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>Costume Studies
>>1925 Ku Klux Klan knight
Subject: "knight" vigilante/terrorist
Culture: conservative white American
Setting: southern United States 1910s-1960s





Context

* Wilson 1980 p117-118
"By the 1920s, ... differences had appeared between the first and second Klans.  What had begun in the Reconstruction period as a secret Southern white supremacist cadre was now a national, highly organized group, dedicated above all to preserving morality through vigilante actions.  But, as earlier, this simply testified to the close link between racial and moral issues in the minds of Southern whites.  Like the more moderate Lost Cause paternalists, the Klansmen feared the threat that blacks represented to their vision of a virtuous society.  While Klansmen took the fear to a harsh extreme, they, like the paternalists, were essentially moralists.  In the tightly knit Southern small towns, the Klan's contribution to the religion of the Lost Cause was in symbolism, ritual, and organization.  The second Klan was less Confederate and more Christian in its symbolism than the earlier group, but both organizations united the two themes." ...







Costume

* Baker 2011 p55
"In the late 1860s, the Reconstruction Klan created the distinctive Klan uniform, which consisted of long white robes decorated with various occult symbols.  Tall conical hats completed the outfit, and white fabric covered the individual's face with two openings for the eyes.  The design supposedly imitated the ghosts of the Confederate dead.  The revival of the Klan in the 1920s appropriated the uniform, buts its meaning changed.  William Simmons, the founder, admitted that the inital purpose 'in adopting the white robes ... was to keep in grateful remembrance the intrepid men who preserved Anglo-Saxon supremacy in the South during the perilous period of Reconstruction.'  However, the uniform proved more than a memorial.  Simmons wrote: 'Every line, every angle, every emblem spells out to a Klansman his duty, his honor, responsibility and obligation to his fellow men and to his civilization. ... All of it was woven into the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan for the purpose of teaching by symbolism the very best things in our national life.'"