KU KLUX KLAN , EXTREMISM , RACISM, INFAMY AND NOTORIETY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL, UK

July 7, 2011

THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL IS AN ALADDINS CAVE OF TRUE CRIME MEMORABILIA , MURDERABILIA , CELEBRITY SLEAZE AND SCANDAL , FREAKS OF NATURE , THE BIZARRE AND THE TABOO . IF EASILY OFFENDED , DISTURBED OR OF A SENSITIVE NATURE PLEASE DO AVOID VISITING THIS THOUGHT PROVOKING , POLITICALLY INCORRECT VISITOR ATTRACTION 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
“KKK” redirects here. For other uses, see KKK (disambiguation).
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Ku Klux Klan
Klan-in-gainesville.jpg
Ku Klux Klan rally, Gainesville, Florida, December 31, 1922.
In existence
1st Klan 1865–1870s
2nd Klan 1915–1944
3rd Klan1 since 1946
Members
1st Klan 550,000
2nd Klan between 3 and 6 million[1] (peaked in 1920–1925 period)
Properties
Origin United States of America
Political ideology White supremacy
White nationalism
Nativism
Christian terrorism[2] [3][4][5]
Political position Far-right
Religion Protestant Christianity
1The 3rd Klan is decentralized, with approx. 179 chapters.

Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as The Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right[6][7][8][9] organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacywhite nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism.[10][11] Since the mid-20th century, the KKK has also been anti-communist.[10] The current manifestation is splintered into several chapters and is classified as a hate group.[12]

The first Klan flourished in the South in the 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members adopted white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.[13] The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid 1920s, and adopted the same costumes and code words as the first Klan, while introducing cross burnings.[14] The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the civil rights movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to America’s “Anglo-Saxon” and “Celtic” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism and claiming descent from the original 18th-century British colonial revolutionaries.[15] All incarnations of the Klan have well-established records of engaging in terrorism, though historians debate how widely the tactic was supported by the membership of the second KKK.

Contents

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Three Klans

First KKK

The first Klan was founded in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, as a terrorist organization[11] by veterans of the Confederate Army.[16] They named it after the Greek word ‘kuklos”, which means circle. The name means “Circle of Brothers.”[17]

Although there was no organizational structure above the local level, similar groups arose across the South, adopting the name and methods.[citation needed] Klan groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement during the Reconstruction era in the United States. As a secret vigilante group, the Klan targeted freedmen and their allies; it sought to restore white supremacy by threats and violence, including murder, against black and white Republicans. In 1870 and 1871 the federal government passed the Force Acts, which were used to prosecute Klan crimes.[18] Prosecution of Klan crimes and enforcement of the Force Acts suppressed Klan activity. In 1874 and later, however, newly organized and openly active paramilitary organizations, such as the White League and the Red Shirts, started a fresh round of violence aimed at suppressing blacks’ voting and running Republicans out of office. These contributed to segregationist white Democrats regaining political power in all the Southern states by 1877.

Second KKK

In 1915, the second Klan was founded and remained a small organization in Georgia. Starting in 1921, it adopted a modern business system of recruiting (which paid most of the initiation fee and costume charges to the organizers) and grew rapidly nationwide at a time of prosperity. Reflecting the social tensions of urban industrialization and vastly increased immigration, its membership grew most rapidly in cities, and spread to the Midwest and West out of the South. The second KKK preached Americanism and purification of politics, with strong racismanti-Catholicismanti-Communism,nativism, and antisemitism. Some local groups took part in attacks on private houses, and carried out other violent activities. The violent episodes were generally in the South.[19]

The second Klan was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure. At its peak in the mid-1920s, the organization claimed to include about 15% of the nation’s eligible population, approximately 4–5 million men. Internal divisions, criminal behavior by leaders, and external opposition brought about a collapse in membership, which had dropped to about 30,000 by 1930. It finally faded away in the 1940s.[20]

Third KKK

The “Ku Klux Klan” name was used by many independent local groups opposing the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. During this period, they often forged alliances with Southern police departments, as in Birmingham, Alabama; or with governor’s offices, as with George Wallace of Alabama.[21] Several members of KKK groups were convicted of murder in the deaths of civil rights workers and children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Today, researchers estimate that there may be approximately 150 Klan chapters with upwards of 5,000 members nationwide.[22]

Today, a large majority of sources consider the Klan to be a “subversive or terrorist organization”.[22][23][24][25] In 1999, the city council of Charleston, South Carolina passed a resolution declaring the Klan to be a terrorist organization.[26] A similar effort was made in 2004 when a professor at the University of Louisville began a campaign to have the Klan declared a terrorist organization so it could be banned from campus.[27] In April 1997, FBI agents arrested four members of the True Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Dallas for conspiracy to commit robbery and to blow up a natural gas processing plant.[28]

First Klan 1865–1874

Creation and naming

A cartoon threatening that the KKK would lynchcarpetbaggers. From the Independent Monitor,Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1868.

Six well-educated Confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee, created the original Ku Klux Klan on December 24, 1865, during Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War.[29][30] The name was formed by combining the Greek kyklos (κυκλοςcircle) with clan.[31] The group was known for a short time as the “Kuklux Clan.” The Ku Klux Klan was one among a number of secret, oath-bound organizations using violence, including the Southern Cross in New Orleans (1865), and the Knights of the White Camelia (1867) in Louisiana.[32]

Historians generally see the KKK as part of the postwar insurgent violence related not only to the high number of veterans in the population, but also to their effort to control the dramatically changed social situation by using extrajudicial means to restore white supremacy. In 1866, Mississippi GovernorWilliam L. Sharkey reported that disorder, lack of control and lawlessness were widespread; in some states armed bands of Confederate soldiers roamed at will. The Klan used public violence against blacks as intimidation. They burned houses, and attacked and killed blacks, leaving their bodies on the roads.[33]

A political cartoon depicting the KKK and the Democratic Party as continuations of the Confederacy

In an 1867 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, Klan members gathered to try to create a hierarchical organization with local chapters eventually reporting up to a national headquarters. They elected Brian A. Scates to be the Leader and President of this organization. Since most of the Klan’s members were veterans, they were used to the hierarchical structure of the organization, but the Klan never operated under this centralized structure. Local chapters and bands were highly independent.

Former Confederate Brigadier General George Gordon developed the Prescript, or Klan dogma. The Prescript suggested elements of white supremacist belief. For instance, an applicant should be asked if he was in favor of “a white man’s government”, “the reenfranchisement and emancipation of the white men of the South, and the restitution of the Southern people to all their rights.”[34] The latter is a reference to the Ironclad Oath, which stripped the vote from white persons who refused to swear that they had not borne arms against the Union. Gordon was said to have told former slave trader and Confederate GeneralNathan Bedford Forrest about the Klan. Forrest allegedly responded, “That’s a good thing; that’s a damn good thing. We can use that to keep the niggers in their place.”[35] Forrest went on to become Grand Wizard, the Klan’s national leader.[16][36][37]

In an 1868 newspaper interview, Forrest stated that the Klan’s primary opposition was to the Loyal LeaguesRepublicanstate governments, people like Tennessee governor Brownlow and other carpetbaggers and scalawags. He argued that many southerners believed that blacks were voting for the Republican Party because they were being hoodwinked by the Loyal Leagues.[38] One Alabama newspaper editor declared “The League is nothing more than a nigger Ku Klux Klan.”[39]

Despite Gordon’s and Forrest’s work, local Klan units never accepted the Prescript and continued to operate autonomously. There were never hierarchical levels or state headquarters. Klan members used violence to settle old feuds and local grudges, as they worked to restore white dominance in the disrupted postwar society. The historian Elaine Frantz Parsons describes the membership:

Lifting the Klan mask revealed a chaotic multitude of antiblack vigilante groups, disgruntled poor white farmers, wartimeguerrilla bands, displaced Democratic politicians, illegal whiskey distillerscoercive moral reformers, sadistsrapists, white workmen fearful of black competition, employers trying to enforce labor discipline, common thieves, neighbors with decades-old grudges, and even a few freedmen and white Republicans who allied with Democratic whites or had criminal agendas of their own. Indeed, all they had in common, besides being overwhelmingly white, southern, and Democratic, was that they called themselves, or were called, Klansmen.[40]

Historian Eric Foner observed:

In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party’s infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.[41]

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

To that end they worked to curb the education, economic advancement, voting rights, and right to keep and bear arms of blacks.[41] The Ku Klux Klan soon spread into nearly every southern state, launching a “reign of terror against Republican leaders both black and white. Those political leaders assassinated during the campaign included Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds, three members of the South Carolina legislature, and several men who served in constitutional conventions.”[42]

Activities

Three Ku Klux Klan members arrested in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, September 1871, for the attempted murder of an entire family.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Klan members adopted masks and robes that hid their identities and added to the drama of their night rides, their chosen time for attacks. Many of them operated in small towns and rural areas where people otherwise knew each other’s faces, and sometimes still recognized the attackers. “The kind of thing that men are afraid or ashamed to do openly, and by day, they accomplish secretly, masked, and at night.” With this method both the high and the low could be attacked.[43] The Ku Klux Klan night riders “sometimes claimed to be ghosts of Confederate soldiers so, as they claimed, to frighten superstitious blacks. Few freedmen took such nonsense seriously.”[44]

The Klan attacked black members of the Loyal Leagues and intimidated southern Republicans and Freedmen’s Bureau workers. When they killed black political leaders, they also took heads of families, along with the leaders of churches and community groups, because people had many roles. Agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau reported weekly assaults and murders of blacks. “Armed guerrilla warfare killed thousands of Negroes; political riots were staged; their causes or occasions were always obscure, their results always certain: ten to one hundred times as many Negroes were killed as whites.” Masked men shot into houses and burned them, sometimes with the occupants still inside. They drove successful black farmers off their land. “Generally, it can be reported that in North and South Carolina, in 18 months ending in June 1867, there were 197 murders and 548 cases of aggravated assault.”[45]

Klan violence worked to suppress black voting. More than 2,000 persons were killed, wounded and otherwise injured in Louisiana within a few weeks prior to the Presidential election of November 1868. Although St. Landry Parish had a registered Republican majority of 1,071, after the murders, no Republicans voted in the fall elections. White Democrats cast the full vote of the parish for Grant’s opponent. The KKK killed and wounded more than 200 black Republicans, hunting and chasing them through the woods. Thirteen captives were taken from jail and shot; a half-buried pile of 25 bodies was found in the woods. The KKK made people vote Democratic and gave them certificates of the fact.[46]

In the April 1868 Georgia gubernatorial election, Columbia County cast 1,222 votes for Republican Rufus Bullock. By the November presidential election, however, Klan intimidation led to suppression of the Republican vote and only one person voted for Ulysses S. Grant.[47]

Klansmen killed more than 150 African Americans in a county in Florida, and hundreds more in other counties. Freedmen’s Bureau records provided a detailed recounting of Klansmen’s beatings and murders of freedmen and their white allies.[48]

Milder encounters also occurred. In Mississippi, according to the Congressional inquiry:[49]

One of these teachers (Miss Allen of Illinois), whose school was at Cotton Gin Port in Monroe County, was visited … between one and two o’clock in the morning on March 1871, by about fifty men mounted and disguised. Each man wore a long white robe and his face was covered by a loose mask with scarlet stripes. She was ordered to get up and dress which she did at once and then admitted to her room the captain and lieutenant who in addition to the usual disguise had long horns on their heads and a sort of device in front. The lieutenant had a pistolin his hand and he and the captain sat down while eight or ten men stood inside the door and the porch was full. They treated her “gentlemanly and quietly” but complained of the heavy school-tax, said she must stop teaching and go away and warned her that they never gave a second notice. She heeded the warning and left the county.

By 1868, two years after the Klan’s creation, its activity was beginning to decrease.[50] Members were hiding behind Klan masks and robes as a way to avoid prosecution for freelance violence. Many influential southern Democrats feared that Klan lawlessness provided an excuse for the federal government to retain its power over the South, and they began to turn against it.[51] There were outlandish claims made, such as Georgian B. H. Hill stating “that some of these outrages were actually perpetrated by the political friends of the parties slain.”[50]

Resistance

Union Army veterans in mountainous Blount County, Alabama, organized “the anti-Ku Klux”. They put an end to violence by threatening Klansmen with reprisals unless they stopped whipping Unionists and burning black churches and schools. Armed blacks formed their own defense in Bennettsville, South Carolina and patrolled the streets to protect their homes.[52]

National sentiment gathered to crack down on the Klan, even though some Democrats at the national level questioned whether the Klan really existed or believed that it was just a creation of nervous Southern Republican governors.[53] Many southern states began to pass anti-Klan legislation.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

In January 1871, Pennsylvania Republican Senator John Scott convened a Congressional committee which took testimony from 52 witnesses about Klan atrocities. They accumulated 12 volumes of horrifying testimony. In February, former Union General and Congressman Benjamin Franklin Butler ofMassachusetts introduced the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (Ku Klux Klan Act). This added to the enmity that southern white Democrats bore toward him.[54]While the bill was being considered, further violence in the South swung support for its passage. The Governor of South Carolina appealed for federal troops to assist his efforts in keeping control of the state. A riot and massacre in a Meridian, Mississippi, courthouse were reported, from which a black state representative escaped only by taking to the woods.[55] The 1871 Civil Rights Act allowed President Ulysses S. Grant to suspend Habeas Corpus.[56]

In 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant signed Butler’s legislation. The Ku Klux Klan Act was used by the Federal government together with the 1870 Force Act, another act that President Grant signed, to enforce the civil rights provisions for individuals under the constitution. Under the 1871 Klan Act, after the Klan refused to voluntarily dissolve, President Grant issued a suspension of Habeas Corpus, and sent Federal troops into 9 South Carolina counties. The Klansmen were arrested and prosecuted in Federal court. More African Americans served on juries in Federal court than were selected for local or state juries, so they had a chance to participate in the process.[56][57] In the crackdown, hundreds of Klan members were fined or imprisoned.

The Klan declines and is superseded by other groups

Although Forrest boasted that the Klan was a nationwide organization of 550,000 men and that he could muster 40,000 Klansmen within five days’ notice, as a secret or “invisible” group, it had no membership rosters, no chapters, and no local officers. It was difficult for observers to judge its actual membership. It had created a sensation by the dramatic nature of its masked forays and because of its many murders.

In 1870 a federal grand jury determined that the Klan was a “terrorist organization”.[58] It issued hundreds of indictments for crimes of violence and terrorism. Klan members were prosecuted, and many fled from areas that were under federal government jurisdiction, particularly in South Carolina.[59] Many people not formally inducted into the Klan had used the Klan’s costume for anonymity, to hide their identities when carrying out acts of violence. Forrest ordered the Klan to disband in 1869, stating that it was “being perverted from its original honorable and patriotic purposes, becoming injurious instead of subservient to the public peace”.[60] HistorianStanley Horn writes “generally speaking, the Klan’s end was more in the form of spotty, slow, and gradual disintegration than a formal and decisive disbandment”.[61]A reporter in Georgia wrote in January 1870, “A true statement of the case is not that the Ku Klux are an organized band of licensed criminals, but that men who commit crimes call themselves Ku Klux”.[62]

Gov. William Holden of North Carolina.

While people used the Klan as a mask for nonpolitical crimes, state and local governments seldom acted against them. African Americans were kept off juries. In lynching cases, all-white juries almost never indicted Ku Klux Klan members. When there was a rare indictment, juries were unlikely to vote for a conviction. In part, jury members feared reprisals from local Klansmen.

Others may have agreed with lynching as a way of keeping dominance over black men. In many states, officials were reluctant to use black militia against the Klan out of fear that racial tensions would be raised.[57] When Republican Governor of North Carolina William Woods Holden called out the militia against the Klan in 1870, it added to his unpopularity. Combined with violence and fraud at the polls, the Republicans lost their majority in the state legislature. Disaffection with Holden’s actions led to white Democratic legislators’ impeaching Holden and removing him from office, but their reasons were numerous.[63]

The Klan was destroyed in South Carolina[64] and decimated throughout the rest of the South, where it had already been in decline. Attorney General Amos Tappan Ackerman led the prosecutions.[65]

In some areas, other local paramilitary organizations such as the White LeagueRed Shirts, saber clubs, and rifle clubs continued to intimidate and murder black voters.[66]

In 1874, organized white paramilitary groups formed in the Deep South to replace the faltering Klan: the White League in Louisiana and the Red Shirts in Mississippi,North and South Carolina. They campaigned openly to turn Republicans out of office, intimidated and killed black voters, tried to disrupt organizing and suppress black voting. They were out in force during the campaigns and elections of 1874 and 1876, contributing to the conservative Democrats regaining power in 1876, against a background of electoral violence.

Shortly after, in United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the Supreme Court ruled that the Force Act of 1870 did not give the Federal government power to regulate private actions, but only those by state governments. The result was that as the century went on, African Americans were at the mercy of hostile state governments that refused to intervene against private violence and paramilitary groups.

Whereas the number of indictments across the South was large, the number of cases leading to prosecution and sentencing was relatively small. The overloaded federal courts were not able to meet the demands of trying such a tremendous number of cases, a situation that led to selective pardoning. By late 1873 and 1874, most of the charges against Klansmen were dropped although new cases continued to be prosecuted for several more years. Most of those sentenced had either served their terms or been pardoned by 1875. The Supreme Court of the United States eviscerated the Ku Klux Act in 1876 by ruling that the federal government could no longer prosecute individuals although states would be forced to comply with federal civil rights provisions. Republicans passed a second civil rights act (the Civil Rights Act of 1875) to grant equal access to public facilities and other housing accommodations regardless of race. Ironically, the Klan during this period served to further Northern reconstruction efforts, as Ku Klux violence provided the political climate needed to pass civil rights protections for blacks. Although the Ku Klux Act of 1871 dismantled the first Klan, Southern whites formed other, similar groups that kept blacks away from the polls through intimidation and physical violence. Reconstruction ended with the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes, who suspended the federal military occupation of the South; yet blacks still found themselves without the basic civil liberties that Congressional Republicans had sought to secure.[67]

In 1882, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Harris that the Klan Act was partially unconstitutional. It ruled that Congress’s power under the Fourteenth Amendment did not extend to the right to regulate against private conspiracies.[68]

Klan costumes, also called “regalia“, disappeared by the early 1870s (Wade 1987, p. 109). The fact that the Klan did not exist for decades was shown when Simmons’s 1915 recreation of the Klan attracted only two aging “former Reconstruction Klansmen.” All other members were new.[69] By 1872, the Klan was broken as an organization.[70] Nonetheless, the goals that the Klan had failed to achieve itself, such as suppressing suffrage for Southern blacks and driving a wedge between poor whites and blacks, were largely accomplished by the 1890s by militant Southern whites. Lynchings of African Americans, far from being ended by the Klan’s disintegration, instead peaked in 1892 with 161 deaths.[71]

The second Klan: 1915–1944

Refounding in 1915

Movie poster for The Birth of a Nation. It has been widely noted for reviving the Ku Klux Klan.

An illustration from The Clansman: “Take dat f’um yo equal—”

President Woodrow Wilson

The lynching of Leo FrankAugust 17, 1915 in Marietta, Georgia

William J. Simmons founded the second Ku Klux Klan in 1915

Branford Clarke illustration in The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy by Bishop Alma Whitepublished by the Pillar of Fire Church in 1925 at Zarephath, NJ

“The End” Referring to the end of Catholic influence in the US. Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty 1926

Photograph on Page 4, February 1923 edition of The Good Citizen

Three events in 1915 acted as catalysts to the revival of the Klan:

  • The film The Birth of a Nation was released, mythologizing and glorifying the first Klan.
  • Leo Frank was lynched near Atlanta after the Georgia governor commuted his death sentence to life in prison. Frank had been convicted in 1913 and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young white factory worker named Mary Phagan, in a trial marked by intimidation of the jury and media frenzy. His legal appeals had been exhausted.
  • The second Ku Klux Klan was founded by William J. Simmons at Stone Mountain, outside Atlanta. It added to the original anti-black ideology with a new anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, prohibitionist and antisemitic agenda. Most of the founders were from an Atlanta-area organization calling itself the Knights of Mary Phagan, which had organized around Leo Frank’s trial. The new organization emulated the fictionalized version of the Klan presented in The Birth of a Nation.

The Birth of a Nation

Director D. W. Griffith‘s The Birth of a Nation glorified the original Klan. His film was based on the book and play The Clansman and the book The Leopard’s Spots, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr.. Dixon said his purpose was “to revolutionize northern sentiment by a presentation of history that would transform every man in my audience into a good Democrat!” The film created a nationwide Klan craze. At the official premier in Atlanta, members of the Klan rode up and down the street in front of the theater.[72]

Much of the modern Klan’s iconography, including the standardized white costume and the lighted cross, are derived from the film. Its imagery was based on Dixon’s romanticized concept of old England and Scotland, as portrayed in the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott. The film’s influence and popularity were enhanced by a widely reported endorsement by historian and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

The Birth of a Nation included extensive quotations from Woodrow Wilson’s History of the American People, as if to give it a stronger basis. After seeing the film in a special White House screening, Wilson allegedly said, “It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.”[73] Given Wilson’s views on race and the Klan, his statement was taken as supportive of the film. In later correspondence with Griffith, Wilson confirmed his enthusiasm. Wilson’s remarks immediately became controversial. Wilson tried to remain aloof, but finally, on April 30, he issued a non-denial denial.[74] The historian Arthur Linkquoted comments by Wilson’s aide, Joseph Tumulty: “the President was entirely unaware of the nature of the play before it was presented and at no time has expressed his approbation of it.”[75]

Leo Frank

Another event that influenced the Klan was sensational coverage in 1913 of the trial, conviction and sentencing of a Jewish factory manager from Atlanta named Leo Frank. In lurid newspaper accounts, Frank was accused of the rape and murder of Mary Phagan, a girl employed at his factory.

After a trial in Georgia in which a mob daily surrounded the courtroom, Frank was convicted. Because of the presence of the armed mob, the judge asked Frank and his counsel to stay away when the verdict was announced. Frank’s legal appeals of his trial failed, despite the revelation of new evidence casting doubt on his guilt. US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes dissented from other justices in their upholding of his conviction and condemned the mob’s intimidation of the jury as the court’s failing to provide due process to the defendant. After the governor commuted Frank’s sentence to life imprisonment in 1915, a mob calling itself the Knights of Mary Phagan kidnapped Frank from prison and lynched him.

The Frank trial was used skillfully by Georgia politician and publisher Thomas E. Watson, the editor for The Jeffersonian magazine. He was a leader in recreating the Klan and was later elected to the U.S. Senate. The new Klan was inaugurated in 1915 at a meeting led by William J. Simmons on top of Stone Mountain. A few aging members of the original Klan attended, along with members of the self-named Knights of Mary Phagan.

Simmons stated that he had been inspired by the original Klan’s Prescripts, written in 1867 by Confederate veteran George Gordon in an attempt to create a national organization. These were never adopted by the Klan, however.[76] The Prescript stated the Klan’s purposes in idealistic terms, hiding the fact that its members committed acts of vigilante violence and murder from behind masks.

Social factors

The second Klan arose during the nadir of American race relations, in response to urbanization and industrialization. Massive immigration from the largely Catholic countries of eastern and southern Europe led to friction with America’s longer-established Protestant citizens. The Great Migration of African Americans to the North stoked racism by whites in Northern industrial cities; thus the second Klan would achieve its greatest political power not in any Southern state, but in Indiana. The migration of African Americans and whites from rural areas to Southern cities further increased tensions. The Klan grew most rapidly in urbanizing cities which had high growth rates between 1910 and 1930, such as DetroitMemphisDaytonAtlantaDallas, and Houston. In Michigan, more than half of the members lived in Detroit and were concerned about urban issues: limited housing, rapid social change, competition for jobs.[77] Stanley Horn, a Southern historian sympathetic to the first Klan, was careful in an oral interview to distinguish it from the later “spurious Ku Klux organization which was in ill-repute—and, of course, had no connection whatsoever with the Klan of Reconstruction days”.[78]

In an era without Social Security or widely available life insurance, it was common for men to join fraternal organizationssuch as the Elks or the Woodmen of the World to provide for their families in case they died or were unable to work. The founder of the new Klan, William J. Simmons, was a member of twelve different fraternal organizations. He recruited for the Klan with his chest covered with fraternal badges, and consciously modeled the Klan after those organizations.[79]

Klan organizers, called “Kleagles“, signed up hundreds of new members, who paid initiation fees and bought KKK costumes. The organizer kept half the money and sent the rest to state or national officials. When the organizer was done with an area, he organized a huge rally, often with burning crosses and perhaps presented a Bible to a local Protestant minister. He then left town with the money. The local units operated like many fraternal organizations and occasionally brought in speakers.

The Klan’s growth was also affected by mobilization for World War I and postwar tensions, especially in the cities where strangers came up against each other more often. Southern whites resented the arming of black soldiers. Black veterans did not want to go back to second-class status in the United States. Some were lynched, still in uniform, upon returning from overseas service.[80]

Activities

In reaction to social changes, the Klan adopted anti-Jewishanti-Catholicanti-Communist and anti-immigrant slants.

Although Klan members were concentrated in the South, Midwest and west, there were some members in New England, too. Klan members torched anAfrican American school in Scituate, Rhode Island.[81]

Temperance

Lender et al. state that the Klan’s resurgence in the 1920s was aided by the temperance movement. In Arkansas and elsewhere, the Klan opposed bootleggers, and in 1922, two hundred Klan members set fire to saloons in Union County. The national Klan office was finally established in DallasTexas, butLittle Rock, Arkansas was the home of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan. The first head of this auxiliary was a former president of the Arkansas WCTU.[82][verification needed] One historian contends that the KKK’s “support for Prohibition represented the single most important bond between Klansmen throughout the nation”.[83] Membership in the Klan and other prohibition groups overlapped, and they often coordinated activities. For example, Edward Young Clarke, a top leader of the Klan, raised funds for both the Klan and the Anti-Saloon League.[84] Clarke was indicted in 1923 for violations of the Mann Act.[85]

Labor and anti-unionism

The social unrest of the postwar period included labor strikes in response to low wages and poor working conditions in many industrial cities, often led by immigrants, who also organized unions. Klan members worried about labor organizers’ effect on their jobs, as well as the socialist leanings of some of the immigrants, which only added to the tensions. They also resented upwardly mobile ethnic Catholics.[86] At the same time, in cities Klan members were themselves working in industrial environments and often struggled with working conditions.

In southern cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, Klan members kept control of access to the better-paying industrial jobs but opposed unions. During the 1930s and 1940s, Klan leaders urged members to disrupt the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which advocated industrial unions and was open to African-American members. With access to dynamite and skills from their jobs in mining and steel, in the late 1940s some Klan members in Birmingham began using bombings to intimidate upwardly mobile blacks who moved into middle-class neighborhoods. “By mid-1949, there were so many charred house carcasses that the area [College Hills] was informally named Dynamite Hill.”[87] Independent Klan groups remained active in Birmingham and were deeply engaged in violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.[87]

Urbanization

Stone Mountain, site of the founding of the second Klan in 1915

A significant characteristic of the second Klan was that it was an organization based in urban areas, reflecting the major shifts of population to cities in both the North and the South. In Michigan, for instance, 40,000 members lived in Detroit, where they made up more than half of the state’s membership. Most Klansmen were lower- to middle-class whites who were trying to protect their jobs and housing from the waves of newcomers to the industrial cities: immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, who tended to be Catholic and Jewish in numbers higher than earlier groups of immigrants; and black and white migrants from the South. As new populations poured into cities, rapidly changing neighborhoods created social tensions. Because of the rapid pace of population growth in industrializing cities such as Detroit and Chicago, the Klan grew rapidly in the U.S. Midwest. The Klan also grew in booming Southern cities such as Dallas and Houston.[88]

In the medium-size industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts in the 1920s, the Klan ascended to power quickly but diminished as a result of opposition from the Catholic Church. There was no violence and the local newspaper ridiculed Klansmen as “night-shirt knights”. Half of the members were Swedish American, including some first-generation immigrants. The ethnic and religious conflicts between Worcester residents is discussed. Swedish Protestants fought against Irish Catholics for political and ideological control of the city.[89]

For some states, historians have obtained membership rosters of some local units and matched the names against city directory and local records to create statistical profiles of the membership. Big city newspapers were often hostile and ridiculed Klansmen as ignorant farmers. Detailed analysis from Indianashowed the rural stereotype was false for that state:

Indiana’s Klansmen represented a wide cross section of society: they were not disproportionately urban or rural, nor were they significantly more or less likely than other members of society to be from the working class, middle class, or professional ranks. Klansmen were Protestants, of course, but they cannot be described exclusively or even predominantly as fundamentalists. In reality, their religious affiliations mirrored the whole of white Protestant society, including those who did not belong to any church.[90]

The Klan attracted people but most of them did not remain in the organization for long. Membership in the Klan turned over rapidly as people found out that it was not the group they wanted. Millions joined, and at its peak in the 1920s, the organization included about 15% of the nation’s eligible population. The lessening of social tensions contributed to the Klan’s decline.

The burning cross

Cross burning is said to have been introduced by William J. Simmons, the founder of the second Klan in 1915.

The second Klan adopted a burning Latin cross as its symbol. No such crosses had been used by the first Klan, but the burning cross became a symbol of intimidation by the second Klan.[91] The burning of the cross was also used during the second Klan as a symbol of Christian fellowship, and its lighting during meetings was steeped in Christian prayer, the singing of hymns, and other overtly religious symbolism.[14]

The practice of cross burning had been loosely based on ancient Scottish clans’ burning a St. Andrew’s cross (an X-shaped cross) as a beacon to muster forces for war. In The Clansman (see above), Dixon had falsely claimed that the first Klan had used fiery crosses when rallying to fight against Reconstruction. Griffith brought this image to the screen in The Birth of a Nation; he mistakenly portrayed the burning cross as an upright Latin cross rather than the St. Andrew’s cross. Simmons adopted the symbol wholesale from the movie, prominently displaying it at the 1915 Stone Mountain meeting. The symbol has been associated with the Klan ever since.[92]

Education

In an attempt to gain a foothold in education, the Klan in 1921 bought Lanier University, a struggling Baptist university in Atlanta. Nathan Bedford Forrest, grandson of the confederate general by the same name, was appointed business manager, and the school would teach “pure, 100 percent Americanism”.[93]Enrollment was dismal and the school closed after its first year of Klan ownership. Ironically the complex would later be used as a synagogue.

Political influence

Sheet music to “We Are All Loyal Klansmen”, 1923

The Good Citizen July 1926 Published byPillar of Fire Church

The Klan had major political influence in several states, and it was influential mostly in the center of the country. The Klan spread from the South into the Midwest and Northern states. It also arose in Canada, where there was a large movement against Catholic immigrants.[94] At its peak, Klan membership exceeded four million and comprised 20% of the adult white male population in many broad geographic regions, and 40% in some areas.[citation needed] Most of the Klan’s membership resided in Midwestern states.

In another well-known example from 1924, the Klan decided to turn Anaheim, California, into a model Klan city. It secretly took over the City Council. When the members’ affiliation became known, the city conducted a special recall election, and citizens voted out the Klan members.[95]

The Klan issue played a significant role at the bitterly divisive 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York City. The leading candidates were Protestant William Gibbs McAdoo, with a base in areas where the Klan was strong, and Catholic New York Governor Al Smith, with a base in the large cities. After weeks of stalemate, both candidates withdrew in favor of a compromise. Anti-Klan delegates proposed a resolution indirectly attacking the Klan; it was narrowly defeated.[96][97]

In some states, such as Alabama, members of the KKK worked for political and social reform. The state’s Klansmen were among the foremost advocates of better public schools, effective prohibition enforcement, expanded road construction, and other political measures which benefited lower-class white people. By 1925, the Klan was a political force in the state, as leaders such as J. Thomas HeflinDavid Bibb Graves, and Hugo Black manipulated the KKK membership to try to build political power against the Black Belt planters, who had long dominated the state.[98] Black was elected US senator in 1926; President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Black to the Supreme Court not knowing he had been active in the Klan in the 1920s. In 1926, with Klan support, Bibb Graves won the Alabama governor’s office. He was a former Klan chapter head. He pushed for increased education funding, better public health, new highway construction, and pro-labor legislation. Because the Alabama state legislature refused to redistrict until 1972, however, even the Klan was unable to break the planters’ and rural areas’ hold on legislative power.

Its predecessor had been an exclusively partisan Democratic organization in the South. The second Klan grew in the Midwest, where for a time, its members were courted by both Republicans and Democrats. The KKK state organizations endorsed candidates from either party that supported its goals; Prohibition in particular helped the Klan and some Republicans to make common cause in the Midwest. In the South, however, the southern Klan remained Democratic, closely allied with Democratic police, sheriffs, and other functionaries of local government. With continuing disfranchisement of most African Americans and many poor whites, the only political activity took place within the Democratic Party.

Resistance and decline

The Ku Klux Klan rose to prominence in Indiana politics and society after World War I. It was made up of native-born, white Protestants of many income and social levels. Nationally, in the 1920s, Indiana had the most powerful Ku Klux Klan. Though it counted a high number of members statewide, (over 30% of its white male citizens[99]) its importance peaked with the 1924 election of Edward Jackson for governor. A short time later, the scandal surrounding the murder trial of D.C. Stephenson destroyed the image of the Ku Klux Klan as upholders of law and order. By 1926 the Ku Klux Klan was “crippled and discredited.” [100]

D. C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of the Indiana Klan. His conviction for murdering a young white schoolteacher in 1925 devastated the Indiana Klan.

D. C. Stephenson was the Grand Dragon of Indiana and 22 northern states. He led the states under his control to separate from the national KKK organization in 1923. In his 1925 trial, he was convicted for second degree murder for his part in the rape and subsequent death [101] of Madge Oberholtzer. After Stephenson’s conviction in a sensational trial, the Klan declined dramatically in Indiana. Historian Leonard Moore concluded that a failure in leadership caused the Klan’s collapse:

Stephenson and the other salesmen and office seekers who maneuvered for control of Indiana’s Invisible Empire lacked both the ability and the desire to use the political system to carry out the Klan’s stated goals. They were uninterested in, or perhaps even unaware of, grass roots concerns within the movement. For them, the Klan had been nothing more than a means for gaining wealth and power. These marginal men had risen to the top of the hooded order because, until it became a political force, the Klan had never required strong, dedicated leadership. More established and experienced politicians who endorsed the Klan, or who pursued some of the interests of their Klan constituents, also accomplished little. Factionalism created one barrier, but many politicians had supported the Klan simply out of expedience. When charges of crime and corruption began to taint the movement, those concerned about their political futures had even less reason to work on the Klan’s behalf.:[102]

Many groups and leaders, including prominent Protestant ministers such as Reinhold Niebuhr in Detroit, spoke out against the Klan. In response to blunt attacks against Jewish Americans and the Klan’s campaign to outlaw private schools, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League was formed after the lynching of Leo Frank. When one civic group began to publish Klan membership lists, the number of members quickly declined. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoplecarried on public education campaigns in order to inform people about Klan activities and lobbied against Klan abuses in Congress. After its peak in 1925, Klan membership in most areas of the Midwest began to decline rapidly.[88]

In Alabama, KKK vigilantes, thinking that they had governmental protection, launched a wave of physical terror in 1927. They targeted both blacks and whites for violation of racial norms and for perceived moral lapses.[103] This led however to a large backlash beginning in the media. Grover C. Hall, Sr., editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, began publishing a series of editorials and articles that attacked the Klan for its “racial and religious intolerance”. Hall won a Pulitzer Prize for his crusade.[104] Other newspapers kept up a steady, loud attack on the Klan, referring to the organization as violent and “un-American”. Sheriffs cracked down. In the 1928 presidential election, the state voted for the Democratic candidate Al Smith, although he was Catholic.

Klan membership in Alabama dropped to less than 6,000 by 1930. Small independent units continued to be active in Birmingham, where in the late 1940s, members launched a reign of terror by bombing the homes of upwardly mobile African Americans. Activism by such independent KKK groups increased as a reaction against the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Imperial Wizard Hiram Wesley Evans sold the organization in 1939 to James Colescott, an Indiana veterinarian, and Samuel Green, an Atlanta obstetrician. They were unable to staunch the declining membership. In 1944, the IRS filed a lien for $685,000 in back taxes against the Klan, and Colescott was forced to dissolve the organization in 1944. Local Klan groups closed over the following years.[105]

Ku Klux Klan members march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. in 1928

Due in part to the Klan terror directed at them, five million blacks left the South for northern, midwestern and western cities from 1940 to 1970.

After World War II, folklorist and author Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the Klan and provided information to media and law enforcement agencies. He also provided secret code words to the writers of the Superman radio program, resulting in episodes in which Superman took on the KKK. Kennedy’s intention to strip away the Klan’s mystique and trivialize the Klan’s rituals and code words may have contributed to the decline in Klan recruiting and membership.[106] In the 1950s, Kennedy wrote a bestselling book about his experiences, which further damaged the Klan.[107]

The following table shows the change in the Klan’s estimated membership over time.[108] (The years given in the table represent approximate time periods.)

Year Membership
1920 4,000,000[109]
1924 6,000,000
1930 30,000
1980 5,000
2008 6,000

Later Klans, 1950 through 1960s

Soviet propaganda poster (Freedom, American style, 1950, by Nikolay Dolgorukov and Boris Efimov), showing the KKK’s lynchings of blacks.

The name “Ku Klux Klan” began to be used by several independent groups. Beginning in the 1950s, for instance, individual Klan groups in Birmingham, Alabama began to resist social change and blacks’ improving their lives by bombing houses in transitional neighborhoods. There were so many bombings in Birmingham of blacks’ homes by Klan groups in the 1950s that the city’s nickname was “Bombingham”.[21]

During the tenure of Bull Connor as police commissioner in the city, Klan groups were closely allied with the police and operated with impunity. When the Freedom Riders arrived in Birmingham, Connor gave Klan members fifteen minutes to attack the riders before sending in the police to quell the attack.[21] When local and state authorities failed to protect the Freedom Riders and activists, the federal government established effective intervention.

In states such as Alabama and Mississippi, Klan members forged alliances with governors’ administrations.[21] In Birmingham and elsewhere, the KKK groups bombed the houses of civil rights activists. In some cases they used physical violence, intimidation and assassination directly against individuals. Many murders went unreported and were not prosecuted by local and state authorities. Continuing disfranchisement of blacks across the South meant that most could not serve on juries, which were all white.

According to a report from the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, the homes of 40 black Southern families were bombed during 1951 and 1952. Some of the bombing victims were social activists whose work exposed them to danger, but most were either people who refused to bow to racist convention or were innocent bystanders, unsuspecting victims of random violence.[110]

Among the more notorious murders by Klan members:

There was also resistance to the Klan. In 1953, newspaper publisher W. Horace Carter received a Pulitzer prize for reporting on the activities of the Klan. In a 1958 North Carolina incident, the Klan burned crosses at the homes of two Lumbee Native Americans who had associated with white people, and they threatened to return with more men. When the KKK held a nighttime rally nearby, they were quickly surrounded by hundreds of armed Lumbees. Gunfire was exchanged, and the Klan was routed at what became known as the Battle of Hayes Pond.[115]

While the FBI had paid informants in the Klan, for instance in Birmingham in the early 1960s, its relations with local law enforcement agencies and the Klan were often ambiguous. The head of the FBIJ. Edgar Hoover, appeared more concerned about Communist links to civil rights activists than about controlling Klan excesses against citizens. In 1964, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program began attempts to infiltrate and disrupt civil rights groups.[21]

As 20th-century Supreme Court rulings extended federal enforcement of citizens’ civil rights, the government revived the Force Act and Klan Act from Reconstruction days. Federal prosecutors used these laws as the basis for investigations and indictments in the 1964 murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner;[116] and the 1965 murder of Viola Liuzzo.[117] They were also the basis for prosecution in 1991 in Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic.

Contemporary Klan: 1970s–present

Violence at a Klan march inMobile, Alabama, 1977

Once African Americans secured federal legislation to protect civil and voting rights, the KKK shifted its focus to opposing court-ordered busing to desegregate schools,affirmative action and more open immigration. In 1971, KKK members used bombs to destroy 10 school buses in Pontiac, Michigan.

Altercation with Communist Workers Party

Main article: Greensboro massacre

On November 3, 1979, five protesters were killed by KKK and American Nazi Party members in the Greensboro massacre in Greensboro, North Carolina.[118] This incident was the culmination of attempts by the Communist Workers Party to organize industrial workers, predominantly black, in the area.[119]

Jerry Thompson infiltration

Jerry Thompson, a newspaper reporter who infiltrated the KKK in 1979, reported that the FBI’s COINTELPRO efforts were highly successful. Rival KKK factions accused each other’s leaders of being FBI informantsBill Wilkinson of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was revealed to have been working for the FBI.[120]

Thompson, the journalist who claimed he had infiltrated the Klan, related that KKK leaders who appeared indifferent to the threat of arrest showed great concern about a series of civil lawsuits filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center for damages of millions of dollars. These were filed after KKK members shot into a group of African Americans. Klansmen curtailed activities to conserve money for defense against the lawsuits. The KKK also used lawsuits as tools; they filed a libel suit to prevent publication of a paperback edition of Thompson’s book.

Tennessee shooting

In 1980, three KKK members shot four elderly black women (Viola Ellison, Lela Evans, Opal Jackson and Katherine Johnson) in ChattanoogaTennessee, following a KKK initiation rally. A fifth woman, Fannie Crumsey, was injured by flying glass in the incident. Attempted murder charges were filed against the three KKK members, two of whom—Bill Church and Larry Payne—were acquitted by an all-white jury, and the other of whom—Marshall Thrash—was sentenced by the same jury to nine months on lesser charges. He was released after three months.[121][122][123] In 1982, a jury awarded the five women $535,000 in a civil rights trial.[124]

Michael Donald lynching

After Michael Donald was lynched in 1981 in Alabama, the FBI investigated his death and two local KKK members were convicted of having a role, including Henry Francis Hays, who was sentenced to death. With the support of attorneys Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Donald’s mother, Beulah Mae Donald, sued the KKK in civil court in Alabama. Her lawsuit against the United Klans of America was tried in February 1987. The all-white jury found the Klan responsible for the lynching of Donald and ordered the Klan to pay US$7 million. To pay the judgment, the KKK turned over all of its assets, including its national headquarters building in Tuscaloosa.[125] After exhausting the appeals process, Hays was executed for Donald’s death in Alabama on June 6, 1997. It was the first time since 1913 that a white man had been executed in Alabama for a crime against an African American.[126]

Neo-Nazi alliances and Stormfront

Main article: Stormfront (website)

In 1995, Don Black and Chloê Hardin, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke‘s ex-wife, began a small bulletin board system (BBS) called Stormfront. Today, Stormfront has become a prominent online forum for white nationalismNeo-Nazismhate speechracism, and antisemitism.[127][128][129] Duke has an account on Stormfront which he uses to post articles from his own website, as well as polling forum members for opinions and questions, in particular during his internet broadcasts. Duke has worked with Don Black on numerous projects including Operation Red Dog in 1980.[130][131]

Modern statistics

The modern KKK is not one organization; rather it is composed of small independent chapters across the US.[132] The formation of independent chapters has made KKK groups more difficult to infiltrate, and researchers find it hard to estimate their numbers. Estimates are that about two-thirds of KKK members are concentrated in the Southern United States, with another third situated primarily in the lower Midwest.[133][134][135] KKK members have stepped up recruitment in recent years, but the organization grows slowly, with membership estimated at 5,000–8,000 across 179 chapters. These recent membership campaigns have been based on issues such as people’s anxieties about illegal immigration, urban crime and same-sex marriage.[136] Many KKK groups have formed strong alliances with other white supremacist groups, such as neo-Nazis. Some KKK groups have become increasingly “Nazified”, adopting the look and emblems of white power skinheads.[137]

On November 14, 2008, an all-white jury of seven men and seven women awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Jordan Gruver, represented by theSouthern Poverty Law Center against the Imperial Klans of America.[138] The ruling found that five IKA members had savagely beaten Gruver, then 16 years old, at a Kentucky county fair in July 2006.[139]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has provided legal support to various factions of the KKK in defense of their First Amendment rights to hold public rallies, parades, and marches, as well as their right to field political candidates.[140]

Current Klan splinter divisions have grown substantially since the 2008 election of U.S. President Barack Obama, the first African-American to hold the office;[141][142] the Klan has expanded its recruitment efforts to white supremacists at the international level.[143] Current membership estimates by the ADL hold at a national estimate of five thousand.[135]

Ex-Grand Wizard David Duke has claimed that thousands of Tea Party movement activists have urged him to run for president in 2012 [144] and he is seriously considering entering the Republican Party primaries.[145] Duke has also released a video detailing his platform.[146] In the video, he pledges that as president he would stop all immigration to the US, including legal immigration, and says that he “will not let Israel or any nation dictate our foreign policy.”[147] He has also claimed that he would be “willing to risk life and limb, endure the barbs of the media” to mount “the most honest campaign for president since the time of our Founding Fathers.” [148] However, Duke is legally disqualified from running for public office as part of his 2002 guilty plea for tax evasion.[149]

Current Klan organizations

A list is maintained by the ADL:[150]

Vocabulary

Membership in the Klan is secret. Like many fraternal organizations, the Klan has signs which members can use to recognize one another. A member may use the acronym AYAK (Are you a Klansman?) in conversation to surreptitiously identify himself to another potential member. The response AKIA (A Klansman I am) completes the greeting.[154]

Throughout its varied history, the Klan has coined many words[155] beginning with “KL” including:

  • Klabee: treasurers
  • Klavern: local organization
  • Imperial Kleagle: recruiter
  • Klecktoken: initiation fee
  • Kligrapp: secretary
  • Klonvocation: gathering
  • Kloran: ritual book
  • Kloreroe: delegate
  • Imperial Kludd: chaplain

All of the above terminology was created by William Simmons, as part of his 1915 revival of the Klan.[156] The Reconstruction-era Klan used different titles; the only titles to carry over were ” Wizard ” for the overall leader of the Klan, “Night Hawk ” for the official in charge of security, and a few others, mostly for regional officers of the organization.[citation needed]

The Imperial Kludd was the chaplain of the Imperial Klonvokation and he performed “such other duties as may be required by the Imperial Wizard.” The Imperial Kaliff was the second highest position after the Imperial Wizard.[157]

 

 

 

 

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BRITISH POLICE

June 29, 2011

BELOW ARE A FEW SLIDESHOW  IMAGES OF VARIOUS BRITISH POLICE MEMORABILIA ITEMS ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL. PROVIDING A VERY  BRIEF  INSIGHT INTO A SMALL PART OF  THE MANY DIVERSE  CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTIONS ON DISPLAY THERE 

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BRITISH POLICE

The word “Police” means, generally, the arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure that the inhabitants keep the peace and obey the law. The word also denotes the force of peace officers (or police) employed for this purpose.

In 1829 Sir Richard Mayne wrote:
“The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquillity, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether those efforts have been successful and whether the objects for which the police were appointed have been attained.”

Police officerIn attaining these objects, much depends on the approval and co-operation of the public, and these have always been determined by the degree of esteem and respect in which the police are held. One of the key principles of modern policing in Britain is that the police seek to work with the community and as part of the community.

Origins of policing

The origin of the British police lies in early tribal history and is based on customs for securing order through the medium of appointed representatives. In effect, the people were the police. The Saxons brought this system to England and improved and developed the organisation. This entailed the division of the people into groups of ten, called “tythings”, with a tything-man as representative of each; and into larger groups, each of ten tythings, under a “hundred-man” who was responsible to the Shire-reeve, or Sheriff, of the County.

The tything-man system, after contact with Norman feudalism, changed considerably but was not wholly destroyed. In time the tything-man became the parish constable and the Shire-reeve the Justice of the Peace, to whom the parish constable was responsible. This system, which became widely established in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, comprised, generally, one unarmed able-bodied citizen in each parish, who was appointed or elected annually to serve for a year unpaid, as parish constable. He worked in co-operation with the local Justices in securing observance of laws and maintaining order. In addition, in the towns, responsibility for the maintenance of order was conferred on the guilds and, later, on other specified groups of citizens, and these supplied bodies of paid men, known as “The Watch”, for guarding the gates and patrolling the streets at night.

Historic officerIn the eighteenth century came the beginnings of immense social and economic changes and the consequent movement of the population to the towns. The parish constable and “Watch” systems failed completely and the impotence of the law-enforcement machinery was a serious menace. Conditions became intolerable and led to the formation of the “New Police”.

The Metropolitan Police

In 1829, when Sir Robert Peel was Home Secretary, the first Metropolitan Police Act was passed and the Metropolitan Police Force was established. This new force superseded the local Watch in the London area but the City of London was not covered. Even within the Metropolitan Police District there still remained certain police establishments, organised during the eighteenth century, outside the control of the Metropolitan Police Office, viz:-

  • The Bow Street Patrols, mounted and foot, the latter commonly called the “Bow Street runners”.
  • Police Office constables attached to the offices of, and under the control of, the Magistrates.
  • The Marine or River Police.

By 1839 all these establishments had been absorbed by the Metropolitan Police Force. The City of London Police, which was set up in 1839, remains an independent force to this day.

HISTORY OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE

Time Line 1829 – 1849

Until 1829, law enforcement had been lacking in organisation. As London expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries the whole question of maintaining law and order had become a matter of public concern. In 1812, 1818 and 1822, Parliamentary committees were appointed to investigate the subject of crime and policing. But it was not until 1828 when Sir Robert Peel set up his committee that the findings paved the way for his police Bill, which led to the setting up of an organised police service in London.

1829 The formation of the Metropolitan Police Force on 29 September 1829 by Sir Robert Peel.

Sir Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne are appointed as Justices of the Peace in charge of the Force.

Sir Robert Peel
1830 PC Joseph Grantham becomes first officer to be killed on duty, at Somers Town, Euston. The Metropolitan Police ranks were increased considerably to 3,300 men.
1831 Further riots. A crowd attacks Apsley House, home of the Duke of Wellington, and break all the windows. The police eventually restore order.
1832 Richard Mayne, the Commissioner, tries to clarify the roles of the Magistrates and the Commissioners as the Bow Street Runners continue their existance.
1833 Coldbath Fields Riot (Grays Inn Road). A major crowd disturbance was dealt with by the Metropolitan Police with controversial use of force.

PC Robert Culley was killed at this event, and the jury returned a verdict of Justifiable Homicide.

The Cully Cup
1834 The Select Committee designated with the task of inquiring into the state of the Police of the Metropolis reported ‘that the Metropolitan Police Force, as respects its influence in repressing crime and the security it has given to persons and property, is one of the most valuable modern institutions’
1835 In October a fire breaks out at the Millbank Penitentiary and 400 Metropolitan Police officers and a detachment of the Guards are called to restore order. This prompted the press to call for the police to be put in command at all large fires.
1836 The Metropolitan Police absorb the Bow Street Horse Patrol into its control. Officer in replica mounted horse patrol tunic
1837 Select Committee appointed to look into the affairs of the police offices. They also propose that the City of London be placed under the control of the Metropolitan Police.
1838 Select Committee finally reports and recommends incorporating of Marine Police and Bow Street Runners into the Metropolitan Police and the disbandment of the Bow Street Office and other Offices. These were all agreed and put into effect.
1839 The two Justices of the Peace, Rowan and Mayne are termed Commissioners by the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. Enlargement of the Metropolitan Police District by the same Act.
1840 Gould Interrogation case in which Police Sergeant Otway attempts induced self-incrimination in the accused, which is immediately discountenanced by the Courts and Commissioner Richard Mayne.
1841 Formation of Dockyard divisions of the Metropolitan police.
1842 Formation of the Detective Department. Detective Body Memo
1843 The Woolwich Arsenal became part of the area to be patrolled by the Metropolitan Police.
1844 Richard Mayne, Commissioner, called to give evidence to the Select Committee on Dogs. He stated that in the Metropolis there were a rising number of lost or stolen dogs. In the preceding year over 600 dogs were lost and 60 stolen. He declared the law to be in a very unsatisfactory state as people paid money for restoration of dogs. ‘People pay monies to parties whom they have reason to believe have either stolen or enticed them away in order to get the reward…’ Mayne believed it to be organised crime.
1845 The Commissioners, in returns to the Home Office, states that the aim of the Force was to have one Policeman to 450 head of population.
1846 Plain clothes officers were frequently used at this time, but a June order made clear that two officers per division would be employed on detective duties, but that police in plain clothes must make themselves known if interfered with in their duty.
1847 Statistics for the year were; 14,091 robberies; 62,181 people taken in charge, 24,689 of these were summarily dealt with; 5,920 stood trial and 4,551 were convicted and sentenced; 31,572 people were discharged by the magistrates.

The Metropolitan Police were still, despite their good record on crime prevention, facing discipline problems amongst their officers on the 18 divisions, with 238 men being dismissed in the year.

1848 Large scale enrolement of Special constables to assist the Metropolitan Police in controlling the Chartist Demonstrations. Chartist Demonstration Officer
1849 Authorised strength 5,493. In reality 5,288 were available for duty. The population at this time in London was 2,473,758.

 

Time Line 1850 – 1869

1850 Retirement of Sir Charles Rowan as joint Commissioner. Captain William Hay is appointed in his place.
1851 The Great Exhibition with its special crowd problems forces the police to temporarily form a new police division. The total manpower of the force at this time was 5,551, covering 688 square miles. Great Exhibition Cartoon
1852 Sir Charles Rowan, first joint Commissioner, dies. In his obituary note of 24 May The Times wrote: “No individual of any rank or station could be more highly esteemed or loved when living, or more regretted in death.”
1853 Lord Dudley Stuart, MP for Marylebone and a persistent critic of the police, suggests in Parliament that the police are not worth the money they cost. He recommends that they be reduced in numbers, and a higher class of officers be recruited to control the constables.
1854 Out of 5,700 in the Metropolitan Force, 2.5% were Scottish, 6.5% Irish. The Commissioner was not happy about employing these officers in areas of high Scottish or Irish ethnic concentrations.
1855 Death of Captain William Hay. Sir Richard Mayne becomes sole Commissioner.
1856 Detective Force increased to 10 men, with an extra Inspector and Sergeant.
1857 The Commissioner Richard Mayne is paid a salary of £1,883, and his two Assistant Commissioners are paid salaries of £800 each.
1858 First acquisition of Police van for conveying prisoners. These were horse drawn, and known as‘Black Marias’. Black Marias
1859 Police orders of 6 January state “It is a great gratification to the Commissioner that the number of police guilty of the offence of drunkenness during the late Christmas holidays has been much lower than last year… In A, F and R Division only one man was reported in each, and in H Division not one man was reported in the present or last year..”
1860 Police begin the occasional use of hand ambulances for injured, sick or drunk people. Accommodation or ‘ambulance sheds’ are later provided for these in police station yards.
1861 Police orders on the 25 January made allowance for one third of Metropolitan Police officers in Dockyards “to be relieved each Sunday, to give them an opportunity of attending Divine Service…”

The Metropolitan Police act as firemen at the British Museum. The Superintendent in charge said of them “From their manner of doing the work, I should be inclined to place considerable confidence in these men in an emergency.”

Police on Fire Brigade duties
1862 Further expansion in the Metropolitan Police with the formations of the X and W Divisions in the west, and Y Division in the north.
1863 Drunkenness is still a problem in the force, and in this year 215 officers were dismissed for this reason.
1864 Execution of 5 pirates of the ship ‘Flowery Land’ at Newgate. The Metropolitan Police supply nearly 800 officers to keep the peace.
1865 Further extensions of the Metropolitan Police District in terms of the area patrolled in north east London.
1866 3,200 police under the command of Commissioner Richard Mayne were used to control a serious riot in Hyde Park. 28 police were permanently disabled, and Mayne was hit by a stone which cut his head open. He was forced to call in the Military to restore order.
1867 The Metropolitan Police are severely criticised after Commissioner Richard Mayne ignores a warning about the Clerkenwell bombing by the Fenians. Mayne offers his resignation, but it is refused. Clerkenwell explosion
1868 Death of Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne. Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Labalmondiere acts as Commissioner.
1869 Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Henderson appointed Commissioner. Lt Cl. Edmund Henderson

Time Line 1870 – 1889

1870 The standard height for Metropolitan Police officers is raised to 5ft 8ins, except for Thames Division, where it is 5ft 7ins.
1871 As a result of frequent larcenies of linen, the Commissioner Edmund Henderson said, on the 21 April, “Constables are to call at the houses of all persons on their beats having wet linen in their gardens, and caution them of the risk they run in having them stolen…”
1872 Police strike for the first time. Various men are disciplined or dismissed, although these latter are later allowed back in to the Force.
1873 The Metropolitan Police acquire 9 new stations : North Woolwich, Rodney Road (Lock’s Fields), Chislehurst, Finchley, Isleworth, Putney, South Norwood, Harrow and Enfield Town.
1874 A survey of recruiting over a 2 year period showed that of those who had joined the force; 31% came from land jobs, 12% from military services, and 5% from other police jobs. The remainder came mostly from manual jobs. The majority of recruits and serving officers came from outside of London.
1875 New police offices at Great Scotland Yard are taken possession of on 4 October 1875 by the Detective and Public Carriage Departments.
1876 8 January the following order was released : “Relief from duty during severe weather – dufing the present severe weather as much indulgence as possible is to be given to the men on night duty, due regard being had to public safety..”
1877 Trial of the Detectives or Turf Fraud Scandal exposes corruption within the Force. Old Bailey Trial
1878 Charles Vincent was appointed Director of Criminal Investigations, the reformed Detective Branch which became known as C.I.D. Charles Vincent
1879 Initial rules for dealing with Murder cases, released on 7 June, stated “the body must not be moved, nor anything about it or in the room or place interfered with, and the public must be excluded..”
1880 Formation of the Convict Supervision Office for the assistance and control of convicts discharged upon license.
1881 Possibly London’s most famous police station, Bow Street, was rebuilt in this year. Bow Street Police Station
1882 The growth of London and the area needing policing is illustrated in Tottenham, (Y Division) when 8 miles of new streets are formed in a year with nearly 4,000 houses on them.

The Metropolitan Police at Devonport Dockyard illustrate the diversity of the role of the force as the Police Fire Brigade has its busiest year since formation with 6 major fires.

1883 Special Irish Branch formed.
1884 A bomb explodes at Scotland Yard planted by the Fenians. The Special Irish Branch are hit. Damage to Scotland Yard and Pub
1885 The strength of the force at this time was 13,319, but statistics show that only 1,383 officers were available for beat duty in the day. The population of London at this time was 5,255,069.Public outrage at the explosions at the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament. Two men are sentenced to penal servitude for life as a result.
1886 Trafalgar Square riot forces resignation of the Commissioner Sir Edmund Henderson.
1887 Major riot in Trafalgar Square, known as ‘Bloody Sunday’, the first test for the new Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, appointed the previous year.
1888 Sir Charles Warren resigns after a dispute with the Home Office, and James Monro is appointed Commissioner in his place.

Jack the Ripper murders in the Whitechapel area.

James Monro
1889 The last of the so called “Whitechapel” murders is discovered with the death in Castle Alley on 17 July of Alice McKenzie.

Time Line 1890 – 1909

1890 Opening of the new headquarters at the Norman Shaw Building on the Embankment known as New Scotland Yard.

Police strike at Bow Street Police Station.

Sir Edward Bradford is appointed Commissioner after the resignation of James Monro.

Sir Edward Bradford
1891 The Public Carriage and Lost Property Offices move from Great Scotland Yard to the new offices at New Scotland Yard on the 21 March. Staff member at the Lost Property Office
1892 Dismissals and rank and pay reductions were common at this point, and the case of Pc379A Best whose resignation on 21 July illustrates how the Metropolitan Police attempted to keep its men in order. He was “in possession of a tea-can, the property of another constable, obliterating the owners number, substituting his own name and number, telling a deliberate falsehood in connection therewith; and considered unfit for the police force.”
1893 PC George Cooke, a serving officer, is convicted for murder and hanged.
1894 The Alphonse Bertillon system of identification comes into operation. Anthropometric measuring devices
1895 To join the Metropolitan Police the following qualifications were necessary: 

  • to be over 21 and under 27 years of age
  • to stand clear 5ft 9ins without shoes or stockings
  • to be able to read well, write legibly and have a fair knowledge of spelling
  • to be generally intelligent
  • to be free from any bodily complaint

The bodily complaints for which candidates were rejected included; flat foot, stiffness of joints, narrow chest and deformities of the face.

1896 Public Carriage Office and Lost Property Offices amalgamate under the designation ‘Public Carriage Branch’.
1897 Metropolitan Police Officers granted a boot allowance instead of being supplied with boots. Police boots at this time were loathed, only Sir Edward Bradford, the Commissioner, believing them suitable.
1898 After a series of assaults and the murder of PC Baldwin in the vicinity of the Kingsland Road, there are calls for the Metropolitan Police to be armed with revolvers.
1899 High rate of suicides amongst officers. This is blamed by certain commentators on harsh discipline and insensitive handling of the men.

As the century draws to a close it is worth noting that the Metropolitan Police on formation in 1829 had a force of about 3,000 men, and by 1899 16,000. The population of London had grown from 1,500,000 to 7 million.

1900 Construction of a new floating police station at Waterloo Pier.Lord Belper Committee inquire into the best system of identification of possible criminals.
1901 The Fingerprint Bureau commences operation after the findings of the Belper Report. Anthropometric measurements under the Bertillon system are still used, but begin to decline in importance.
1902 The coronation of King Edward VII makes major demands on the police, resulting in 512 police pensioners being recalled for duty. Extra pay, leave and a medal were granted to all serving officers.
1903 Sir Edward Bradford retires as Commissioner to be replaced by Edward Henry. Sir Edward Henry
1904 6 new stations buildt at East Ham, Hackney, John Street, Muswell Hill, North Woolwich and Tower Bridge. 1 is near completion and 2 other started. Major works take place on 23 other stations.
1905 An article in Police Review mentions that Pc William Hallett of Y Division, who had retired after 26 years as a mounted officer, had ridden 144,000 miles or more than 5 times around the world in the course of his duty.
1906 The Metropolitan Police at this stage in their history are on duty for 13 days a fortnight and have an additional leave of 10 days.
1907 Clash between the Metropolitan Police and 800 Suffragettes outside the House of Commons on 13 February. Mounted and Foot officers are used to disperse them, and allegations of brutality are made.
1908 Police Review reports “the authorities at Scotland Yard have been seriously discussing the use of dogs as the constable companion and help, and Sir Edward Henry (Commissioner), who regards the innovation sympathetically, considers the only crucial objection to be the sentimental prejudices of the public.”
1909 The Tottenham Outrage occurs, in the course of which PC William Tyler and a 10 year old boy are shot dead by anarchists. Memorial to PC William Tyler

Time Line 1910 – 1929

1910 Radio Telegraphy used for the first time, resulting in the capture of Doctor Crippen.

The miners strike in South Wales results in many Metropolitan Police officers assisting to maintain law and order.

1911 The Siege of Sidney Street results in armed Metropolitan Police officers taking to the streets with the military to deal with armed anarchist criminals.
1912 Assassination attempt on the life of the Commissioner, Sir Edward Henry.

Establishment of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary on a permanent basis.

MPS officers at the S.W.Coal Strike
1913 The Commissioner calls for legislation to be introduced to restrict the trade in pistols following the assassination attempt on his own life.
1914 With the outbreak of war, 24,000 Special Constables are sworn in, and by the end of the year there are 31,000. Annual leave is suspended for the first year of the war.

Women Police founded in this year.

Women Police 1914
1915 London Ambulance Service commences operation, taking over some of the duties originally performed by the Metropolitan Police. However, police in this year convey over 11,000 people to hospital.
1916 The Commissioner Sir Edward Henry signs a Police Order in November stating that any member of the Metropolitan Police renders himself liable to dismissal by joining a union.
1917 At this point in WW1, some 2,300 members of the Metropolitan Police were serving in the armed services.
1918 Major strike of Metropolitan Police in search of better pay and conditions, and union recognition. Sir Edward Henry resigns as Commissioner, and is replaced by Sir Nevil Macready.
1919 Macready crushes a further police strike.

Women Police Patrols appointed.

Formation of Flying Squad.

1920 Sir Nevil Macready retires as Commissioner, and is replaced by Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood.
1921 The Police Pensions Act comes into force, fixing an age limit for each rank at which retirement shall be compulsory.

Z Division formed on the South side of the River Thames.

1922 Commissioner Horwood admits that many of the men taken into the force in 1919 to replace strikers and those in the armed forces have given trouble due to neglecting their beats and drunkenness.

The Commissioner also comments on the growth in consumption of methylated spirits, with 80 convictions this year.

Women Constables reduced to an establishment of 20.

1923 First Cup Final at Wembley leads to major crowd problems, controlled by the Mounted Branch. Billy, the White Horse of Wembley, and his rider Pc George Scorey become a legend.
1924 The Commissioner explains in his Annual Report how the social status of a Metropolitan policeman has been raised due to his conditions of employment.
1925 The Metropolitan Police begin to withdraw from policing dockyards (including Rosyth, Pembroke, Deptford Dockyards) and War Department Stations.

Sir James Olive retires from his position as an Assistant Commissioner after 53 years service.

1926 Attempt to assasinate Commissioner Horwood with poisoned chocolates
1927 Public Carriage Office transfered to Lambeth
1928 Retirement of Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood. Viscount Byng of Vimy appointed new Commissioner. Viscount Byng of Vimy
1929 Centenery of Metropolitan Police celebrated with a parade in Hyde Park and inspection by HRH the Prince of Wales.

The Police Box system commences on an experimental basis in Richmond and Wood Green.

Officer making a call from a Police Box

Time Line 1930 – 1949

1930 Large number of men posted to Motor Patrol work: 4 subdivisional Inspectors, 31 Sergeants, and 324 Constables.
1931 Commissioner Byng retires. Lord Trenchard appointed.
1932 Lord Trenchard abolishes the timed Beat System and sets out his thoughts about the Metropolitan Police Personnel recruitment and promotion system.
1933 Trenchard begins his programme for the improvement of Section Houses.
1934 The Metropolitan Police College opens at Hendon.

Metropolitan Police withdraw from Devonport Dockyard, bringing to a close its presence in HM Dockyards.

Opening of Hendon College
1935 Metropolitan Police Forensic Laboratory opened.

Lord Trenchard retires as Commissioner, and Sir Philip Game is appointed in his place.

1936 The Battle of Cable Street involves the Metropolitan Police in street battles with opposing political factions. Battle of Cable Street
1937 The 999 system is introduced.
1938 Civil Defence starts with the formation of two Reserves in the event of war. The first are retired officers, the second Special Constables.
1939 I.R.A. activity results in 59 explosions in the Metropolitan Police District. 55 people are convicted for these offences.
1940 98 Metropolitan Police officers killed during air raids.

Click here to read about the MPS officer murdered in Hyde Park during the war

1941 Air raid bombings continue, and Holloway police station is destroyed. Somers Town, Sydenham and Brixton stations are too badly damaged to be used.
1942 Police officers allowed to volunteer for the Armed Forces.
1943 In an attempt to curb housebreaking, the Commissioner Sir Philip Game asks people not to keep furs, saying “they are no doubt warmer, and look nicer than a tweed coat, but a live dog is better than a dead lion.” Sir Philip Game
1944 Looting reaches an all time record.
1945 Sir Philip Game retires and is replaced as Commissioner by Harold Scott. Sir Harold Scott
1946 The Metropolitan and City Police Company Fraud Department is formed.
1947 Metropolitan Police face a deficiency of 4,730 men as a result of the war.
1948 Indictable crime rate falls to 126,000 crimes, but this is still 40% higher than before the war.
1949 Lord Oakseys committee reports on police pay, recommending small increases and London weighting.

Time Line 1950 – 1969

1950 The Metropolitan Police Roll of Honour is unveiled at Westminster Abbey by the Queen, displaying the names of officers killed in the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 wars.
1951 Commissioner Harold Scott introduces training of cadets aged 16 – 18 to become police officers.
1952 The Dixon Report advocates many changes in the Metropolitan Police, including greater civilianisation.
1953 Sir Harold Scott retires, and is replaced as Commissioner by Sir John Nott-Bower.
Sir John Nott-Bower
1954 Serious understaffing problems, with the force consisting of only 16,000 and needing an estimated 4,000 men, mainly Police Constables.
1955 Formation of the Central Traffic Squad, consisting of 100 men.
1956 Flying Squad makes over 1,000 arrests, a record since its formation.
1957 New Information Room opens at New Scotland Yard.
1958 Sir John Nott-Bower retires as Commissioner. He is replaced by Joseph Simpson. Sir Joseph Simpson
1959 Indictable offences reach over 160,000, the highest recorded to date.
1960 Traffic Wardens introduced.

Criminal Intelligence Section and Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation branches established.

1961 The Receivers Office moved from Scotland House to new premises at Tintagel House.

The Minicab arrives on the London scene, and the Metropolitan Police obtain 24 convictions for illegal plying for hire.

1962 The rate of indictable crimes for this year reaches an all time high – 214,120.

The series ‘Police 5’, designed to prevent crime, begins on BBC.

1963 The Commissioner, Joseph Simpson, stresses the need for the Beat system to reduce motorised patrols and deter incidents of crime.

The first computer to be used by the Met (an ICT 1301) was set up in the office of the Receiver for use on pay and crime statistics.

1964 The worst year so far this century for crime, with over a quarter of a million indictable crimes.

Regional Crime Squads formed.

Police face major criticism and complaints as a result of the Challenor Case, in which a policeman was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and made infamous for planting evidence.

1965 Special Patrol Group formed consisting of 100 officers. It arrested 396 people in its first 9 months of operation. First members of the Special Patrol Group
1966 The Commissioner’s Office and the Receiver’s Office are combined.
3 Metropolitan Police officers murdered at Shepherds Bush.
1967 The headquarters is moved from the Norman Shaw Building to a new building in Broadway, just off Victoria Street. The name of New Scotland Yard is retained.

Norwell Roberts joins the Met as the first black police officer. He retired after 30 years service with the rank of Detective Sergeant and received the QPM in 1996.

The Revolving Sign outside the new building
1968 Sir Joseph Simpson dies in service, and is replaced as Commissioner by John Waldron. Funeral of Sir Joseph Simpson
1969 MPS officers sent to offer assistance in the Anguilla crisis.

Serious Crime Squad becomes permanent.

PC Joe Kennett in Anguilla

Time Line 1970 – 1989

1970 Clear up rate on indictable crimes reaches 28%, the best since 1957.
1971 The Commissioner (John Waldron) in his annual report said “With deep and lasting traditions the Metropolitan Police is an impressive institution by every standard and in any company in the world.” Sir John Waldron
1972 Sir John Waldron is succeeded as Commissioner by Robert Mark.
1973 Robert Mark works to restore the integrity of the Metropolitan Police, and 90 officers leave as a result.

Mark establishes better relations with the media by setting out a policy of openness.

Women police are integrated directly into the force.

1974 The Peel Centre at Hendon is modernised and reopended as the Training School. training centre
1975 Robert Mark makes an appeal on television for ethnic recruits.

Balcombe Street and Spaghetti House sieges were both brought to successful conclusions by the Met.

Spaghetti House
1976 Major riot at Notting Hill Carnival, in which more than 400 officers and civilian staff were injured.
1977 David McNee becomes Commissioner after the retirement of Sir Robert Mark.
1978 An inquiry into police pay by Lord Edmund-Davies results in higher allowances and better pay to officers.
1979 The Metropolitan Police celebrates its 150th Anniversary.

A new Force Inspectorate is formed, to provide a close and continuing assessment of the efficiency of all units of the force.

1980 Iranian Embassy siege brought to a successful conclusion after co-operation between the Met and the Special Air Service Regiment.

Formation of Metropolitan Air Support Unit with its own Bell 222 helicopter.

helicopter
1981 Brixton Riots involve the Metropolitan Police in the largest civil disturbance this century. Brixton Riots
1982 Sir David McNee retires as Commissioner to be replaced by Sir Kenneth Newman.
1983 With the aid of the MPS Policy Committee Sir Kenneth Newman devises a new statement of the Principles of Policing, and in doing so changes the emphasis from the primary objectives of policing established by Richard Mayne and Sir Charles Rowan in 1829.
1984 PC Jon Gordon lost both legs and part of a hand in the IRA bomb attack on Harrods in 1983. On 10 December 1984 he resumed duty by walking unaided up the steps to his new office.

Whilst policing a demonstration in St James’s Square, WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot in the back and mortally wounded by shots fired from the Libyan People’s Bureau. WPC Fletcher’s murder led to the creation of the Police Memorial Trust, an organisation dedicated to placing memorials at the locations of fallen officers

1985 Tottenham Riots (also known as ‘Broadwater Farm’ riot) result in the murder of PC Keith Blakelock.
1986 Identification Parade screens introduced at Clapham police station.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act comes into force in January.

Mounted Branch celebrates its 150th anniversary.

1987 Sir Kenneth Newman retires, and is replaced as Commissioner by Peter Imbert. Sir Peter Imbert
1988 The Commissioner stresses the need for close community liaison between the Police and Consultative Groups to foster the police / public partnership.
1989 ‘Plus Programme’ launched to improve the corporate image and quality of the service of the Metropolitan Police. It significantly altered attitudes within the MPS, and included the Statement of Common Purpose and Values.

Time Line 1990 – 1999

1990 Riot in Trafalgar Square mirrors the 1887 riot in the same location. Trafalgar Square Riot
1991 Sector Policing introduced, involving a team of officers with a continuing responsibility for the same small community area or sector.
1992 First 5 year Corporate Strategy published in February.
1993 Sir Peter Imbert retires, and is replaced as Commissioner by Sir Paul Condon.

Operation Bumblebee introduced on the 1 June and has a considerable impact on burglary in the capital.

The Charter is launched in September, defining the role of the Police and public expectation.

Sir Paul Condon
1994 Metropolitan Police Service key objectives established for the first time by the Government, plus key performance indicators.
1995 Metropolitan Police Committee formed on 1 April.

Crime Report Information System (CRIS) introduced. It revolutionises the means of recording crimes.

1996 ‘The London Beat’ published.

The MPS launches its Website at www.met.police.uk. Click here to find out more about this website.

1997 Installation of N.A.F.I.S. the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
1998 The Metropolitan Police launch the Policing Diversity Strategy in response to the majority of issues raised into the Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. The aim is to provide better protection to ethnic communities from racial and violent crime and demonstrate fairness in every aspect of policing.
1999 The handling of the Greek Embassy siege demonstrates the professionalism of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Time Line 2000-2009

2000 Sir Paul Condon retires and is replaced as Commissioner by Sir John Stevens.
Sir John issues his Policing Pledge for Londoners.
Sir John Stevens
2004 Wednesday 29 September was an historic day as the Met celebrated 175 years of policing London.
2005 Sir Ian Blair becomes Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair
2008 Sir Ian Blair resigns from the post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
2009 Sir Paul Stephenson becomes Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Paul Stephenson

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