Understanding history

This topic may be a little heavy for a Monday during spring vacation, but it’s cold and raining (maybe even snow), so it’s a good day to stay inside and learn something.

The US presidential election this year has brought up a surprising subject: the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). It came up when the Republican frontrunner candidate said that he didn’t really know anything about it during a recent interview. If US citizens don’t have enough other reasons not to vote for him, this should clinch it.

Slate magazine has a fascinating look into the KKK of the 1870s, focusing on a group of Army soldiers called K Troop who tried to weed out the white supremacist group from South Carolina. It’s long, but it really is worth reading.

“K Troop: The story of the eradication of the original Ku Klux Klan”

There also appears to be a movie in the works, based on the article and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt.

A related topic:

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet: 1846 Book Teaches Kids the ABCs of Slavery’s Evils” (from Open Culture). It introduces an abolitionist textbook made by Quakers in 1846. Maybe the Republican candidate should start with this? He’s not the only one who has shown breathtaking ignorance when it comes to the history of slavery or the KKK.

You can see the whole alphabet at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

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