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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 2005- » 2005 (May-June) » Archive through May 20, 2005 » The Scots-Gaelic Sanas of Ku Klux Klan « Previous Next »

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 68
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 11:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The Scots-Gaelic Sanas (etymology) of The Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan
Cu Cleóc Clainn
Cu Chleócach Clainn
Cloaked Champions of the Clann

Cu: Champion, hero. (Dwelly, Faclair Gaidhlig Gu Beurla, Gaelic-English Dictionary , p. 283

Cleóc, Cloak, mantle, cover or conceal (Dwelly)

Cleócach, adj., cloaked, concealed.

Clann, gs., clainn, offspring, descendants, children; tribe, family.



My father was the orphaned son of Irish immigrants from Donegal and the north of Ireland. One of his earliest memories was the Cu Chleócach Clainn marching with burning torches in the middle of the night outside his Roman Catholic orphanage in Farmingdale, NY, in 1922. A year later, in 1923, more than 50,000 Klan members marched in Bay Shore, Long Island, one hour fron New York City. They were angered by the presence of Irish Catholic Al Smith in the governor's mansion. The KKK attacked and terrorized Roman Catholic churches and burned crosses all across the northeastern United States -- from Brooklyn to Maine -- throughout the 1920s.

Scotland’s dark role in the slave trade is well known. Scottish and "Scots-Irish" Americans were influential in founding the Ku Klux Klan, with its the traditional Scottish symbol of the burning cross and the KKK oath ceremony, which originated from a Highland custom.

Many Scottish Americans were also dedicated abolitionists and worked tirelessly to destroy slavery in North America.

Daniel Cassidy

DC

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Dan
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Username: Dan

Post Number: 23
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 02:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

hey i would say KKK is more a bastardation of ancient greek...... that it is not of Scotts-Irish KKK was a full circle of somthin to that effect dm

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1423
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 04:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Isn't it accepted that "Ku Klux" is derived from the sound of a rifle being cocked?

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 212
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 10:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm going to take a big risk here...but, my guess is that I am one of the few on this forum who has actually seen a klan march/demonstration. Remember, I grew up in the South at the height of forced integration. As recently as 1982 or 83 we had violent klan activity just 2 hours from where I live. And NO, I am NOT a klan member...all they do and all they stand for is repugnant to me.

Ku Klux Klan was taken from the Greek Kuklos the meaning of which I have forgotten. I believe it means "group" but I can't be certain. Klan, of course is just a corruption of Clan.

It was founded by former confederate officers, cheif among them was Nathan Bedford Forrest from Tennessee (I think). The organization was formed in response to what was seen as post war aggression by northern enterprises. The most common example given is the alleged non-payment of taxes culminating in family farms and property being bought for pennies on the dollar by northern "carpet baggers." Remember, from the outset of the war until its end in 1865, southerners were paying taxes to the Confederate States of America. When the north won, the federal government immediately placed leins against southern property for four years of "non-payment" of taxes. Perhaps the most famous use of this taxation leverage was against Robert E. Lee, the eventual commander of confederate forces. He had inherited, through his wife, Mary Custis Lee, an estate just outide of Washington, DC. The government seized this property for non-payment of taxes during the war years. Mrs. Lee actually travelled to DC to pay those taxes but they would not take the money from her. Women, apparently, were not allowed to transact financial affairs on behalf of thier husbands. The federal government insisted that Mr. Lee (the commander of confederate forces) travel to DC and pay the taxes in person. Not exactly an acceptable option for him between 1861 and 1865. To make a long story short, the property was seized and is now Arlington Cemetery.

Out of New Orleans, the Klan was quite active against carpet baggers for alleged moral affronts toward southern women. Given the baudy history of New Orleans, however, how much of this affrontery actually occured is suspect.

It is this early "noble intention" of the klan that is portrayed in the classic film "Birth of A Nation."

Regarding the similarities between Highland ceremonies and the Klan initiation: General Forrest and his co-horts were also members of the Freemasons which was an incredibly powerful and widespread fraternity. Given this fact, I would surmise that the ceremonies have more in common with Freemasonry than any Scottish or Irish ceremony. I have never seen a Klan initiation ceremony and have read little about them, so this is merely a supposition.

The Klan was a very popular and socially acceptable organization in the 1920's and 1930's. Whole families were members. Many of it's members saw it as a means of political advancement. Oddly enough, one of the Democratic party's leading senators, Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia, was actually the leader of the West Virignia contingent of the Klan and fought vigorously to block school integration in his state. Now, he is one of the leading forces in the party that markets itself as the champion of minority rights.

Of course, whatever noble purpose may, or may not, have given rise to the klan, it is now generally accepted that this was corrupted into a racist/neo-nazi organization. They are America's home-grown terrorists, if you will. The lynchings of blacks are well known. They also played a huge role in murder of civil rights activists, both black and white. As I alluded to earlier, when I was in college the klan attacked a peaceful demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina killing several people. A friend of mine had actually just driven through the intersection where this took place just as the gunfire errupted. They and all of their spin-off groups represent the worst in America.

Any google search will get you some more in-depth data on the origins of the name. But, beware....you'll also find some pretty disturbing sites using those key-words. Even more frightening to me is that many of these spin-off groups are using Irish as a means of communication. We've had a few pop in here from time to time and drop some seeming innocent links. When you actually follow that link...well, let's just say it's scary.

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 69
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 01:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde:

Thanks for the input. I respectfully and heartily disagree with both the gunshot Onomatopoeiac (sp?) etymology and the vague Greek one.

Scots-Gaelic was spoken throughout the South and especially in the Carolinas. There is evidence it was even spoken by populations of African-Americans in North Carolina as late as the 1840s! Do a quick google search and see some of the work done by African American musician and Professor Willie Ruff at Yale.

James does a pretty good job of parsing the Klan in the South. In the north, however, in the 1920s. the Northern KKK's actvities were almost solely directed against Catholics.

In Brooklyn, there were running gun battles fought throughout the 1920s between the NYC Klan and informal groupings (gangs) of Irish and Italian Catholics. The Northern KKK were direct descendants of the nativist Protestant paramilitaries like Butcher Bill Poole and his Bowery Boys, portrayed in Scorcese's execrable film Gangs of NY. The KKK was very active in opposing NY-Irish governor Al Smith's run for the presidency in 1928. Hoover, of course won. In 1929, the whole house of cards came tumbling down and the Klan disappeared for a while.

The match with Ku and Cu and Klan and Clann gives us the clue. The Klux is merely the Cleóc (Cloak, mantle) of concealment, a key part of their MO and their get-up.

Anyway, that's me 22 cents.

Beannacht



dc

DC

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1431
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 03:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

But Cleóc is not an Irish word.
The word in Irish is brat.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1432
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

An the word for hero is
curadh

From MacBain:
http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MB2/mb12.html

curaidh
a champion, Irish curadh, Early Irish cur, g. curad, caur, Welsh cawr, Cornish caur, gigas, Gaulish @GKaúaros (Polyb.), Cavarillus, etc., *kauaro-s, a hero, mighty, root keva, kû, be strong; Sanskrit çavîra, mighty, çu@-/ra, hero; Greek @Gkúrios, lord, @Gku@nros, might.

No mention there of either Cu = hero or Cléoc.

Cléoc sounds like a late loan word.

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Lughaidh
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Username: Lughaidh

Post Number: 309
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 07:59 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Cl(e)òc is a Scottish Gaelic word meaning a cloak, and it's a loanword from English. macBain is an etymological dictionary, you won't find all gaelic words in it.

Mmmm, i think that cù means "hound" and "dog" in Scottish Gaelic, and it can mean "hero" by metaphor. Maybe because of Cú Chulainn.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 336
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 10:21 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Kuklos means "circle" and was popularly used at the time for many secret societies, of which the KKK was just one more sad example in a trend. Sorry...nothing gaelic there.

"Circle" is the only explanation I have ever seen put out for it, ever.

It is also the one that their own history puts out, says http://www.kkklan.com/ (just google: kkk greek word circle) google your own explanation and compare.

i don't want to waste any time or wind up on any more FBI lists by going to klan websites, but I would suspect that searching long enough will turn up something in writing by forrest giving exactly that explanation.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1434
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 04:12 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Perhaps

The point I was making (not too well I admit) was that going from Cu Cléoc Clainn to Ku Klux Klan is unlikely because:

1) These are not the first words an Irish or Gaelic speaker would think of to express the concept

2) The grammar is all wrong for the "Cloaked Champions of the Clan" - there would be some articles etc there, Clan would be genitive etc.

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Turla O Colbárd
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Posted From: 207.200.116.203
Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 04:04 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá sé sin stairiúl 's suimiúl go leór act ma's mian le haoinne a leithéid d'fheiceál inniu, tá séisiúr an mhórshiúl ag dul ar aghaidh go beó bríomhar i dTuaisceart Éireann fós.

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 70
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Cu is defined as a champion or hero in Dwelly. It is a key lexcial component and fits like a bloody glove.

Cleóc is a cloak in Scots Gaelic. See Dwelly also.

Being cloaked was key to the secretive anonymous M.O. of the Klan.

Cleócach, cloaked. See Dwelly.

Clann is clan is klan. They couldn't spell it or decline it but they knew what it meant.

Cu chleócach clann,
An Chu chleócach cloinne (g.s.)

The Cloaked Champions of the children, the "race," etc.?

Aonghus is right, of course. The grammar is exceedingly gnarly.

But so was the typical creagaire (a hard hardy person, a cheap person, O'Donaill) or what we call a "cracker" over here who would have joined the Klan.


I suspect it was constructed from lexical shards of Scots-Gaelic that were passed down in Southern Scots-Gaelic vernacular English for a hundred years or so prior to post-Civil War founding of KKK (ca. 1867)


But the current wingnut Anglo-American sanas of "kyklos clann" is a totally idotic. Why would they call it the Circle Clan in Greek and Gaelic? Kyklos (Greek, circle) clann. Sounds like a church sewing circle.

Again, they were cloaked. They thought they were champs. And they called themsleves the Klan.

At the end of the day a KKK cracker (creagaire) was a chump & scuaid & leath-dhuine.

Pax

dc

DC

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 71
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 11:43 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde:

The creagaire of the KKK is first cousin to the Creagaire agus Fear Buí i dTuaisceart Éireann.

(Message edited by dancas1 on May 17, 2005)

DC

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 341
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 12:14 am:   Edit Post Print Post

http://www.koeroesi.asn-graz.ac.at/f_gump/kkk.htm gives forrest's reasoning as kuklos meaning circle and klan meaning family. while clan has it's roots in scottish, it had long been adopted as an english word as well by that time. forrest's only knowledge of the word "clan" likely came from its english version as there is no evidence whatsoever that forrest would have known a gaelic word if it'd hit him over the head.

as has been said, and is universally attributed without any exception that I can find, kuklos was frequently used to mean "circle" or "band" in 19th century secret societies.

Since Pythagoras has been attributed as the creator of one of the earliest secret societies ( http://www.fctp.co.uk/journeytothemissingcapstone.asp ), those 19th century groups used greek terminology to add an air of ancient-ness and mystery to their groups (much like the masons of the 1700s attempted to create links going back to solomon's temple via the crusades). This greek usage carries down to the present day with college fraternities and sororities.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 342
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 12:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

believe me...i would love nothing better than to turn up scores of irish influences on the english language, but not every phonetic similarity is a solid connection.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 343
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 12:18 am:   Edit Post Print Post

oh, and the kkk didn't start wearing sheets and masks until many years after its creation...at the time of naming, forrest had neither plans nor intentions for anybody to be "cloaked"

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Dan
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Username: Dan

Post Number: 24
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 12:37 am:   Edit Post Print Post

they did not wear hoods or masks till waaayyy after reconstruction, it was against the law to do so... but with the advent of Jim Crow laws they felt it necessary to hide from their neighbors to inflict more harm and fear. btw the Grand Dragon of the KKK is an Irish Catholic from CT!! how far racists have come in the new Millenia but they are also basically broke due to some rightoues lawsuits. bUt little if any Scotts Gaelic connection but really cool reasoning tho! and a really nice try GRMA

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 344
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 12:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

that's funny, how'd he manage to do that? the guy from ct that is...

anybody ever see "mother night" by kurt vonnegut? one of the characters is a black nazi. similar situation, i think...

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 347
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 12:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

hey...i think i found a dancas1 connection...

a dictionary lists the following under 'well'

(to man) well done! bullaí fir;
(to woman) well done! bullaí mná;

is anyone familiar with the expression "bully-for-you" as a sarcastic way of offering congratulations? ("oh, so you managed to pull your science grade from an F to a D...well...bully-for-you!")

connection between bullaí and 'bully'?

I dunno...but the expression is only common in my own family among my Irish-American relatives (3rd gen) even though both the irish and italian sides began life in the US in the same basic area of NYC and then moved to the same basic area of central NJ...

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mahoo
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Posted From: 65.101.134.105
Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 01:26 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Or the movie "TRUE BELIEVER" a Jewish neo nazi skinhead
and based on a real story!

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Fiosrach
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Posted From: 149.157.1.122
Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey James, that piece you wrote was facinating reading! This thread overall is very interesting historically.
Personally I'd heard about the Greek basis for it. Or so my etymological dictionary says.
Can't say I know anymore than that about the basis of the name.

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Bean_rua
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Username: Bean_rua

Post Number: 9
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 02:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Regarding "bully for you": my mother, 1st generation Norwegian, used to say that all of the time..

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 215
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 09:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I think you're reaching, Dancas. The Greek connection as summarized by Antaine is absolutely spot on. There were a number of organizations that sprouted during that time frame that used some form of ancient or greek association. Three current day college greek-letter fraternities were also started by former confederate generals...collectively, they are known as the Lexington Triad. They are Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Nu and....crap..I forgot the other one.

Anyway...my point is that the Kuklos definition is well established and accepted as fact. I think you're really reaching to draw the scots connection.

Sorry....can't go with you on this one.

Le meas,

james

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 72
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 02:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agaibh.

I still prefer the Gaelic sanas, but I appreciate all the feedback. One thing is sure. Whether cu cleo/ch or kyklos, a creagaire in the clann can still póg mo thóin -- in Gaeilge.

Anyone interested in the Brooklyn Sanas of póg mo thóin?

Hint: póg is said by the good Sagart Dineen to be derived from Pax.


Hahaha. (now don't start fightin' b'hoys, I'm just kiddin' yiz.)

Pax
dc


PS: an old "cracker" is always an old "creagaire..."

As Daidí Rice sang: Tiomp Díoma Crua

DC

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 73
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 02:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Beat the Blues...

DC

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Dancas1
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Username: Dancas1

Post Number: 74
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 02:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Wheel around, turn around, go just so.
Everytime I turn around I "Tiomp Díoma Crua!"

DADDY RICE

dc

(Message edited by dancas1 on May 19, 2005)

DC



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