New York, NY, June 22, 2017
Despite internal disorder and splintered membership, the organized Ku Klux Klan movement remains active in 33 states, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, which has tallied just over 40 total affiliated groups across the country.
The report, “Despite Internal Turmoil, Klan Groups Persist,” examines current trends within the movement, highlighting the ephemeral nature of Ku Klux Klan groups today, recent activity across the country, as well as the groups’ geographic presence and current tactics.
“The Ku Klux Klan movement is small and fractured, but still poses a threat to society,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “These hardened racists and bigots are looking to spread fear, and if they grow dissatisfied with the Klan, they move on to other groups on the extreme far-right. There’s lots of instability and unpredictability in the Klan movement.”
Highlights from the ADL report include:
- 42 Klan groups active in 33 states representing approximately three thousand members and affiliates;
- Slight increase in number of groups in 2017, compared with early 2016 (37 to 42);
- More than half of groups formed in the last three years and are concentrated in southern and eastern states, particularly in Alabama and Mississippi;
- Largest groups do not appear to have more than 50 to 100 active members and most have fewer than 25;
- Perception among adherents that groups are not authentic;
- Clearest sign of decline is inability to show stability due to heavy infighting;
- Some groups have formed alliances with other white supremacist groups and continue to be linked to criminal activity and violence
- Distribution of racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and Islamophobic fliers remain most consistent activity;
- Average of 79 incidents per year in which Klan fliers were left on doorsteps or driveways in neighborhoods;
- The Loyal White Knights are most active fliering group, responsible for nearly half (128 out of 274 incidents) of the Klan leafleting efforts since January 2014.
“For a number of years, the Klan has tried to regain its standing among the hodgepodge of hate groups but have largely failed to maintain the notorious status they once had,” said Oren Segal, Director of ADL’s Center on Extremism. “Despite the decline, we are still seeing the same extremist ideology manifesting itself into violence from some of its purported membership. The somewhat new collaboration with some of the most vehement white supremacists out there is a concerning trend we will continue to monitor and expose.”
The report also comes on the heels of the anniversary of the murders in 1964 of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner by a group of more than 20 Klansmen in Mississippi.
“We will not forget these heroes who stood up for human dignity and civil rights for all. And we will work harder every day to honor their memories by continuing to fight discrimination and hate,” Mr. Greenblatt said.
Pictuer by: Herschel Gutman.