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First KKK post Civil War

Confederate cavalrymen, led by Nathan Bedford Forrest, later the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, killing unarmed black Union soldiers after the surrender of Fort Pillow in Tennessee on Aug. 12, 1864. (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)

Hate in America: A look under the hood

Hate in America began even before there was an America. Slavery, of course, was colonial America’s original sin. But even the sainted Founding Father Benjamin Franklin espoused bigotry against, of all the unlikely targets, the race he called the “Stupid, Swarthy Germans.” Any graph of America’s emotional temperature in the centuries since then would show ebbs and flows of intolerance — simmering periods of exclusion punctuated by spikes of outright hate. And today, as a consensus emerges among experts that the friction we’re now experiencing — from Charlottesville, Va., to Berkeley, Calif. — may represent yet another one of those hateful peaks, it’s worth considering what the present moment has in common with the past, and how it differs.

Here are some images of the perpetrators — and targets — of bigotry in America’s past.

See related story by Andrew Romano and Lisa Belkin with Caitlin Dickson: Hate in America: Where it comes from and why it’s back >>>

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