Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement.... Robert F. Williams
This year the nation has commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma (1965). 50 years ago the voting rights of African Americans were legally enforced. That same year Malcolm X was assassinated. Many children and adults are not aware of that the use of violent self-defense was embraced by some leaders of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Robert F. Williams was a civil rights leader and author. He served as president of NAACP Chapter in Monroe, North Carolina during the 1950s and 1960s.
He released the critically acclaimed novel Negroes with Guns.
" I have asserted the right of Negroes to meet the violence of the Ku Klux Klan by armed self-defense and have acted on it. It has always been an accepted right of Americans, as the history of our Western states proves that where the law is unable, or unwilling to enforce order, the citizens can and must, act in self-defense against lawless violence. I believe this right holds for black Americans as well as whites." Prologue, Negroes with Guns
In 1959 he challenged Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a publicized debate through black media outlets. He probed that African Americans would be able and willing to retaliate with guns against attacks on their lives and civil rights gains. He did not allow his differences with Dr. King to deter his mission of protecting the Freedom Rides when they came to Monroe, North Carolina.
During his tenure as a civil rights leader he established the Black Armed Guard. He applied to the National Rifle Association ( NRA) for a charter for a local rifle club. He called the Monroe Chapter of the NRA the "Black Armed Guard" developed membership immediately. There were 50-60 men, that were veterans of the Vietnam War. Their aim was to defend the local black community from racist attacks. Newton was the first black residential area in Monroe, North Carolina and was prone to attacks. The sole purpose of the Black Armed Guard encouraged African American to take advantage of the Second Amendment rights and defend civil rights.
Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams & The Roots of Black Power, Timothy B. Tyson
Negroes with Guns Robert F. Williams