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When the Invisible Empire Became a Bit More Visible:

The KKK Implosion

The Literary Digest, 1928

 




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1928 saw the presiding bermensch of the KKK Hiram Evans (1881 - 1966) make a sartorial change in the uniforms of his terrorist organization:

"By virtue of the power and authority in me vested as Emperor and Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and in performance of the solemn duty assigned to me by its constitution and laws, I do hereby proclaim the following edict":
"That on and after midnight of February twenty-second, year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty-eight, no mask or visor shall be upon the helmet of the regalia of any Klansman."

An odd family-friendly cosmetic alteration pathetically rushed into place in order to prevent further erosion in the Klan membership lists. Gone were the days when the KKK was depicted as the chivalric heroes in Hollywood movies (1915), gone were the days when Evans' bewildered mug decorated the cover of acceptable middle-class magazines ("Time"; June 23, 1924) and dwindling was the membership roll that nearly numbered five million at it's peak.

This article is primarily about the rapid "disintegration" that the Klan was experiencing in it's over all social appeal throughout the country.

"It was a success, temporarily, because it appealed to the playboy instinct of grown-ups and offered burning phrases of patriotism as the excuse for gallivanting about... It failed because its 'patriotism' was not real, but ancient bigotry in new a guise. It failed because its 'mystery' soon became an open secret and a tedious bore... It failed finally, because the genuine American sense of humor finally asserted itself and laughed at the Klan out of court."

Click here to learn about the origins of the term "Jim Crow".

Click here for the Ku Klux Klan Archive.

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The KKK Fall from Fashion  (The Literary Digest, 1928)

The KKK Fall from Fashion  (The Literary Digest, 1928)

The KKK Fall from Fashion  (The Literary Digest, 1928)

The KKK Fall from Fashion  (The Literary Digest, 1928)

The KKK Fall from Fashion  (The Literary Digest, 1928)

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