Hiram Wesley Evans: Fierce Prohibition Enforcer

Hiram Wesley Evans was Imperial Wizard (leader) of the “second” Ku Klux Klan (KKK) from 1922 until 1939.


I.   First KKK

II.  Second KKK

III. Author Evans

IV. Women in Temperance

V.   Resources

The second Klan is often called the KKK of the 1920s. It was formed by Methodist minister and Democratic leader William J. Simmons. It was in 1915 on Stone Mountain near Atlanta. Simmons formed it to defend state-wide prohibition in Georgia. But Hiram Wesley Evans soon became the Imperial Wizard of the second Klan.

I. First KKK

The first KKK (1865-1869) existed to oppose Reconstruction and maintain white control over former slaves. It existed in the states that had been the Confederate States of America.

II. Second KKK

The second Klan was also anti-African American, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-labor union.

But this Klan had a national appeal. It very strongly supported Prohibition and its strict enforcement. The new Klan’s  ‘support for Prohibition represented the single most important bond between Klansmen throughout the nation.’1  (Emphasis in original.)

It has been stressed that  ‘Enforcement of Prohibition, in fact, was a central, and perhaps the strongest, goal of the Ku Klux Klan.’2 Enforcement of Prohibition was generally quite lax or even non-existent. Opposition to Prohibition was strong. There was widespread corruption in police and sheriff departments. Federal Prohibition agents were few in number and typically corrupt. The Klan of the 1920s often stepped into this void and illegally enforced the law itself.

III. Author Evans

Hiram Wesley Evans wrote a number of books, including these.

Hiram Wesley Evans
Hiram Wesley Evans

He also wrote  “The Klan’s fight for Americanism” in a 1926 issue of  The North American Review.  Hiram Wesley Evans’ writing ended as the fortunes of the Klan faltered. It then imploded by 1930.

IV. Women in Temperance

Many women were members and often leaders within of both the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Women’s Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). Examples include the Reverend  Daisy Douglas Barr  and Lillian Sedwick. The all-male KKK and the WCTU also worked closely together. They were partners in Prohibition

V. Resources

1  Politics and World Affairs, August 30, 2004.

2  Norberg, D. Ku Klux Klan in the Valley. A 1920s Phenomenon. White River Journal, Jan, 2004.

See Alexander, C. The Ku Klux Klan in the Southwest. Lexington: U Kentucky Press, 1965.  Evans, H. “The Klan’s fight for Americanism.” North Am Rev, 1926, 223(830), 33-36. Horowitz, D. Inside the Klavern.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois U Press, 1999. Lay, S. (Ed.) The Invisible Empire.  Champaign: U Illinois Press, 2004.