Center for Southern Studies to Welcome Dr. William Rawlings for Lecture on The Second Coming of the Invisible Empire


MACON – Mercer University's Center for Southern Studies will host a lecture by Dr. William Rawlings, physician and author of The Second Coming of the Invisible Empire, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Presidents Dining Room inside the University Center on the Macon campus.

“The Center for Southern Studies is delighted to host Dr. Rawlings,” said Dr. Sarah Gardner, professor of history and director of the Center. “A dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Rawlings will give his audience much to think about.”

Following the release of the blockbuster film The Birth of a Nation in 1915, the Ku Klux Klan reemerged as a mainstream fraternal organization committed to white supremacy. It operated publically and openly, recruiting hundreds of thousands of members from business, politics and religious organizations.

Dr. Rawlings' book, published earlier this year by Mercer University Press, exposes the alignment between the second wave of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and the emergence of fascism in Europe and explains why the Ku Klux Klan fell into obscurity during World War II.

The Washington Book Review praised Dr. Rawlings' work, noting “The Second Coming of the Invisible Empire is myth-bursting and one of the best books on Ku Klux Klans. This insightful study throws light on many hitherto unexplored aspects of the second KKK. Rawlings is a matchless historian and scholar. If you are interested in the Ku Klux Klan, you will not want to miss this highly scholarly and readable book.”

Dr. Rawlings is a sixth-generation resident of Washington County and earned degrees from Emory and Tulane universities before completing postgraduate medical training in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He still lives on his family farm in Sandersville, where generations of Rawlings have served the area as physicians for more than a century.

He has authored five novels and multiple magazine and newspaper articles on topics such as history, humor and travel. His next book, The Strange Journey of the Confederate Constitution, is set to be released by Mercer University Press next summer.

Dr. Rawlings and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters. Now semi-retired from the practice of medicine, he divides his time between attending to his business interests, travel and writing.

Mercer's Center for Southern Studies examines the complex history and culture of the U.S. South. The Center offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that studies the region from multiple perspectives, including courses in African American studies, English, history, political science and cultural studies.

The Center annually offers its Southern Semester, a unique opportunity for American and international students to learn about and experience the people, history and culture of the U.S. South; hosts the Lamar Lecture Series, the most prestigious scholarly lectures on Southern history, literature and culture; and awards the Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature, which recognizes significant career contribution to Southern writing.