The New Klan: Heritage of Hate

The New Klan: Heritage Of Hate is a 1978 PBS nation-wide documentary that has been newly restored for today’s audiences. No changes or edits were made, nothing has been added or removed since its first release. Filmmakers Eleanor Bingham and Leslie Shatz gained unprecedented access to the Klan’s ceremonies, leaders, and members, including the KKK’s involvement in the murders of three “freedom fighters” in Alabama. The film exposes Grand Dragon David Duke’s early campaigns to legitimize white supremacy and normalize the racism of the Klan’s “Heritage of Hate.” The New Klan also features archival footage of Chicago’s Channel 7 live debate between Duke and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, which highlights Duke’s strange approach to twisting American history as a means to justify the Klan’s approach and beliefs of “separate but equal.” This documentary is a must see for anyone concerned about the state of racism and white nationalism in the U.S. today. “There are many parallels between The New Klan and the growing license to express intolerance in the current political climate,” said Bingham. “It allows us to look at our past to inform our future.”

00:01Copy video clip URL Shot pulls away from a man riding a motorcycle to reveal his shirt which says “Ku Klux Klan San Diego” while “N****r, N****r” by Johnny Rebel plays in the background. The man, along with a group of people wearing “White Power” shirts, pose for a photo with their hands raised in a Nazi salute.

00:49Copy video clip URL Two people are initiated into the KKK. The man asks them, “Are you a white, non-Jewish American citizen? Do you believe in the Constitution of the United States? Are you in favor of a white man’s government in this country? Do you believe in the right of free men to rebel against government tyranny? Do you believe in racial separation?” Both people respond yes to each question. A Klan member, wearing a robe and hood, administers the oath. The sound cuts out and voiceover explains that it was necessary in order to record the initiation. Voiceover also describes the setting: 1977, El Cajon, CA, the trailer home of George Willis, San Diego County Klan leader.

02:48Copy video clip URL The people in the trailer chat. One man explains the handshake to a new initiate. Both initiates express their positive feelings about joining the KKK: “I feel fantastic. I get that boost, that power. For real, it’s not just for- while out on a picnic or something, it’s for real. It’s that white power. I like it.”

03:18Copy video clip URL On stage, a man flanked by KKK members in white robes exclaims “White power!” and the crowd repeats it back. The title appears: The New Klan: Heritage of Hate. Various klan members talk about their white power philosophy and goals for the country: “Ship all the n*****s out.” Interspersed are shots of a Klan march and a rally in a church.

04:28Copy video clip URL Shot of a burning cross while voiceover goes into the biography of David Duke and his campaign for the Louisiana State Senate. Supporters explain their support for him. Duke and Tom Metzger, his campaign manager, talk about their strategy, specifically their use of media to portray a narrative of discrimination against white people. “We believe it’s time that the white majority… again become masters of their own destiny.”

06:08Copy video clip URL Duke wife, Chloe, believes that the KKK will allow her daughter, Erika, to be raised right. When asked about its violent reputation, she dismisses it because “a lot of organizations have a violent reputation.”

06:39Copy video clip URL Duke gives a speech promoting the KKK. The crowd is a mix of people dressed normally and in Klan robes. Voiceover states that Duke lost the race but received 1/3 of the votes cast. Chloe explains that the KKK’s goal is larger than a state senate, and that they hope to become the people how are running the country.

07:54Copy video clip URL Voiceover explains the history of the KKK in the 1920s and ’30s while black and white footage plays. There is a Klan march, a rally, and a crowd at a lynching. William Simmons, the man who rebuilt the KKK in 1915, is shown. James Venable, the Imperial Wizard, shows his office with old KKK pictures. Venable talks about the annual National Klan Rally. Shots of people preparing food and eating at the rally.

10:51Copy video clip URL At a Chicago press conference, Duke speaks about his upcoming debate with Jesse Jackson and the anti-busing organizing the KKK is doing. A reporter challenges him and his organizing, and Duke responds, “Busing is hurting the white and the black. It’s causing violence because of the differences between the races… When the blacks know that they attack one white child and the other whites will responds to it, that’s when you have organization.”

13:07Copy video clip URL Duke gets ready for a talkshow appearance debating Jesse Jackson. Duke states that he’s been on more than 100 television programs this year. Voiceover speaks of his strong media presence and how the media quest for ratings facilitates his appearances. A clip from the show. Duke asserts that black unemployment is so high is because they don’t want to work, not because of lack of jobs. Jackson states that blacks have been disproportionately locked out of the job market. “The same people who are called lazy are the same people who sweep America’s streets, the same people who still clean America’s bathrooms, the same people who still clean homes.” Duke: “The white man today, he’s a second class citizen.” Jackson expresses shock that white people feel so inferior and calls Duke a “hippie Klansman” because he doesn’t burn crosses or hang people. Jackson: “Blacks are not afraid of the Klan anymore…Neither race has a monopoly on human virtue.”

16:12Copy video clip URL Venable prepares for the National Klan Rally in Stone Mountain, GA. Voiceover explains that his klan has lost influence due to the existence of dozens of rival klans. Venable laments the changes in terminology referring to black people. While he talks, there are shots of men nailing together a cross and dousing it in gasoline.

18:21Copy video clip URL Tom Metzger, a KKK state organizer, prefers to recruit members without burning crosses. He explains his path to the KKK, strategy for activism, and beliefs. “I’m tired of worrying about the Jew… they are a parasite people, and they are counter to our culture, and all the races would be better off with them out of their hair.” Metzger’s wife and children also explain their racist and anti-semitic beliefs.

22:35Copy video clip URL Metzger’s family and other KKK members go bowling. A man talks about going to jail for “helping somebody,” and he heavily implies that he murdered someone. He expresses no regret.

24:38Copy video clip URL Footage of a KKK rally led by Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard, denigrating black people. Voiceover explains that during the civil rights era in the 1960s, membership in the KKK swelled. The commitment by civil rights activists to nonviolence “gave the Klan an unarmed target.” Dozens of murders during this time were attributed to KKK action groups, aka Knockout Squads or Holy Terrors, and they were known to be aided by law enforcement. Gary Thomas Rowe, Shelton’s former bodyguard, talks about the organization of action squads and how leaders like Shelton made a point to have plausible deniability around their actions. Rowe talks about the murder of Viola Liuzzo, a white civil rights worker, by KKK members Collie Leroy Wilkins, William Orville Eaton, and Eugene Thomas.

30:58Copy video clip URL Footage of President Lyndon B. Johnson giving a 1965 press conference urging people to leave the KKK. E.L. McDaniels and L.C. Murray, former Klan leaders, meet with Charles Evers, the mayor of Fayette, MS, and the first black person elected to public office in MS. They talk about how their relationship has changed since McDaniels and Murray left the KKK. McDaniels talks about why he joined the KKK and compares it to the NAACP. Evers: “The difference was that the NAACP meant the advancement of people and not the denial. The Klan meant to deprive.” Interspersed is footage of a racist McDaniels speech from when he was a Grand Dragon.

35:46Copy video clip URL Wayne King, New York Times reporter, interviews Duke about his beliefs and involvement in the KKK. He’s asked about violence the KKK has committed, which Duke dismisses as “a media creation, a Hollywood creation.”

37:38Copy video clip URL Men set up a cross that will be burned at Venable’s annual Klan rally. Footage from the rally is shown, and people put on their robes and hoods while speaking to the camera about them. Footage of the crowd as a few people give speeches, and then the crowd lights torches and burns giant crosses.

42:29Copy video clip URL Voiceover explains the differences between the “old Klan” and the “new Klan.” A meeting at Metzger’s house going over strategy.They talk about plans to get into the cartoon and comic strip field and show an example of a white kid defeating racist and anti-semitic caricatures. The group decides that some of the bad guys should be brown in addition to black.

44:32Copy video clip URL Cut back to the Duke interview where King asks about a N****r hunting license that the Klan has distributed. Duke defends this and bigoted cartoons as satire.

45:53Copy video clip URL Voiceover talks about the newly formed Klan border watch, a patrol started by Duke, that plans to seal the US-Mexican border to stop people entering the country illegally. Willis talks about the border watch and prepares for it by cleaning his guns. Other KKK members arrive, they talk more about their plans. There’s footage of them on patrol, as well as Duke giving a speech about it to a crowd of reporters.

51:19Copy video clip URL Dale Reusch, Imperial Wizard of the Ohio KKK, who plans to run for governor of Ohio, gives a speech in Columbus. There are many protestors, one of whom punches Reusch in the face.

53:03Copy video clip URL Cut back to the Duke interview. Duke says he doesn’t think the Klan should be observed by the FBI. King talks about African Atto, a manual by “Mohammed X” that advocates for black people killing whites. King confronts Duke on the real author of the manual because his wife holds the copyright to it. King: “You seem to be setting [a racial conflict] up by passing yourself off as a black militant and writing on how to kill white people.” Duke defends it because he now has the names of radical black people who bought it. King confronts Duke on wearing Nazi symbols in the past and selling Nazi literature. He defends them and gets upset. After the interview, he talks about his political ambition to become president.

57:33Copy video clip URL Credits


1 Comment

  1. Pam says:

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