Beginning in the mid-1970\'s, Ku Klux Klan groups began to apply a more respectable image. Some accepted women as members and set up youth groups. The KKK especially appealed to whites who resented both special programs designed to help blacks and job competition from blacks and recent immigrants. Approximately 15 separate organizations existed, including the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the United Klans of America, and the National Klan.
By 1980, Klan membership rose to about 10,000 members, with still some extremists who often used violence against those who they opposed. In 1979, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Klan members killed five anti-Klan demonstrators. In Mobile, Alabama, there was an incident where Klan members murdered a black youth in 1981. Because of this violent activity, interest in the Ku Klux Klan has declined. This, coupled with some prosecutions for illegal activities, reduced KKK membership in the South to about 6,000 by the late 1980\'s.
The Ku Klux Klan often refers to itself as the Fifth Era of the Klan and uses the title the Invisible Empire. The Klan is no longer known just as the Ku Klux Klan, but rather uses the title Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
This is an excerpt from an essay written by a member of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan stating some of the views of the Klan of today:

Late 1800\'s The Ku Klux Klan was formed as a social club by a group of Confederate Army veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee around 1865. A Confederate General, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was the Klan\'s first leader, whose title was the Grand Wizard. The group adopted the name Ku Klux Klan from the Greek word kuklos, meaning circle, and the English word clan.
White superiority was the philosophy of the Klan, and they would often use violence and terrorization of blacks as a means of exercising this philosophized superiority. The Klan detested the idea of blacks gaining any rights following the Civil War into the Reconstruction, and terrorized blacks to prevent them from voting in elections or practicing any other right. Blacks and white sympathizers were often threatened, beaten, or even murdered by Klan members in the South; the Klan used the now familiar white robes and hoods to mask their identity. The Ku Klux Klan became known as the Invisible Empire as it grew and spread rapidly.
In 1871, the Force Bill was passed by Congress. This act gave the President the authority to use federal troops against the Ku Klux Klan if he deemed the action necessary. Soon after this bill was passed, the Klan all but disappeared.

Early 1900\'s William J. Simmons, a former Methodist preacher, organized a new Klan in Stone Mountain, Georgia in 1915 as a patriotic, Protestant fraternal society. This new Klan directed its activity against, not just blacks, but any group it considered un-American, including any immigrants, Jews, and Roman Catholics. The Ku Klux Klan grew rapidly from here and had more than 2 million members throughout the country by the mid-1920\'s. Although the Klan still reverted at times to violence of previous years, burning crosses, torturing and murdering those who they opposed, most of the Klan acted through peaceful means. The KKK instead became a more powerful political force as it elected many public officials throughout the nation. However, eventually the organization became weakened by disagreements among the leadership and because of public criticism of Klan violence. By 1944 the Ku Klux Klan had faded out again.

Mid-1900\'s The Klan was revived again in 1946 by an Atlanta physician, Samuel Green. However, shortly after Green\'s death in 1949, the Klan split into many smaller groups. During the 1960\'s, the Civil Rights movement began and a new wave of violence by the Ku Klux Klan was brought about. In Mississippi, three civil rights leaders were killed; in Birmingham, Alabama a church was bombed, killing four black girls. President Lyndon B. Johnson used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe the Ku Klux Klan and sent some Klan members to prison. Following this, Klan member ship fell to about 5,000 by the early 1970\'s.

"Racist" and "racism" are provocative words in American society. To some, these words have reached the level of curse words in their offensiveness. Yet, "racist" and "racism" are descriptive