Jason Ohler’s ‘4Four Big Ideas for the Future: Understanding Our Innovative Selves’ — Educational Technology and Change Journal

By Jim Shimabukuro Editor Jason Ohler, who wrote “Whither Writing Instruction in the 21st Century?” for ETC five years ago, released a new book last month, 4Four Big Ideas for the Future: Understanding Our Innovative Selves. Jason developed a disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis from which he never expected to recover. It slowly and literally […]

via Jason Ohler’s ‘4Four Big Ideas for the Future: Understanding Our Innovative Selves’ — Educational Technology and Change Journal

Is Science Fun? Kinda, Sorta, Sometimes


by Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Before NCLB, I was introduced to hands on science through AAAS. I rolled with the activities of kids finding out things through discovery. I did the steps of the scientific method sometimes when needed. But I had boxes of AAAS magic and then my own ideas to contribute. But NCLB came along and killed that kind of science in many places. Now the cat is out of the box and science is relevant again. Some teachers have never met Bassam Shakasheri. You may not know him, but he made chemistry fun. But the fun in science is being able to use it , understand it, and acknowledge areas of interest. Here is his web site.Science is Fun! Go there and find interesting things to do. There are all kinds of examples of interest. I first saw Dr. Shakasheri at an NSF meeting. I envy the students who  attended his classes.

Science was fun! Most people won’t get a chance to have him as a teacher except maybe online or from the website. Here are lots of little videos for you to peruse.

Maybe chemistry is not your thing. Enjoy anyway.

Physics? Math? Astronomy? Math and more..go here.
Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.



To get the attention of students sometimes we have to amaze. To get the attention of teachers we have to show how interesting and amazing the students might find this work.

Here is a great site. Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain what are sometimes complex environmental processes, in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.You could get a grant to have your own Science on a Sphere.iu

There are so many new ways we can use to teach. You don’t have to have a lot of monkey, but you do need to know content.This photograph shows Science on a Sphere. You can actually do a laptop version of this science. It is an amazing site. The laptop site is excellent too.

http://sos.noaa.gov/SOS_Explorer/ it is not hard to navigate.

Notice that we are doing science in many ways at this site. It’s free. It’s interesting

ESRI has resources for schools. Look here.

Your students should know some GIS too. You use it on your cell phone or computer to find things, to go places, and to map a journey. GIS 1

Schools can get free software to learn GIS here. Teachers can get free online tutoring and lessons.



If you talk about engineering most people would say, they never had it in school. But there are resources and ideas to get one started in engineering and architecture… and in building ideas. In my classes we started with clay, straw, pins and string. We went on to build /plan a school playground. That was an awesome feat of engineering.


Science is life. Science is about every day things, your health, your climate. your food.Increasingly with the help of technology we can understand how science impacts our lives. The science.. the accidental science of cooking is one of my favorite ways to share the magic of science.

You eat every day. Why not investigate “The Accidental Science of Cooking!!
Discover how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking! Explore recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking.

In some cultures science is seen as a hard slog. Well, maybe if you don’t learn to love problem solving. Ot maybe if you don’t like accumulating knowledge about something. Or maybe if you never were allowed the magic of discovery science.

The Concord Consortium is a great place to find problem based learning. All the STEM resources you will need are gathered here.

Some teachers have never experienced the power of science as it draws the attention of kids. I had to learn about dinosaurs and legos from students.

This is what I wish I had now. I would write a grant to get this dinosaur.


Jurassic Park, games, books, Amber, ..I was the one who was learning a lot about dinosaurs and one of the parents worked at the Smithsonian. We got to go see him work .

I worked the kids with Chickscope, Bugscope, and a classroom garden. You have the 4-H to help you get those projects together. Chickscope is a project that is about hatching chickens.  Bugscope was not my choice. Students wanted to learn more about bugs.But since students wanted to know.. we did it. Bugscope is getting newer equipment so check back from time to time to see when they are ready for you.


You thought I forgot NASA. Not in a million years. So much to share so many ways to learn. They have an incredible set of resources all free. But NASA deserves its own blog.

Is all of this old news to you????. Then go to learn about CIRCL.. Cyberlearning.

Space Nut???







Washington , DC.. City Wide Tree Canopy

treesWe have trees from the famous Monument Core — the National Mall and its monuments and memorials — the heart of our nation’s capital is home to 17,000 trees. The District also houses the nation’s first urban park, Rock Creek Park, as part of its more than 7,000 acres of parkland and has two major rivers within its city limits.


Through a combination of city and federal staff, nonprofits and citizens, the District of Columbia has developed a healthy 35 percent tree canopy and a wide range of greening initiatives, including environmental justice work and green jobs training.


D.C. Urban Forest Facts*

Washington, D.C., Urban Forest Fact Sheet


  • The city has 1,928,000 trees.
  • Most common tree species are American beech, red maple and box elder.
  • Approximately 56 percent of trees are less than six inches in diameter.
  • The city’s trees:

o Remove  540 tons of pollution per year, valued at $2.5million.

o Store 526,000 tons of carbon,valued at $9.7 million.

o Sequester 16,200 tons of carbon per year, valued at $9.7million.

o Reduce building energy usage by $2.6 million per year,which results in value of $96,000 in avoided carbon emissions.

o Have a structural value of  $3.6billion.

• D.C.’s urban tree canopy is 35 percent.+

Washington, D.C., Urban Forest Fact Sheet


  • The city’s trees:

o Remove 540 tons of pollution per year,valued at $2.5million.

o Store 526,000 tons of carbon, valued at $9.7 million.

o Sequester 16,200 tons of carbon per year,valued at $9.7million.

o Reduce building energy usage by $2.6 million per year,which results in

value of $96,000 in avoided carbon emissions.

o Have a structural value of $3.6 billion.

• D.C.’s urban tree canopy is 35 percent.+FA94C5D6-1DD8-B71B-0B3EF71D393D7C2A


In the Digital Age, Digital Equity is an Essential

Excerpt by Larry Irving /Fast Forward by Bonnie Sutton

The day America married the Internet

In 1993, the Internet was the province almost exclusively of scientists and hobbyists, with only about 2 million users worldwide. U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore saw huge potential in connecting all of the United States to the Internet.

They believed that a robust Internet would provide immeasurable benefits to the U.S. economy, would create jobs and would improve the provision of critical services to the American public, including education, healthcare, library services, public safety and government information and data.

As importantly, they believed that the Internet could spur needed private-sector investment and innovation in both the underlying infrastructure and in the platforms, applications and services that would ride on that infrastructure.

They were right on all counts.


The vision

“Imagine you had a device that combined a telephone, a TV, a camcorder and a personal computer. No matter where you went or what time it was, your child could see you and talk to you, you could watch a replay of your team’s last game, you could browse the latest additions to the library, or you could find the best prices in town on groceries, furniture, clothes — whatever you needed.”

The above paragraph was the opening paragraph of the Agenda for Action — 20 years ago. It was an eerily accurate vision of a then-distant future. Sometimes having a coherent vision helps propel progress. The administration knew where it wanted to go and knew it needed a plan to drive the progress required to get there.

The plan

The Agenda for Action laid out a series of principles and proposed actions to support them. Virtually all of those principles remain the cornerstones of the United States’ domestic and international technology policies today.

The Agenda for Action stated a strong preference for private-sector development and deployment of the Internet. The administration felt it important to state that preference clearly and unequivocally because of fears that the government would attempt to build the Information Superhighway using public dollars.

In light of the U.S. government’s efforts at that time to encourage increased investment in our domestic infrastructure and to promote privatization of telecommunications networks abroad, the administration clarified its preference for private-sector investment to build the Internet, supported by tax and regulatory policies that would promote an investment-friendly environment.

The Agenda for Action presaged virtually every major policy debate surrounding the Internet and delineated a comprehensive policy approach that protected the rights of consumers while also providing increased certainty for industry and innovators by calling for the following: extending our historic commitment to universal service to the Internet; seamless, interactive user-driven operation of the Internet; information security and network reliability; improved management of wireless spectrum; protection of Intellectual property rights; and increased coordination with state and local governments and with other nations to ensure that the Internet would be fully global.

Looking back today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore got much right. Their vision for the Internet was realized more quickly and more completely than any of us had any right to expect.

Reading the Agenda for Action today, the administration accurately predicted the power of the Internet to increase access to information and to be a key economic driver. As importantly, the administration provided a forward looking and flexible policy template that would underscore the growth of the internet over the following decades.

The astonishing growth of the Internet in the mid-1990s was driven in large part by the innovation, talent, ingenuity and passion of many in the private sector, principally the Internet pioneers in Silicon Valley and other creative centers, as well as the Internet service providers who built the physical networks.

It is unlikely that the Internet’s growth would have been as explosive or that we would have seen as much early acceptance and adoption domestically and internationally without the administration’s leadership and use of the bully pulpit to drive policy prescriptions and procurement efforts designed to support and encourage private-sector investment and innovation.

At a time of increased skepticism about the role of government and widespread derision of visionary leaders, it’s important to note that sometimes the government and its leaders get it right. The United States and the world is at another inflection point today as wireless technology, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, social networks and data analytics become drivers of economic and societal changes.

Revisiting or restating fundamental policy principles to ensure that they provide an environment that will promote investment while also protecting the rights of consumers would seem to be as necessary today as it was 20 years ago.


Advances in information technology (IT) are reshaped the U.S. labor market. The demand for workers who can read and understand complex material, think analytically, and use technology efficiently will continue to increase. Congress established the 21st Century Workforce Commission to assess current and future demand for IT workers and the education and training needed to fill IT jobs. By conducting field hearings and site visits and reviewing pertinent research, the commission identified nine keys to success that leaders at all levels can apply to build a highly skilled workforce prepared for high-technology job opportunities in the 21st century. The keys are as follows: (1) building 21st century literacy; (2) exercising leadership through partnerships; (3) forming learning linkages for youth; (4) identifying pathways to IT jobs; (5) increasing acquisition of IT skills; (6) expanding continuous learning; (7) shaping a flexible immigration policy for skilled IT workers; (8) raising student achievement; (9) and making technology access and Internet connectivity universal. During its work, the commission found many examples of how stakeholders at all levels exerted the leadership to put the keys into practice. (Ten tables/figures are included. Concluding the report are a list of the commission members and 85 endnotes.) (MN)

Fast Forward 2016   Are We A Nation of Opportunity for All? Not Yet!!

We still need a plan to engage, inform, educate and create possibilities for all communities.

In the Digital Age, Digital Equity is an Essential


 NCDE  Puts forward an Action Plan

We are , in America still trying to solve the problem of the Digital Divide. EDC has allowed us to have a solution. Not to talk about the latest tool, or gadget or even coding.


Not in an hour to talk about problems, but a whole day to define, to work across communities , schools, libraries, businesses, teacher groups and government to find solutions and to learn from each other.

Dr. McLaughlin  shared thoughts as a framework for our discussions

 Principles for Designing and Evaluating Digital Equity Investments and Initiatives

They were well focused on achieving not only digital equity but also locally determined economic, educational and social impacts.  fostering digital equity not just for its own sake but for its critical contributions to other more fundamental locally determined priorities for equity, social justice, and well-being.


Systemic- providing equitable( free or low cost) access to the full array of essential resources for digital inclusi0n, lifelong learning, workforce development and economic opportunity including:



-computing devices with keyboard ( and assistive devices for those with disabilities}

-multilingual tech support

-librarians skilled in guiding learners to high quality content and tools, keyed to their learning priorities

-low interest financing (or full subsidies) for gamilies with weak or no credit so that when devices are not free they can afford to finance them and still support their families

-educational and productivity apps and software

-open and “Deep Web”educational resources that are universally designed.

The initiative will publish, share videos and the outcome ideas of our Digital Equity Symposium


The National Coalition for Digital Equity will publish these in greater detail the outcomes of the symposium.




Let’s Explore Global Forests!


When I was a child, I was a city girl. going to the out-of-doors, I considered that the country. But, my mom was from a rural area so, summers came and I was thrust into a farming area. At that time, I knew what a forest was, through reading. I was not amused.

It was a long time until I really learned about forests. A science supervisor invited me to learn in a school outdoor lab. Dr. Phoebe Knipling kept creating courses that increased my knowledge and soon, I was certified to teach environmental science.

We took birding courses, learned the seasonal wildflowers, studied the streams, and navigated the various trails on the property. It was fun!! Ok, it was hard fun, but being successful felt good! The children loved the lessons. Talk art. poetry, and drawing. We even did newsletters.


Some of my first field trips were difficult for me. The kids got so excited that they lost the pencil and papers, and clipboard and guidebooks. I had to think of a strategy.

We learned in small teacher groups in all seasons. We wrote lessons and tried out ways to know forests and the lab landscape. We learned to read the landscapes and to see what animals and plants were there.

We added. patterns in nature, the science of a rotting log, quadrat studies, stream studies.and a star party or, stories at night. * we spent several nights at the lab.


The 4 -H leader, and the Park service pointed out to us all of the various parks, different types.. and forested areas.There is all kinds of information on the National Park Service’s site.



What is a forest?

“The forest is a complex ecosystem consisting mainly of trees that buffer the earth and support a myriad of life forms. The trees help create a special environment which, in turn, affects the kinds of animals and plants that can exist in the forest. Trees are an important component of the environment. They clean the air, cool it on hot days, conserve heat at night, and act as excellent sound absorbers.”

“Plants provide a protective canopy that lessens the impact of raindrops on the soil, thereby reducing soil erosion. The layer of leaves that fall around the tree prevents runoff and allows the water to percolate into the soil. Roots help to hold the soil in place. Dead plants decompose to form humus, organic matter that holds the water and provides nutrients to the soil. Plants provide habitat to different types of organisms. Birds build their nests on the branches of trees, animals and birds live in the hollows, insects and other organisms live in various parts of the plant. They produce large quantities of oxygen and take in carbon dioxide. Transpiration from the forests affects the relative humidity and precipitation in a place.”

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) has defined forest as land with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10% and area of more than 0.5 hectare. The trees should be able to reach a minimum height of 5 m at maturity in situ. Forests are further subdivided into plantations and natural forests. Natural forests are forests composed mainly of indigenous trees not deliberately planted. Plantations are forest stands established by planting or seeding, or both, in the process of afforestation or reforestation.

Forests can develop wherever the average temperature is greater then 10 °C in the warmest month and rainfall exceeds 200 mm annually. In any area having conditions above this range there exists a variety of tree species grouped into a number of forest types that are determined by the specific conditions of the environment there, including the climate, soil, geology, and biotic activity. Forests can be broadly classified into types such as the taiga (consisting of pines, spruce, etc.), the mixed temperate forests (with both coniferous and deciduous trees), the temperate forests, the sub tropical forests, the tropical forests, and the equatorial rain  forests..

Global Forest Initiative  join us. Explore global forests, link global classrooms.



The Phoebe Hall Knipling Outdoor Lab is a 225-acre facility that provides science and outdoor education to the students of Arlington County Public Schools. In this natural classroom, urban youth — often for the first time — can run in a meadow, climb a mountain, hike beside a stream, or fish in a pond.


So You Think You Know the Oregon Trail Game?The History?

pioneer dress
Meek's Cutoff

Subject: for ent On 2011-05-10, at 4:13 PM, Teplitsky, Ariel wrote: Meek’s Cutoff Ariel Teplitsky Movies Editor Toronto Star Twitter: @WhatsOnToronto meekscutoff_01.jpg



As we enter a new phase of technology awareness, many of the technology pioneers got started on Gamification with a little game called ” Oregon Trail”?

USA Today “The 1990 MECC version of The Oregon Trail, where players face various trials and tribulations while trying to make it from east to west, is among them. The popular game was often used in schools to teach geography and history. It’s currently the top-viewed game on the archive with more than 170,000 clicks. (The 1992 version is also in the archive and has more than 37,000 views.) As we explore virtually, and learn history in depth , we learn more about the Oregon Trail.


Did you know the game? You thought you did, right?

I had kids working on teams as we played Oregon Trail. We learned to negotiate the trail starting by hitching up the wagon and hit up the general store for supplies because it’s time to head West.

My students and I had a pull down map of the trail and seven other major trails, and the resources of the Smithsonian. Ever seen a porcelain potty, and or a replica of the wagon? We put on our Metro shoes to go look and see the artifacts of the trail. We had literature that described the life of the pioneers on the trail.


                                       WHAT WAS THE GAME ABOUT?

Here is how the game is described
“As a covered wagon party of pioneers, you head out west from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette River and valley in Oregon. You first must stock up on provisions, and then, while traveling, make decisions such as when to rest, how much food to eat, etc. The Oregon Trail incorporates simulation elements and planning ahead, along with discovery and adventure, as well as mini-game-like activities (hunting and floating down the Dalles River).” Here is the location of the game online

The 1990 version.

There is a National Park dedicated to the Oregon Trail , it covers several states.

Westward Migration
Imagine yourself an emigrant headed for Oregon: would promises of lush farmlands and a



new beginning lure you to leave home and walk for weeks? More than 2,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail in six states-reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American settlers.

The National Park Service updates the images here on the Oregon Trail Road Trip.

The National Historic Trail covered these  states.A journey of about 2000 miles.

National Geographic Education Division shares information about the trail here.

On the National Geographic site, listed above ( Click the Link) there is a file that can be downloaded.

On May 16, 1842, a group of more than 100 pioneers left Elm Grove, Missouri, on the 3,500-kilometer (2,200-mile) Oregon Trail. Pioneers had been trickling into the Oregon Territory for decades, but this was the first major wagon train to embark on the famous route.

The Oregon Trail stretched from the banks of the Missouri River to what is today western Oregon. The route had long been established by fur traders, missionaries, trackers, and military scouts. It crossed what are today the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon.

Pioneers packed up all they could in covered wagons, as well as on pack animals such as horses, donkeys and, crucially, oxen. Travelers had to be prepared for flat plains, steep mountains (the Rockies), and dry deserts (the Great Basin) before reaching the fertile valleys of Oregon. Many pioneers feared attacks by hostile Native Americans, but weather, landscape, and disease were much bigger threats.

Wagon trains to Oregon usually departed in spring, and took about four or five months to reach their destination. The settlers of 1842 arrived in September. More than 400,000 people migrated west on the Oregon Trail before the transcontinental railroad made it obsolete in 1869. Some history in this Video.

There is history that is left out. Want to know it? Click here. Amazing history at your fingertips. One excerpt to get your attention. These are fun.

At the National Geographic Workshop, we laughed out loud at the authentic lyrics of some of the songs that they sang. They are not what you think.

Indian attacks were relatively rare on the Oregon Trail.

Contrary to the depictions of dime novels and Hollywood Westerns, attacks by the Plains Indians were not the greatest hazard faced by westbound settlers. While pioneer trains did circle their wagons at night, it was mostly to keep their draft animals from wandering off, not protect against an ambush. Indians were more likely to be allies and trading partners than adversaries, and many early wagon trains made use of Pawnee and Shoshone trail guides. Hostile encounters increased in the years after the beginning of the Civil War, but statistics show only around 400 settlers were killed by natives between 1840 and 1860. The more pressing threats were cholera and other diseases, which were responsible for the vast majority of the estimated 20,000 deaths that occurred along the Oregon Trail.

In my class we changed how the game was played and used it to probe the life of those on the trail through their books, diaries recipes, medicines, toys and the things they created.

What did they eat and how did they cook it? How did they celebrate events? What were the most valuable items? What was gathered along the way?

But wait, there is more…

Holy freaking wagon tongues! Don Rawitsch, one of the creators The Oregon Trail just did an AMA on Reddit all about Oregon Trail..Click here.That.. childhood computer game. Don answered questions from fans, and here the highlights. Here are all the things you never knew about the game including strategies, fun facts and more.


Honestly, if you could go back in time with this information, you would be the coolest game player  in your class.I had students who were experts who could make that game last so long. I will never forget the time that the team of boys I was playing with let me die to see how long it took for a person to starve.We made it to the end of the game without dying. We were fifth graders and they nuanced the game in every way possible.



I alway hated it when the wagon overturned. Click here.
How Did People Die on the Oregon Trail?

Grab a chuckle and look at all of the ways you could die that were a part of the game.

Pioneer skills for Children to learn…Enrichment. Learning to be a Pioneer Child

Living History School  – Skills for Pioneer Children.










The KKK? Let me count the ways I learned about it!!

stone mountain

Ku Klux Klan rally cross burning, Stone Mountain, Georgia. © 1986 Robin Nelson

Here is the exchange on television that caused me to write this blog.



With all of the the hype on the news about the KKK, and the recent CNN confrontation between two broadcasters, I thought we might revisit the KKK and what a minority person like me knows about it.

The featured picture was my go to, when I did not feel like studying. There were several pictures of people who were victimized for learning to read.



From literature these are images in my mind. In college I saw the real photos. They were my motivation to learn, to read more and to be excellent in education. It was my revenge for the slaves and people who suffered , I thought.


Wikipedia says

“The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or simply “the Klan”, is the name of three distinct past and present movements in the United States that have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism aimed at groups or individuals whom they opposed.[6] All three movements have called for the “purification” of American society, and all are considered right wing extremist organizations.[7][8][9][10]”

“The first Ku Klux Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. It sought to overthrow the Republican state governments in the South during the Reconstruction Era, especially by using violence against African American leaders. With numerous chapters across the South, it was suppressed around 1871, through federal enforcement. Members made their own, often colorful, costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be terrifying, and to hide their identities.[11][12]”89118333ed6NEU

“The second group was founded in 1915, and flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, particularly in urban areas of the Midwest and West. It opposed Catholics and Jews, especially newer immigrants, and stressed opposition to the Catholic Church.[13] This second organization adopted a standard white costume and used similar code words as the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades.”

“The third and current manifestation of the KKK emerged after 1950, in the form of small, local, unconnected groups that use the KKK name. They focused on opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, often using violence and murder to suppress activists. It is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.[14] It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members as of 2012.[2]”


“The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to America’s “Anglo-Saxon” blood, hearkening back to 19th-century nativism.[15] Although members of the KKK swear to uphold Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination has officially denounced the KKK.[16]”

The last photo , of a lynching, is the one that often comes to my mind. My mother and dad opened a black high school in Salisbury , Maryland.  I was born in Salisbury , Maryland. When I asked why they moved, my mom would say because it was too far from her family.My dad would say, it is all your mother’s fault.

My mother tried on a hat in Salisbury, Maryland . She put it onto her head. That was not allowed . Black women were not allowed to try on hats. My mom tried it on anyway.So the local KKK invited my dad for a ride. The people in town liked him so they did not lynch him. They showed him the tree where people were hanged and told him to take care of his wife to make sure she goes by the rules. They moved. Mother acknowledged the story.

The Ku Klux Klan sought to re-establish Democratic power in the South at the time when Radical Republicans and carpetbaggers dominated Reconstruction. It was founded by ex-servicemen of the Confederate Army in 1866, led by Nathan Bedford Forrest. The original group opposed the reforms enforced on the South by federal troops regarding the treatment of former slaves, often using violence to achieve their goals. Forrest ordered the Klan to disband in 1869, but many of its groups in other parts of the country ignored the order and continued to function.

As a teen I knew to avoid White men in groups, in a car, or in a crowd because of the fear of being raped or groped or being victimized. Black women were routinely assaulted in the south and there was little consequence to rapes.

       The Klan Gets Diverse in Hate, Adding more Minorities and Religions

A second distinct group using the same name was started atop Stone Mountain near Atlanta in 1915 by William J. Simmons. This second group existed as a money-making fraternal organization and fought to maintain the ways of the past by fighting against the increasing numbers of Roman Catholics, Jews, Blacks, Asians, and other immigrants into the United States. This group, although preaching racism, was a mainstream organization with 4 million members at its peak in the 1920s. Its popularity fell during the Great Depression, and membership fell again during World War II presumably because of mass enlistment or conscription to the Armed Forces.

                                         The Violence of the KKK

The violence conducted by the Klan was often sexualized in nature. Although the Klan openly stated their reason for existing was to protect white women from black men, some had no moral qualms about their members sexually abusing or mutilating black men and women in order to show their authority. Often, Klan members would both assault and rape black women (Hodes 66). An example of sexualized violence was given in by the U.S. Commissioner from Raleigh, A. Webster Shaffer, concerning a freed woman named Frances Gilmore. A group of disguised attackers had assaulted her by whipping and beating her, then taking her clothes off to be whipped with a board, and finally forcibly having her pubic hair burned off before she was cut multiple times with a knife (Report 36-37). Gilmore was unable to identify her attackers due to their disguises, and no arrests were ever made.

Another example of sexualized violence was committed on a black man who, because of a simple labor conflict, was forced to cut up his genitals with a knife (Hodes 65). The Klans use of sexualized violence on women and men shows their willingness to assert their social authority over blacks, by any means necessary.

Victims of Violence

The Klan seemed willing to use whatever means necessary to regain political dominance of the South, even if that meant instilling terror via sexual abuse.

Did You Know?
At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million people nationwide.

Where can you find out more?

The Book, Mississippi Burning 

Photo: “Civil Rights and the KKK” At the link.

The Newseum  has lessons on Civil Rights and the KKK.


According to John Hope Franklin (From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, 1967), “in the last sixteen years of the nineteenth century there had been more than 2,500 lynchings, the great majority of which were of Negroes.” The early twentieth century did not see a significant decrease: “In the very first year of the new century more than 100 Negroes were lynched, and before the outbreak of World War I the number for the century had soared to more than 1,100.” Lynchings declined in number but continued in ferocity during World War I. They were seized on so effectively by the Germans that, despite his Southern sympathies, President Wilson issued a statement against lynching and mob violence, But after the war more than a few returning black soldiers were lynched, some in their uniforms. The “Red scare” of 1919 was eclipsed by the racial violence and lynching fever of what James Weldon Johnson termed “the Red Summer.” Riots and killings, some of them lynchings, occurred in Chicago, Texas, Washington, D.C., and with particular brutality that October in Arkansas. Although lynching was by no means an isolated, aberrant occurrence in the 1920s when the Klan was resurgent or in the 1930s when the depression fueled the hunt for racial as well as political scapegoats, the phenomenon was no longer virulent enough to claim one victim every two to three days. In its sporadic occurrences over the next decades, lynching continued to be a vehicle of terror and a last resort in opposition to the drive for political and civil rights through the 1950s, 1960s, and beyond.