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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The KKK in America

In my humanities class right now, we are studying reconstruction time period after the Civil War and racial issues in America at the turn of the 20th century and then at the turn of the 21st century.  An organization that has had an extremely negative impact on race relations in the United States is the Ku Klux Klan.

This is the first time I have taught reconstruction as in-depth as I have in the past and I am going to ask my students their thoughts on the subject, content, depth covered, etc. in an evaluation soon (I will have that information available), but it seems to be going quite well.  Yesterday in class, we spent some time watching Birth of a Nation (1915) [Remastered Edition] which you can also access as live stream on Netflix.  We spent most of the period looking at different parts of the film.  While the film is three hours long and has little value to watch the film in its entirety, I would suggest a few clips to watch in class with your students.

The essential question we looked at in class, and throughout most of the year, is "What role does the media play in our society?"  We can argue that film is a part of media and it clearly has an impact on America.  While there are many different events and incidents in history one can point to for this rise in the KKK in the early 1900s, the membership jumped from 400,000 to over 4 million in 1920.  While we can point to the end of WWI and other issues of race in the different parts of the country, Birth of a Nation had an impact.

If using the live stream on Netflix, here are the times for the scenes--
1hour:10 mins

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