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The historical essays in this magazine explain the roots of racism and prejudice which sustain the Ku Klux Klan.

As a young civil rights activist working alongside John Lewis, Andrew Young, the late Dr.

This is not a pretty part of American history — some of the things you read here will make you angry or ashamed; some will turn your stomach.

But it is important that we try to understand the villains as well as the heroes in our midst, if we are to continue building a nation where equality and democracy are preserved.

I learned the importance of history at an early age — my father, the late Horace Mann Bond, taught at several black colleges and universities.

He showed me that knowing the past is critical to making sense of the present.

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How did the Ku Klux Klan — one of the nation’s first terrorist groups — so instantly seize the South in the aftermath of the Civil War? How could it have risen so rapidly to power in the 1920s and then so rapidly have lost that power?

They are deeper than the events of the turbulent 1960s, the parades and cross burnings and lynching’s of the 1920s, beyond even the Reconstruction era and the Civil War.

The story begins, really, on the frontier, where successive generations of Americans learned hard lessons about survival.

And why is this ghost of the Civil War still haunting America today with hatred, violence and sometimes death for its enemies and its own members?

The answers do not lie on the surface of American history.

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