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The KKK during Reconstruction vs. the KKK in the 1920s

85 min
  • Students will examine primary and secondary sources discussing the context for the formation of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction and during its second resurgence in the early twentieth century.
  • Students will practice argumentation and reasoning skills by writing a timed comparative essay.

Students will need access to computers or tablets to read and annotate two essays contained in the Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness resource.

Distribute Handout A: Image Analysis. Have students examine the two images and answer the questions that follow. Ask students to think about what these images reveal about the changing dynamics of the KKK over time in U.S. history. What additional information do they need to answer this question?

Have students read and annotate the two essays discussing the KKK at two key points in U.S. history—during Reconstruction (The Ku Klux Klan and Violence at the Polls Narrative) and in the 1920s (The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s Narrative). Option: Have students complete the Reading Questions to ensure their understanding of the main ideas. You may also choose to have students complete the AP-style questions associated with each essay for extra practice.

Distribute Handout B: Long Essay Prompt. Allow students 35 minutes to write a comparative essay that addresses the following prompt:

Compare the Ku Klux Klan of the Reconstruction era with the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. In your comparison, consider the following: broader historical context, membership, goals, and methods.

Collect student essays for a grade, or have students self- or peer-review against the AP LEQ Rubric, as best fits your teaching situation.