An Argument That The Ku Klux Klan Was A Necessary

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Representatives William D. Kelley, speaking on March 29, 1871 in response to an argument that the Ku Klux Klan was a necessary and reasonable reaction to the foundation of "negro militias" and to the claim that black people in the South in fact did not suffer from discrimination. (1) Mr. KELLEY. Mr. Speaker, I approach the discussion of the pending question with no hostility to the people of the South or any part of them, but with an interest in their welfare and prosperity that I scarcely feel for the people of my own colder section of the country. They are the children of the past; and appreciating the trials they are compelled to endure, I give them my sympathy, and am ready to labor with them to convert the cross they bear into a crown of triumph. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Whitthorne] for alluding to the material resources of the South, and thus diversifying the argument on that side of the House, on this and kindred questions, by referring to them and proposing them as a subject worthy of consideration. Sir, as I listened to his statement of the productions of the South, as shown by the recent census, and which he seemed to think startling by reason of their grand totals, I could but grieve at the meager result and ask myself what they would have been had the people of the South frankly accepted the condition of affairs at the close of the war, and, looking to the future, had welcomed immigrants from the North and from other countries with their
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