The KKK skeleton in my closet

Posted By Holly Olsen / June 9, 2017 / 0 Comments

This post addresses Global Goal #10: Reduced Inequalities.

 

I had the opportunity to visit the The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC recently with my girls. It is the place where, back during the civil rights movement, four brave black college students decided to sit at a “white’s only” lunch counter. We got to see the original lunch counter, hear their story, and learn so much about the entire movement. I loved walking through with my girls, talking to them about what happened, and remembering people like Ruby Bridges and Emmett Till. It was powerful.

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At one point during the tour, we were shown an actual hooded Ku Kux Klan costume. The tour guide explained that a family whose grandfather had passed away was cleaning out his attic when they found the white robe. They were shocked and mortified because they had never known that he had belonged to the Klan. They didn’t want to keep it in their possession, so they contacted the museum in order to donate it. As our tour guide told this story, I heard audible gasps and sounds of surprise from the tour group.

I decided it was time my children learned about their own ancestor who was also a member of the KKK.

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Above: George Washington Kidd
Below: Mary Elinda Elizabeth Marrow and George Washington Kidd

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I took my girls aside and explained to them that their great, great, great, grandfather, George Washington Kidd, was a member of the Klan. Thankfully, he left it and changed his ways, but nonetheless, the KKK is a part of our history. My girls were surprised to learn that sad  truth about someone actually related to them. I mentioned that this man was the only family member I knew of, but there could have been more. I went on to say that it is incredibly important that we learn about our past, that we learn about people like the Greensboro four, and even the KKK so that hate groups and the cycle of racism, are not repeated in us.

We must educate ourselves constantly so that we can be a voice for truth, and so that we can always be learning new truths.  Learning from the past (both the collective past and our individual pasts) can teach us empathy and help us eradicate apathy about the injustices we see in our world today.


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holly

Holly Olsen is a mother of four daughters. She has a long history of activism, creating ripples that have been recognized by the United Nations humanitarian endeavors and Global Citizen. She is a published author, a co-founder of two non-profit organizations, a professor, and is known for her ability to create positive social change. In her blog, you will read about her adventures with and attempts to further the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

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