Earnest Sevier Cox was an American attorney, author, and white supremacist who gained notoriety for his advocacy of racial segregation and his involvement in the formation of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century. Cox was born in Blount County, Tennessee, in 1880, and he grew up in a family that was deeply committed to the Confederate cause. After attending the University of Tennessee, Cox moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1912, Cox became involved in the campaign to elect Woodrow Wilson as president, and he soon became a leading figure in the Democratic Party in the District of Columbia. However, Cox’s views on race were increasingly at odds with those of the Democratic Party, which was beginning to embrace a more progressive agenda that included support for civil rights. In response to this shift, Cox became involved in the white supremacist movement, and he soon became one of the most prominent advocates of racial segregation in the United States. He authored several books on the subject, including “White America” and “The South and the Negro,” which argued that segregation was necessary to preserve the purity of the white race.
Cox’s views on race were also reflected in his involvement in the Ku Klux Klan. He was a member of the Klan’s D.C. chapter, and he played a key role in the organization’s expansion into other parts of the country. He also helped to organize several Klan rallies and events, including a massive rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1924. Despite his controversial views, Cox remained a prominent figure in Washington, D.C., throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He continued to write and speak on issues related to race and segregation, and he also worked as an attorney, representing several clients who had been accused of crimes related to their involvement in the Klan.
Cox’s influence began to wane in the decades following World War II, as the civil rights movement gained momentum and public opinion shifted away from segregation. He died in 1961, largely forgotten by all but a small group of white supremacists who continued to espouse his views. Today, Earnest Sevier Cox is remembered as a controversial figure whose advocacy of racial segregation and involvement in the Ku Klux Klan helped to perpetuate some of the darkest aspects of American history. While his views may have been popular at one time, they are now widely regarded as repugnant and incompatible with the principles of equality and justice that are at the heart of American democracy.