The first Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee sometime between December 1865 and August 1866 by six former members of the Confederate army. Its original purpose was to be a fraternal social club with plenty of parody thrown into the initiation ceremonies. However, members began to take the organization seriously and found purpose as a vigilante group targeting black people and white Republicans. According to historian George C. Rable:
“The Klan declined in strength in part because of internal weaknesses; its lack of central organization and the failure of its leaders to control criminal elements and sadists. More fundamentally, it declined because it failed to achieve its central objective – the overthrow of Republican state governments in the South.”
In 1915, the second Klan was founded in Atlanta, Georgia and beginning in 1921, it adopted a modern business system that required paid full-time recruiters. The application above is the original KKK application form from 1921.
The questions on the application include:
- Is the motive prompting your inquiry serious?
- Age, occupation, birth date, marital status, years at current residence, eye color, hair color, weight, height, political affiliation, religious faith.
- Were your parents born in the United States?
- Are you a gentile or Jew?
- Are you of the white race or of a colored race?
- What educational advantages have you?
- Do you believe int he principles of a PURE Americanism?
- Do you believe in White Supremacy?
- Of what church are you a member?
- Of what religious faith are your parents?
- What secret, fraternal orders are you a member of?
- Do you honestly believe in the practice of REAL fraternity?
- Do you owe ANY KIND of allegiance to any foreign people, ruler, or person?