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How The Feds Broke The Original KKK

Thomas Nast takes on the Klan in an 1874 cartoon.

The rights given to newly-freed slaves after the Civil War did not sit well with some whites in the South.  Within a few years of the war, the original Ku Klux Klan arose to terrorize African-Americans and assert white power. 

Washington saw a need to respond as the Klan turned violent, but it had few tools; there was no FBI then.  Only the Secret Service constituted a federal police force of any kind. 

Hiram C. Whitley took the helm with the aim of smashing the KKK, and his story is told in the book Freedom's Detective by Charles Lane.  The author visits with details of Whitley's life and successful campaign. 

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.