Thursday, Jul. 14, 2011

The KKK's Grand Wizard

The only Muggle on this list of evil sorcerers, the Grand Wizard — in later incarnations the "Imperial Wizard" — was the title ascribed to the head of the Ku Klux Klan. The only thing magical about this band of white supremacists is its longstanding supernatural capacity for racism. The Klan emerged in the 19th century as the grumpy, violent refuseniks of Reconstruction-era South. They garbed themselves in white robes as if they were the avenging spirits of slain Confederate soldiers. Despite all their bullying and lynching of minorities and blacks, plays and films like D.W. Griffiths' Birth of a Nation granted for a time the "knights" of the KKK a shamefully chivalric mystique. Ahead of this pack was the wizard — an appellation meant to give the order of bigoted vigilantes an air of mystery and secrecy. Thankfully, it's a term that now only lives in infamy.