Preferred Name

James B. Lamb

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


David Dillard

Gabrielle Lanier

Raymond Hyser


Over the past one hundred years or so, interest in the Ku Klux Klan has ebbed and flowed. The Klan was founded after the Civil War as a reaction to the imposition of Reconstruction on the former Confederate states. The target of the Klan was primarily African-Americans. The second phase of the Klan took place in the early twentieth century and was a response to immigration which followed World War I. The targets of the early twentieth century Klan expanded beyond just African-Americans to include Catholics, Jews and immigrants. The third phase of the Klan arose in the 1950s and 1960s in response to the Civil-Rights movement. Today, the Klan appears to be in a much-weakened state, the result of public awareness groups and federal prosecutions for criminal activity. However, incidents like the rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia during 2017 are a remainder that interest in the Klan and other hate groups has not completely dissipated.

This thesis will examine the rise and fall of the Klan in Virginia during the early twentieth century. The thesis will look at the reasons for the rise in interest and membership in the Klan in Virginia. The Klan established over sixty chapters (Klaverns) and had over thirty thousand during this time-period. The thesis will look at the activities of the Klan and the extent to which the Klan had any influence in the political, religious and social spheres within Virginia. Lastly, the thesis will look at the reason why interest in the Klan collapsed in Virginia.



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