How the Carolina Klan Does—and Doesn’t—Matter in the Post-Klan South
What is the legacy of the civil rights-era Ku Klux Klan? This chapter considers how the KKK's presence and actions in the 1960s shaped the South's political and social development. Most generally, the Carolina Klan's rise and fall illuminates the causes of racial extremism, lending insight into the kinds of strategies that can effectively curtail organized racism today. The chapter additionally discusses two longer-range consequences of KKK organizing in the 1960s. First, the Klan's presence and policies altered political orientations and augured remarkable shifts in electoral politics in the 1970s—in particular the ascendance of a new and powerful wave of conservatism that heralded the region's transition to the Republican Party. Second, KKK violence and intimidation shaped residents' relationships to their communities to a degree still reflected in the stunted capacity of many of those communities to control and prevent violent crime. The chapter concludes by discussing a range of retributive and restorative justice approaches—from cold cases to truth commissions—that can productively acknowledge and engage with the lingering effects of organized racism.
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