Hiram Wesley Evans: Fierce Prohibition Enforcer

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

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. But Hiram Wesley Evans soon became the Imperial Wizard of the second Klan.

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. 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.

Hiram Wesley Evans wrote several books.

  • The Menace of Modern Immigration (1923).
  • The Klan of Tomorrow (1924).
  • Alienism in the Democracy (1927).
  • The Rising Storm (1929)
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.

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.




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.