Beyond Belief: How The KKK Used Objects To Spread Hate

Apr 11, 2019

In the fist quarter of the 20th century, the Ku Klux Klan appropriated Protestant artifacts to make itself more visible and tangible, according to writer and religious scholar Kelly Baker.
Credit Courtesy of Kelly Baker

Most people think of white supremacy and racialized hate groups as being organized around beliefs. But author Kelly Baker points to their important use of things.

In her essay “The Artifacts of White Supremacy,” she reveals how the Klan appropriated Protestant imagery and objects to brand themselves, recruit members and attempt to gain legitimacy. She says the white supremacists’ use of the white robe, fiery cross and even the American flag was an attempt at making their beliefs more tangible — and more performative.

Host Frank Stasio talks with author Kelly Baker about how the Klan used Christian artifacts to create an identity, and how they responded when it didn’t quite succeed. Kelly Baker speaks at North Carolina State University on April 11 at 4:30 p.m. in Winston Hall.