Residents in central Florida have become increasingly aware that the Ku Klux Klan is in their midst.
WFTV 9 reports that recruitment flyers for the Florida chapter of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) have appeared in neighborhoods throughout the central part of the state.
One flyer of the flyers implores readers to join the KKK “[b]ecause the KKK has twice saved this nation from destruction as history clearly records.”
According to the organization’s perspective on American history, the KKK “saved” the United States from “n*gger terrorists” who threatened to destroy the country after the Civil War. Between 1865 and the early 1870s, former Confederate soldiers resorted to extrajudicial measures in order to restore the social hierarchy shattered by the war.
The Klan targeted free blacks, northern “carpetbaggers” and even Union soldiers before President Ulysses S. Grant signed the 1871 Civil Rights Act, which allowed local authorities to suspend habeas corpus if the Klan did not dissolve, which most chapters did.
The second time the Klan believes it “saved” America happened in the early 1920s. D. W. Griffith’s 1915 film The Birth of a Nation had romanticized the Klan’s first flowering, and many Protestants — largely concerned with Catholic immigration and increased urbanization and unionization — felt the social order the first Klan had sought to restore was, again, in need of defense.
According to the flyers being plastered and passed around central Florida, it is once again time to defend their version of American society. According to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’s website, “[i]t is the duty of all white Christian men and women to fight against the Communist who have stolen our Nation.”
The site and the flyers invite prospective KKK members to “Change your life; Achieve your goals; Expand your opportunities; Experience success; Gain self-confidence; Meet new people; [and] Make a difference in the world.”
In an interview with WFTV 9, the “grand dragon” of the Florida chapter — who remained hooded throughout the interview “[b]ecause I care about my job” — said that the flyers are “just the tip of the iceberg right now,” and that he belongs to an “invisible empire.”
“We have police officers, paramedics, judges,” said the grand dragon. “They’re everywhere.”
Watch the WFTV 9 report on the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan below.