First Amendment lives in Alabama : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I do not know how many of you in other places heard on your news two weeks back that some white fraternity boys at Auburn here in AL had donned KKK and Nazi costumes at a private halloween party, with some others dressed in "blackface". They even took pictures of a kid, in blackface being mock dragged around by a rope around his neck. Somebody posted the pics on the internet and stuff began to fly. The national headquarters of their fraternity cancelled the Auburn charter and the University suspended the boys. I wrote a letter to Auburn, asking if the university upheld the First Amendment rights of these students to be as stupid and insensitive and cloddish as the next guy at a private party, or was Auburn in the business if ignoring First Amendment rights in the interest of being politically correct? Never received an answer. On tonights' local news, it was reported that a judge has ordered that Auburn re-admit the students because suspending them violated their 1st Amendment rights. Love it! I am so pleased that an Alabama judge had the sense to recognize that American citizens have the right to be ignorant and vulgar in the privacy of their own party. I sure do not want the politically correct folks to monitor my parties and be able to dictate what my guests do or do not do there. I abhor the KKK and all it stands for in a modern society, yet will defend their right to the death to be who they then could I do any less for the small-minded kids who were having a costume party? Ya gotta love the constitution!

-- lesley (, November 21, 2001


I like the way you said "and all it stands for in a modern society," I do not own a sheet but I bet most people do not know what the clan started out as. if we had some of the old clan back (Just some) things might me different. I bet the good old USA would not be the whores of babalon that we have turned out to be.

Yea I know this is going to stir up a stink. What were you saying about the first amedment?

-- grant (, November 22, 2001.

No first ammendment rights at Ole Miss, however. In a somewhat similar occurance, there was a black-face pantomime skit at a fraternity on campus. Photos got out and the fraternity has been suspended.

Of course, this is old hat. Ole Miss banned the display of confederate flags by individuals at the football stadium on the grounds that they were unsafe.

Ole Miss is still under "reconstruction" out of Washington, of course.

-- charles (, November 22, 2001.

The original KKK had some misguided folks as members who chose to pick on innocent families, but the vast majority of KKK existed in the old days of post civil war to protest the innundation of the South with trainloads of carpet baggers, profiteers, and folks who paraded freed slaves in the faces of the defeated populace by taking land away from the whites and giving it to the ex-slaves..the folks from the North had one humilate the South in any way possible. The modern KKK, IMHO has no place in society at all, since all they advocate is white supremacy..period. Too bad it turned out that way, and yes, that is why I said "in a modern society". God bless.

-- lesley (, November 22, 2001.

"The original KKK had some misguided folks as members who chose to pick on innocent families"

Sakes alive! What an INTERESTING spin to put on lynchings and other forms of murder. God bless 'em!

-- zippy (, November 23, 2001.

calm down zippy find the facts first. Did you know if you were a white guy and you were out running around on your wife you might wake to a burning cross in your yard. Just as reminder as to where your loyalites lie and to keep your family together...just an example

-- grant (, November 23, 2001.

What? I AM calm, just disgusted!

What facts did you want me to find? Do you claim there were no lynchings or other forms of murder? Were you there? I'm not that old, so I have to rely on the *facts* of recorded history. What are you relying upon?

I didn't know that *fact* you presented. Nor do I understand why you thought it important. Was I supposed to be impressed that KKK used burning crosses to coerce morality? Was I supposed to be warned? I'm not a *white guy*, I don't cheat, and I don't condone cheating/running around. So what's your point, eh?

-- zippy (, November 23, 2001.

It always amazes me how people support free speech when it is their pet cause, but not when it is the other guy's pet cause. I abhor what the KKK stands for today, but like it or not, it is not all they once stood for. It is true that at one time the KKK was involved in all sorts of activities besides racism. Nevertheless the KKK was formed in a South that was still recovering from the Civil War. The under current of racism was always present as much because slavery was what ultimately defeated the south, as the racist attitudes slavery left behind. The Civil War was not about slavery, although slavery was used by the Union to get recruits in the North. The Civil War was about the right of the states to do exactly what our forefather's did when they signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. What the Civil War decided was that although the colonies had the right to independence, the states in the US did not. Ultimately all the beaurocracy that we live under today could only be put in place because of the Civil War. The constitution could only be subverted to the degree that it has been because it is very clear what happens when a state stands up and says no more. If anything the Civil War only helped to cement the racist attitudes in the South by giving southerners someone to blame their defeat on. I know this from personal experience as I have family in the rural south. When the Civil War happened slavery was on it's way down anyway. The KKK was a direct result of southerners feeling powerless against all that had happened to them. The racism was a portion of that, but it is true that the KKK was essentially a volunteer force to keep order. I had a very good friend who was raised in rural Arkansas. She was born in the 1920's. When I asked her about the KKK, she explained that when anyone in her neck of the woods had a problem with thieves or assault, they called the KKK. According to her they were like the police, and they protected their neighbors. She said they were the "good Guys". In my opinion the real problem with the whole question of slavery and racism is that all the sides of this issue have never made it to the forefront. The Civil War and Slavery caused a massive crisis in the heart of America. Because everyone was anxious to put the whole bad experience behind them, there was never any real dialogue to heal this nation. As a result, we have had 140 someodd years of anger, blame and rage, on all sides. It is funny when I read the first post I said to myself, "here it comes". Everytime these issues come up the knee jerk reaction kicks in and nobody listens to the other. Perhaps Zippy ought to find his history in what people wrote during the period instead of through the onesided politically correct media. There is always more than one side to any story. Racism is wrong wrong, but the roots of it run very deep, and healing it takes more than just a bandaid approach. What it takes is a willingness to talk about it without casting aspersions. It also takes a willingness to look at the subject with a mind open to really learning something.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, November 23, 2001.

Thank you little bit. The KKK was formed a bit farther north than you think. I was first formed in Bicknell Indiana (East of Vincenness and north of Evansville) I live about 1/2 hour south of there and I did not know this till just lately. No there is not a big sign on the way onto town that says "Welcome to Bicknell, Home town of the KKK"

I am not a fan of the KKK But for some reason just lately I have been getting my fill of people who Think they know it all raising Hell about things they have only been told second hand and they have not taken the time to find out for themselves.

Right now you are looking at the best tool to find information on so...use it.

I heard a preacher this past week on the radio preaching against the translations of the bible saying they were all wrong. He was glad that we had the original King James Version....WOOAH STOP THE BUS. I did not know that the great scholars of the bible scribed their verses into the kings language. All this time I thought it was mostly Hebrew, Wow is my face red. You know I have to be wrong for two reasons here. First. It was on the radio therefor it had to be right. Second it was told by a preacher so it had to be right.

I have never owned a slave, none of my family ever owned slaves and do you realize that it was the Blacks in Africa who sold there brother blacks (the ones they did not want ) into slavery. And they were sold to the Europeans who in turn sold them to the USA.

"Give us your tired and down troden......."

-- grant (, November 23, 2001.

I took my own advice. here is what I found.

"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 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 young men were full of ideas for their new society. It would be secret, to heighten the amusement of the thing, and the titles for the various officers were to have names as preposterous-sounding as possible, partly for the fun of it and partly to avoid any military or political implications."

I am still looking for the bit on Bicknell Indiana. I saw it on a discovery chanel show. but for now I will go along with little bit and the above findings.

Did you also know there was a blackKKK ?

-- grant (, November 23, 2001.

I think it imperative that before one gives an opinion regarding anything, one should be well-informed about the subject at hand. Both my husband and I have been Civil War historians for a combination of 70 years. Racism was not only rampant in the South, but everywhere in the then USA. We have in our collection over 500 letters from Union soldiers, in time periods covering the entire CW as well as 25 Confederate letters. If one did not look at the regimental letterhead nor the envelope, it would be impossible to determine which side these men were on. Union soldiers, unless they were officers and belonged to the abolitionist movement, had little if any regard for the black slaves. They did NOT consider slavery to be an issue in the war, but felt rather strongly that the Southern states had traitorously left the union and needed to be punished. After the war, Nathan Bedford Forrest, quite possibly the most capable military man of either side, is thought by most historians to be the founder of the KKK. He did lead this organization from 1865 through 1868. The South was in shreds after the war, mostly due to its' original state of dependence upon slaves to get crops to market, but also by the ravages of the occupying union army arm in arm with the profiteers and politicians who descended upon the region en'masse. The South had only one thing left to it and that was its' pride. That pride was evidenced by the flat refusal of Southerners to bow down to the dictates of the repressive "new government". To keep the aristocratic few down, the taxes for land owners were so high that none could manage them, forcing the sale of farms which had been in the same families for generations. Southern women who openly criticized the occupation army were declared "prostitutes" and treated as such with the blessing of the union hierarchy. The early KKK under Forrest, kept order among the remaining southern citizens, upheld the honor of southern women, burned and looted northern holdings as well as those of carpetbaggers and yes, newly freed slaves who now held property. Because Forrest was not a stupid man, he saw over the years that the more the KKK retaliated, the more Washington enacted laws to force the South down further economically, and more and more unionists were appointed to government positions in the area. Rather than continue a losing cause, the KKK was disbanded. The vast majority of the KKK lynchings, murders, out and out lawless behaviors are much more associated with the resurgence of the KKK in the late 1800s, and again in the 1920's. The history of the South makes it even more interesting that this judge ruled in favor of these college kids fist amendment rights. Most southern politicians, educators, etc. are so happy to jump up and show the world that they are not racist, that they throw the baby out with the bath water. Once again, I applaud the judge for thinking more of the constitution than the reputation of Alabama.

-- lesley (, November 24, 2001.

And I applaude you, Lesley, for knowing your history!!!!!

And if anyone is interested in the non-politically correct version of the War of Northern Agression, as my grandma called it, try reading "The South Was Right". Because it was!!!!

-- Gren (, November 24, 2001.

I have often wished that the civil war had not been fought. Having two countries would not have been all that bad since the two idealogies have kept us in such disruption anyway.

-- diane (, November 24, 2001.

I'm not sure if anyone thinks that I am taking any position on the "rightness" of either North or South in the Civil War, but for clarification, I am NOT. The issues were far more complex than simply slavery.

I am taking issue with admiration of a group who were heavily involved in terrorism, violence, and murder. There are documented cases (link later in this post). Saying that the majority or "worst" atrocities took place at the hands of later incarnations of the Klan in no way abrogates the FACT that the original clan was also involved in such acts. Murder is never acceptable. Ten Commandments come to mind at all?

My source is the ALABAMA Dept. of Archives and History. Here are the links:

Quick summary at

Pertinent phrase from that page: "At least 109 documented Klan killings occur in Alabama during Reconstruction."

Details at

Pertinent paragraph from that page: "Early scholars interpreted the Klan as a wholly legitimate response to the post-war depredations of a grasping federal government, a vindictive North, greedy carpetbaggers and scalawags, and ignorant freedmen. This "Dunning School" of historiography has long been overturned, and historical consensus agrees that the Reconstruction Klan functioned as the terrorist arm of the Southern Democratic party, waging a kind of guerilla warfare after Appomattox that targeted freed blacks who sought to exercise their newfound freedoms as well as any whites, Northern or Southern, who would assist them. Congress documented over a thousand Klan-committed killings in the South during Reconstruction— at least 109 of them in Alabama."

Primary source at

Pertinent paragraphs at primary source: "On July 11, 1870 Klansmen lynched Canadian Methodist minister William Luke in Cross Plains, or Patona, Calhoun County. Luke's offense, in the eyes of the Klansmen, was having instructed black freedmen in reading and writing, thereby "stirring them up" to insubordination. Before they hung him, the Klansmen acceded to Luke's request to write a farewell letter to his family. After the murder, the farewell note gained wide currency in Northern newspapers."

And here is the letter:

"My Dear Wife:

I die tonight. It has been so determined by those who think I deserve it. God only knows I feel myself entirely innocent of the charge. I have only sought to educate the negro. I little thought when leaving you that we should thus part forever so distant from each other. But God's will be done. He will be to you a husband better than I have been, and a father to our six little ones. . . .

Your loving husband,


Finally, the Bibliography at

From my observations, someone will pooh-pooh this. So be it. I should have remembered that most here have poured cement into their brains, pounded sand into their ears, and then stuck their entire head below ground for good measure. I won't waste any more time on people who admire violent, murderous people.

-- zippy (, November 24, 2001.

Zippy, you mistake admiration for the recognition that there is good and bad in everything. Our society has a habit of marginalizing everyone that has a thought different than what the masses vomit out of their mouths. It is possible to see the issue of the KKK from many directions historically. I don't think any of us are denying that the KKK has done and will continue to do things that are unacceptable. Even so, it is just as wrong to look at ANY group and attribute all the bad and none of the good to every individual in the group. Doing so is simply duplicating what you and most politically correct folks accuse the KKK of doing themselves. The whole issue of racism and slavery was caused by just exactly that line of reasoning. It goes on today with other racial tensions with other racial groups as well. A common one is the attitude of resentment toward Asians in California. Certain traits are picked out, for instance the academic skills of some Asians and these traits are applied to the whole population along with resentment and envy. To apply the same kind of rage toward one group, even if it is the KKK is wrong. It is doing the same thing as the KKK is doing. This does NOT mean however that criminal activity should not be punished quickly and severely. As long as the law is kept however the KKK has as much right to free speech as you or I do. It is also necessary that we bring ALL of the truth to the forefront so that we can confront ALL of the emotions that our country must heal from. In my opinion what has happened so far is a lot of sweeping the whole issue under the rug by marginalizing everyone involved. Guess what! It hasn't worked!

You said, "Saying that the majority or "worst" atrocities took place at the hands of later incarnations of the Klan in no way abrogates the FACT that the original clan was also involved in such acts. Murder is never acceptable. Ten Commandments come to mind at all?"

Certain parts of the Army have been involved in the rape of Women. Does that mean that the whole organization is defunct? Of course this happened, after the Civil War. It didn't happen only as the result of the Klan though. There were plenty of just ordinary private citizens who did the same things. This doesn't mean that the Klan is an organization I support or admire, but it does mean that I don't see them through soot colored glasses either. I grew up with members of my mothers family who were racists. I can tell you from experience that although they were racists, they weren't completely immoral because of it. They had values, they loved their own, they treated people, even black people with respect. Life is not so simple that you can give this person a white hat and that person a black hat. All people, no matter their race, affiliation, philosophy, or religion, have value. Everyone has something to contribute to society. Once my cousin, who lives in the South invited some summer missionaries to his house for the night to give them a place to stay while they ministered in his church. There were three of them, one was caucasian, one was black, and another was Latino(like my husband). That night three crosses were burned on my cousins lawn. For all I know one of my other relatives took part in the whole thing. This is NOT talked about in the south. Recently I took my Latino husband to my Aunts and Uncle's house in the south. He was treated with the same respect as anyone else. My Uncle, who at one time, banished his daughter for her out of wedlock relationship with a black man, recently asked his daughter to let her African American/ caucasian children to move in with him. These children are from three different daddys. This is the same man I heard say all kinds of disgusting remarks about black people, when I was a child. Love conquers all kinds of predjudice!!! Things are changing even in the South. The KKK today promotes a lifestyle that is truly disgusting, but that does not prevent us from examining with clear heads how they got to this point. Without doing so, we will never be able to eradicate the attitudes that created them. Perhaps rather than running away from a genuine exchange of ideas, it would be better to work out the feelings of anger you have by talking about them. The same advice I would give a Klansman.

I for one have appreciated this discussion.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, November 24, 2001.

Lil took the words right out of my mouth...well said.

-- lesley (, November 25, 2001.

This is interesting, but I have to say that the fraternities have the right to enforce whatever codes of conduct they wish to have and are only limitied if they have agreements with the state or federal governments negating their rights to include or disclude whomever they wish. I think this action by these boys was moronic and shortsighted, yet they can be as stupid as they wish, so long as they hurt no one in reality.

As to the KKK- I only know them in their present form...(many grimaces of disgust) thank you for the history lesson folks!

-- Doreen (, November 28, 2001.

Isn't it said in our constitution that you can exhibit your rights as an American just as long as it doesn't intrude into anybody else's rights? When the boys of Auburn decided to put on KKK and Nazi costumes and drag each other around by a rope I'd say that they were pushing their rights. They were showing violence and descrimination towards minorities and there are laws that have been kept safely hidden in our amendments that make it illegle to have those kinds of acts of ineguality. You guys are not looking deep enough into the facts and your information and ideas are completly one-sided. If you think more than 10 boys all dressing alike in KKK uniform is just a costume party then you are more confuesed then I thought. They got off easy, they should have had a harsher punishment but they didn't admit they were wrong. They took the cowards way out and hid behind our first ammendment. Yes, ya just gotta love out constitution.

-- Lisa Brenent (, January 23, 2002.

Yo mammmas are so fine that i fuck um up the ass every night!!!!!!!!!!

-- narfinkledanerberriestero Flamingestarnerotoyunbgytuv (, October 14, 2002.

I have read all the entries to this question and have a single thought. I have read up on my, as some people call it, black history. However, I do not see how it is just black history, everybody was involved from whites - blacks and even to Europeans. I believe that slavery and racism is wrong. I believe the quote..."Slavery was not born of racism; rather, racism was the consequence of slavery". I feel bad for all the people in the world who hate people because of the color of their skin, the year they was born, or even their ability or inability to perform the same tasks as they can. Haven't people realized that if everybody was the same person that life in the U.S. would be boring? As for the KKK...I think that they was born wrong and they will always be wrong. Nathaniel Bedford Forest might not have formed it to be the way that it was but I have still found no proof otherwise. And until that day, he will be the most hated man to me because of the hate that the Klansmen and women portray. They are the most hypocritical organization that I know of because they talk of their 'Christian' values but then they want to go and burn crosses in peoples' yards. Personally, I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I doubt that those crosses or the cross itself was made to be burned. I apologize if this offends anybody but in all honesty, I really don't care. I'm not just on one side...I stand for equality for all...not just white, black or purple people...but for all. I give applauds to the people that knows about ALL of our history. God will never put us through anything we can't handle. Racism today is something that we have to prove, first to ourselves then to our neighbors, that will not stop us for being there for one another as humans and nothing less.

-- Beckie (, May 27, 2003.

After looking at horrible pictures of lynchings of innocent people (mostly blacks), it sickens me to find this bboard, where a bunch of people would argue for some stupid kids acting out what their ancestors actually did to others. As for the First Amendment rights, people who terrorize others do not deserve those rights nor the priviledge having people like Lesley here, defending them. Where were you people during the whole September 11th tragedy? Would you have defended those terrorists in the planes? Well, guess what, the KKK is just another terrorist group so I guess you people would still "defend their right to the death to be who they are" still?

-- r. terrianne (, June 04, 2003.

It's crazy how the people on this board are aruing for people who commit hate crimes. It's really confusing because y'all sit here and say that you're not racist but talk about defending their hate rights. I don't know if it has anything to do with everybody in here being from Alabama or any of the other places where the KKK and other hate groups are known. I'm from Miami, Florida where you never see anything close to that sort of thing, but I also attend Auburn University and the city of Auburn and even the town of Opelika don't seem so friendly and accepting to blacks or other cultures. The re- admittance of those students back into the university makes it even worse with that situation. It's all well and good to have a private party or whatever but when things like that get out in the open, they need to deal with those problems and the students with the sensitivity and well being of others in mind. It makes the city of Auburn/Opelika very racist looking and with that being said trouble can very well follow from both blacks and whites!

-- Don P. Maxwell (, June 21, 2003.

very simply, the kkk is and has always been a group of murderers. they killed for this, they killed for that, theyre murderers. the united states served a grave injustice to all blacks that were enslaved. they messed up, they were wrong, poor judgement ,wroooong. no amount of paragraphs will ever explain away what the hell they were thinking when they took a living being and enslaved them for their own greedy purposes.your adolescent attempts to defend the first amendment right and the constitution just baffle me. they killed human beings, they destroyed families, they were barbaric. they were wrong and there is no justification whatsoever for what they did.please spare us your revolving door argument and admit you have no clue what they were thinking, you simple minded fools.

-- jim (, September 04, 2003.

i think the kkk can do w/e they want

-- shaggy (, May 06, 2004.

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