White Supremacy Groups in the Reconstruction Era: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Reconstruction
  • 0:51 White Supremacy Groups
  • 1:11 Black Codes
  • 1:48 Ku Klux Klan
  • 2:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

This lesson isn't for the faint of heart! Find out what white supremacy groups believe and do. Be prepared to discover how the Ku Klux Klan formed and how they terrorized innocent people during Reconstruction.


Have you ever been frightened by someone wearing a scary Halloween mask? Today, you can find a variety of bone-chilling masks from zombies to skeletons. But what if people wore masks as a way of scaring others in real life, and not just for holiday fun?

This actually happened during a period in American history called Reconstruction. Reconstruction took place after the Civil War, from 1865 to 1877, and focused on rebuilding the South. During Reconstruction, the southern states were expected to reject slavery and obey the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution. However, many white people did not want to discontinue the practice of slavery and follow the new laws President Abraham Lincoln was putting into place. These attitudes led to the formation of white supremacy groups.

White Supremacy Groups

People belonging to white supremacy groups believe they are superior, or better, than people who are not white. During and after Reconstruction, white supremacists did not want black people to be able to vote. They did not want them to have the same freedom, opportunities, and resources as white people. This led to the establishment of black codes.

Black Codes

Just because black people were freed from slavery did not mean they were treated as equals. In the South, black codes were laws created between 1865 and 1866 that kept black people from having the same rights and opportunities as white people.

For example, black people could not serve on juries or as witnesses in criminal trials involving white people. They could be put in jail if they didn't have a job. Even after the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, which gave black men the right to vote, acts of bullying prevented them from doing so. Black people were afraid for their lives, which sometimes prevented them from pursuing their Constitutional rights.

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