Hiram Wesley Evans was born in Ashland, Alabama, on 26th September, 1881. The family moved to Texas and Evans studied dentistry at Vanderbilt University. He left without obtaining a degree but set up as a dentist in Dallas in 1900.
In 1920 Evans joined the Ku Klux Klan. The following year he led a group of Klansmen who kidnapped Alex Johnson, a black bellhop, from the Adolphus Hotel, and wrote "KKK" on his forehead with acid.
In November 1922 Evans became the Klan's Imperial Wizard. Under his leadership the organization grew rapidly and in the 1920s Klansmen were elected to positions of political power. This included state officials in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Oregon and Maine. By 1925 membership reached 4,000,000. Even on the rare occasions they were arrested for serious crimes, Klansmen were unlikely to be convicted by local Southern juries.
Evans wrote several books including The Menace of Modern Immigration (1923), The Klan of Tomorrow (1924), Alienism in the Democracy (1927) and The Rising Storm (1929).
Evans resigned as Imperial Wizard in 1939. Hiram Wesley Evans died in Atlanta, Georgia, in September, 1966.
The greatest achievement so far has been to formulate, focus, and gain recognition for an idea - the idea of preserving and developing America first and chiefly for the benefit of the children of the pioneers who made America, and only and definitely along the lines of the purpose and spirit of those pioneers. The Klan cannot claim to have created this idea - it has long been a vague stirring in the souls of the plain people. But the Klan can fairly claim to have given it purpose, method, direction, and a vehicle.
When the Klan first appeared, the nation was in the confusion of sudden awakening from the lovely dream of the melting pot, disorganized and helpless before the invasion of aliens and alien ideas. After ten years of the Klan it is in arms for defense. This is our great achievement. The second is more selfish; we have won the leadership in the movement for Americanism. Except for a few lonesome voices, almost drowned by the clamor of the alien and the alien minded "Liberal," the Klan alone faces the invader.
This is not to say that the Klan has gathered into its membership all who are ready to fight for America. The Klan is the champion, but it is not merely an organization. It is an idea, a faith, a purpose, an organized crusade. No recruit to the cause has ever been really lost. Though men and women drop from the ranks, they remain with us in purpose and can be depended on fully in any crisis. Also, there are many millions who have never joined but who think and feel and - when called on - fight with us. This is our real strength, and no one who ignores it can hope to understand America today.
Other achievements of these ten years have been the education of the millions of our own membership in citizenship, the suppression of much lawlessness and increase of good government wherever we have become strong, the restriction of immigration, and the defeat of the Catholic attempt to seize the Democratic Party. All these we have helped, and all are important.
The outstanding proof of both our influence and our service, however, has been in creating, outside our ranks as well as in them, not merely the growing national concentration on the problems of Americanism but also a growing sentiment against radicalism, cosmopolitanism, and alienism of all kinds. We have produced instead a sane and progressive conservatism along national lines. We have enlisted our racial instincts for the work of preserving and developing our American traditions and customs. This was most strikingly shown in the elections last fall when the conservative reaction amazed all politicians - especially the La Follette rout in the Northwest. This reaction added enormously to the plurality of
the President, the size of which was the great surprise of the election.
The Klan, therefore, has now come to speak for the great mass of Americans of the old pioneer stock. We believe that it
does fairly and faithfully represent them, and our proof lies in their support. To understand the Klan, then, it is necessary to understand the character and present mind of the mass of old-stock Americans. The mass, it must be remembered, as distinguished from the intellectually mongrelized "Liberals."
These are, in the first place, a blend of various peoples of the so-called Nordic race, the race which, with all its faults, has given the world almost the whole of modern civilization. The Klan does not try to represent any people but these.
There is no need to recount the virtues of the American pioneers; but it is too often forgotten that in the pioneer period a selective process of intense rigor went on. From the first, only hardy, adventurous, and strong men and women dared the pioneer dangers; from among these, all but the best died swiftly, so that the new Nordic blend which became the American race was bred up to a point probably the highest in history. This remarkable race character, along with the new-won continent and the new-created nation, made the inheritance of the old-stock Americans the richest ever given to a generation of men.