Grand Wizard

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The Grand Wizard (later the Grand and Imperial Wizard simplified as the Imperial Wizard and eventually, the National Director) referred to the national leader of several different Ku Klux Klan organizations in the United States and abroad.

The title "Grand Wizard" was used by the first Klan which was founded in 1865 and which existed during the Reconstruction era until 1872. The second Klan, founded in 1915, styled their national leader the "Imperial Wizard." National officers were styled "Imperial" officers. State or "Realm" officers were styled "Grand" officers. For example, a "Grand Dragon" was the highest-ranking Klansman in a given state.

National Leaders of the Ku Klux Klan[edit]

This list excludes those Grand or Imperial Wizards of independent Klan factions:

The First Klan (1865–1872)[edit]

The Ku Klux Klan was founded by six confederate veterans in 1865 but did not elect a Grand Wizard until after Nathan Bedford Forrest joined in 1867.[1][2][3]

  • Nathan Bedford Forrest, Grand Wizard, 1867–1869,[4] Forrest resigned in 1869 and ordered the KKK dissolved although the group remained active until 1872[5][6]

The Second Klan (1915–1944)[edit]

The Third Klan (Post World War II)[edit]

Major Klan leaders following the disbandment of the second Klan:

  • Samuel Green, Imperial Wizard, Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1949, Green reformed the KKK in 1946
  • Samuel Roper, Imperial Wizard, Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 1949–1950
  • Eldon Edwards, Imperial Wizard, Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1950–1959,
  • Roy Elonzo Davis, Imperial Wizard, Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Knights of the Flaming Sword 1959–1964. Both organizations disbanded.
  • Robert Shelton, Grand Wizard, United Klans of America Inc., 1961–1987, Shelton started a new branch of the KKK
  • David Duke, Imperial Wizard, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1974–1981, Duke started a new branch of the KKK
  • Bill Wilkinson, Imperial Wizard, Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1975–1981, Wilkinson formed a competing branch which, at the time, was the largest national KKK organization[11][12]
  • Stanley McCollum, Imperial Wizard, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1981–1989[13]
  • Thomas "Thom" Robb, National Director, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1989-[14]

Imperial Wizards in the United Kingdom[edit]

  • James K. Dale, Imperial Wizard, UK Branch, 2014–2017
  • Rad U. Estherson, Imperial Wizard, UK Branch, 2017–

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Horn, Stanley F. (1939). Invisible Empire: The Story of the Ku Klux Klan, 1866–1871. Montclair, NJ: Patterson Smith Publishing Corporation.
  2. ^ Fleming, Walter J., ed. (1905). Ku Klux Klan: Its Origins, Growth and Disbandment. Neale Publishing.
  3. ^ Wyn Craig Wade (1998). The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. Oxford University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-19-512357-9.
  4. ^ Jack Hurst (June 8, 2011). Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-307-78914-3. The next order of business was the naming of a leader and the designation of his title. Nominations were solicited. "The Wizard of the Saddle, General Nathan Bedford Forrest," a voice from the back of the room called out. The nominee was elected quickly, and in keeping with the off-the-cuff impulsiveness of the early Klan, was designated grand wizard of the Invisible Empire.
  5. ^ United States. Congress. Joint Select Committee on the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States (1872). Report of the Joint Select Committee to Inquire Into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States, So Far as Regards the Execution of the Laws, and Safety of the Lives and Property of the Citizens of the United States and Testimony Taken: Report of the Joint committee, Views of the minority and Journal of the Select committee, April 20, 1871 – Feb. 19, 1872. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 14. When it is considered that the origin, designs, mysteries, and ritual of the order are made secrets; that the assumption of its regalia or the revelation of any of its secrets, even by an expelled member, or of its purposes by a member, will be visited by 'the extreme penalty of the law', the difficulty of procuring testimony upon this point may be appreciated, and the denials of the purposes, of membership in, and even the existence of the order, should all be considered in the light of these provisions. This contrast might be pursued further, but our design is not to connect General Forrest with this order, (the reader may form his own conclusion upon this question,) but to trace its development, and from its acts and consequences gather the designs which are locked up under such penalties.
  6. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow: The Enforcement Acts, 1870–1871", Public Broadcast Service Archived October 19, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  7. ^ Wade, Wyn Craig (1987). The Fiery Cross: the Ku Klux Klan in America. Oxford University Press US. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-671-41476-4. OCLC 652217460 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ Wade 1987, p. 191.
  9. ^ Wade 1987, p. 265.
  10. ^ Wade 1987, p. 275.
  11. ^ "Knights of the Ku Klux Klan". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  12. ^ Wilkinson, Bill (1982-11-04). "CNN Crossfire" (Interview). Interviewed by Tom Braden and Pat Buchanan.
  13. ^ "Knights of the Ku Klux Klan". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  14. ^ "Thomas Robb". Southern Poverty Law Center.