Ku Klux Klan - An American Story (1/2) l ARTE Documentary
The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest terrorist group in the United States of America. This first episode from ARTE traces the secretive organisation’s formation in the wake of the American Civil War. After the slave states in the south lost the conflict, the Klan used intimidation, attacks and lynching to beat down the newly free black population.
1. Birth of an invisible empireIn 1865, a handful of Southern Civil War veterans founded a secret society in Tennessee and named it the Ku Klux Klan, perhaps in reference to the Greek kuklos, the circle. They adorn themselves with pseudo medieval attributes, dresses and balaclavas concealing their identity. Out of 9 million inhabitants, 4 million blacks freed from slavery lived in the former Southern Federated States. In the election year of 1868, the Klan, which grew rapidly to transform itself into a paramilitary organization, multiplied attacks and lynchings to dissuade them from exercising their new rights. Four years later, when Washington dissolved the Klan and sent the military to restore order, its members and allies assumed all power. Under the aegis of the so-called Jim Crow laws, ruthless segregation succeeded slavery. Images of lynchings, which have become commonplace, appeared on postcards. A few decades later, in a changing America to which millions of immigrants were flocking, the Ku Klux Klan, popularized by David W. Griffith's film Birth of a Nation, which reaches over 50 million viewers, is spectacularly reborn. Under the impetus of its leaders, it widens its hate trade to immigrants, Communists, Jews, Catholics ... A mass organization with nearly 4 million members, it contributes to the passing of a law in 1924 limiting the immigration to northern Europeans, which remains in effect for over forty years. Weakened by scandals and the Great Depression, then discredited after World War II for its fascist and Nazi sympathies, the Klan disappeared only to resurface a decade later, with the emergence of the civil rights movement.Shadow partTo retrace in detail the four successive lives of the Ku Klux Klan, David Korn-Brzoza has assembled an impressive archive collection, partly supplied by those of the movement itself. He met with a repentant member of the organization, veterans of the fight for civil rights, the pugnacious judge who, fourteen years after the Birmingham bombing, prosecuted and convicted its perpetrators, as well as various researchers and analysts. By showing how much the movement and its crimes embody a history and collective values, he throws a harsh light on this dark side that white America still struggles to recognize.Available until the 11/12/2020
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