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Old 11-24-2004
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Default Why I Quit the KKK

“Why I Quit the Klan”—An Interview withC. P. EllisC.P. Ellis was born in 1927 and was 53-years-old at the time of this interview with StudsTerkel. At one time he was president (Exalted Cyclops) of the Durham chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and lived in Durham, North Carolina.

All my life, I had work, never a day without work, worked all the overtime I could getand still could not survive financially. I began to see there’s something wrong with thiscountry. I worked my butt off and just never seemed to break even. I had some realgreat ideas about this nation. They say to abide by the law, go to church, do right and livefor the Lord, and everything’ll work out. But it didn’t work out. It just kept getting worseand worse...Tryin to come out of that hole, I just couldn’t do it. I really began to get bitter. I didn’tknow who to blame. I tried to find somebody. Hatin America is hard to do because youcan’t see it to hate it. You gotta have somethin to look at to hate. The natural person forme to hate would be Black people, because my father before me was a member of theKlan...So I began to admire the Klan... To be part of somethin. ... The first night I wentwith the fellas . . . I was led into a large meeting room, and this was the time of my life!It was thrilling. Here’s a guy who’s worked all his life and struggled all his life to besomething, and here’s the moment to be something. I will never forget it. Four robedKlansmen led me into the hall. The lights were dim and the only thing you could see wasan illuminated cross... After I had taken my oath, there was loud applause goin through-out the buildin, musta been at least 400 people. For this one little ol person. It was athrilling moment for C. P. Ellis...The majority of [the Klansmen] are low-income Whites, people who really don’thave a part in something. They have been shut out as well as Blacks. Some are not verywell educated either. Just like myself. We had a lot of support from doctors and lawyersand police officers.Maybe they’ve had bitter experiences in this life and they had to hate somebody. Sothe natural person to hate would be the Black person. He’s beginnin to come up, he’sbeginnin to . . . start votin and run for political office. Here are White people who aresupposed to be superior to them, and we’re shut out... Shut out. Deep down inside, wewant to be part of this great society. Nobody listens, so we join these groups...We would go to the city council meetings and the Blacks would be there and we’dbe there. It was a confrontation every time... We began to make some inroads with thecity councilmen and county commissioners. They began to call us friend. Call us at nighton the telephone: “C. P., glad you came to that meeting last night.” They didn’t wantintegration either, but they did it secretively, in order to get elected. They couldn’t standup openly and say it, but they were glad somebody was sayin it. We visited some of thecity leaders in their homes and talked to em privately. It wasn’t long before councilmenwould call me up: “The Blacks are comin up tonight and makin outrageous demands.How about some of you people showin up and have a little balance?”...We’d load up our cars and we’d fill up half the council chambers, and the Blacks theother half. During these times, I carried weapons to the meetings, outside my belt. We’dgo there armed. We would wind up just hollerin and fussin at each other. What hap-pened? As a result of our fightin one another, the city council still had their way. Theydidn’t want to give up control to the Blacks nor the Klan. They were usin us.

I began to realize this later down the road. One day I was walkin downtown and acertain city council member saw me comin. I expected him to shake my hand because hewas talkin to me at night on the telephone. I had been in his home and visited with him. Hecrossed the street [to avoid me]... I began to think, somethin’s wrong here. Most of emare merchants or maybe an attorney, an insurance agent, people like that. As long as theykept low-income Whites and low-income Blacks fightin, they’re gonna maintain control. Ibegan to get that feelin after I was ignored in public. I thought: . . . you’re not gonna useme any more. That’s when I began to do some real serious thinkin.The same thing is happening in this country today. People are being used by those incontrol, those who have all the wealth. I’m not espousing communism. We got the greatestsystem of government in the world. But those who have it simply don’t want those whodon’t have it to have any part of it. Black and White. When it comes to money, the green,the other colors make no difference.I spent a lot of sleepless nights. I still didn’t like Blacks. I didn’t want to associate withthem. Blacks, Jews, or Catholics. My father said: “Don’t have anything to do with em.” Ididn’t until I met a Black person and talked with him, eyeball to eyeball, and met a Jewishperson and talked to him, eyeball to eyeball. I found they’re people just like me. Theycried, they cussed, they prayed, they had desires. Just like myself. Thank God, I got to thepoint where I can look past labels. But at that time, my mind was closed.I remember one Monday night Klan meeting. I said something was wrong. Our cityfathers were using us. And I didn’t like to be used. The reactions of the others was not toopleasant: “Let’s just keep fightin them niggers.”I’d go home at night and I’d have to wrestle with myself. I’d look at a Black personwalkin down the street, and the guy’d have ragged shoes or his clothes would be worn.That began to do something to me inside. I went through this for about six months. I felt Ijust had to get out of the Klan. But I wouldn’t get out...[Ellis was invited, as a Klansman, to join a committee of people from all walks of lifeto make recommendations on how to solve racial problems in the school system. He veryreluctantly accepted. After a few stormy meetings, he was elected co-chair of the com-mittee, along with Ann Atwater, a Black woman who for years had been leading localefforts for civil rights.]A Klansman and a militant Black woman, co-chairmen of the school committee. Itwas impossible. How could I work with her? But it was in our hands. We had to make it asuccess. This gave me another sense of belongin, a sense of pride. This helped theinferiority feeling I had. A man who has stood up publicly and said he despised Blackpeople, all of a sudden he was willin to work with em. Here’s a chance for a low-incomeWhite man to be somethin. In spite of all my hatred for Blacks and Jews and liberals, Iaccepted the job. Her and I began to reluctantly work together. She had as many problemsworkin with me as I had workin with her.One night, I called her: “Ann, you and I should have a lot of differences and we gotem now. But there’s somethin laid out here before us, and if it’s gonna be a success, youand I are gonna have to make it one. Can we lay aside some of these feelins?” She said:“I’m willing if you are.” I said: “Let’s do it.”My old friends would call me at night: “C. P., what the hell is wrong with you? You’resellin out the White race.” This begin to make me have guilt feeling Am I doin right? Am Idoin wrong? Here I am all of a sudden makin an about-face and tryin to deal with myfeelins, my heart. My mind was beginnin to open up. I was beginnin to see what was rightand what was wrong. I don’t want the kids to fight forever...One day, Ann and I went back to the school and we sat down. We began to talk andjust reflect... I begin to see, here we are, two people from the far ends of the fence, havin identical problems, except hers bein Black and me bein White... The amazing thing aboutit, her and I, up to that point, has cussed each other, bawled each other, we hated eachother. Up to that point, we didn’t know each other. We didn’t know we had things incommon...The whole world was openin up, and I was learning new truths that I had neverlearned before. I was beginning to look at a Black person, shake hands with him, and seehim as a human bein. I hadn’t got rid of all this stuff. I’ve still got a little bit of it. Butsomethin was happenin to me...I come to work one morning and some guys says: “We need a UNI0N.” At this time Iwasn’t pro-UNI0N. My daddy was antilabor too. We’re not gettin paid much, we’re havinto work seven days in a row. We’re all starvin to death... I didn’t know nothin aboutorganizin UNI0Ns, but I knew how to organize people, stir people up. That’s how I got tobe business agent for the UNI0N.When I began to organize, I began to see far deeper. I begin to see people again beinused. Blacks against Whites... There are two things management wants to keep: all themoney and all the say-so. They don’t want none of these poorworkin folks to have noneof that. I begin to see management fightin me with everythin they had. Hire antiUNI0N lawfirms, badmouth UNI0Ns. The people were makin $1.95 an hour, barely able to get throughweekends...It makes you feel good to go into a plant and ... see Black people and White peoplejoin hands and defeat the racist issues [UNI0N-busters] use against people...I tell people there’s a tremendous possibility in this country to stop wars, the battles,the struggles, the fights between people. People say: “That’s an impossible dream. Yousound like Martin Luther King.” An ex-Klansman who sounds like Martin Luther King. Idon’t think it’s an impossible dream. It’s happened in my life. It’s happened in otherpeople’s lives in America...When the news came over the radio that Martin Luther King was assassinated, I goton the telephone and begin to call other Klansmen... We just had a real party... Reallyrejoicin cause the son of a bitch was dead. Our troubles are over with. They say theolder you get, the harder it is for you to change. That’s not necessarily true. Since Ichanged, I’ve set down and listened to tapes of Martin Luther King. I listen to it andtears come to my eyes cause I know what he’s sayin now. I know what’s happenin.
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2004
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WOW THANKS FOR SHARING, I GUESS THERE IS HOPE FOR IGNORANCE.
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Old 11-27-2004
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There is always hope. Main reason why I post conscious articles here. We got to make our people think than just black and white.
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Old 11-14-2006
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Default Re: Why I Quit the Klan

bump
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2006
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Default Re: Why I Quit the KKK

Quote:
Originally Posted by missturtle
wow Thanks For Sharing, I Guess There Is Hope For Ignorance.
I Agree With You!!!
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2006
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Default Re: Why I Quit the KKK

Quote:
Originally Posted by tecpaocelotl
“Why I Quit the Klan”—An Interview withC. P. EllisC.P. Ellis was born in 1927 and was 53-years-old at the time of this interview with StudsTerkel. At one time he was president (Exalted Cyclops) of the Durham chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and lived in Durham, North Carolina.

All my life, I had work, never a day without work, worked all the overtime I could getand still could not survive financially. I began to see there’s something wrong with thiscountry. I worked my butt off and just never seemed to break even. I had some realgreat ideas about this nation. They say to abide by the law, go to church, do right and livefor the Lord, and everything’ll work out. But it didn’t work out. It just kept getting worseand worse...Tryin to come out of that hole, I just couldn’t do it. I really began to get bitter. I didn’tknow who to blame. I tried to find somebody. Hatin America is hard to do because youcan’t see it to hate it. You gotta have somethin to look at to hate. The natural person forme to hate would be Black people, because my father before me was a member of theKlan...So I began to admire the Klan... To be part of somethin. ... The first night I wentwith the fellas . . . I was led into a large meeting room, and this was the time of my life!It was thrilling. Here’s a guy who’s worked all his life and struggled all his life to besomething, and here’s the moment to be something. I will never forget it. Four robedKlansmen led me into the hall. The lights were dim and the only thing you could see wasan illuminated cross... After I had taken my oath, there was loud applause goin through-out the buildin, musta been at least 400 people. For this one little ol person. It was athrilling moment for C. P. Ellis...The majority of [the Klansmen] are low-income Whites, people who really don’thave a part in something. They have been shut out as well as Blacks. Some are not verywell educated either. Just like myself. We had a lot of support from doctors and lawyersand police officers.Maybe they’ve had bitter experiences in this life and they had to hate somebody. Sothe natural person to hate would be the Black person. He’s beginnin to come up, he’sbeginnin to . . . start votin and run for political office. Here are White people who aresupposed to be superior to them, and we’re shut out... Shut out. Deep down inside, wewant to be part of this great society. Nobody listens, so we join these groups...We would go to the city council meetings and the Blacks would be there and we’dbe there. It was a confrontation every time... We began to make some inroads with thecity councilmen and county commissioners. They began to call us friend. Call us at nighton the telephone: “C. P., glad you came to that meeting last night.” They didn’t wantintegration either, but they did it secretively, in order to get elected. They couldn’t standup openly and say it, but they were glad somebody was sayin it. We visited some of thecity leaders in their homes and talked to em privately. It wasn’t long before councilmenwould call me up: “The Blacks are comin up tonight and makin outrageous demands.How about some of you people showin up and have a little balance?”...We’d load up our cars and we’d fill up half the council chambers, and the Blacks theother half. During these times, I carried weapons to the meetings, outside my belt. We’dgo there armed. We would wind up just hollerin and fussin at each other. What hap-pened? As a result of our fightin one another, the city council still had their way. Theydidn’t want to give up control to the Blacks nor the Klan. They were usin us.

I began to realize this later down the road. One day I was walkin downtown and acertain city council member saw me comin. I expected him to shake my hand because hewas talkin to me at night on the telephone. I had been in his home and visited with him. Hecrossed the street [to avoid me]... I began to think, somethin’s wrong here. Most of emare merchants or maybe an attorney, an insurance agent, people like that. As long as theykept low-income Whites and low-income Blacks fightin, they’re gonna maintain control. Ibegan to get that feelin after I was ignored in public. I thought: . . . you’re not gonna useme any more. That’s when I began to do some real serious thinkin.The same thing is happening in this country today. People are being used by those incontrol, those who have all the wealth. I’m not espousing communism. We got the greatestsystem of government in the world. But those who have it simply don’t want those whodon’t have it to have any part of it. Black and White. When it comes to money, the green,the other colors make no difference.I spent a lot of sleepless nights. I still didn’t like Blacks. I didn’t want to associate withthem. Blacks, Jews, or Catholics. My father said: “Don’t have anything to do with em.” Ididn’t until I met a Black person and talked with him, eyeball to eyeball, and met a Jewishperson and talked to him, eyeball to eyeball. I found they’re people just like me. Theycried, they cussed, they prayed, they had desires. Just like myself. Thank God, I got to thepoint where I can look past labels. But at that time, my mind was closed.I remember one Monday night Klan meeting. I said something was wrong. Our cityfathers were using us. And I didn’t like to be used. The reactions of the others was not toopleasant: “Let’s just keep fightin them niggers.”I’d go home at night and I’d have to wrestle with myself. I’d look at a Black personwalkin down the street, and the guy’d have ragged shoes or his clothes would be worn.That began to do something to me inside. I went through this for about six months. I felt Ijust had to get out of the Klan. But I wouldn’t get out...[Ellis was invited, as a Klansman, to join a committee of people from all walks of lifeto make recommendations on how to solve racial problems in the school system. He veryreluctantly accepted. After a few stormy meetings, he was elected co-chair of the com-mittee, along with Ann Atwater, a Black woman who for years had been leading localefforts for civil rights.]A Klansman and a militant Black woman, co-chairmen of the school committee. Itwas impossible. How could I work with her? But it was in our hands. We had to make it asuccess. This gave me another sense of belongin, a sense of pride. This helped theinferiority feeling I had. A man who has stood up publicly and said he despised Blackpeople, all of a sudden he was willin to work with em. Here’s a chance for a low-incomeWhite man to be somethin. In spite of all my hatred for Blacks and Jews and liberals, Iaccepted the job. Her and I began to reluctantly work together. She had as many problemsworkin with me as I had workin with her.One night, I called her: “Ann, you and I should have a lot of differences and we gotem now. But there’s somethin laid out here before us, and if it’s gonna be a success, youand I are gonna have to make it one. Can we lay aside some of these feelins?” She said:“I’m willing if you are.” I said: “Let’s do it.”My old friends would call me at night: “C. P., what the hell is wrong with you? You’resellin out the White race.” This begin to make me have guilt feeling Am I doin right? Am Idoin wrong? Here I am all of a sudden makin an about-face and tryin to deal with myfeelins, my heart. My mind was beginnin to open up. I was beginnin to see what was rightand what was wrong. I don’t want the kids to fight forever...One day, Ann and I went back to the school and we sat down. We began to talk andjust reflect... I begin to see, here we are, two people from the far ends of the fence, havin identical problems, except hers bein Black and me bein White... The amazing thing aboutit, her and I, up to that point, has cussed each other, bawled each other, we hated eachother. Up to that point, we didn’t know each other. We didn’t know we had things incommon...The whole world was openin up, and I was learning new truths that I had neverlearned before. I was beginning to look at a Black person, shake hands with him, and seehim as a human bein. I hadn’t got rid of all this stuff. I’ve still got a little bit of it. Butsomethin was happenin to me...I come to work one morning and some guys says: “We need a UNI0N.” At this time Iwasn’t pro-UNI0N. My daddy was antilabor too. We’re not gettin paid much, we’re havinto work seven days in a row. We’re all starvin to death... I didn’t know nothin aboutorganizin UNI0Ns, but I knew how to organize people, stir people up. That’s how I got tobe business agent for the UNI0N.When I began to organize, I began to see far deeper. I begin to see people again beinused. Blacks against Whites... There are two things management wants to keep: all themoney and all the say-so. They don’t want none of these poorworkin folks to have noneof that. I begin to see management fightin me with everythin they had. Hire antiUNI0N lawfirms, badmouth UNI0Ns. The people were makin $1.95 an hour, barely able to get throughweekends...It makes you feel good to go into a plant and ... see Black people and White peoplejoin hands and defeat the racist issues [UNI0N-busters] use against people...I tell people there’s a tremendous possibility in this country to stop wars, the battles,the struggles, the fights between people. People say: “That’s an impossible dream. Yousound like Martin Luther King.” An ex-Klansman who sounds like Martin Luther King. Idon’t think it’s an impossible dream. It’s happened in my life. It’s happened in otherpeople’s lives in America...When the news came over the radio that Martin Luther King was assassinated, I goton the telephone and begin to call other Klansmen... We just had a real party... Reallyrejoicin cause the son of a bitch was dead. Our troubles are over with. They say theolder you get, the harder it is for you to change. That’s not necessarily true. Since Ichanged, I’ve set down and listened to tapes of Martin Luther King. I listen to it andtears come to my eyes cause I know what he’s sayin now. I know what’s happenin.
That is how this corrupt government has always pitted us against each other. Now they are playing the Mexicans born in this country against the ones born in Mexico.

Like Malcolm X said "Brothers, you've been hoodwinked, bamboseled (sp?), and run a muck!" In other words, the white boy [state of mind and thinking not a color or race]has kept and is keeping power over us [Mexicans, Indigenous, Blacks, Asians]by keeping us divided and fighting against one another!

Thanks tec, another informative and good read
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2006
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Default Re: Why I Quit the KKK

wow...this was very informative...
makes u realize klansmen are victims of a system too....
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Old 11-14-2006
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Default Re: Why I Quit the KKK

I thought I bump something I posted a few years ago which I like to read all the time.
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Old 11-14-2006
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Default Re: Why I Quit the KKK

good post tecpa....you're always fool of information
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Old 10-13-2011
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*bumpiiiiing*
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