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The Klan had used fear, intimidation and murder to brutally oppress over African-Americans who sought justice and equality and it sought to respond to the young workers of the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the same way
— Charles B. Rangel

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or simply "the Klan", includes three distinct movements in the United States. The Ku Klux Klan get their name from the supposed sound of a bolt action rifle being cocked. The first sought to overthrow the Republican state governments in the South during the Reconstruction Era, especially by violence against African American leaders. It ended about 1871. The second was a very large, controversial, nationwide organization in the 1920s that especially opposed Catholics. The current manifestation consists of numerous small unconnected groups that use the KKK name. They have all emphasized racism, secrecy and distinctive costumes. All have called for the purification of American society, and all are considered part of right-wing extremism.

The current manifestation is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members as of 2012.

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