Elizabeth's Reviews > They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
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's review
Sep 27, 11

bookshelves: african-american, theme-unit
Read in September, 2011

This nonfiction history of the KKK is portrays a time in American history, that is not often talked about. In the reconstruction south, a group of six southern white men commiserate about how the freed men and the Union Republican party are ruining the South. For fun, they form a secret society called the Ku Klux Klan and begin playing practical jokes on their neighbors. Through the personal stories of the victims, both black and white, Susan Campbell Bartoletti proceeds to tell the reader how this group expands to become an organization synonymous with racial hatred. They become so threatening that the US military is required to intercede. The focus of the book is the Klan during the reconstruction, but mention is made of the KKK through today.
This book is a very authentic portrayal of the time period. As the author notes, quotes from freed slaves and southern residents are included using the vernacular of the time period, that are considered politically incorrect today. She included actual photographs, cartoons, and artwork that were published during this time period. Some of these are shocking, but historically accurate. Also included is a detailed civil rights timeline and a thorough list of quotations and their sources.
The author titles her book They Called Themselves The K.K.K.: The Birth Of An American Terrorist Group. We tend to associate the term terrorist with others, people from foreign countries, people we don’t know. However, this book brings us back to the reality that any group that threatens another, because of ignorance, intolerance, or hatred, is a terrorist group and it can happen in our backyard.
While the reading level would be for middle school students, the subject matter, language, and images might not be appropriate for younger students without teacher or parental guidance. This would be appropriate for high school students. In addition to its connections to lessons on civil rights, reconstruction, and terrorism, this would be an excellent source for studies of peer pressure and human behavior
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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528_Tracy I agree that this book is most appropriate for high school students because of the subject matter. I really enjoyed it and I'm trying to think of ways to incorporate it into my own classes.

message 2: by 528_Mary F. (new)

528_Mary F. I a curious about this book, though I may be embarrassed to carry it around. I do not know much about the KKK except for the obvious. It does sound like something I might like to read.

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