11 People You Wouldn’t Believe Used To Be In The KKK 0 3

The KKK is one of few groups that is so associated with fear and hate-mongering, its own members don’t want to reveal their faces. Today, we lift that shroud of mystery to take a look at some surprising people who were members of the KKK.

Ashley Wilkes

Granted, Ashley Wilkes is a character from “Gone With the Wind” and not an actual person, but it’s still rather jarring to know that the formation of the KKK is portrayed in the famous movie. The KKK was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, in 1866. The earliest inception of the group was to protect women and other citizens from the shanty towns that sprang up all over the south once the war ended. From these lofty ideals, the group quickly devolved into an organization bent on oppression and terror. Ashley Wilkes is like a great many real white southerners who joined the organization with good intentions in mind. But that was way back in 1866.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

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To be specific, the KKK began in Tennessee. The white hoods and sheets were meant to represent the ghosts of the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. But soon, the group was more about terrorizing blacks than it was about protecting whites. The KKK rode at night, perpetrating raids on areas where blacks lived. Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Confederate general, was in command of the KKK until 1868. He formally disbanded the group at this point, appalled by the violence of it. The KKK lived on, however.

Hugo L. Black

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Congress created a committee in 1871 to investigate the Klan, and passed the civil rights act of 1871 to help curtail the group’s activities. But years later, the KKK would infiltrate the highest levels of government. We’re referring, of course, to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, a trial attorney from Alabama who joined the group in 1923. He was appointed to the Court in 1937, and there is no clear evidence that he ever left the KKK. Black is to the far left in this photo, standing with two other justices.

William McKinley

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President William McKinley, from Ohio, was a member of the KKK. He served in office from 1897 to 1901. McKinley is to the left here, next to his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson


The KKK had fallen out of fashion, but it became extremely popular right after World War I. President Woodrow Wilson was in office from 1913 to 1921, for the whole of the war and its immediate aftermath. He was also a member of the KKK.

Warren G. Harding


In the 1920s, the group reached its highest numbers in history with close to 4 million members. The KKK was highly influential in politics at this time. Warren G. Harding was President from 1921 to 1923, and died in office. Harding was purportedly sworn into the KKK while in the White House.

Gutzon Borglum


The artist who created Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, was an active member of the KKK. He reportedly served on one of their councils. When his involvement with the group came to light later, he publicly denounced the KKK.

Calvin Coolidge


Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, served in office from 1923 to 1929 and was an active KKK member. The KKK became much less popular in the late 1920s, as more about its violent actions became widely known. Membership went down to 40,000 by 1929, and states began passing anti-mask laws to curb KKK activity.

Harry S. Truman

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The KKK continued to operate throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and times were volatile for many African-Americans. Harry S. Truman was President from 1945 to 1953. Truman was a KKK member for about two years, but fell out with the group because he believed Roman Catholics should be allowed to be in politics.

Robert Byrd

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West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd joined the KKK in the 1940s at the age of 24. He served in the Senate for nearly six decades. The KKK experienced a brief resurgence in the 1960s, and violently opposed the Civil Rights movement. The KKK was directly responsible for the murder of several civil rights workers and attacks on activists at this time. But the glory days were over. The KKK would get weaker and weaker after this.



The KKK fractured into small splinter groups and had a membership of less than 10,000 by the 1990s. The KKK has weathered several lawsuits and arrests, not to mention laws and ordinances that prevent them from engaging in their various activities.

In a bizarre re-branding, one KKK chapter announced recently that it is accepting homosexuals, African-Americans, and Jewish people into the group. The Klan currently has between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide.

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11 Products Most Women Use That Were Invented By Men 0 4

For all of our recent attempts at gender neutral and equality, there are certain products that are used mostly by women.

But surprisingly, many of those were designed by particularly insightful men—who knew not just what a woman wanted, but what she needed.


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The Tampax company was run by a rather formidable lady by the name of Gertrude Tendrich.

But the patent their prime product was based on was filed by a Colorado GP, Dr. Earle Haas. He sold the patent to Gertrude when he couldn’t get women to buy his product. He also pioneered the contraceptive diaphragm (and sold the patent for that off too for similar reasons).

Sanitary Pads

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Oddly, the modern pad is derived from something created by Benjamin Franklin. Yes. That Benjamin Franklin. The $100 dollar bill Benjamin Franklin.

He initially developed multi-level absorbent pads to block up battle wounds. Within a few decades, they’d been re-purposed and re-packaged for women’s use during that time of the month.

The Birth Control Pill

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The birth control pill was developed through two collaborations of gentlemen. Drs. Gregory Pincus and John Rock usually get the credit for the first oral contraceptive.

But the one most of us take today was a group effort by chemist Carl Djerassi, Dr. George Rosenkranz and their student, Luis E. Miramontes. Birth control as a concept was, however, pioneered by ladies and men.


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Coin purses and luggage have existed in one form or another for millennia. But the first order for something more akin to the modern handbag or pocketbook was placed by a British entrepreneur during the 1840s.

Candy magnate Samuel Parkinson demanded a moderately sized traveling bag for his wife’s personal effects. London leather goods company H.J. Cave & Sons complied with his order and then used it as the basis for the first line of modern designer hand bags.

Nylon Stockings

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Cloth and silk stockings were floating around for a while—but were rather expensive luxury goods for most of their history.

But the male-run Dupont company is what made them mass producible. They quickly realized that the new nylon fabric they created would translate into ladies’ legwear and set up such successful marketing there was a post-war stocking-riot when they couldn’t keep up with demand.

The Bikini

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Two male designers both compete for the title of the creator of the modern bikini— and they are both French.

Jacques Heim and Louis Réard purportedly came up with the design at the same time in 1946.

The Thighmaster

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The Thigmaster was popularized by 70s sitcom star Suzanne Somers.

But the mastermind behind the clunky and bizarre exercise device was a gent by the name of Joshua Reynolds. Incidentally, he’s also the same guy who marketed the world mood rings.

Hair Dye

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The synthetic hair dye that’s opened up such a wide arena of natural and unnatural coloring (for women and men) was also designed by a man.

French chemist Eugène Schueller developed the first recipe, and used it as the start up example for his new company—a little thing you might have heard of called L’Oreal.

Liquid Foundation

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Most make-up only used to come in white (seriously, everyone in Queen Elizabeth’s court looked like terrifying white-faced mimes).

The first foundations were not just white, they were made up of a terrifying concoction of chemicals that burned out the skin of the lords, ladies, and performers that applied it regularly. Enter German actor Carl Baudin. He’s the guy behind flesh-toned grease-paint—the precursor to modern liquid foundation.

Face Powder

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Likewise, face powder also used to only come in one color: bright white. It wasn’t really useful for anyone but the palest of showgirls and geishas.

Early Hollywood cosmetician Max Factor grew frustrated with the lack of variability and created face powder in different skin tones. And then went on to found one of the world’s greatest cosmetics companies.


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Two other make-up magnates both technically invented mascara: one each on either side of the Atlantic.

At the same time perfumer-maker Eugene Rimmel was making mascara for his clients in Paris, American T. L. Williams created a recipe for his sister Maybel. Eugene went on to found Rimmel. And Williams and his sister created Maybelline.

10 Times Explorers May Have Discovered America Before Columbus Did It 0 2

By the time Christopher Columbus mis-navigated his way to the West Indies, the New World was already old news to many others. These are all the people who discovered America before Columbus made his much more famous voyage.

The Native Americans


There are still many questions about where the Native Americans travelled from. Many believe that immigrants from Asia came to the Americas 40,000 to 13,000 years ago, though they may have come from two separate places. Either way, they are technically the first people to discover America. Upon finding it, they began to build communities and populate the land. But many, many others would come after them.

Egyptian Traders


Ancient Egyptians may have traded with South American tribes around 1,000 B.C. Scientists can’t figure out any other explanation for the amount of tobacco and coca, found only in the Americas, discovered in Egyptian mummies. It is a proven fact that ancient Egyptians traded extensively with other civilizations.

Lehi The Prophet


According to the Book of Mormon, an ancient prophet and his followers sailed to the Americas around 600 B.C. Lehi, the prophet, lived in Jerusalem when he was told by the Lord to leave and find the promised land. Lehi built a ship and set out on a voyage across the ocean. He landed in the Americas. The story was later recorded for the Book. DNA evidence proves that Native Americans do not originate from the Middle East, however, and there are no artifacts to verify this legend.

The Irish Navigator


Saint Brendan the Navigator did a great deal of missionary work throughout Ireland, sailing all around the British Isles to spread Christianity. According to legend, he even sailed off across the ocean. He built a boat and took 18 to 150 men, depending on which account you read, in search of the Garden of Eden. He found a Paradise at the end of his journey and sailed all the way back to Ireland to tell tales of it. He was absent for seven years. The legend was passed down orally for many centuries before it was finally recorded on paper, and no evidence of Irish artifacts has been discovered in the Americas. Some say the story is merely allegory, and does not refer to an actual voyage at all, but many historians wonder if Brendan’s tall tales were really truth.

Leif Erikson


Leif Erikson, Viking explorer, legitimately did discover the New World around 1000 AD. He discovered Novia Scotia, though he named it Vinland. Later, a settlement was built there. Newfoundland is home to the oldest European settlement in the Americas. More than 2,000 Viking artifacts have been discovered there that date to the days of Leif Erikson.

Prince Madoc

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Welsh lore tells of the voyage of Prince Madoc. One of the illegitimate sons of the king of Gwynedd, he sailed from the north Welsh coast in two ships. They were headed west, and legend says that they landed near present-day Alabama. He returned to Wales telling fantastic tales of the western land he found, and convinced others to join him on a second voyage. After he left in 1171, he was never seen in Wales again. There is some sketchy historic evidence to suggest that Madoc’s legend may be based on truth. Early American explorers told of the Mandans, a tribe of Indians with white skin who spoke a Welsh-like dialect. That tribe of Indians was decimated by smallpox in 1837, so there is no current evidence to support the Welsh legend.

Abu Bakr II

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In 1311, the emperor of Mali was Abu Bakr II. His kingdom encompassed most of West Africa and he had great wealth. But he gave it all up, and abdicated his throne, to take a great voyage to the west. He sailed away with upwards of 2,000 boats, according to legend, and never did return to Mali. Most of the legend was passed down orally, and so far no concrete evidence has been found to prove he landed in the Americas.

Polynesian Explorers

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All Polynesians are descended from the same seafaring people who sailed all over the Pacific. They built colonies on Easter Island, New Zealand, and Hawaii. They may have made it all the way to the western shores of America. DNA evidence shows that they made have found the Americas sometime between 500 and 700. Historians have doubted this possibility because the Polynesians used raft-like boats that are not prudent for long ocean voyages. </p

Henry Sinclair


Henry Sinclair was Scotland’s Admiral of the Seas, and tasked with pacifying Shetland around 1390. He had 13 warships at his disposal when a fisherman showed up telling a story of an amazing land to the west. He’d been driven way off course by storms to discover it. Legend holds that Sinclair took his ships out past Greenland and discovered a “fertile land.” He came back to Scotland in 1399 and told stories of his journey. He planned to return, in fact, but was killed in battle in 1400. The documents supporting this legend are in question by historians, who say they may be forged. However, there was a tribe in Nova Scotia who told tales of a King who came from an island far away, only to stay for a year and sail away again. Sinclair’s grandson built the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, pictured, which has carvings that resemble corn and cactus plants. You can only find those in America.

Zheng He


Zheng He was a famed Chinese explorer, leading voyages all over the Indian Ocean. He set out with 20,000 men and dozens of ships to the Atlantic, and definitely made it as far as Africa. He made at least seven voyages from 1405 to 1433. Zheng He was believed to be lost at sea in 1433. Some have theorized that Zheng He went all the way to America. There is a map, said to be Chinese in origin, that supports this theory. No other evidence of Zheng He in the Americas has ever been found.

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