Skip to content
Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan During Reconstruction

by Elaine Frantz Parsons,
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 17, 2016

One evening in May 1866, a half-dozen former Confederate soldiers gathered in a law office in Pulaski, Tenn., and decided to form a club. Seeking a name “suggestive of the character or objects of the society,” especially amusement and recreation, they considered “kukloi,” a derivative of the Greek word meaning band or circle, when someone cried out, “Call it Ku Klux.” The young men added “Klan” to complete the alliteration and the Ku Klux Klan was born.


Read the full article (PDF)