By Nancy K. MacLean
On Thanksgiving evening, 1915, a small band of hooded males collected atop Stone Mountain, an impressive granite butte simply outdoors Atlanta. With a flag fluttering within the wind beside them, a Bible open to the 12th bankruptcy of Romans, and a flaming pass to gentle 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 lots of their fathers had served after the Civil battle. uncertain in their footing within the New South and eager for the provincial, patriarchal global of the earlier, the boys of the second one Klan observed themselves as a military in education for a struggle 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 state, lower than the white man's flag.''
Behind the masks of Chivalry brings the ''invisible phalanx'' into vast sunlight, culling from historical past the names, the lifestyles 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 international with a penetrating research of the second one Klan's rules and politics national. No different right-wing move has ever accomplished as a lot strength because the Ku Klux Klan of the Twenties, and this e-book exhibits how and why it did. MacLean finds that the move mobilized its thousands of yankee fans mostly via campaigns waged over matters that this day will be referred to as ''family values'': Prohibition violation, premarital intercourse, lewd video clips, 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 court cases usually have been on the neighborhood point, crusades over ''morals'' constantly operated within the carrier of the Klan's greater time table of virulent racial hatred and middle-class revanchism. the lads who deplored intercourse between adolescents 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 ecu fascist routine that grew out of the crucible of the 1st global struggle, MacLean continues that the amazing scope and frenzy of the circulate mirrored much less on individuals' energy inside their groups than at the demanding situations to that strength posed by way of African american citizens, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and white girls and early life 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 selection 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 an important period in American heritage, and the social stipulations, cultural currents, and usual males that outfitted this archetypal American reactionary move.
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Extra resources for Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan
20 Here, it seemed, was brewing the black rebellion whose specter haunted the white establishment. Not only were black soldiers trained in combat, but it appeared their civilian peers might no longer turn the other cheek, either. This, at any rate, was the message of the race riots of 1919. In them, African Americans fought back en masse, for the first time, against white assailants. Certainly local racists noticed that, according to Athens merchants, black purchases of firearms skyrocketed in these years, restrained only by limited supply.
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. Many contemporaries could not believe that a woman who smoked could be a reliable mother, or that a girl who wore short skirts would ever heed a husband's wishes. Only experience could calm their fears.
One hotel manager described "such gross indifference ... " White nerves became so sensitive that they registered changes in blacks' spending habits as political statements. High wartime wages enabled even some poor people to buy such things as silk shirts or automobiles. This "unusually extravagant buying" irked establishment whites. 13 But the bravest statement of black aspirations came in politics, as some pushed to open a second front in President Wilson's "war for democracy": below the Mason-Dixon line.
Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan by Nancy K. MacLean