A living organization changes with time. Some parts of it may remain identical to that which was first constructed. Most parts will adapt to changes in the world, in society, and in mankind itself. If it does not change, it withers and dies. Organizations which fail to adapt to changes, whether they like it or not, tend to become shrunken relics of their original selves. They become mummified images of a once living creation. Such an organization is the Ku Klux Klan, better known as the KKK. The Ku Klux Klan is one of the most hateful groups that still exists today. They are not as strong as they once were, but still pose a threat. I believe that the KKK should have never been formed because of the pain and increased racial tension that it has caused in our society today.

The origin of the Ku Klux Klan was a carefully guarded secret for years, although there were many theories to explain its beginnings. One popular belief held that the Ku Klux Klan was originally a secret order of Chinese opium smugglers. Another claimed that it began by Confederate prisoners during the war. No matter what people thought it was, its formation is still the blame for the deaths of many innocent blacks in the South.

In fact the beginning of the Klan involved nothing so sinister, subversive or ancient as the theories supposed. It was the boredom of small-town life that led six young Confederate veterans to gather around a fireplace on one December evening in 1865 and form a social club. The place was Pulaski, Tennessee, near the Alabama border. When they reassembled a week later, the six men were full of ideas for their new society. It would be a secret, to heighten amusement, and the titles for the various officers were to have names as ridiculous sounding as possible, partly for the fun of it and partly to avoid any military or political implications.

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Soon after the founders named the Klan, they decided show off a bit. They disguised themselves in sheets and galloped their horses through the quiet streets of little Pulaski, Tennessee. Their ride created such a stir that the men decided to adopt the sheets as the official costume of the Ku Klux Klan, and they added to the effect by making grotesque masks and tall pointed hats. The founders also performed elaborate initiation ceremonies for new members. Their ceremony was similar to the hazing popular in college fraternities, in which consisted of blindfolding the candidate, subject him to a series of silly oaths and rough handling, and finally bringing him before a royal altar where he was to be invested with royal crown. The altar turned out to be a mirror and the crown two large donkey\'s ears. Ridiculous as though it sounds today, that was the high point of the earliest activities of the Ku Klux Klan.

Had that been all there was to the Ku Klux Klan, it probably would have disappeared as quietly as it was born. But at some point in early 1866, it enlarged with new members from nearby towns, and began to have a chilling effect on local blacks. The intimidating night rides were soon the centerpiece of the hooded order: bands of white-sheeted ghouls paid late night visits to black homes, telling the terrified occupants to behave themselves and threatening more visits if they failed to behave. It didn\'t take long for the threats to be converted into violence against blacks, whom insisted on exercising their new rights and freedom. Before its six founders realized what had happened, the Ku Klux Klan had become something they may not have originally intended - a deadly uncontrollable organization.

The Klan grew out of white Southern anger over the Civil War defeat and the

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Reconstruction that followed. Northerners saw the Klan as an attempt to win through terrorism what they had been unable to win on the battlefield. Such a simple view did not totally explain the Klan\'s sway over the South, but there is little doubt that many Confederate veterans exchanged their rebel gray for the hoods and sheets of the invisible empire. The conditions in the South, immediately after the war, added to Southerners\' fears and frustrations.