The first group came into being during the Reconstruction period in the South, with the primary goal of maintaining white supremacy over blacks, who had recently been freed from slavery. The Klan used terror and murder to oppose reforms, using costumes such as robes and masks to hide their identities. With the end of Reconstruction, this group disbanded, having achieved many of its goals, despite early successful efforts to prosecute and curtail the Klan's activities. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was a founder of the Klan, but distanced himself from it when he considered its level of violence to have become unacceptable.
The second group appeared in 1915. Unlike its predecessor, it was a nationwide organization, and strongly nativist, targeting not only blacks, but Jews, Catholics, communists, evolutionists, and unions. It also preached against "immoral" behaviors such as sexual promiscuity, and maintained a strongly pro-temperance position. Throughout the 1920s, the organization was extremely widespread, with several state and local governments boasting many Klansmen. However, in the late 1920s, several prominent leaders were involved in a variety of corruption and criminal scandals, which provoked a backlash. It shed members throughout the 1930s, and ceased to exist in 1944.
The third era saw a number of organizations created in response to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Several of these organizations continue right up to the present. During this period, various Klan members committed a number violent acts, including murder, often with the help of officials at the municipal and state level. The Klan met with resistance from non-whites and whites at several levels and the federal government extended the enforcement of civil rights, giving the Klan's opponents substantial tools. Despite numerous acts of terror, the "third" Klan never reached the levels of influence of its predecessors.
At present, there is no one single Ku Klux Klan, but series of independent chapters across the country.
Ku Klux Klan in "He Woke in Darkness"
In Cecil Price's recurring nightmare, the Ku Klux Klan was replaced by the Black Knights of Voodoo, a black supremacist organization that sought to insure disenfranchisement of whites in Mississippi. In his nightmare, Price and two black Northerners were murdered by several BKV members in much the same way Price helped engineer the murders of three civil rights workers by his fellow KKK members.
Ku Klux Klan in War World
- Forrest's Trees, a group in The Guns of the South with shares some elements with the KKK.
- Sons of Liberty, a group in The Two Georges which has many similarities to the KKK.
- "Hang Together," prologue.