officers of the KKK. So, in this particular instance, at least, some Colored men had no fear in associating with Klansmen."
The chapter then went on to give details for the groundwork for such a Black Klan. It is important to note that in the same book, another chapter is dedicated to discussing the possible formation of a Jewish branch of the Ku Klux Klan.
There is a new historical find concerning Negroes in the KKK that you will find surprising. It appears that in some cases Whites and Blacks were members of the same local chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. The source of this information is from the book: Hard Times by Studs Terkel (1970, New York). The book is about the conditions in America during the Great Depression. On page 239, it read:
"The Ku Klux was formed on behalf of people that wanted a decent living, both black and white. Half the coal camp was colored. It wasn't anti-colored. The black people had the same responsibilities as white. Their lawn was just as green as the white man's. They got the same rate of pay. There was two colored who belonged to it. I remember those two coming around my father and asking questions about it. They joined. The pastor of our community church was a colored man. He was Ku Klux. It was the only protection the working man had. ....... One time a Negro slapped a white boy. They didn't give him any warning. They whipped him and ran him out of town. If a white man slapped a colored kid, they'd have done the same thing. They didn't go in for beating up Negroes because they were Negroes. What they did was keep the community decent to live in. What they did object to was obscenity and drinking."
These numerous pieces of evidence about the black men in the KKK are baffling. It can be a hard pill to swallow when the present-day Blacks in America consider what the KK stands for. A few questions come to mind. One wonders: What was the objective of these black KKK members? Were they also anti-black and working against their own people?
The answers to these questions might be hard to find or swallow. But we encourage people to do more research and by doing so, know where they stand with history.