Parties and Interest Groups

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Entries - Entry Category: Parties and Interest Groups - Starting with K

Know-Nothing Party

aka: American Party
Following the collapse of their party nationally in 1852, many Arkansas Whigs found a new home in the American Party, more popularly known as the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings sought to avoid the nation’s impending disunion over slavery and regional divisions by replacing sectional tensions with opposition to Roman Catholics and immigrants, who were presented as potential competitors to “real” Americans for access to jobs and land. First organized through a network of secret fraternal lodges, the Know-Nothings acquired their odd name because their members, sworn to secrecy, were supposed to answer, “I know nothing,” when asked about the party. Although the Know-Nothings did well in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) city elections in 1856, the state’s small Roman Catholic and …

Ku Klux Klan (after 1900)

The original Ku Klux Klan (KKK) formed sometime between 1865 and 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first acknowledged Klan leader, took actions to disband the organization in 1869. A resurgence in Klan activity occurred starting in 1915, and states such as Arkansas were home to newly forming Klan groups during the 1920s. By 1955, the threat of school integration ushered in a new Klan era even though independent Klan groups were a fixture on the American landscape in some way or another from the 1920s on. One of the first official Klan acts in Arkansas was a donation to the Prescott (Nevada County) Christmas fund in December 1921. Shortly thereafter, other Klan groups formed with the goal …

Ku Klux Klan (Reconstruction)

The Reconstruction era in Arkansas witnessed the first of many incarnations of the state’s most well-known white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In the years after the Civil War, African Americans not only had to struggle to achieve equality under the law, but—along with their white supporters—they had to endure intimidation, whippings, shootings, and murders. Although much of the racial violence was random, it was also during this time that the KKK began its long history of using violence to achieve political ends. The Ku Klux Klan first appeared in Arkansas in April 1868, just a month after African Americans voted in Arkansas elections for the first time. A year earlier, Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts, which put …