Segments in this Video

Most Successful Grand Dragon (03:19)


A rally called by the United Klans of America to show support for Klan leaders that were under investigation by the FBI in Raleigh, North Carolina generated a crowd of thousands. The head of the Klan, Bob Jones, faced a prison sentence.

White Trash (03:13)

Biographical details regarding Jones reveal his status as the fifth of eight children, his high-school dropout status, and his discharge from the U.S. Navy because of his refusal to salute a black officer. Author Gary Freeze theorizes that the age of segregation created a group of people that identified below white upper class but above blacks.

Romanticizing the Klan (02:00)

After years of dormancy, the Ku Klux Klan was reinvigorated when D.W. Griffith debuted his film, "The Birth of a Nation." The film portrayed white supremacists as necessary for societal health, and the reborn Klan fueled itself on this premise.

Display of Numbers (02:25)

The year 1925 saw a demonstration of 50,000 Klansmen in Washington D.C., as well as four million Americans who claimed Klan membership in that same year. Surprisingly, the Klan presence was large in cities such as Denver, Portland, Detroit, and Chicago.

First Grand Dragon (02:33)

Around the summer of 1963, when Jones petitioned for the right to head a Klans organization in his home state of North Carolina, poor white Americans were going through an unfamiliar transition. Faced with watching blacks around them socially and financially progress, the impoverished whites saw stagnancy in their own status. Jones was elected to be the state's first Grand Dragon.

Preacher in the Klan (02:55)

Jones held a rally in a cornfield anticipating that a few hundred people would attend; 2000 people made an appearance. Jones decided to make his message a tour across the state. One of Jones' recruits was George Dorsett, who became the Imperial Klud, making powerful sermons at the events organized by Jones.

Small-Town Local Notables (02:43)

In the 1960s, North Carolina took hold as the center of "the New South." Televised series "The Andy Griffith Show" was set in North Carolina; the show starred Andy Taylor and posed a metaphor of North Carolina's current social status. In the show and in the state, black people were expected to quietly and peacefully accept their second-class status.

Intensified Demands and Masterful Framing (03:35)

Bunny Sanders recalls the rising passion of black activists in the 1960s, like that of her father, who cursed white people even in his sleep. 1964 saw rallies across North Carolina, opened only to whites and held by Jones. White people with their families attended the rallies for entertainment.

Transgression, Abomination, Evil (03:31)

At nighttime, the Klan rallies turned more sinister, as music transitioned into speakers, including Jones' wife, Sybil. Dorsett, Klan chaplain, ignited crowds with inflammatory and religious words. Dorsett's words garnered donations.

Secret Initiation Ceremony (03:04)

At the end of each rally, a wooden cross was burned before the members and supporters, creating a holy atmosphere. Coupled with Jones' promise of allowing the impoverished white people to rise up and feel superior, people were persuaded to become Klan members. Many attendees then applied for Klan membership, and one man describes his entrance into the Klan.

We Are Ready (04:11)

In 1965, 10,000 members paid dues in North Carolina. Jones viewed the Klan as an electoral force, able to represent "real white people." Police officer Price Brown Jr. relates that Klans people thought they were being allowed to march because their views were respected, when in reality, they had applied for a permit and then therefore were legally allowed to march, regardless of whether others condoned their views.

Maintaining Party Line (03:09)

Intimidation was a major aspect of the North Carolina Klan, so they used cross-burning for the purpose. Jones approved or denied violent actions by the Klan. Because violence could have lost Jones his status, he was careful about what he allowed, and always claimed nonviolence, despite his hate-filled rhetoric.

Enemies of Justice (03:48)

In March 1965, civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo was slain by Alabama Klansmen. Federal government responded by assaulting the Ku Klux Klan. President Lyndon Johnson condemned Klansmen and urged members to leave the Klan.

Communist Conspiracy (02:57)

Though J. Edgar Hoover did not pay much attention to the KKK initially, he eventually went after the Klan zealously. Viewing themselves as anti-Communist, the Klans people considered themselves patriotic. Informants were placed in Klan circles, including George Dorsett.

Well-Publicized Hearings (03:03)

Robert Shelton and Jones testified against House Un-American Civil Rights Group in October 1965. Shelton and Jones refused to testify which greatly disturbed many of the Klan followers, as they associated the refusal with communism.

Contempt of Congress Conviction (04:44)

After October 1965, Klan followers began to realize Jones was not the leader they thought. Policemen began harassing and arresting Klanspeople at rallies. FBI urged George Dorsett to start his own Klan and Jones was sentenced to federal prison.

Credits: Klansville U.S.A. (01:21)

Credits: Klansville U.S.A.

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Klansville U.S.A.

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In the 1960s, as the civil rights movement grew across America, the long-dormant Ku Klux Klan gained momentum as well. That the Klan would rise once again wasn't surprising, but where the reincarnation took place was. In just three years, the North Carolina Klan grew from a handful of friends to some 10,000 members, giving the Tarheel State a new nickname: "Klansville, U.S.A."

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL131268

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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