The Day the Klan Messed With the Wrong People

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Scooped up from Daily Kos, a great story about a community in North Carolina that stood up against the Klan.

More than likely there exist many stories like this but they are not often told in our white dominated, racist culture, so although this happened long ago, its still worth telling and still inspiring to this day.  Also, note the link at the conclusion about another such rebellion against racists that happened closer to home, in Worcester, Mass.  Enjoy:

The Day the Klan Messed With the Wrong People

by Daily Kos contributor, gjohnsit,

“You saw those cars coming, and you knew who those men were. They wanted you to see them. They wanted you to be afraid of them.”
– Lillie McKoy, former mayor of Maxton talking about the KKK

By the mid-1950’s the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum and the KKK decided they had to fight back. Their campaign of terrorism swept through many of the southern states, but largely fell flat in North Carolina.
James W. “Catfish” Cole, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina, decided he was going to change that. Cole was an ordained minister of the Wayside Baptist Church in Summerfield, North Carolina, who regularly preached the Word of God on the radio. His rallies often drew as many as 15,000 people.  As Cole told the newspapers: “There’s about 30,000 half-breeds up in Robeson County and we are going to have some cross burnings and scare them up.”

Cole made a critical mistake that couldn’t be avoided by a racist mind – he was completely ignorant of the people he was about to mess with.

Dr. Perry was a black doctor in Monroe, NC, and helped finance a local chapter of the NAACP. One night at a meeting, the word was received that the Klan threatened to blow up Dr. Perry’s house. The meeting broke up and everyone went home to get their guns.

 Sipping coffee in Perry’s garage with shotguns across their laps, the men agreed that defending their families was too important to do in haphazard fashion. “We started to really getting organized and setting up, digging foxholes and started getting up ammunition and training guys,” Williams recalled. “In fact, we had started building our own rifle range, and we got our own M-1’s and got our own Mausers and German semi-automatic rifles, and steel helmets. We had everything.”

Many of these men were veterans of WWII and didn’t scare easily. Men guarded the house in rotating shifts and the women of the NAACP set up a telephone warning system.
On October 5, 1957, Catfish Cole organized a huge Klan rally near Monroe. Afterward the decision was made to move on Dr. Perry’s home.

Read the rest here: The Day the Klan Messed With the Wrong People

 

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