The KKK has re-entered the news again this week, after the organization threatened to fight protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Many people pointed out that the KKK enjoys a type of legal immunity and protection that activist and advocacy groups of other varieties do not have.
There is actually a lot of truth to these claims, there is even a monument in Washington DC dedicated to one of the original founders of the KKK.
Despite the fact that the KKK is one of the most rightfully vilified organizations in the world, there is a statue in Washington DC dedicated to Albert Pike. The statue stands on a pedestal near the foot of Capitol Hill, between the Department of Labor building and the Municipal Building, between 3rd and 4th Streets, on D Street, NW.
Pike was also an affluent Freemason, and many Freemasons have vehemently denied that Pike had anything to do with the KKK. However, research published by Walter L. Fleming in 1905 shows definitively that Pike was in fact the original founder of the KKK.
Pike was also president of the Tennessee Bar Association, and had a heavy influence in the legal system even outside the state of Tennessee.
Fleming was himself a racist and a supporter of both Pike and the KKK, and his views were fairly popular at the time, which shows that this research was never intended to be a smear campaign, but a simple biographical research project.
Fleming’s book is considered by historians to be one of the primary sources for research on the KKK, and was applauded by The National Cyclopedia of American Biography and The Dictionary of American Biography.
In the 1990’s, the Albert Pike statue became a controversial topic, with groups protesting at the statue on a weekly basis, and on some occasions even fitting the statue with Klan robes.