Disturbing Historical Photos That Reveal What It’s Like To Grow Up In The KKK

Published July 26, 2017
Ku Klux Klan Baptism
Atlanta Klan Grand Dragon
Jane Snyder Kkk Service
Ku Klux Klan Initiation
Disturbing Historical Photos That Reveal What It’s Like To Grow Up In The KKK
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The Ku Klux Klan has survived for more than 150 years. Its ideology of hatred and white supremacy continued to keep attracting new members through the Holocaust, the civil rights movement, and on past the election of America's first black president. It seems unbelievable that hatred could live on for that long, that anyone in the modern world could put on white robes, burn crosses, and still spread manifestos that call for an all-white America.

But hatred often starts at home. Since 1865, countless children across America have been born into the Ku Klux Klan. They’ve been raised by parents who pass down a moral code created in the days of slavery. From birth, these children are fully immersed in the Klan.

Ku Klux Klan children are sometimes brought to rallies mere months after their birth. Some of these children have even been baptized into the Klan, with a Grand Dragon sprinkling holy water over their infant heads.

Other children are introduced into the Klan when they're a little older, dressed up in little white robes and help up as the mascots of the group. Some march in parades, holding up hateful signs made by their parents. Other children help their parents set up crosses to be burned in the front yards of their black neighbors in order to scare them away.

These rituals started decades and decades ago, but they still happen today. In 2010, members of the Klan in Arkansas held a youth group meeting that invited kids aged five to 18 to learn about the white power ideology. Charity Pendergraft, a 19-year-old girl who was helping to run the event, advertised it by saying, “We need to teach them why we are proud to be white.”

Despite such indoctrination, some of the kids who grow up in the Ku Klux Klan manage to escape. But others don’t. They grow up surrounded by hatred and bigotry. They stay in the Klan — and pass on a violent and hateful worldview to the next generation.

Next, find out about the strange stories behind the day that the KKK rode a ferris wheel and the African-American man who made members quit the Klan by befriending them.

Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver is a writer and teacher, and father whose work has appeared on The Onion's StarWipe, Yahoo, and Cracked.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Oliver, Mark. "Disturbing Historical Photos That Reveal What It’s Like To Grow Up In The KKK." AllThatsInteresting.com, July 26, 2017, https://allthatsinteresting.com/ku-klux-klan-youth. Accessed May 18, 2024.