“Notes on the State of Virginia,” by Thomas Jefferson (1785)

* “Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature of 1831 and 1832,” by Thomas Roderick Dew (1832), and “Thoughts on African Colonization,” by William Lloyd Garrison (1832)

“Crania Americana,” by Samuel Morton (1839)

“Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” by Phillis Wheatley (1773)

“The Narrative of the Life,” of Frederick Douglass (1845)

Edgar Ray Killen, the architect of the 1964 Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner murders, is convicted on manslaughter charges and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

* “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth” (1850)

Many Americans might not know the more polemical side of race writing in our history. The canon of African-American literature is well established. Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin are familiar figures. Far less so is Samuel Morton (champion of the obsolete theory of polygenesis) or Thomas Dixon (author of novels romanticizing Klan violence). It is tempting to think that the influence of those dusty polemics ebbed as the dust accumulated. But their legacy persists, freshly shaping much of our racial discourse.

“Thoughts on the Colonization of Free Blacks,” by Robert Finley (1816)

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee (1960)

Former Confederate general and noted white supremacist Nathan Bedford Forrest, architect of the Fort Pillow Massacre, becomes the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan murders several thousand people in the as an effort to suppress the political participation of black Southerners and their allies.

And then, as a nation, we have a week like last week.

The Ku Klux Klan publishes its "Organization and Principles". Although early supporters of the Klan claimed that it was philosophically a Christian, patriotic organization rather than a , a cursory glance at the Klan's catechism reveals otherwise:

* “Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison (1952)

The "inalienable right to self-preservation" is a clear reference to the Klan's violent activities—and its emphasis, even at this early stage, is clearly white supremacy.

“An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World,” by David Walker (1829)

* “The Descent of Man,” by Charles Darwin (1871)

For African-Americans in the radiance of Black Power’s turn to Pan-Africanism, the thrilling and terrifying story of Kunta Kinte and his descendants arrived right on time. The best seller inspired one of the most watched shows in American television history. “Roots” dispatched legions of racist ideas of backward Africa, of civilizing slavery, of the contented slave, of loose enslaved women. The plantation genre of happy mammies and Sambos was gone with the wind.

“The Prostrate State: South Carolina Under Negro Government,” by James Pike (1874)

“Tarzan of the Apes,” by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1912)

The Mississippi chapter of the Ku Klux Klan firebombs twenty predominantly black churches, and then (with the aid of local police) James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

“Our Brother in Black: His Freedom and His Future,” by Atticus Haygood (1881)

* “The Weary Blues,” by Langston Hughes (1926)

The Ku Klux Klan was and is undeniably a terrorist organization—but what made the Klan an especially insidious terrorist organization, and a threat to , was that it functioned as the unofficial paramilitary arm of Southern segregationist governments. This allowed its members to kill with impunity and allowed to eliminate activists by force without alerting federal authorities. Although the Klan is much less active today, it will be remembered as an instrument of cowardly Southern politicians who hid their faces behind hoods, and their ideology behind an unconvincing facade of patriotism.