Death of Hiram Wesley Evans, Imperial Wizard of Ku Klux Klan Hot

Death of Hiram Wesley Evans, Imperial Wizard of Ku Klux Klan

Hiram Wesley Evans, Imperial Wizard of the KKK
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Hiram Wesley Evans dies in Atlanta, Georgia. An Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, he is largely responsible for transforming the Klan of the early 20th century from a loose network of associated but local groups into a more national movement that for a time wielded real influence in America's national politics.

Under Evans' leadership, membership in the KKK soared. Most reports agree that the number of Klan members more than doubled over the year from July 1922 to July 1923. Evans also expanded the reach of the Klan into new territories, including many outside the traditional Klan strongholds in the southern United States.

Early in his career with the KKK, Hiram Wesley Evans supported violence against racial minorities. He had fond memories of a lynching he saw when he was a boy and encouraged KKK members to create "black squads" to assault and torture minorities.

Later Evans reversed himself and strongly discouraged violence. He never experienced any change of heart, but he did fear that violence would prevent him from realizing his dreams of using the Klan to acquire political power. According to some, despite many public denunciations of violence he continued to privately preside over brutal violence against blacks.

Politically, Hiram Wesley Evans positioned the Ku Klux Klan as a representative of the "common people of America." He had the Klan endorse a populist economic and political agenda, though of course it was heavily influenced by White Supremacism.

His plan was to establish the KKK as a respectable political movement in a few states, then replicate the same nationally. Evans managed to make some progress towards this goal, but he was never able fully realize it. A significant factor in this failure was the existence of too much internal diversity and disagreement within the KKK itself: many members disagreed with his goals, his methods, and even his political platform.

It's ironic that an organization dedicated to racial homogeneity was prevented from achieving real political power because of a lack of internal homogeneity.


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