Discovery Set: Backlash to Reform

Social reform rarely, if ever, comes about without opposition and debate. Sometimes, however, opposition to change crosses a line into extremism and hatred. In these instances, opponents typically focus not only on the idea or policy change, but on the people associated with this change. While disagreement and debate are signs of a healthy democracy, hate literature seeks to stir up animosity and even violence towards people who belong to a different race, religion, or ethnicity; have a disability; differ in sexual orientation; or have a different country of origin. Extremist groups may use times of social unrest and disagreement as an opportunity to promote their own intolerant views and agendas.

The materials shown here represent a variety of extreme responses to social reform movements including suffrage, civil rights, and school busing. They do not represent the views of VCU Libraries or our Partner Institutions, but are presented so that scholars and students may study the language and arguments used by such groups. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact VCU Libraries at 


For further reading:

Ku Klux Klan in Virginia, Encyclopedia Virginia
Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940, VCU Libraries 
The Ku Klux Klan and Christian Churches, Union Presbyterian Seminary Library 
George Lincoln Rockwell, Social Welfare History Image Portal,
The shadow of an assassinated American Nazi commander hangs over Charlottesville. The Washington Post (August 21, 2017). 
American Women Who Were Anti-Suffragettes, NPR History Deptartment (October 22, 2015)

Discovery Set: Backlash to Reform

Backlash to Reform: Hatred and Extremism