It grew rapidly nationwide at a time of prosperity.
Reflecting the social tensions pitting urban versus rural America, it spread to every state and was prominent in many cities.
It rapidly declined in the later half of the 1920s.
The third and current manifestation of the KKK emerged after 1950, in the form of localized and isolated groups that use the KKK name.
During this period, they often forged alliances with Southern police departments, as in Birmingham, Alabama; or with governor's offices, as with George Wallace of Alabama.
Several members of KKK groups were convicted of murder in the deaths of civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964 and children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.
It borrowed parts of the initiation ceremony from that group, with the same purpose: "ludicrous initiations, the baffling of public curiosity, and the amusement for members were the only objects of the Klan", according to Albert Stevens in 1907.
As of 2016, researchers estimate that there are just over 30 active Klan groups exist in the United States, A cartoon threatening that the KKK will lynch scalawags (left) and carpetbaggers (right) on March 4, 1869, the day President Grant takes office.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Independent Monitor, September 1, 1868.
They had played with an engine of power and mystery, though organized on entirely innocent lines, and found themselves overcome by a belief that something must lie behind it all — that there was, after all, a serious purpose, a work for the Klan to do." Klan groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement promoting resistance and white supremacy during the Reconstruction Era. In 18, the federal government passed the Enforcement Acts, which were intended to prosecute and suppress Klan crimes.
The first Klan had mixed results in terms of achieving its objectives.