Thursday, May 26, 2005

A disturbance in the force

Last night there were three cross-burnings in Durham. (Here's the Herald Sun article, although I think the link will expire because the Herald Sun is a piece of crap that doesn't archive its stories.) Durham seems to me to be the last place in North Carolina where the Klan scum would want to surface because it's the kind of place where they stand a chance of getting their noses bloodied (something that, unfortunately, didn't happen when the fascists descended upon Raleigh last year.)

Apparently the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham is planning some vigils. That will make the nice religious non-violent people feel better but it's not exactly the kind of thing that strikes fear in the heart of the fascist nightriders. I prefer the response of NC's own Robert F. Williams (from Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams & the Roots of Black Power, by Timothy Tyson):
On October 5, 1957, Catfish Cole's Ku Klux Klan held a huge rally near Monroe. After the rally, a large, heavily armed Klan motorcade roared out to Dr. Perry's place, firing their guns at the house and howling at the top of their lungs. The hooded terrorists met a hail of disciplined gunfire from Robert Williams and his men, who fired their weapons from behind sandbag fortifications and earthen entrenchments. Shooting low, they quickly turned the Klan raid into a complete rout. "[Police Chief] Mauney wouldn't stop them," B. J. Winfield said later, "and he knew they were coming, because he was in the Klan. When we started firing, they run. We
run them out and they started just crying and going on." The Klan "hauled it and never did come back," Woodrow Wilson recalled. "The Klans was low-down people what would do dirty things. But if they found out that you would do dirty things, too, then they'd let you alone," he said. "We shot it out with the Klan and repelled their attack," Williams said, "and the Klan didn't have any more stomach for this type of fight. They stopped raiding our community." The Monroe Journal blamed the Klan's "robed assemblies," calling the shootout "an uncivilized incident" that "should be sufficient grounds to outlaw such provocative assemblies in Union County." The following day, the Monroe city council held an emergency session and passed an ordinance banning Ku Klux Klan motorcades. . .

... Or the response by the Lumbee indians of Robeson County, NC, when faced with a Klan provocation (also from Radio Free Dixie); this incident was the inspiration for Malvina Reynold's song "The Battle of Maxton Field"):
The climax of the Klan's Robeson County campaign was to be a heavily armed rally on January 18, 1958, near the small town of Maxton, at which, Cole predicted, 5,000 Klansmen would remind Indians of "their place" in the racial order. "He said that, did he?" asked Simeon Oxendine, who had flown more than thirty missions against the Germans in World War II and now headed the Lumbee chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "Well, we'll just wait and see."

Cole's references to Lumbee women were particularly galling. Robeson County sheriff Malcolm McLeod visited the grand wizard at his South Carolina home and "told him that his life would be in danger if he came to Maxton and made the same speech he'd been making." That Friday night, as a few dozen Klansmen gathered in a roadside field in darkness lit only by a single hanging bulb powered by a portable generator, more than five hundred Lumbee men assembled across the road with rifles and shotguns. The Lumbees fanned out across the highway to encircle the Klansmen. When Cole began to speak, a Lumbee dashed up and smashed the light with his rifle barrel. Hundreds of Indians let out a thunderous whoop and fired their weapons repeatedly into the air. Only four people were injured, none seriously; all but one were apparently hit by falling bullets. The Klansmen dropped their guns and scrambled for their cars, abandoning the unlit cross, their public address system, and an array of KKK paraphernalia. Magnanimous in victory, the Lumbees allowed the white supremacists to escape. The war party even helped push Cole's Cadillac out of the ditch where his wife, Carolyn, had driven in her panic. The grand wizard himself had abandoned "white womanhood" and fled on foot into the swamps. Laughing, the Lumbees set fire to the cross, hanged Catfish Cole in effigy, and had a rollicking victory bash. Draped in captured Klan regalia, they celebrated into the night. "If the Negroes had done something like this a long time ago, we wouldn't be bothered with then KKK," Oxendine said in a remark that kept his Lumbee troops clearly on a side of the color line different from that of African Americans.

1 comment:

andrew said...

Kind of off topic, but reminds me of the comment of stand up comic nearly 20 years ago talking about a South African police raid on a meeting of the far right AWB, where the cops killed three of the AWB nazis:

"Good sport, shit score."