The KKK. . .Hatred in America


A photographer hung out with the KKK in Tennessee and Maryland, here’s what he saw

Writer Kenneth Dickerman April 8 at 8:02 AMA cross lighting after the wedding of two members of the KKK, Tennessee, 2015. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

The wife of a member of the KKK at a gathering for a BBQ and cross lighting/burning ritual in Maryland. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)
The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest and most well-known hate group in the United States. At one point, during its heyday, the Klan boasted a membership of around 4 million. That number has greatly dwindled, with the Southern Poverty and Law Center putting current numbers between 8,000 and 10,000. Despite their fewer numbers, the KKK has seen some recent exposure in mainstream society, most notably during this campaign season.

In February, former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, and politician, David Duke expressed support for Donald Trump, telling listeners of his radio show they would “meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have” if they went to one of his rallies and that “voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.” Trump came under heavy criticism for not immediately and consistently disavowing Duke. When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump if he would disavow Duke, his response was, “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists….So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.” A few days later, Trump did reject Duke’s support, telling NBC: “I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke. And I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference…. I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”

Photographer Peter van Agtmael, on assignment for a European magazine, in 2015, headed to Tennessee and Maryland, where he spent time with some members of today’s KKK. His pictures offer us a glimpse into a world that despite having been around for a long time in the United States, is still rarely seen by most Americans.

Van Agtmael is represented by Magnum Photos; more of his work can be seen here and here.

A KKK members puts away his robe after a BBQ and cross lighting/burning ritual in Maryland. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)


A member of the KKK at his home in Maryland. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

A KKK BBQ and cross lighting/burning ritual in Maryland. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

The wedding of two members of the KKK in a barn in rural Tennessee. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)


A member of the KKK after a cross lighting/burning in Maryland. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

A member of the KKK shoots his handgun on a neighbor’s property. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)


Two people have a smoke at the wedding of two members of the KKK in a barn in rural Tennessee. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)


A KKK member at his barn in rural Tennessee by the North Carolina border. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

An Anne Frank poster in the barn of a KKK member in Tennessee. The sign reads “Anne Frank – Hide and Seek World Champion 1942-1944.” (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

The wedding of two members of the KKK in a barn in rural Tennessee. (Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos)

Kenneth Dickerman is a photo editor at The Washington Post.

An internet friend was surprised at my distaste for Anonymous and these pictures show why. I grew up in Virginia seeing these sorts of pictures. There is a reason people hide their faces. . . . .in at least a little shame, I hope. Hate is a terrible thing notsoley in the US, but  skinheads and neo-Nazis  in Europe. I think we need to shine light on all this evil whenever we  have the chance. 

I, personally, don’t think that Donald Trump is a racist, but his handling of the David Duke episode was clumsy at best. People who belong to the KKK are on the margin of society. They are not educated, traveled, and are often poor and without jobs that they may think were taken by illegal immigrants.  This hatred and jealousy has shifted from African Americans  to illegal immigrants whom they think are getting their jobs and maybe their government benefits. 

As it seems always the case, it is about money and/ or power at the root of evil from the rich leaders of the world hiding money off shore and not paying taxes to the the  underclass of white America! 

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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12 Responses to The KKK. . .Hatred in America

  1. oldpoet56 says:

    Reblogged this on Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world and commented:
    Jesus did not teach His followers to be racists or filled with hate. If your heart is filled with hate then you do not know Jesus at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ShaunyNews says:

    This is who Donald Trump is trying to get on side and more. Good read. When I say #RacistUSA this has to be one of the biggest problems. I do a ton of research and ‘allegedly’ this KKK have Politicians and others of high service pay grade on board, more so in the South of your Country. The racism is bigger because you are a bigger country and sometimes hard to see for people living in the USA WITH 350 Million people. The Religious problems we had and still do if you if you look hard enough was just easier to spot in a population of 5 Million people. Hate, be it race, religion, creed or colour is Global. Here is one of the more reliable KKK Information sites…I had this saved to blog one day, may as well share here. REFRESHING to see people talk about thier own Countries problems…I x


  3. annetbell says:

    I disagree that Trump is trying to get Duke’s approval. I think that was a misunderstanding. I read the article and it seems all possible. Hatred of other groups has been around forever, and I am sure will continue. I just posted the article from The Washington Post. . . that amazed me that they would let the photographer in to photograph them. Used to be very secretive during the days of lynchings. Here is another group that I googled . . . .


  4. Don Ostertag says:

    My wife is from Mexico City. That makes my 5 sons Latinos. All 6 are hard working, wonderful people who have raised wonderful families. If trump isn’t racist,why did he say such terrible things about Mexicans? If Trump isn’t racist, why has he lumped all Muslims in the same category as ISIS. He said he didn’t realize who David Duke is. That makes Trump either a big liar or so ignorant of America, he should never even be considered fit to be president.

    Liked by 1 person

    • annetbell says:

      Don, I have nothing but love and respect for you , your family, and your opinions and I can see you are really upset. I didn’t have a personal connection as you have to immigrants, but I just know that there are lots of people who are angry at illegal immigrants . Many of them do bring drugs to sell and do commit terrible crimes. But of course not all of them, but I am talking about illegal immigrants and I imagine that does not describe your wife or your sons. I have Muslim friends in the US and abroad and they are not terrorists for sure. But there are Islamic terrorist hiding with the the other refugees in Europe and they do wish to get to America. I think that vetting as thoroughly and carefully as possible is necessary for all our safety. To me it only makes sense. . . . secure borders, and careful
      screening. Trump is definitely a populist candidate who has tapped into the frustration over the economy, immigration. . . illegal immigration, and security. The David Duke situation is a conundrum. He had denounced him the previous night and his hatred but should have responded quickly and firmly when asked again.

      The country and this election cycle is a mess for sure. I could never vote for Hillary, ever , but if she is not indited she will probably win. I like Bernie’s sincerity and transparency, but I am not a socialist. I think that the government has made quite a mess of things. I will vote in the NY primary on 4/19, but I am not sure yet except that I will hold my nose and vote because it is my duty. Dear Don, I hope we are still friends!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don Ostertag says:

        Anne, I understand and respect your point of views as regards politics.
        It is the terrible climate that this terrible campaign has created. The HATE!

        White high school soccer fans chanted, “Donald Trump, build that wall,” at a group of black and Latina players from an opposing team last week in Wisconsin.
        Latino players were taunted by white fans chanting Trump’s name during an Iowa high school basketball game in February.
        Trump’s name was also used as a racial epithet during a high school basketball game in Indiana, where students held up large printed photos of the Republican presidential candidate’s face and chanted his name at Latino players on an opposing team.
        Those fans also chanted “build a wall,” “No comprende” and “speak English.”

        This is the kind of world the HATE rhetoric of Trump is creating for my grandchildren. I can’t find anything about any of these Latino children being ‘illegal’ immigrants or rapists. Last week it was put out that 1/3 of college coeds are sexually assaulted at their schools. I sincerely doubt if many of these students who assaulted these women are ‘illegal’ aliens. If they were they would not be protected by the colleges as the rapists are at this time.
        Portifio Diaz, the U.S.A. and Europe’s favorite Mexican President/Butcher once said: ‘Poor Mexico! So far from God. So close to the United States.’
        And this was observed a century before the US’s unquenchable thirst for illegal drugs and the US’s unlimited supply of stolen guns to sell to the drug cartels, combined to turn parts of Mexico into a battleground where it is impossible to live, work, and raise a family.
        Trump is entitled to his political views, but maybe he should try to figure out what his views are before he opens his mouth. For instance, recently, in the space of 5 days, he changed his views on abortion 3 times. What I object to is his appealing to the lowest common denominator, namely HATE. Hitler used brown shirts and hatred of the Jews. The KKK uses white sheets and hatred of Blacks. Trump uses red caps and hatred of Mexicans, Muslims, Women, etc..

        Liked by 1 person

      • annetbell says:

        Oh Don, those pictures you painted. . .
        .how horrible and you are right that is hate. These are people who have given-in to their hateful feelings and frustration due to Trump being so vocal. And of course you are right, Trump should have thought through his actions and policies when he just was so vocal. There are lots of angry people out there and also innocent ones who can . will be hurt in the process. Thank you for the lesson my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don Ostertag says:

        First comes the shouting. Next comes the shooting. Namaste, Ann.

        Liked by 1 person

      • annetbell says:

        I hear you Don !

        Liked by 1 person

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