44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
To answer the reviewer's question below, I am a US History teacher who has used this video numerous times in my classroom. The video presents an objective (at least as objective as one can be about what is essentially a terrorist organization) history of what one professor who is interviewed calls an "American-born terrorist group." Created by the History Channel, this video covers the history of the Klan from its beginnings in the post-Civil War, Reconstruction-Era South to modern-day variations such as David Duke and the Skinheads. In a sense the video is also a history of the civil rights movement in America, as it is during periods of activism for equal rights that the Klan has been the most active - and deadly - hate group in American history. The video argues that during its history the Klan has not been a stable or consistent organization. Instead, it goes through cycles - it rises up to oppose minority rights and promote "White Supremacy," then nearly dies out, then rises yet again out of its own ashes to oppose civil rights activists in another historical era.
The Klan's first period of power was in the post-Civil War South, when whites felt threatened by the newly freed slaves and used the Klan to try and thwart their newly-won civil rights, with considerable success. The organization then died away until 1915, when it was reborn at Stone Mountain, Georgia. In the 1920's it spread across the USA, with "klaverns" in all 48 states and some 4-5 million members. It opposed not only blacks, but Jews, Catholics, and all "foreigners". They staged a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, and controlled the state government in Indiana. But the Klan self-destructed in a series of scandals, ranging from the brutal rape-murder of a white woman in Indiana, bribery and blackmail of politicians, and the embezzling of funds by the Klan leadership. By the thirties the Klan was again virtually extinct, yet it rose again in the fifties and sixties to oppose the civil rights movement with bombings, lynchings, assassinations of civil rights workers and leaders, and other acts of violence. However, the FBI and other federal law-enforcement agencies, backed by President Lyndon Johnson, went after the most dangerous Klan groups by bribing its members to turn in those who had committed crimes against civil rights workers and leaders, and using the IRS to destroy the Klan financially. In the 1970's the Klan tried to change its image by using men such as David Duke in Louisiana to promote the view of the "Klan next door" as Julian Bond, a prominent civil rights leader, calls him. Unlike previous Klan leaders, Duke wears business suits and looks, talks and acts like a professional businessman, not a stereotypical, backwoods "hick" Klansman. Yet, the documentary clearly shows Duke to be just as racist and dangerous as previous, less-polished Klan leaders.
This video is not for the faint of heart - at its beginning and end the documentary shows a modern-day Klan rally in North Carolina, and the "n" word and other racial epithets are spoken frequently. Yet my students (black, white, and Hispanic) have learned a great deal from this video about the nature of hate groups and racism in America - and I believe they'll be better-prepared to resist such groups in their own lives. If you want a factual yet deeply disturbing "inside" look at America's most famous native-born terrorist group, then this video is the best you can buy.