chapter  8
The collapse of the Second Ku Klux Klan
ByMiguel Hernandez
Pages 12

The final chapter outlines how the power and membership of the Second Ku Klux Klan declined over the course of the 1920s. The support of the Klan’s members was affected by recurring national scandals like the leadership struggle between Hiram Wesley Evans and William Joseph Simmons, or the mounting evidence of crimes committed by Klansmen such as the Mer Rouge murders or the Madge Oberholtzer case. At a local level, the financial irregularities of individual chapters or the dictatorial behaviour of minor officers also contributed to the exodus of members. However, this chapter’s main argument is that the collapse of the KKK was not a sudden phenomenon, but a progressive decline that was only masked by the recruitment of new, less respectable men and the opening of ancillary bodies that brought in female and foreign-born followers to the Invisible Empire. The order was unable to sustain this strategy forever as they exhausted all potential recruiting pools, and soon its numbers declined, the Klan craze seeming to fade from public life by the middle of the decade.