Rooted in hatred, bigotry, and inhumanity, the Ku Klux Klan was so recklessly violent that on October 17, 1871, then-President Ulysses S. Grant was forced to declare martial law in South Carolina and dispatch federal forces when the group refused to cease their terror.
But what was the law?
The Ku Klux Klan Act made it federally illegal to "deprive American citizens of their civil rights through racial terrorism." According to the Equal Justice Initiative, in York County alone, investigators found evidence of eleven murders and more than 600 whippings and other assaults.
And the law was willfully ignored.
White terrorists continued wreaking havoc on South Carolina's Black communities. At the height of their activity, the KKK engaged in home raids, destroyed property, assaulted, and lynched. They wanted to intimidate Black people to keep them from voting in upcoming elections.
And as "justice" would have it, only five of the arrested were convicted by December 1871. In 1882, the Supreme Court declared the 1871 KKK Act unconstitutional, citing individual states’ rights. By this time, much of the 1800’s-era Klan was already seemingly disbanded.
White supremacy doesn’t just die with time. It must be pulled from the roots of this country and eradicated. Until then, WE must always remain vigilant in the fight for our liberation by any means necessary.