US

Ku Klux Klan dreams of rising again 150 years after founding

  • In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in cross and swastika burnings after a "white pride" rally in rural Paulding County near Cedar Town, Ga. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that tracks activity by groups it considers extremist, says there’s no evidence the Klan is returning to the strength of its heyday. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in cross and swastika burnings after a "white pride" rally in rural Paulding County near Cedar Town, Ga. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that tracks activity by groups it considers extremist, says there‚Äôs no evidence the Klan is returning to the strength of its heyday. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, Loyal White Knights Grand Dragon Will Quigg of Anaheim, Calif., center, shouts to protestors during a "White Pride," rally, in Rome, Ga. The name "Ku Klux Klan" evokes horror for many, but what is the organization today? The AP is interviewing imperial wizards and grand dragons, a watchdog group and others to develop a portrait of the KKK as it exists in 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, Loyal White Knights Grand Dragon Will Quigg of Anaheim, Calif., center, shouts to protestors during a "White Pride," rally, in Rome, Ga. The name "Ku Klux Klan" evokes horror for many, but what is the organization today? The AP is interviewing imperial wizards and grand dragons, a watchdog group and others to develop a portrait of the KKK as it exists in 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a "white pride" rally in Rome, Ga. Klan leaders say they feel that U.S. politics are going their way, as a nationalist, us-against-them mentality deepens across the nation. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

    In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a "white pride" rally in Rome, Ga. Klan leaders say they feel that U.S. politics are going their way, as a nationalist, us-against-them mentality deepens across the nation. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)  (The Associated Press)

The Ku Klux Klan is trying to make a comeback and reshape itself for a new era.

The white supremacist organization was born in the defeated South after the Civil War. It's 150 years old and has been in decline for decades.

Yet Associated Press interviews with Klan leaders show the group is still alive and dreams of restoring itself to what it once was: an invisible empire spreading throughout society.

Watchdog groups estimate total Klan membership at only a few thousand nationwide, and some scoff at the idea of a Klan resurgence. There's no single Klan, and different Klan groups disagree over tactics and philosophy.

But Klan leaders say they feel U.S. politics are going their way as a nationalist, us-against-them mentality deepens among some across the nation.