Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction

Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction

by Elaine Frantz Parsons


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The first comprehensive examination of the nineteenth-century Ku Klux Klan since the 1970s, Ku-Klux pinpoints the group's rise with startling acuity. Historians have traced the origins of the Klan to Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866, but the details behind the group's emergence have long remained shadowy. By parsing the earliest descriptions of the Klan, Elaine Frantz Parsons reveals that it was only as reports of the Tennessee Klan's mysterious and menacing activities began circulating in northern newspapers that whites enthusiastically formed their own Klan groups throughout the South. The spread of the Klan was thus intimately connected with the politics and mass media of the North.

Shedding new light on the ideas that motivated the Klan, Parsons explores Klansmen's appropriation of images and language from northern urban forms such as minstrelsy, burlesque, and business culture. While the Klan sought to retain the prewar racial order, the figure of the Ku-Klux became a joint creation of northern popular cultural entrepreneurs and southern whites seeking, perversely and violently, to modernize the South. Innovative and packed with fresh insight, Parsons' book offers the definitive account of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469652139
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/01/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 593,114
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Elaine Frantz Parsons is professor of history at Kent State University.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This is the first book to really apply cultural history to the questions that historians of Reconstruction have been asking for a long time. This is a great, groundbreaking work that will clearly be a major milestone in the study of Reconstruction and the history of the Klan.—Bruce Baker, Newcastle University

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