The Ku Klux Klan is alive! The photographer studied the secret society from the inside for 11 yearsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/the-ku-klux-klan-is-alive-the-photographer-studied-the-secret-society-from-the-inside-for-11-years.html
The Ku Klux Klan has not been heard of for a long time. The once powerful ultra-right organization, which a hundred years ago had more than three million adherents, was officially dissolved in 1944. Particularly restless activists soon revived the clan, and it still made noise until it finally died out in the 90s.
However, the cause of the racist Confederates still lives on. Scattered groups of followers still sew caps and carry out a mysterious ritual of burning the cross. And not only in the USA. Of course, they no longer organize mass torchlight processions and lynch Negroes, but they keep traditions.
New York photographer Anthony Karen, known for his work on religious ideologies, managed to ingratiate himself with the Ku Klux Klansmen. For 11 years, he traveled around the southern states and photographed specific events of members of the organization.
(15 photos in total)
Source: The Sun
"My goal was to capture the core values of the Ku Klux Klan, its unwritten laws," says Karen. — Perhaps this is the most difficult professional challenge in my life. And it was extremely interesting."
In 2007, the photographer visited the "family meeting" of the Ku Klux Klan, which took place in Arkansas in early September. Activists from five states, together with their wives and children, held a "racial unity" picnic.
For three days they played games, barbecued, rewarded each other for some merit and took pictures. Guns were fired into the air every hour until neighbors threatened to call the police. Finally, the famous ceremony of burning the cross was held. However, because of the legislative ban on bonfires, they did not set fire to the cross, but simply hung it with a Christmas garland.
A sign on the makeshift dining room: "KKK-kitchen: refresh yourself, support the race."
During the same picnic, new members were accepted into the clan. The initiation ceremony consists in the fact that a person stands on a chair, a noose is thrown around his neck and he is asked: "Do you trust the hanger?" He says that he trusts, and gets off the chair. The rope, of course, is not fixed.
But that's not all. After all the newcomers show their trust in the hangman, they stand in single file, put their hand on the shoulder of a friend and walk around the forest at an energetic pace following the Great Sage. At the same time, the chain should not break, even when it is tested for strength by shots in the air.
According to the ideology of the Ku Klux Klan, these tests allow developing mutual trust and loyalty to the organization, as well as showing a person's bravery or lack thereof.
The following year in Louisiana, Karen was lucky enough to witness the wedding of the Ku Klux Klansmen. The young people were dressed in traditional outfits, and the ceremony was conducted by a real priest — a member of the brotherhood.
Rings were exchanged against the background of the same burning cross (this time really burning). It symbolizes the light of Christ, who brings sacred truth to this world drowned in darkness. And the bride and groom walked down the hall of honor to the altar.
During his travels, Anthony became close to old Momma Ruth from Tennessee. In the 70s, she founded a business sewing and selling Ku Klux Klan uniforms.
In the old days, Momma worked 80 hours a week, but after two heart attacks she had to take care of her health. Now it takes her at least three days to make one robe, and before that one was enough.
Customers come to her trailer all the time.
Three clan members during the blood oath ritual.
Meeting of the newly formed group. On the left is the clan emblem: a cross with a drop of blood in the center, denoting destruction and purification. On the right is the flag of the Confederate Army, whose former officers founded the Ku Klux Klan after their defeat in the Civil War.
The symbol of the clan in the form of a tattoo on the body of a devout follower.