"Negroes with Guns" movie review


February 5, 2004, 03:03 PM
The Charlotte Observer requires registration. You can go to http://www.charlotte.com if you like and register and find the article with a simple search.

Or, here is the text:

Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams & Black Power"

Lawrence Toppman

The Charlotte Observer

Published: Friday, January 30, 2004

Was Monroe's Robert Williams a brave civil rights activist or a menace to society?

“I just wasn’t going to allow white men to have that much authority over me.” – Robert Williams Taken from the title of Robert Williams’ 1962 manifesto entitled Negroes with Guns, this film tells the wrenching story of the now forgotten civil rights activist who dared to challenge not only the Klan-dominated establishment of his small North Carolina town but also the non-violence-advocating leadership of the mainstream Civil Rights movement. Williams, who had witnessed countless acts of brutality against his neighbors, dared to give public expression to the private philosophy of many African Americans -- that armed self defense was not only a practical matter of survival but also an honorable position, particularly in the violent, racist heart of the deep South.

NEGROES WITH GUNS combines modern-day interviews with rare archival news footage and interviews to tell the story of Williams, the forefather of the Black Power movement and a fascinating, complex man who played a pivotal role in the struggle for respect, dignity and equality for all Americans.

“I advocated violent self-defense because I don’t really think you can have a defense against violent racists and against terrorists unless you are prepared to meet violence with violence and my policy was to meet violence with violence.” - Robert Williams

NEGROES WITH GUNS is not only an incisive look at a truly fascinating man but also a thought-provoking examination of our notions of patriotism and the acceptable limits of dissent.

"Negroes with Guns" documents the black community in Monroe, which wanted to arm against the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. Under Williams' leadership, the city became a test case for African Americans' right to armed self-defense when law and order broke down.

Williams, who was born in 1925 and died in 1996, was a Marine and leader of the NAACP chapter in Monroe, though expelled for his views in 1959. He wrote a 1962 book about his experiences, "Negroes with Guns." He also championed the Cuban revolution, living there in the 1960s and running a station called Radio Free Dixie.

If you enjoyed reading about ""Negroes with Guns" movie review" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
February 5, 2004, 03:53 PM
The book upon which the film is based is available at Amazon.com.

And here's another link to a story about his NRA connections.


Henry Bowman
February 5, 2004, 04:05 PM
Where is the film available?

Malone LaVeigh
February 5, 2004, 04:23 PM
Good material, there, hillbilly. Just in time for Black History Month.

February 5, 2004, 04:39 PM
The film is by the University of Flordia's Documentary Institute.

Here is their website for it.


They might be able to tell you where you could either view it or get a copy.


February 5, 2004, 08:22 PM
BFOTO: It's hard to oppress a brother with a 12 Ga. & a .45:evil:

I guess the NAACP has lost its it cojones since Mr. Williams' day . . . :rolleyes:

February 5, 2004, 08:28 PM
I wonder if they bother to mention that people from the NRA were the folks who helped to train some 200 of them to repell the attacks of the KKK?


4v50 Gary
February 5, 2004, 08:48 PM
Negroes With Guns by Dr. Michael S. Brown, Dec. 28, 2001

The year was 1957. Monroe, N.C., was a rigidly segregated town where all levels of white society and government were dedicatcated to preserving the racial status quo. Blacks who dared to speak out were subject to brutal, sadistic violence.

It was common practice for convoys of Ku Klux Klan members to drive through black neighborhoods shooting in all directions. A black physician who owned a nice brick house on a main road was a frequent target of racist anger.

IN the summer of 1957, a Klan motorcade sent to attack the house was met by a disciplined volley of rifle fire from a group of black veterans and NRA members led by civil rights activity Robert F. Williams.

Using military-surplus rifles from behind sandbag fortifications, the small band of freedom fighters drove off the larger force of Klansmen with no casualties reported on either side.

Williams, a former Marine who volunteered to lead the Monroe chapter of the NAACP and founded a 60-member NRA-chartered rifle club, described the battle in his 1962 book, 'Negroes With Guns,' which was reprinted in 1998 by Wayne State University Press.

According to Williams, the Monroe group owed its survival in the face of vicious violence to the fact that they were armed. In several cases, police officials who normally ignored or encouraged Klan violence took steps to prevent whites from attacking armed blacks. In other cases, fanatical racists suddenly turned into cowards when they realized their intended victims were armed.

Oddly, it appears that the organized blacks of Monroe never shot any of their tormentors. The simple existence of guns in the hands of men who were willing to use them prevented greater violence.

It is important to note that the guns were not used offensively. They were part of an overall strategy that relied primarily on peaceful protest like picketing or entering whites-only establishmens. Williams demonstrated that the dignified and responsible use of firearms for self-defense was an important method to achieve justice for those denied fair treatment by all institutions of government.

The civil rights movement was deeply divided between those who espoused a pacifist, non-violent approach and those who believed that human beings had a right and a duty to use force in self-defense. Williams was the most influential leader of the self-defense wing of the movement.

His effort to provide guns and training to African-American civil rights supporters was alarming to white politicians. Most state gun control laws, not just in the South, were blatantly designed to keep guns out of the hands of blacks and other minorities. Those with racists beliefs were not pleased when blacks claimed the right to keep and bear arms that is guaranteed to all Americans.

The connection with the NRA might surpise some people who portray the organization as a haven for racist rednecks. Former NRA Executive Director Tanya Metaksa spoke with Williams before his death. She recalls, 'He was very proud of being an NRA member and that the NRA sanctioned his club without question.'

The civil rights organizations of today bear little resemblence to the deadly serious armed activists of Monroe. African-American leaders generally support the liberal white line that guns are evil and have no place in modern society.

On the other hand, small numbers of responsible black gun owners continue to honor their heritage by practicing their marksmanship and joining gun rights organizations. The tradition of the black gun club still lives on in the Tenth Cavalry Gun Club, led by Ken Blanchard in Prince Georges County, Md.

While researching this column, I contacted Don Kates, a civil rights attorney who went to North Carolina in 1963 to participate in the movement. I asked if he ever carried a gun in those days and he responded with a list of a half-dozen that were always within reach.

Kates also suggested that I read a letter written by an old friend of his from those days, John R. Salter Jr., who is now Professor Emeritus at the University of North Dakota. Here are two brief quotes:

In the early 1960s, I taught at Tougaloo College, a black school in Jackson, Mississippi. I was a a member of the statewide board of the NAACP and was the Chairman of the Jackson Movement. No one knows what kind of massive racist retaliation would have been directed at grass-roots black people had the black community not had a healthy measure of firearms within it.

During most of the 1960s, I did civil rights work in various parts of the South and almost always had with me a .38 special Smith and Wesson 2-inch-barrel revolver - what you would now erroneously call a 'Saturday Night Special.'

In 1962 the Monroe Freedom Fighters were overwhelmed by a huge mob that converged on the town. The Justice Department and the state police ignored calls for help. The rabid racists were aided by law enforcement that branded Williams a communist and a dangerous schizophrenic.

Rob Williams eluded an FBI manhunt and fled to Cuba, where he erroneously believed to be free of racism. Within five years he realized that Cuba was not as he had imagined and moved on to China. There he was treated as a celebrity and returned to the United States in 1969 with the quiet blessing of Richard Nixon.

Williams worked as a China scholar at the University of Michigan and reportedly advised Henry Kissinger on Chinese affairs. He died in 1996.

Dr. Michael S. Brown is an optometrist and members of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, www.dsgl.org. He may be reached at rkba2000@yahoo.com.

Source: See Hillbilly's link above.

February 5, 2004, 10:12 PM

February 6, 2004, 05:26 AM
you can prove CA gun laws are racist

If you enjoyed reading about ""Negroes with Guns" movie review" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!