Joining the Klan

David Cunningham

in Klansville, U.S.A.

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199752027
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979431 | DOI:
Joining the Klan

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This chapter considers the processes associated with KKK participation, from the perspective of the individuals who joined the organization. Constructing a profile of Carolina Klan members, the chapter introduces and explains an apparent contradiction: though the klan tended to organize successfully in communities with high levels of racial competition, white workers in direct competition with African Americans were not disproportionately likely to join. Explaining this finding requires attention to both “push” and “pull” factors, associated with how competition translated into a sense of racial threat, how related anxieties spread unevenly through white communities, and how leaders framed the KKK as a vehicle to repair segregationist ills. Depending on how such efforts coincided with individual lives, such elements could forge and cement, or alternately deter, the UKA's connections to potential adherents.

Keywords: Ku Klux Klan; participation; competition; racial threat; framing

Chapter.  10651 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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