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EVANS, HIRAM WESLEY

EVANS, HIRAM WESLEY (1881–1966). Hiram Wesley Evans, "imperial wizard" of the Ku Klux Klan, son of Hiram Martin and Georgia (Striplin) Evans, was born on September 26, 1881, in Ashland, Alabama. While he was a youth his family moved to Texas, and he graduated from high school in Hubbard. He studied dentistry at Vanderbilt University but left before obtaining a degree. He received his dentistry license in 1900 and practiced in Dallas until 1920. On February 5, 1923, he married Bam Hill; they had three children.

In 1920 Evans joined the Ku Klux Klan and devoted most of his time to its support. By 1921 he had reached the rank of "exalted cyclops" and led a group of Klansmen who forcibly removed Alex Johnson, a black bellhop, from the Adolphus Hotel and wrote "K.K.K." on his forehead with acid. The next year Evans began his climb to power within the Klan. Early in 1922, when the "Realm of Texas" was organized, Evans became a "great titan" (district leader), and several months later he was appointed "imperial kligrapp," or national secretary, by the imperial wizard, William J. Simmons. Under his leadership the Klan became involved in state and local primary elections.

Evans was imperial wizard from 1922 until 1939. Shortly before his resignation he sold the Klan's Peachtree Street Palace to the Catholic Church. He 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). While serving as imperial wizard he dealt in emulsified asphalt for highway construction in Atlanta. The state of Georgia brought a suit against him for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, but the suit was eventually dropped. Evans died in September 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a Democrat, a Mason, and a member of the Christian Church and the Congressional Country Club.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Charles C. Alexander, The Ku Klux Klan in the Southwest (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1965). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 6.

Lisa C. Maxwell

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Lisa C. Maxwell, "EVANS, HIRAM WESLEY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fev17), accessed September 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.