If you follow the time line backwards a little while you will find the era of the Ku Klux Klan, also known as the "American knights." The Ku Klux Klan is still an organization today, but has become so small that it is no longer a threat. The Klan was a very important part of our American history, yet one question, no matter how long ago this all happened, still remains. Was the Ku Klux Klan a racist or patriotic organization? In order to find the answer, it is vital to retrace the Klan's history; beginning to end, and then I will be able to supply the answer accurately.
There were many events that triggered the start of the Ku Klux Klan. It started at the end of the Civil war when radical congressmen tried to do away with white supremacy in the rebel states. Congress established the freeman's bureau March 3rd, 1865. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In April 1866, Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Bill that was designed to protect freed slaves from Southern Black Codes. The black codes were laws that placed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working in certain occupations. When the fourteenth amendment was passed, civilians of the south were very angry. .
Six people known as the "Jolly Six" established the first branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee in May 1866. They all came from well-educated families and nice homes. They "jolly six" included Captain John C. Lester, Major James R. Crow, John B. Kennedy, Calvin Jones, Richard R. Reed, and Frank O. McCord. It was a fraternal organization that helped widows and children from the confederate army and "had nothing to do with blacks." Just one year later, another organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in 1867.