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The Klan Unmasked


By Stetson Kennedy
The Ku Klux Klan has been the most organized of the many
different White supremacy groups that came into being after
the Civil War. The ill-reputed Knights of the Klan have
been involved in countless incidents of human rights
violations against blacks and other minority groups in
America. Especially in the South, during and after the
Reconstruction period, the Klan played a major part in
formulating and forcefully employing many of the Jim Crow
laws, that delayed black man's true freedom for a century.
In the book "The Klan Unmasked", Stetson Kennedy tells the
true story about the Klan as an under cover agent inside
this organization.
Stetson Kennedy is a native of Jacksonville, Florida where
the Klan was very active. Kennedy saw first hand the
working of the Klan when a maid in his house was taken for
a ride by the Klan and badly tortured. Kennedy developed a
hatred for the Ku Klux Klan and wanted to do all he could
to limit the influence of and put a stop to its hate
mongering. He wrote a book "Palmetto Country" in which he
blasted the myth that the Klan was formed to "save the
South" from Scalawags, Carpetbaggers and Negroes. This was
the view held widely throughout the South and took root
more so as it was romantically depicted in Southern writers
publications and the ground breaking movie "The Birth of a
Nation". Kennedy noted that the Klan was actually the
handiwork of the rich Southern plantation holders, who
wanted to keep the black labor force under chains similar
to those of slavery.
Also, Kennedy noted that the few things written about the
KKK were editorials rather than exposes. He felt the need
for not just words but for legal evidence against the
Klan's inside machinations. For that purpose someone would
have to go under a Klan robe and turn the hooded order's
dirty linen for all the world to see. The author decided to
volunteer for the job and thus began his adventures as a
Klan-buster, in the headquarters of the Klan at the time in
Atlanta. The first few chapters relate his experiences at
the Klan meetings and his mostly successful efforts to
report the planned acts of hooded terrorism to authorities.
Soon enough, Kennedy had enough incriminating evidence
against the Klan. In an action packed moment in the
courthouse, Kennedy disrobed from under his Klan mask in
front of stunned Klansmen who had thought he was one of
them. Kennedy testified against the vicious organization,
and played an important role in bringing the Klan to its
Through the remainder of the book, Kennedy relays his
experiences working against other similar outfits, like the
Colombians in Florida, who had Nazi leaders perpetrating
anti-Negro, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic sentiments. As a
result of his daring confrontations with the Klan and other
organizations, Kennedy has had to face numerous threats to
his life and property.
"The Klan Unmasked" is a real eye-opener into the devilish
machinations of the Ku Klux Klan. Instead of sermonizing
about the issue, Kennedy takes a very daring and practical
approach and enthralls the readers with his Klan-busting
adventures. It portrays the dangers of falling into the
vicious business of hate-mongering very effectively and
makes us think hard about the racial and social problems
facing American society as it enters a new century. 



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