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Ku Klux Klan (U.S. organization)

Last modified: 2018-12-30 by rick wyatt
Keywords: kkk | ku klux klan |
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[KKK flag] image by António Martins, 19 December 1998

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Introduction: The Invisible Empire

The first Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was founded - as a social club, not a hate group - in 1865, and disbanded in 1869, as its head (and at least one of its founders) were appalled by its violence. The second was founded in 1915 and disbanded some twenty years later when faced with a huge tax bill. In 1948 or so, a survivor of the second Invisible Empire, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, tried to revive the organization. Faced with the same tax bill (plus interest) he gave up the attempt. The name "Ku Klux Klan" is now free to all comers, and there are indeed several dozen similar (but separate) organizations using similar names.
John Ayer, 20 December 1998

I'm quite certain the first KKK (of the late 1860's) had no formal emblems. Actually, the early KKK did have flags of weird designs. There is one in the collections of the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, for example.
Greg Biggs, 2 March 2004

Clarification: Nathan Bedford Forrest did not found the KKK. That was founded by six former CS soldiers, none of whom was named Forrest. He was brought in to be the first Grand Wizard to begin to establish some control over the organization as so many copy-cats had begun and there was no established charter to regulate what the KKK was supposed to do. This was some time after the KKK began. Forrest was indeed from Tennessee, but that had nothing to do with the shape of the CS flag that the KKK used starting in the late 1940's.
Greg Biggs, 3 March 2004

There is no evidence that the title "Invisible Empire" was used prior to the organization by William Simmons of Illinois of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915. The post-war Ku Klux Klan and the 1915 Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were two entirely different organizations.
Chuck Hamilton, 11 September 2006

Flag Descriptions

One of the KKK emblems is a blood drop (I called it a teardrop and was corrected). They may have a flag with that emblem, but for the most part there are three flags used: United States, Christian, and Confederate.
Rick Wyatt, 3 February 1998

The original flag of the Ku Klux Klan is on display in the Tennessee state house in Nashville. The organization was founded after the War Between The States in 1866. I believe it was disbanded a few years later was a secret law enforcement organization in a region under federal law. The flag is a pennant with scalloped edges and has a dragon with the words in Latin "What Always, What Everywhere, What by All". So, it has nothing to do with the CSA. The Klan of the early 1900's had millions of members, flew American flags on their march on Washington, and was based in Indiana. Today there are hundreds of so-called KKK groups with few members and they usually fly U.S., Christian, Confederate, and a KKK flag that is red with a celtic circle of some sort. The anti-CSA flag folks only notice the occasional Battle flag and not the USA or Christian flags.
Soren Dresch, 3 February 1998

The KKK had guidons in their first incarnation. One is on display in the Tennessee State Museum. The later version of the KKK, when it came back into being in the early 1900's mainly used the flag of the United States in their marches.
They did not use the rectangular CS battle flag (actually the battle flag of the Army of Tennessee in that shape) until the late 1940's when, their membership dropping like flies, they started using that flag to try and appeal to a baser Southerness they perceived as being there for new recruits.
I have seen many newsreel films of the KKK marching before this time and the only flag you see is the Stars and Stripes of the United States.
Greg Biggs, 6 February 1998

The KKK Grand Ensign 1867

KKK Grand Ensign image by Pete Loeser, 3 August 2013

In the Klan's Prescripts of 1867 the official banner of the KKK was carefully described. It was a triangular shaped flag (3x5 feet). It was made of yellow material with a red scalloped border about three inches in width. A black European flying dragon (dracovolans) was hand-painted on it along with the motto Quod Semper, Quod Ubique, Quod Ab Omnibus in Latin. (What always, what everywhere, what by all is held to be true.) There are only two surviving KKK banners. One is owned by the Tennessee Historical Society and the other one illustrated here is owned by the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
Source: kimballwiki
Pete Loeser, 3 August 2013

Other KKK Flag Variants

I watched a KKK-documentary on TV last night and noticed two flags used by parts of the KKK: 1) A VAM-like flag, but with a smaller white field and a suncross instead of the "sword & werwolf". 2) A centered swastika flag, but with a smaller white field and a flash of lightning instead of the swastika.
Marcus Wendel, 28 September 1999

These flags seem surprisingly European (neo-Nazi European, that is). Couldn't they be "fellow organizations" flags instead? The first could be a symbol merging of two swedish neo-nazi organizations, VAM and NRP, and the second could be the flag of the British Union of Fascists, a British pre-WWII party.
António Martins, 29 September 1999

The Duke Flag

[KKK flag #2] image by António Martins, 27 May 1998

The Cross of the Klu Klux Klan sometimes appears as an inspirational emblem in Europe where the Klan is weak and does not have any tradition. Source: Nazism Exposed/ Flags and Symbols
António Martins, 27 May 1998

The variant KKK flag (red-white-red background with the center Blood Drop symbol) is commonly called the "Duke Flag" named for neo-Nazi, turned clan leader, David Duke.
Source: Historical Flags of Our Ancestors website
Pete Loeser, 21 December 2010

The Duke Flag Variants

Duke flag variant image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 June 2009

Another variation of the Klu Klux Klan flag is offered for sale at the Christian Books and Things website (link broken). It has plain red field, with large Ku Klux klan emblem in the hoist and black initials KKK in the fly. This site is owned by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the faction of the KKK which is lead by self-claimed pastor Thomas Robb, and makes a part of their efforts to spread a racist version of the Christianity.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 June 2009

Duke flag variant image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 August 2013

Another flag of the KKK with the cross and blood drop emblem is offered for sale here (larger image). The emblem is centered on a white disc with a red border, separated from the field by a white fimbriation. The disc is also charged with black inscriptions INVISIBLE EMPIRE above the emblem and KU KLUX KLAN beneath it. The whole design resembles Nazi flags, which is not surprising, considering that both neo-Nazis and the KKK are frequently flying each others' flags along with those of their own, that all of their flags are sold by the same online and offline shops, and that the ideologial similarities must have eventually resulted in mutual borrowings in regard of the symbolism.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 August 2013

KKK/White Power/CSA Flag

White Power CSA flag     White Power CSA flag
images by Tomislav Todorovic, 22 August 2013

CSA flags used by the Ku Klux Klan are frequently defaced with the sun cross and inscriptions WHITE POWER and KU KLUX KLAN, all in black, with the outer red and inner white fimbriations of the sun cross. One of the variants of this flag has the inscriptions in smaller letters, close to the sun cross. It is offered for sale, among many other websites, here and here. A low-resolution photo of the flag in use can be found here and a close-up of central device can be found here and here. Another variant has the inscriptions in much larger letters, consequently set on a larger distance from the sun cross. It is offered for sale at a website which also sells the first variant of the flag.
Tomislav Todorovic, 22 August 2013

Flags With the Sun Cross

Flag with Sun Cross image by Tomislav Todorovic, 23 August 2013

The sun cross surrounded with the inscriptions WHITE POWER and KU KLUX KLAN is, beside the cross and blood drop, another symbol frequently used by the Ku Klux Klan, on the defaced CSA flags, but also as the part of different designs. One of these appears as a circular patch with a red sun cross fimbriated black, surrounded with blue inscriptions, on white field bordered blue. Its photo can be found here and it is offered for sale at several Web shops, like here or here (larger image). A more elaborate variant of the design, with letters fimbriated red and the sun cross having an inner white fimbriation, is offered for sale here (larger image). Although this is not the photo of a real flag, just an image showing its design, the fact that these patches do exist, speaks in favor of its existence.
Tomislav Todorovic, 23 August 2013

Flag with Sun Cross image by Tomislav Todorovic, 04 February 2007

When David Duke, former Imperial Wizard (national leader) of the Ku Klux Klan, unsuccessfully ran the elections for the governor of Louisiana in 1991, a number of photos showing his connections with neo-Nazism were published. One of these was published in Serbian magazin Vreme. It showed Duke, dressed up as a high official of Ku Klux Klan and sitting at a desk, with a neo-Nazi flag on the wall behind. The flag was charged with a with a large, narrow, black sun cross on a white disc. The photo was in black and white, but the field looked gray, which means that it certainly was red.
Tomislav Todorovic, 04 February 2007

Flag With the Aryan fist

Flag with Aryan Fist image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 Aug 2013

White fist, or Aryan fist, is an emblem popular among the neo-Nazis, especially skinheads, but the Ku Klux Klan also makes the use of it, typically on black flags, accompanied with the inscriptions *White Power* and *KKK*, also in white, all within a white ring. Such flags are offered for sale here (larger image) and here and the photos of flag in use, along with that of the Ku Klux Klan, can be found here (link broken) and here (link broken).
Tomislav Todorovic, 27 August 2013

Knights Party

Knights Party Flag (horizontal)

Knights Party flag     Knights Party flag
images by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic

This party is actually the same organization as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, but registered as a political party. Its flag is clearly inspired by the Nazi flag, but instead of white disc with black swastika, it is charged with a white diamond, fimbriated black and charged with a black sun cross. It is offered for sale at the Christian Books and Things website (link broken), where it is specified as the legal trademark of the Knights' Party. Its use is shown here.
The flag for vertical hoisting can be seen here and its variant with the central device moved towards the hoist is shown here. The shade of red, which is the same as or very close to that of the USA national flag, and the size of the white diamond are determined from these two photos. The shape of the sun cross, however, seems to vary a bit, but it is usually as shown in the above images. The party also uses a logo showing the map of the USA (without Alaska and Hawaii) painted like the party flag.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 June 2009

The white diamond charged with the black sun cross was originally described as being fimbriated black. However, while some of the given sources did show such flags, there is also a number of photos, like here or here, which show that the fimbriation is not always present, or at least is so thin that looks more like an optical illusion, produced by the artifacts which appeared while converting a photo into the JPEG format, or like the stitches by which the flag parts are sewn together, which may appear darker than the rest of the field depending on the lighting conditions during the picture taking. This happens even when the flag is described as having the fimbriations, like here (image). Even on the photos which do show the flags with the fimbriations, like here, the copies of these appear which seem not to have them. While the quality of these photos does vary a lot, some of them are still good enough to confirm that the fimbriations do not always appear on the party flags.
Tomislav Todorovic, 25 August 2013

Knights Party Flag/Banner (vertical)

[]     []     []
images by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic

Knights Party Veterans League Banner

Knights Party Veterans League banner     Knights Party Veterans League banner
images by Tomislav Todorovic, 25 August 2013

As described at its website, Knights Party Veterans League is &quiot;the only Veterans Organization specifically addressing the concerns of White Military Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, Reservists, and their families". The flag of the organization, shown at the website homepage (larger image), is derived from that of the party: parted per hoist chevron, with black sun cross on white at the hoist and white upright sword, fimbriated black, on red at the fly. The flag images also show what could be either a black fimbriation along the partition line, or an optical illusion which appeared during creating the images in JPEG format. While the larger image seems to reveal that this still is the fimbriation, the page header image contains a combination of U.S. national flag and organizational flag, designed so as to partly blend with each other, which shows no fimbriation. Consequently, there might easily exist two flag variants, just as the case is with the party flag.
Tomislav Todorovic, 25 August 2013

New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

[] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 03 August 2013

Another small splinter group (or individual) claiming to be part of the KKK are calling themselves the New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Proclaiming themselves the "Blue Tunic Army," they claim that their mission is "to preserve the white heritage, so future generations will know and learn from their history." They proclaim a strange combination of anti-semitism, national socialism, and Christianity claiming that National-Socialism is the way of the Aryan warrior, yet say their "dedication is to educate, not in hatred, but with pride for the race that (they) are a part of." Not much is really known about this group.
Their flag has a silver eagle and wreath reminiscent of those used by the Third Reich centered on a light blue field, holding a KKK Blood Drop symbol where one would expect the swastika to appear. The words "New Order Knights" in a black script are written above the badge, with the words "Ku Klux Klan" appearing below.

Source: Historical Flags of Our Ancestors website
Pete Loeser, 27 May 2012

Ku Klux Klan, LLC

image by Rick Prohaska and António Martins, 13 February 2010
image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 August 2013

Headquartered in Compton, Arkansas, the Ku Klux Klan Limited Liability Company (KKK LLC), is yet another attempt to legitimize the KKK. A limited liability company (LLC) is a legal form of corporation that provides limited liability to its owners. Chartered in the State of Arkansas, and working under a legal business structure, this branch of the KKK claims its actions are all completely legal and aboveboard. They pay taxes, keep legitimate financial records of all their activities, and claim to act only as a resource for Klan philosophy and its meaning.
The emblem in the center of their flag is the "Triple Tau." They claim it is used a symbol of Christianity and dates back to the time of Christ: the symbol H, bisected by a T (the "H" representing God and the "T" the cross or Christ).
Source: Historical Flags of Our Ancestors website
Pete Loeser, 14 February 2010