By Earnest Crim III: I remember when I first learned about the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a child. They were portrayed to me as a villainous White posse that went around killing Blacks after slavery to “put them in their place.”
I had so much disdain for this crew of cowards, especially when I would go on to learn, by way of my own curiosity, that often times White politicians and businessmen held high positions in this heinous organization.
In fact, the famous silent film entitled “Birth of a Nation” (originally “The Clansman”) centered around not only the promotion of Blacks as an inferior race also the portrayal of the Klan as some sort of patriotic group coming to rescue Whites from the Black race.
The Klan often came across as a fairytale creation to me, which was meant to scare Blacks much like Santa Claus is used to scare children into behaving appropriately. Their comical clownish outfits and propensity to burn crosses seemed so outrageously hypocritical that you would just assume they were crafted creatively by a writer of fiction. (In fact, I recently discovered that there was in fact a book entitled “Superman vs. the KKK” that although seemingly fiction, was based on actual events. Click here for more info on that.)
Although often times depicted as a protagonists to the White community, the Klan was without a doubt the antagonist to the Black community. In reality, the Klan was the enemy all Americans and a hindrance to experiencing the “freedom” that was eloquently written about in the Declaration of Independence. The true protagonist, in contrast to these thugs, would be courageous heroes such as Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X (and his father) and Marcus Garvey, to name a few.
[Editor’s note: It was reported in 1922 that Marcus Garvey met with the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, Edward Clarke. In Negro World (September, 1923), Garvey wrote, “I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together.