- "The K. K. Alphabet": Secret Communication and Coordination of the Reconstruction-Era Ku Klux Klan in the Carolinas
- The Journal of the Civil War Era
- The University of North Carolina Press
- Volume 8, Number 3, September 2018
- pp. 455-487
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article explores the story behind a ciphered letter sent from two brothers, Johnston Jones in North Carolina to Iredell Jones in South Carolina, both members of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction. The letter and a few accompanying documents generated by fellow members of the Klan suggest that the Klan was not exclusively an organic and isolated movement. Rather, conservative white southern elites, connected by ties of Confederate service and family, engaged in a clandestine campaign of organizing against the interracial politics of Reconstruction. Recalibrating our conception of the extent to which the Ku Klux Klan was coordinated provides a more accurate understanding of the ways white supremacist vigilante violence was used to shut down interracial political opportunities after emancipation.