File photo of Ku Klux Klansmen carry torches and march around a large burning cross at a KKK rally in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday, Aug. 17, 1963.  (AP Photo)
File photo of Ku Klux Klansmen carry torches and march around a large burning cross at a KKK rally in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday, Aug. 17, 1963. (AP Photo)

In June of 1957, Alvin Horn, a 45-year-old Grand Dragon of the KKK, married a 15-year-old. It set off a major scandal in Alabama and around the country, causing Horn to resign in disgrace—or at least what counts for disgrace in a hate group. But does the story sound at all familiar? (Except for the resigning part, of course.)


It’s usually fun to compare current events to things that happened in history. That’s kind of our jam here at Paleofuture. But sometimes those parallels are just plain depressing. Like this eerily familiar story from the 1950s involving a high ranking member of the KKK who was pushed out for marrying a 15-year-old girl.

Roy Moore is running for the US Senate in Alabama and has come under fire for allegedly preying on teenage girls when he was in his 30s during the 1970s. President Trump gave him a full-fledged endorsement today, but there are now nine women who accuse Moore of sexual impropriety, including one who was just 14 when she says Moore molested her. Moore was even banned from the local mall for preying on girls, according to multiple sources.


The modern GOP appears to have reluctantly accepted that they’d rather have a man who allegedly forced himself on teenagers in office over a Democrat. A shocking number of white evangelicals (37 percent) have even said that they were more likely to vote for Moore after the allegations of this predation surfaced. So how have other extremist organizations dealt with their members preying on young girls? In the case of the Ku Klux Klan, they didn’t stand for it.

Twitter user Alan Cross was the first to spot the story of Alvin Horn and posted a blurry screenshot of a newspaper from 1961. But I tracked down the June 11th, 1957 edition of The Hutchinson News in Kansas, which tells the tale in full.

You can read the story below, which was syndicated in newspapers across the country:

The Alabama grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Alvin Horn, 45, Talladega, has resigned in the “turmoil and uproar” following his marriage to a teen-ager.

His resignation was announced Monday by Eldon Lee Edwards, Atlanta, imperial wizzard [sic], U. S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Inc.

The wizzard [sic] said that he had accepted the resignation with regret and is in the process of selecting a successor.

Edwards called publicity following Horn’s marriage “unfair, unjust and untrue.” He said Horn had felt it best for the Klan, himself and his family to resign and had done so to “get all this turmoil and uproar oft himself and the organization.”

The bride of Horn, father of six children by a wife who died several years ago, is the former Barbara Richardson, 15. Arrested in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and held in Juvenile Court custody for six days as a minor out of her parents’ control, she was released last Friday after it was learned that she is pregnant.

Given her choice of returning to her parents or her husband of some five weeks, she chose Horn and departed with him.


So there you have it. The KKK of the 1950s ostensibly had better judgment about pedophiles than the GOP of 2017. That’s a shocking thing to say, but it’s sadly all too true.

The Alabama special election is just nine days away, and it’s a very real possibility that Moore could win and become a United States Senator. With President Trump explicitly endorsing Moore today, it’s a signal to the people of Alabama that it’s okay to vote for an alleged pedophile. I wish I could say that this is as low as we can get as a country, but that’s almost certainly not true.


[Alan Cross]

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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