A series of documentaries has laid bare the shocking truth about the Ku Klux Klan which remains very much in existence.
In them members of the Klan shed light on their rituals and beliefs and their frightening pledge to achieve racial segregation at any cost.
Shrouded in secrecy, the Klan rarely opens its doors to outsiders, enacting centuries-old rituals in remote rural locations.
The KKK and its racist ways is often considered to be a relic of the civil-war era, one better off forgotten at that.
But the short films, aired on Abc’s Nightline, tell otherwise, featuring groups in Mississippi and Virginia.
[wppa type="slideonlyf" album="10" size="500" align="center"][/wppa]
Many members hid their faces and withheld their names for fear of retribution in mainstream society.
‘You don’t know who I am,’ one man said. ‘You could think the world of me, and yet if you see me in this hood and knew who I was, your whole thoughts could change.’
The latest group to be featured is the Mississippi White Nights of the Ku Klux Klan, the klavern made famous by the film Mississippi Burning.
Several dozen men and women were filmed meeting in a forest grove as they marched around a 16-foot burning cross wearing white hooded robes and chanting.
‘Klansmen, we are the only Klan in the state of Mississippi!’ a man shouted.
‘White power!’ yelled another.
The group’s leader, Grand Wizard Steven Howard, took the film crew to a remote spot in the woods where fellow Klansmen and women were preparing the symbolic cross for an evening of chanting and burning.
Howard’s wife prepared a barbeque with the help of his 11-year-old daughter who will one day join the Klan herself, having been given a robe for her eighth birthday.
Other young members of the community were practicing their shot, aiming a pistol at an old television set.
‘Black people and white people are nowhere related,’ Howard said. ‘In my opinion, black people evolved from animals. That’s what I think they evolved from: apes.’
Howard insisted that being a member of the Klan ‘is a state of Christianity’ and non-violent, but he conceded to being a racist.
‘I consider myself a white separatist. A bigot? No. A racist? That’s fair; you could call me a racist. Because a racist is just somebody who is racially aware, that thinks about race.
‘You can’t trust a black person as far as you can throw them,’ he said, adding that he would disown her daughter if she dated a black boy. ‘I believe that 100 per cent.’
Violence, Howard said, would be permitted if necessary in order to achieve segregation, promising a race war if President Obama were to get re-elected.
‘Oh, it’s going to happen. And I fear it.And it ain’t just me. If he gets four more years, Barack Obama will ruin this country.
‘And white people will be in concentration camps, and if you don’t think that white people [can] be in concentration camps, [you] are sadly mistaken.’
While Howard’s extreme views may seem unlikely to be popular a worrying trend over the past decade has seen membership dramatically increase.
‘The Klan and other [similar] groups grew pretty significantly by our account,’ Senior Fellow Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
‘Six hundred groups in the year 2000 to 1,018 last year.
‘And that’s not the half of it. Militia groups have come back, and have come back with a force that is amazing.’