The Ku Klux Klan first started using violence and intimidation to uphold white supremacy in the American South after the Civil War. But many people don’t realize that the secretive organization’s real rise to power came later, in the Midwest, when it added other minorities to its hit list, including Catholics, Jews, and immigrants.
The Shameful Role of the Church
One reason the KKK thrived during this revival period in the 1920s was its presence in Protestant churches and fraternal organizations across Indiana. Many workers were feeling disempowered by the shift of industry toward automobile production, and were looking around for scapegoats. The group started gaining political influence, which it hoped to use to reshape the Constitution itself.