They Called Themselves the KKK

They Called Themselves the KKK
They Called Themselves
the KKK

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2010
hardcover: 978-0618440337
paperback: 978-0544225824
176 pages, ages 11 up

Behind the Book

Part 3: Children of the KKK

Throughout the weekend, the children attended special Bible classes, called “The Kids’ Corner.” One speaker lauded the Kids’ Corner, saying, “What was going on in the Kids’ Corner was the most important meeting of the weekend.”

At the book table, I bought a “White Heritage Coloring and Storybook.” On page 2, there is a picture of Noah’s ark. Above the picture, it says, “God saved Noah and his family because they were not of mixed race.” Below the picture, the text reads: “God saved Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives from the flood. In the land where Noah lived the people had mixed races and men had boyfriends and girls had girlfriends. Noah, [sic] was perfect in his generations (a pure white man) and so was his family. The family of Noah was saved from the anger of God.”

On Sunday, a church service was held on site. In his sermon, the pastor — also the National Director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan — called the invasion of America by nonwhites a “national calamity.”

Here are some quotes from the sermon:

  • “You and I are in a war for the survival of our people.”
  • “Only 50% of children under five are white [in the United States]. If that doesn’t cause torment in your heart, something’s wrong.”
  • “God doesn’t curse a nation because people smoke. God doesn’t curse a nation because people drink. He doesn’t care if you go to church or not. He is going to curse a nation because they have sinned against their heritage.”
  • “Ask your preacher if he believes whether it’s a sin to race-mix.”
  • “We are on a holy mission…. God is calling now. … He’s looking for shepherds.”
  • “You cannot stop a man or woman who is being led by God or believes he is being led by God.”

At the end of the service, National Director implored the congregants to reach down into their heart and find the true believer. He asked them to come forward and speak out for the deliverance of their race, their faith, and their homeland, come what may.

And they did. As Celtic music played in the background., one by one or in family groups, the Klansmen and women stood in front of the altar. They faced the congregation, stretched out a right arm in a straight-armed salute, and dedicated themselves to their race, their God, and their country. Then they and the congregants shouted, “White Power.”

That night, the Congress ended with the pageantry of fully robed Klansmen and at least two Klanswomen and a tall cross burning against the night sky. At least one child wore a child-sized costume to match his father’s. A woman who appeared to be his grandmother took his picture.

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