More self-flagellation is in order: the problem when one gets behind in posting important Comments of the Day, new entries tend to push themselves into line, making it harder to catch up. The quiz about whether CNN was ethical to fire Marc Lamont Hill spawned this too- interesting- to- put- off discourse on the use of violence in activism in the U.S. To recap, Hill had told the U.N, in the course of advocating pushing the Jews into the sea,
“Contrary to western mythology, black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandhi and nonviolence. Rather, slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom.”
To this,seasoned Ethics Alarms commenter Isaac wrote,
He’s also wrong about uprisings and violent tactics being “equally important” to African freedom and equal rights in America. Not even close to true. If anything such tactics, while understandable, hindered the hard uphill battle being fought by the likes of Douglass and King. You can trace virtually every single concrete step forward in both the abolition and civil rights movements to peaceful activists, non-violent advocacy, and people working within the American systems to change them. Not sexy, but true.
This sparked Michael R’s Comment of the Day on the post Ethics Quiz: CNN And Marc Lamont Hill:
I would disagree with you on your points about violent tactics. Violent self-defense was an integral part in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Deacons for Defense and other armed groups of black men provided armed guards for civil rights leaders. Without groups of armed black men like the Deacons for Defense, CORE would have been wiped out. The KKK would have won and the civil rights movement would have collapsed.
- The KKK attacked CORE and the Deacons fired back. One KKK member was killed. Another one drove to the next state for medical attention to hide the fact that he was in the KKK and a police officer.
- Bogolusa, LA hired its first black deputy and the KKK murdered him a few days later. CORE President James Farmer was to preach at the funeral, but was warned by the government that the KKK was going to assassinate him. Armed Deacons escorted him from the airport. Fifty armed Deacons guarded the funeral. The KKK was held at bay.
- In 1965 in Jonesboro, LA, the police along with the KKK were about to use fire hoses on black students protesting the segregated high school. A carload of armed Deacons showed up and began loading their weapons. The police and the KKK withdrew.
- When King and Meredith had their March Against Fear in Jackson, MS, the Deacons provided armed escort.During the 1967 march from Bogolusa to Baton Rouge, the marchers were surrounded by armed Deacons or they would have been killed by the KKK. 25 Cars full of KKK drove through Bogolusa one night shooting into the homes of black families. The blacks fired back with superior firepower.I
- n 1966 Bogolusa Jr. High School integrated. The black students were being beaten up regularly. They fought back. The KKK showed up with guns to remove the black students from the school. The Deacons showed up with M1 carbines. The KKK left.
The events in Bogolusa were repeated all over the South. Woodrow Wilson reinvented the KKK as a nationwide organization that worked with local officials to maintain Democratic control. To do this, they needed absolute control of the black community. Any hint that blacks might shake off this noose of control (and maybe vote Republican) would be met with aggressive and possibly violent action. Civil Rights activists, both black and white, were high-value targets of the KKK. Peace and love wasn’t going to cut it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. often used the Chicago chapter of the Deacons for Defense for security. Martin Luther King, Jr. was surrounded by armed men at almost all times. He applied for a concealed carry permit, but was denied because he couldn’t ‘show need’ to the chief LEO. Requiring people to demonstrate ‘need’ is a consistent policy of the Democratic Party used to arbitrarily deny people their rights. So much for your assertion of nonviolence.
This escalation of violence is what really won the Civil Rights Movement. The fact that blacks proved that they would not back down and would defend THEMSELVES eventually led to the FBI cracking down on the KKK and their ties to law enforcement in the South. Without that, there was no hope that the Cvil Rights Movement could succeed. Without the protection from the KKK and local law enforcement that the Deacons and (later) the FBI provided, any Civil Rights group would have been destroyed. Once the crackdown happened, Civil Rights groups were free to operate without much opposition.
The Deacons were supported by the US’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA. As part of the CMP, the NRA sold at a discount (and gave) surplus government ammunition. This actually really infuriated the federal government. A lot of that ammo had just been given to the NRA and they in turn gave it to a bunch of black men in the South to shoot at the KKK.
The NRA has always been open to members of all races. During the early 20th century, the NRA range was one of the few facilities in Washington D.C. that wasn’t segregated.
I’m back, briefly.
The threat of violence is crucial and indispensible, more so than violence itself. The fool Democratic Congressman who talked about nuking citizen gunowners who resisted his proposed AR-15 confiscation notwithstanding, it is the threat of violence that has, so far at least, protected the right to bear arms.