They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

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Boys, let us get up a club.

With those words, six restless young men raided the linens at a friend’s mansion, pulled pillowcases over their heads, hopped on horses, and cavorted through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866. The six friends named their club the Ku Klux Klan, and, all too quickly, their club grew into the self-proclaimed Invisible Empire with secret dens spread across the South.

This is the story of how a secret terrorist group took root in America’s democracy. Filled with chilling and vivid personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries, this account from Newbery Honor-winning author Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a book to read and remember. A YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist.

About Susan Campbell Bartoletti

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Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850, winner of the Robert F. Sibert Medal. She lives in Moscow, Pennsylvania. Visit her website at
Published August 23, 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 176 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Young Adult, Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Books. Non-fiction

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Two of the men suggested that they call themselves “Kuklos,” the Greek word for “circle” or “band,” but that wasn’t mysterious enough, so they made up a variation: Ku Klux Klan, which literally means “circle circle.” They delighted in dressing up in flowing white robes, riding about town pretendi...

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Publishers Weekly

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In this comprehensive, accessible account, Newbery Honor author Bartoletti (Hitler Youth) draws from documentary histories, slave narratives, newspapers, congressional testimony, and other sources to chronicle the origins and proliferation of the Ku Klux Klan against the charged backdrop of Recon...

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