The rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan started a new wave of white supremacy in the United States. Under a different leader as well as a distinctly fresh creed, the second Klan began its reign after World War I. This Klan, unlike the Klan during the years of Reconstruction preyed upon more individuals and also struck a cord within the realm of politics. Also, the second Klan made its way into the North and was even quite popular in Michigan, particularly in Detroit, Lansing and Kalamazoo.
Director D. W. Griffith helped to ignite the start of the Ku Klux Klan with his 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation. Inspired by Thomas Dixon's novel, the Clansmen, it portrayed the KKK as the savior of the South after the years of the Civil War. Running two hours and 45 minutes, this film was first shown to President Woodrow Wilson who stated, "It is like writing history with lightning."
With the President's support The Birth of a Nation opened to audiences around the country in March of 1915 and ran for 47 straight weeks including 280 sold out shows in New York.
D.W. Griffith's film spawned a new generation of the KKK. William Simmons was the first to seize upon the white supremacist feeling that swept the nation. On Thanksgiving night in 1915, Simmons and some of his friends climbed Stone Mountain in Atlanta, Georgia. There, they stood before, "Ã¢ÂÂ¦a burning wooden cross and before a hastily constructed rock altar upon which lay an American flag, an opened Bible, an unsheathed sword and a canteen of water." From that moment on, the Ku Klux Klan began its reign of terror in the United States for a second time.
Simmons laid out his plans and policies for the KKK in his booklet,