They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

Originating in the southern town of Pulaski, Tennessee, founded by six former confederate soldiers worried about the safety of their women and families, a terrorist band was formed on a May evening in 1866. Patterned after the Kuklos Adelphon fraternity, rules were developed; including a vow of secrecy, secret rites, passwords, handshake, secret code, hazing of new members and mysterious-sounding titles assigned to the founding six. This chilling account of night riders, dressed as ghosts, who used fear as a weapon against former slaves who voted, owned land, attended school and worshiped in their own churches. Compelling reading…great for reports…extensive bibliography,photographs.

176 pages 978-0618440337 Ages 12 and up (Grades 7-12)

Recommended by Kathy Nester, Librarian

Book Pairing: Pair this book with Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick (contributed by Tricia-Stohr Hunt)


A thoroughly-documented, chilling history of one of the world's most recognizable extremist groups, this is the true story of terrorism in America.

"Boys, let us get up a club." With these chilling words, six restless young men raided the linens at a friend's mansion, pulled pillowcases over their heads, hopped on horses, and cavorted through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee. They called their new club the Ku Klux Klan, and it quickly grew into the self-proclaimed Invisible Empire, with secret dens spreading across the South.

Award-winning author Susan Campbell Bartoletti weaves together vivid personal accounts from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries in this enlightening, surprising, and disquieting story, which has received a slew of starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and other esteemed publications. Her extensive research places the length of the Klan's history into a larger context that sheds new light on the roots of hate groups.--from the publisher

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