This 2 part podcast episode looks at White Terrorism in the south after the Civil War. Be prepared for a look at a shameful American history you have probably never heard or considered. America’s part in the history of terrorism did not start at 9/11. It started in the 19th century and it helps explain a lot of the domestic issues today.
When we think of terrorism today we frequently think of Muslim Arabs or Boko Haram. That is simply our modern image. For black Americans living in the south after the Civil War terrorism took the form of white Christian men dressed as the ghost of Confederate soldiers and riding through the dark nights of the south with the deliberate intent of terrorizing former slaves.
We will look at the historical context of White Terrorism in the South and America’s seedbed of racism. The time of reconstruction following the Civil War was meant to be a time of healing and correcting a lot of these past mistakes. Instead, it gave rise to new forms of discrimination and of course new shapes of terrorism.
These episodes look at the rise and origins of the Klux Klux Klan (KKK) but that is only the most famous of these terrorist groups. Additional white terrorist groups we will look at include the Knights of the White Camelia, the Red Shirts, and the White League. All of these groups together, without central coordination, worked to erase the gains given to the freed black slaves during reconstruction. They also fostered a culture of racism and oppression that would dominate the south for at least the next hundred years.
Features of this period of white terrorism in the south include widespread lynchings of black Americans and many other terror techniques designed and implemented specifically to strike terror and oppression into this community.