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D. C. Stephenson

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D.C. Stephenson

D. C. Stephenson (August 21st, 1891 - June 28th, 1966) was an American politician who in 1923 was appointed Grand Dragon (state leader) of the branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana and head of recruiting for seven other states. Later that year, he led those groups to independence from the national KKK organization. Amassing wealth and political power in the Republican Party, he was considered to have been one of the most prominent national Klan leaders. He had close relationships with numerous Indiana politicians, including Governor Edward L. Jackson, a Klan member elected to office in 1924.

In 1925, Stephenson was tried and convicted in a notorious abduction, rape, and murder of a young schoolteacher, a state education official. His trial, conviction, and imprisonment ended the portrayal of Klan leaders as law abiding. Denied a pardon by Governor Jackson, in 1927 he started talking with reporters of the Indianapolis Times and released a list of elected and other officials in the pay of the Klan. This led to a wave of indictments in Indiana, more national scandal, the rapid loss of tens of thousands of members, and the end of the second wave of Klan activity in the late 1920s.

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