Okay... I’ll take a stab at this blogging thing...
There was this Television show from back in the late 1950’s called the Mike Wallace Interviews. The show featured Mike Wallace interviewing somebody of American sociopolitical importance while hot-boxing a Parliament cigarette. Each week Mike Wallace would interview a guest for about 30 minutes and plug Phillip Morris advertisements.
Eldon Edwards, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, is an interesting interview choice for May 5th of 1957. To refresh some memories or catch those of us who were not born yet, here are some things that were going on;
The 57 Chevy is produced,
The Wham-O Frisbee is created,
Elvis appears on the Ed Sullivan show,
President Eisenhower starts a second term,
Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat," is published...
McCarthyism/Communism scare is still lingering.
...Schools have been de-segregated...
...And so you have this character named Eldon Edwards who is the Imperial Wizard of the KKK as a guest on the Mike Wallace TV show...
Mike lays out what is to be discussed and gives a little history of Eldon Edwards and what he thinks of Republicans and Democrats, Jews and interracial marriage, and how serious the South views the KKK.
WALLACE: The most conspicuous and mysterious of the South anti-integration machinery is led by forty-eight year old Eldon Lee Edwards. He's married. He has no children. He works by day as a ninety-two dollar a week automobile paint sprayer in his home-town of Atlanta, Georgia. By night, berobed, he becomes the Imperial Wizard of the U. S. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan... said to be the Klan's most powerful group.
(Ironic that a guy who is racist, paints cars...)
Here are some other interesting trade off highlights;
WALLACE: You feel that the South respects the Klan?
EDWARDS: Well they do -- they respect the Klan for the principles of which it stands.
The KKK are men of principals. Who would have known?
WALLACE: You have been quoted as saying: "There is an awful lot of Christianity and fraternity in our organization."
EDWARDS: It is.
WALLACE: That was a Mullinhof quote also. That... quote... you do agree... you made that statement.
EDWARDS: I agree there.
WALLACE: You believe that the Klan fights for Christianity?
EDWARDS: It does.
WALLACE: Tell me this, Mr, Edwards, this probably is the nub of the problem in a good many people's minds... what will the Klan do when the Supreme Court decision on desegregation in public schools is carried through say in Alabama or in Georgia. Is it your plan to oppose it by violence?
EDWARDS: No... it is not. This organization does not go in for violence... in no respect.
WALLACE: You are not involved and never have been nor do you want violence.
EDWARDS: Never will be.
WALLACE: I see... Well... what is your plan then?
EDWARDS: Well this plan is to fight the thing morally.
WALLACE: How do you fight it morally?
EDWARDS: It's a moral condition there -- desegregation is. God Almighty created the races and segregated them...sent them each on their own destiny.
This interview is over fifty years old and it feels like the same things that are being argued and sensationalized today. You want to sell an idea, just label it with God and the words Moral and Christian and people will eat from your hand!
The interview in its entirety can be viewed here;
... and uh... God told me to post this!