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Mike Tigar and I are in the studio with John Lowery. John you are one of three people who will be tried on May the 7th on a kidnapping charge regarding an incident which happened in Monroe North Carolina. Is that factually correct so far. Yes I said Well there has been a great deal written and spoken about this. Monroe Mark Carolina incident but I think that I at least have emerged from it in considerable confusion as to the facts with Mike's agreement. I wish that you would begin at the beginning and tell us what happened. Well after a number of years of Monroe's. Pattern of segregation and discrimination including the caisson case among others. Robert F. Williams the president of the Union
County branch of the end of the ACP invited freedom writers to Monroe. To help the local people there. And I describe segregation and discrimination demonstrations to it a picket line around the county courthouse. We went to Monroe. Where did you go from. From Jackson Mississippi. Jackson Mississippi is that where you live. No the Freedom Riders were in Jackson for the mass arraignment that took place last August 14th. I see where you sort of the originate New York City in New York City. All right good and which of the Freedom Rides were you on to Jackson Mississippi. Thirteen of us went from Jackson to Monroe. We join with the local people there and we formed an organization called the Monroe Nonviolent Action Committee. And we set up our picket line. It lasted for a week began on Monday the 20th of August. It ended on Sunday the Twenty seventh of August in a race riot. The riot was condoned and I feel instigated by the
police I say this because it was started by a man with a shotgun and the man got the shotgun from the police. I know right after the riot the Negro community ond itself in preparation for a Klan attack. The Ku Klux Klan had had many attacks are had performed many attacks on the Negro community in the past in fact there was one one the previous day Saturday the twenty sixth. So the community expected an attack had reason to expect such an attack in on itself in preparation. Now word of this race riot that was going on in downtown Monroe spread throughout the whole county very fast and people sharecroppers and tenant farmers day laborers and you know rural Negro people began to come into Newtown which is the negro district of Monroe of the city itself for protection. Clowne that they were familiar with the Klan rising with their tactics and they were also familiar with the defense guard that had been set up in Monroe.
They came for protection. Many of them had their own guns with them. And the feeling in Newtown was very tense. It was almost a. Feeling of rebellion. It was a feeling of rebellion was almost a situation where and insurrection might take place the feeling was of resentment was so strong and the confusion intenseness was was so strong. And just before dusk a car drove into the middle of this neighborhood district. The car was immediately recognized by the people there as one that had been active in Klan activities a couple of days previous to this. It participated in a counter picket line. I thought time it had a sign pasted on its door. It's open season on Coons. Many of the people yelled as soon as the car appeared in the neighborhood. Their clansmen got them about 20 people. They group people rushed into the middle of the street and a car
stopped. All these people were not citizens of Monroe. They were these rural people people who had come in to Newtown for protection. As I said many of them had their own guns with them. The car was stopped and the two white people in the car were taken out of it forcibly. And then a group people there who had by this time become a mob without rule without order prepared to assassinate them. At this point everything happened very quickly and describing sections of it but it was it all happened within a minute everything. At this point the defense guard moved through the crowd and rescued the two white people whose name is still Mr. and Mrs. Gee Bruce deagle. They rescued them from the mob and brought them to rot Robert Williams house. Now what is the defense. This was police that rescued them. I know. Define this. This was a group of young men from the role of Negro men from unknown. Who had been
formed into a citizen's militia by Robert F. Williams for the defense of the community. They were on they were trained in the use of small arms and they had standing orders that when the Klan attacked to fire over the heads of the attackers they never shot at anyone they just scared the attackers off. I see but they were the ones who rescued the Steagall this Diggles from the Negro mob right. So there were there were there were two forces of Negro people that play here. And they were the first Eagles were brought to Rob's house. Rob came out of his house attracted by all the noise and confusion. I told the steels they were free to go but he couldn't control the people around him. At this point someone from the mob yelled If you let them go we'll kill you along with them. He paid no attention to this and restated that they were free to go. But he offered them protection if they wanted it in his house. He turned and walked this. Listen to Robert F. Williams Robin Williams and they were in his house. They went into his house voluntarily This conversation took place in front of his house.
The end of it he walked inside and they followed him. Now I was in the background I witnessed all of this. And after the steeples had been taken away from the scene of their car. I came from the background and parked it. It was sitting in the middle of the street. Mrs. Spiegel still outside I was the only white person there aside from them and she saw me park the car. This is how she identified me this is how the newspaper accounts came out of my driving the kidnap car. In other words they were out of the car the car was in the middle of the street where the mom had taken when the mom had taken them. Yeah and you drove that car into the driveway you know I just parked I drove about Toffy it in front of the of the Williams home. Yes right. I'm straight so far. Now after they went into their house into into this into Rob's house where there are Williams house. I don't know what happened that is I wasn't there. There are two versions as to what happened in that what did you do then. I went to the headquarters of the menorah Nonviolent Action Committee where I remained for the next
two days. What did you do with the keys to the car. I left them in the car. They were in the car when I got into it. Also in the house William said that he called the chief of police in Monroe a Mooney is his name. And related the situation to him to Chief money. I told them that there was a crowd there who wanted to kill the steeples they were angry because their people were in jail. And if those in jail were not released he couldn't be responsible for these people's lives. The crowd may overcome him as well. That which they wanted to do was they were trying to do. Money twisted this around and said that Williams himself threatened the lives of the steeples this is not true. At the end of this conversation Williams reports that Nonnie told him he'd be hanging in the courthouse square in 30 minutes. This is why Robert Williams left town. That's what happened in the rough. Yes well now wait a minute we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves I want to go back if
we may into this room and find out. Did Williams leave immediately following this telephone call I don't know you well how did the Stickles get out of this house. They walked through this same mom. It was too hot they left two hours later. I see they stayed there for two hours. Yes. Were they forcibly detained. Not to my knowledge. Well where was Williams during this two hours where they say he was. I don't know I don't know whether Williams left immediately after this phone call or sometime later. But everything quieted down. What is the Spiegel's version of the telephone call or have you heard that. No I don't believe they have any version of a telephone call. However they have said to the press that Williams did protect them. He did try and save their lives he did save their lives. Why didn't the police come. Ever. Yes they came late later that night about 9 or 10 o'clock and they posted a police car at either end of the block and there were police cars in the block
behind us in the block in front of us. You mean they didn't come at once when he when Williams put through the phone call. No they didn't. How much time elapsed between the phone call and 9:30 or 10 o'clock. Well assuming that the phone call was made immediately after they went into the house this was it. This was about 5:30 quarter of six so this was a three or four hours that they left their friends the stay golds in the home of Mr. Williams when the Stickles were only there two hours. Yes but even so when Williams called the police it was usually you feel around 5:30. It would have taken the police all of five minutes to get there wouldn't That's right. And you say that they didn't show up till 9:30 that night. That's correct. By which time the Stickles had gotten out under their own steam several hours before. Yes they are hard. I can't think of a question that you do that regularly. Well what happened then to you. You said you went to the nonviolent action
headquarter headquarters. Yes. And I just stayed there you know and then the next day we were walking around talking to reporters and whatnot and went down to talk to the judge. He was he had temporarily and joined us from picking. And he was going to discuss it in court. I don't you know as we went down to hear him and at this point he lifted his injunction but he said if you pick it. He said I can't stop you from picketing is your constitutional right but if you do so you do it in the light of an inflamed city and blood may flow in the streets. These are his words. You charge and so you just stayed around for a couple of days. Yes we were mineral one then where did you go. I was arrested. I was arrested on the twenty ninth. Well let's talk about that then. You had been at large for a couple of days staying at the headquarters of the committee. Yes. And then you were arrested how did this come about. The police came and asked three of us to
come down to the police station. They wanted to say they wanted to talk to us. Three white Freedom Riders. So we all got into the car and went down to the station. At this point when we got there they lined us up and on a side of the building and Mrs. Steagall was there and she identified me as having parked her car. Did she identify you as having done anything else. No she didn't. And so they then put you in jail. They arrested me and that night they charged me with two counts of willful unlawful felonious and forcible kidnapping. Would you have never in fact been anywhere near the stables interact. I mean according to your story the car was already empty. That's right before you got into it and I tracked it for the house you never went into the house and never went into the house. The closest I came was about 5 feet after I parked the car. I tried to listen to part of their conversation. And just as I got there it was over and I started walking into the house.
But and Robert Williams has not been involved in this since in the sense that he disappeared that night and that's correct. And just one way. Yes. Well what is that there's a third man involved in this. Well there are two others besides yourself. Yes. And also I woman has been arrested in Ohio who was a house guest of Williams at the time and left with him. What are these two other men who are charged with you. They are Richard Crowder and Harold rape. What are they supposed to have done. Though they're charged with the same thing actually that they were part of this defense guard and they were the ones who initially rescued them. I see. Well now I'd like to get on to the legal side of this. If you were in the state of New York could you be extradited to face this trial. In other words you facing this trial absolutely voluntarily. Yes I am.
Why. Because I think I can win. I think we can we can take it to a high court. We can appeal the case I'm sure of a conviction on May 7th when I go to trial. But I think we will win on appeals. And aside from the fact that I'll lose $4000 if I don't go back for the trial. I think our winning in this trial will be a major victory for the whole civil rights movement because in the south now is employing this tactic to put a stop to the movement. They are arresting people and putting them in jail for long sentences or trying to. And if we can defeat them in court we will put a damper on this whole tactic thing. Were you at any time involved in any of the sort of preparation for violence on the part of the Negro community. There's been a good deal written and spoken about the attitude of Williams regarding this business of forcibly reacting to the violence of the white population.
Yes there's been a good deal written about it and a lot of people have voiced their comments of Robert Williams. Well Ira again I think just your question it was phrased in a manner that would tend to believe that the Negro community was violent. This is not at all true. They had attacked many times five a Ku Klux Klan with guns. They had been shot at. So in reaction to this they formed a militia to scare the clan off. They fired over the heads of the attackers. This was organized by Robert F. Williams and on the day of August 27 I was part of that defense squad. I had a gun and I was given instructions to fire over the heads of attackers and scare them off. When you approved of this as a as a tactic that I did I do under what its interpretation of the North Carolina kidnap law. Were you arrested if they made any given any indication of how
theyre interpreting the law in order to get you on a kidnapping charge. No I don't I wasn't in court when the indictment was granted by the grand jury. I don't know what argument the prosecution has given. Listen student as I understand it took place in the context that you mentioned only briefly. It is a context of violence that occurred several days before and which I believe shots were exchanged after some sort of demonstration. Could you tell us a little about what happened when you came to Monroe how that demonstration and which shots were exchanged took place. Yes just speaking about from Mayfield's article is happened on Saturday the day before this when after we dispersed our picket line we had too many to evacuate by car as we usually did so we had to walk back to the negro district of mineral. Exactly what were you picketing about and where were you picketing. We were picket we had a picket line all around the
courthouse which was the center of town. We were picketing against the what had a nod to the breakdown of the 14th Amendment as Negro people there weren't getting fair trials. It was as simple as that. We were also picketing against the policy of the tax supported Industrial Development Commission that invites industry to Union County and in their literature they bragged actually that there are no labor unions there. We were against this because this is not in the best interests of the of the Negro people. We were picketing the segregated policy of the swimming pool. It had been caused by this time we wanted it opened on a on an integrated basis. We were picketing segregated schools in Union County. Oh wait it was a general protest picket but there was no specific thing going on inside the courthouse that that was the occasion of this picket. No just that the court room was there. The was a symbol and just three Freedom Riders participated in this and from where else did you draw your support.
Oh no we had 13 freedom not 13. Yes and also from the naval community there in general. How did the call come to you in Jackson Mississippi how was it phrased and who gave it. It was given by Reverend C.T. Vivian of the National Christian Leadership Conference. At a meeting of freedom writers in the chapel of Tougaloo College in Jackson the subjects well had you been. Go ahead Mike I'm interrupting your train of questioning I am afraid. When this call came how was it phrased in other words what did Reverend Vivian ask you to do in the North Carolina. It's kind of difficult he said that Williams wanted freedom writers to come up and form an integrated picket line at the courthouse against such and such and such and such a picket line committed to nonviolence as a fundamental principle or to nonviolence as a tactic. Vivian didn't say at that time.
However when we went there a week because of William's reputation we didn't know where he was before this we had just heard about him. So when we got to Monroe we first met with Rob in Charlotte and we discussed this whole thing. Who is Rob and Charlotte Rob Williams he had come from Monroe to Charlotte Charlotte only 20 miles away with Rob in Charlotte with Rob and Charlotte. OK fine. And we discussed it. He used he had always used nonviolence as a tactic. Because the situation called for that the situation would not and will not allow violence as a tactic. Most of us were dedicated to nonviolence as a principle and we realized that we couldn't impose our principles upon him so long as he promised to maintain nonviolence as a tactic. We were agreeable. So the picket line use nonviolence as a tactic. Yes but but in this you know thing took place. You had
become integrated into the defense squad which was armed. How did you not all it was just too obvious just to amuse you let's stop you. Well I had never been dedicated to nonviolence as a principle I just gotten out of the army. In fact when I was in the zone that I pushed buttons. Well you mentioned that the incident that led to the stable. It's going into this home followed after your picket line had become involved in violence and you said that this violence was started and you feel by the police was that a large scale riot or what happened there. It was started. And it was started by a complicated incident. We started at the evacuation at 5 o'clock and one of the
white girls in fact by evacuation you mean when you disbanded your picket line and some of you began to walk back to Newtown. Yes. Now but this was on Sunday and we were trying to evacuate by car. There were there was a tremendous crowd there at this time about 5000 people. There were traffic jams all over the place. And our evacuation team couldn't get through. They are the people who were appointed to come up with cars and evacuate us. But there was one local negro matter who was there. He wasn't part of the team he was just driving through and got stuck on the traffic. And because things were very tense I picked Captain Jim Foreman could could tell he's got a lot of experience and I said that it was would be very easy to spot a riot that afternoon and he wanted to get the girls out of there as quickly as possible. We put one of the white girls into it into this car that was stuck in traffic owned by a local negro man. A policeman was nearby and he took her out of the car. He wouldn't allow a white girl a negro man to
be in a car together. When he did this he noticed a shotgun in the back seat. He confiscated the gun and arrest of the driver for carrying a concealed weapon. They had the shotgun over to someone in the crowd. Up until this point the observers of the group. Why someone in the crowd a little. A civilian I saw not only just handed it over he didn't even look to see who he gave it to. Now before this they were all standing across the street about 50 feet away from the picket line. But when this began the incident started at the car when Jim put her in the car put Constance in the car the policeman took her out. These people began to move across the street and surrounded the car. This was whites whites. Yes local people who had come to observe who had formed a crowd about 5000 of them. The policeman gave the shotgun to someone in the crowd he didn't never even look to see who he gave it to just hand it over. This fellow tried to shoot Jim Foreman with it he pulled both triggers. The gun wasn't loaded in accordance with North Carolina law. We turned around and hit Jim over the forehead with it and this started the riot
almost at the sight of blood this crowd turned into an angry mob and attacked all of the picketers there. And then you gathered yourselves together somehow presumably and made your way back to Newtown. Myself and two other people were the only ones who got back we were on the outside of this little mob around the car on the picket line I was right in front of Conny. So I had gone around three sides of the block. By this time I was on the very tail and I was a block away when Jim was hit with a shotgun. So we just skirted the whole thing. We went to the police station and told me what was happening and then back to Newtown. Everyone else everyone who was there was ultimately arrested for inciting to riot and it was on the following day that the group collected and came into new come with their guns. No. The same afternoon the same afternoon. Yes I want to make it quite clear the race riot then began with Jim form being hit with a shotgun. That's right were shots exchanged in the
course of this riot. Yes though I don't know if they were exchanged shots were fired during this. By who. I don't know. I imagine the white people because no one on the picket line had a gun. This was a my when I got back to New York my lawyer accused me of walking that picket line with a 38 my body. This is ridiculous. No one on that picket line had a gun at any time for any reason. Now you said then that the persons at the site of the Rais right were arrested for inciting to riot. That's right. Freedom Riders and local people who are there. How many. I believe it was 30 on misdemeanor charge of inciting to riot felony. They were given suspended sentences ranging from six months to three years suspended on the condition they would leave the county and not return for the duration of their sentence is that both for local people and outsiders or do no outsiders. Well now you also said earlier that a day or two before this
main incident which your case hinges that the Klan people had come into the negro area. Yes. What happened then. They just followed us back from Newtown and then you had been there watching the picket line all day and throwing curses out as throwing things at us. Some people were attacked on the phone line during the day but at 5 o'clock we walked home or marched home in a long parade and they all followed us then. Some of them had guns because shots were fired at this time. Also when we got into the negro district we walked through a few white districts first and course they were attacked all the time but shots began to be fired when we entered the nager district and some people neighbor people came out of their homes and fired shots in the air and this broke everything up. They weren't really organized on Saturday afternoon it was a spontaneous thing. So this first reaction
broke them up. And then it was Sunday on Sunday. Second incident. Yes the place yes. Following the incident of the man being hit with a shotgun. Yes. Now on Sunday the Klan never came into the negro neighborhood except for these two white people. They never came. On Sunday there was the most reason for them to come. Because Robert Williams was and then they wanted they didn't want the freedom writers or the local people. Robert Williams had been the leader of the whole struggle in that town and he had been the bane of their existence so to speak the thorn in their side and this was the man they wanted most. They had the most reason for coming that day because they were so angry because of the riot. They were they were in a fighting mood. Now they never did come because the Stickles were in the neighborhood for two hours and they didn't know what happened to the stables when they were there. You know other words what you are supposing is that the staples were a plant.
That's right I'm supposing the stables were a scouting party. And because they never got back to the Klan the Klan never attacked. If the state was ever offered any information as to why they were there. Yes they said that they were trying to find a way around the town. They couldn't drive through because of the tremendous crowds. There were traffic jams they were just trying to get around the town they live in Marshall which is a few miles away the main road to Marsh Hill doesn't go anywhere near the main District of New of Monroe. Also they said they were lost if you know where they were. Mrs. Steagall was born in the house that Robert F. Will you be now on before the negro became before the community rather became negro. Her family owned it. She was born there she lived there as a little girl. Subsequently her family sold it to Wayne's family. Have the Steeles been identified other than the fact that you said a sign had been on their car. Have they been identified with Klan activities or segregationist activities.
Not positively I can say positively the sign was on their car because I saw it and I took down the license number. However people in Monroe have told me that Mr. Steagall has donated his own property for the construction of a Klan clubhouse. What has been the reaction in Monroe since this incident took place. Has it been further difficulties or has the idea of armed resistance or armed self-defense or do you want to classify had died out with the disappearance of Williams. It hasn't died out at all the community is still armed. They are still driving off the Klan and they come. In fact this idea I don't know whether it's spread throughout the South or whether it's been throughout the south and is now being recognised throughout the south. But many communities throughout the south are on Birmingham Alabama for instance.
Have you had any reaction to the incidents of Monro of this particular weekend from such leaders identified with the nonviolent movement as Reverend Abernathy Reverend Shuttlesworth. No. That's most likely. But there's a little more reaction in the row than just that that the condition is still there and that the people are still armed. There seems to be a pattern of intimidation being unleashed upon the Negro people there by the police. One fellow was put in jail for 20 years 20 to 25 years on a charge of breaking and entering and assault with intent to rape. When the supposed victim a white girl of his attempt to rape an assault said in court that he never did it. It was someone else who she would not name. Nevertheless he was put in jail for 20 to 25 years. His case is being appealed. Also visitors in Monroe are constantly watched by the police. Very often their cars are searched upon entering and leaving the community.
And the pictures are taken constantly by the police. You mention that support for the notion of armed resistance whatever you want to call it has grown throughout the South What indications do you have of this. Because Birmingham Alabama is now on I don't know how long it's been around I know now there it is. I also know that the people in McComb Mississippi are on. I have driven off the Klan. I know that tent city in Fayette Tennessee is on and has driven off the Klan. I don't know whether this is spread or whether it is just now becoming known and whether it is this has been so all the time. I suspect that this is been the condition all the time and it is just now becoming known. Have you any idea why Robert Williams decided to risk youths Diggles instead of leaving them to learn. You know I mean he was the one who had presumably advised violent retaliation. Is that the interpretation given by many people.
What what what was he trying to accomplish. He was trying to accomplish something for his people and he knew that killing the Stickles would not do it. Aside just from being a nice guy and not wanting to see anybody hurt because Rob Williams is a nice guy and doesn't want to see anybody hurt. It's a very quiet soft spoken gentleman that he writes poetry fairly good poetry too. But he is also intelligent enough and a sufficient leader to know that any act of this kind would would just be a calamity for the whole struggle. In other words your interpretation of what he wanted the need to do was simply to be armed. And because they were armed that this would act as a brake against their being attacked as a deterrent to violence yes. And it has. Did he envisage armed battle. If the Klan tried to move into attack if necessary they were prepared for armed battle
yes but this never became necessary and nobody knows why he just became self up out of that house and left except that the that the police threatened to lynch him. Yes that's that's the reason. And at this time you see the Chief of Police had two divisions of state police on hand to back him up. WILLIAMS No he could have done it that day in an armed battle and you would have done if you did that you police didn't do anything. In point of fact well the next you know of that did he know that Williams it was had left the next morning I don't know if he knew Williams had left on Monday morning when at about five after nine as soon as they had gotten an indictment from the grand jury they came to Rob's house and I've never seen an army like this before in my life. The police talk about Williams being on they came to his house for police cars converged on the front at the same time. And they
came out wearing gas masks. Two of them had small machine guns and they were stationed in front of the House should he decide to bolt out the front. Chief Mooney led a tale about or rather a group of about six state policeman into the door all with their pistols drawn in back there were two more state policemen with small machine guns prepared to shoot him down if he came out. There were guns all over the place. There were tear gas guns all of these people had gas masks on. What leads you to believe that they were prepared to shoot him down if he came out. If he tries he tried to resist arrest. You know this it was obvious that he wasn't going to get away but he wasn't there. They never caught him. Well he isn't Cuba I understand. Yes yes. You people who have been charged and are going to be tried.
Are you in communication with him. Yes we are. What does he think about all is he wants to come back here. He hopes to be promised a fair trial by the Justice Department. And if he is promised this by the Justice Department he will come back and stand trial because he is not guilty. If he made in deposition or anything this fact and that is to try to use it in the trial of the of the rest of you. Yes he has. Conrad Lin his lawyer has gone down and taken his his testimony. How are you folks defending yourself is this the you know the committee or are any of the. Traditional committees that are associated with these Southern protests having anything to do with your case. Yes all of them are. But because now let's name them because the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People the Congress of Racial Equality the Southern Christian Leadership Conference the American Civil Liberties Union the Emergency Civil Liberties Union
various labor unions including local 600 Detroit Cory's in that that's commerce racial Congress of Racial Equality. Right. In other words simply because there were the negroes were armed and so on has not precluded the nonviolent organizations from trying to help people on their own. In fact the end of a place he'd passed a resolution in 1959 stating that in rejecting violence we do not deny it but reaffirm the right of individual and collective self-defense against unlawful assaults. This is the end of a lacey pink was that the same resolution in which he suspended Williams Yes it was. They suspended him for saying violence with violence which is a little ironic when you hear the whole thing in the Congress of Racial Equality is one of the the biggest supporters of tent city officially known as Freedom Village and fair to say
and they have armed guards there and density. So this is this is not the question involved in self-defense. Where is this trial going to be healed. As far as we know now it's going to be held in Monroe North Carolina in the same courthouse we've taken it unless our motion for change of venue is granted. We doubt that it will be any guarantee that you and I mean for all these other two men who are both Negroes do they belong in that locality. Yes they live there and had they been left alone during this time you know they in prison they're not there now they they're out on bail and they're in New York now they're in the northeast. Speaking on this we've taken them out of the town because of of what's going on there now. What guarantees are going to be provided. Time you're trying to make sure that you don't wind up hanging in the courthouse square only to guarantee that
of the fact that we have generated a lot of publicity about the case and public opinion to some degree has been raised. We also plan to have two bus loads approximately 100 African and Asian students at the trial as witnesses just to observe the trial. And the authorities are aware of these plans. We have publicized that they should be aware of it. We haven't told them directly not that we have publicized. And this will be a state trial in a law that's well it's not how many courts do we find our way up through where we go. It begins in the Union County Superior Court. It then goes to the North Carolina Supreme Court and if necessary then directly on to the United States Supreme Court. Have you any other questions Mike. One general one do you believe
as a result of your experiences in Monroe that self-defense is the right course for the civil rights movement in the south to pursue as opposed to the adoption of Gandhi and nonviolence which I assume is nonviolence as a fundamental principle as opposed to nonviolence as a tactic when circumstances dictate I approve of nonviolence as a tactic. I approve of passive resistance when you're on a picket line and when you are demonstrating. However I do approve of self-defense in for the community. I do not approve of self-defense on a payphone. In other words what you're saying is the Klu Klux Klan comes into an area and starts shooting up the people that you think they should defend themselves better if you have deliberately placed yourself in a vulnerable position by picketing a courthouse or something then you should submit to whatever
abuse or attack is meted out to you. Well yes I do but not for the reason that is in your question. For the reason of publicity because when you're out on a picket line people are going to know about it and the public pressure can should and will very often force the police to give you protection and this is who should protect you when you're out there on a picket line the police. And after. Well now they will. They usually will. Well of course one could argue that it was be up to the police to protect you in your home. Also if you lived in a certain area. Particularly when they know that things are bad I mean I. To me the most stunning part of your story is the gap between the Williams phone calls the Chief of Police which apparently know what he denies. It's simply a question of interpretation of what was said. Yes and the time when the police finally put in appearance in
this area. Yes because quite obviously both the Williams and whoever was with him and the stables had had plenty of time to murder or be murdered several times over by the time the authorities and considering the fact that Williams had notified them that there was a mob outside yet my murder did they want the murder. I don't know but they didn't come for quite some time. Dr Perry tells me Dr. Perry is the vice president of the Union County and only he paid he told me that once there was a mortar attack on his house by a motorcade of 60 cars two of these cars were in the row police cars. Well I think that there is no comment that can mean aid and your trial is on the 7th of May. That's correct. Thank you
Kidnapping in North Carolina
Producing Organization
KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/28-h707w67k6x).
An interview with twenty-year-old John Lowery, a freedom rider who went to Monroe, North Carolina, along with 12 others to help with anti-segregation picketing, conducted by Elsa Knight Thompson and Mike Tigar. Lowery was indicted on the same kidnapping charge lodged against Robert Williams, the president of Union County's NAACP branch. Lowery gives a detailed account of the rioting on August 27, 1961, that led to the indictments. He discusses nonviolence as a tactic, the tendency of some southern African American communities to take up arms for protection, and the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in Monroe. For information on Robert Williams and John Lowery, see Timothy B. Tyson, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams & the Roots of Black Power (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
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African Americans--Civil rights--History
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Interviewee: Lowery, John
Interviewer: Thompson, Elsa Knight
Interviewer: Tigar, Mike
Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 2014_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB0210_Kidnapping_in_North_Carolina (Filename)
Format: audio/vnd.wave
Generation: Master
Duration: 0:41:42
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Chicago: “Kidnapping in North Carolina,” 1962-05-04, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 1, 2021,
MLA: “Kidnapping in North Carolina.” 1962-05-04. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 1, 2021. <>.
APA: Kidnapping in North Carolina. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from