Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lumbee 1, klan 0

    A couple of days ago I had not heard of the Lumbees, a Native American tribe living in North Carolina. I had no idea that Heather Locklear is perhaps the best known Lumbee .

    But such things change when one flits about on the internet. One thing that pleased me was to read that the Lumbees once gave the kkk a damned good hiding at an incident that became known as the Battle of Hayes Pond.

    In 1957, klan Wizard James “Catfish” Cole, who had been charged with building up the klan in North Carolina, began to harass the Lumbees and other minorities of Robeson Country, North Carolina

    On January 13, 1958, a group of klansmen burned a cross on the lawn of a Lumbee woman because she was dating a white man. The Klan also burned a cross on the lawn of a Lumbee family who had moved into a white neighborhood.

    Cole spoke against announced plans for a Klan rally on January 18, 1958, near the small town of Maxton, intended to “to put the Indians in their place, to end race mixing”.

    On the night of the rally, less than 100 klansmen arrived at the private field. Before Cole began speaking, over 500 Lumbee mens encircled the assembly and attacked. Two klansmen were lightly wounded while the others fled the scene, leaving family members, the public address system, unlit cross, and various Klan regalia behind. Cole was reported to have left his wife behind, running off into a nearby swamp.

    Afterward, the Lumbee celebrated by holding up the abandoned klan banner. Many local, state and national newspapers covered the event and captured photos of Lumbee burning the regalia and dancing around an open fire in nearby Pemberton.

    Subsequently Cole was convicted, and served a two-year sentence for inciting a riot.

    The klan never came back to Robeson County

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