The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, the site of the White Haven home that Ulysses shared with Julia before the Civil War, is showing a temporary exhibit on President Grant’s fight against the Ku Klux Klan through the end of 2021.
The exhibit has been popular and had generated thoughtful comments from visitors. In answer to the question “What does justice mean to you?” the site shared a few responses on its Facebook page:
“Equality and freedom for all.”
“Justice is the U.S. Constitution! Only and Always! It’s the parchment barrier that stands between free people and government beyond its bounds.”
“Treat all persons the same under the law.”
“Justice is when the law agrees with what is right and moral with equal treatment to all and the law is upheld.”
The site offers an article with background on the issues covered in the exhibit, “President Grant Takes on the Ku Klux Klan.” The piece explains how, once Grant learned that the newly formed KKK had started attacking freed people in the South to intimidate them from voting and taking part in politics, he was determined to act:
President Grant looked at the violence with increasing concern. He had a genuine regard for the well-being of the freedpeople who had supported the Union in large numbers and was concerned that the actions of the Ku Klux Klan were undermining the verdict of the Civil War. Sadly, the Federal Government’s resources for curbing this widespread violence were limited, especially within the U.S. military, which had downsized significantly since the end of the Civil War. Grant was nevertheless determined to do something. In a letter to Speaker of the House James G. Blaine, Grant wrote, “there is a deplorable state of affairs existing in some portions of the south demanding the immediate attention of Congress. If the attention of Congress can be confined to the single subject of providing means for the protection of life and property in those sections of the Country where the present civil authority fails to secure that end, I feel that we should have such legislation.”
Visit White Haven before the end of the year to see the exhibit and contribute your own perspective on a key part of Grant’s story that’s so relevant to American society today.