Lumbee Indian resistance to Klan
I've been researching a long-lost event, for incorporation into the documentary film on the right to arms... the pain is that the local accounts were in the Robesonian newspaper, North Carolina, and the Library of Congress collections of that have been shipped to the New England Antiquarian Society. But I do find (just in case someone needs a term paper!) New York Times, 1/19/58 pp. 1 & 41, Life magazine, 1/27/58 at 26-27, Life 2/3/58 at 36-37, and a much later summary by the AP reporter who covered it, True Magazine, March 76 at 64.
Short summary of the events: In 1957, a Klan leader named James "Catfish" Cole tried to lead a Klan cavalcade (basically a mass drive-by shooting) to attack the home of a friend of Robert Williams (the friend being vice president, and Williams being president, of the local NAACP). It was, well, an unusual chapter of the NAACP -- it was also chartered as an NRA-affiliated club, composed mostly of veterans, and armed to the teeth. Williams' men blew the Klan cavalcade away -- no casualties reported, so they probably shot for engine compartments and aimed well, but there was a line of disabled autos and guys in bedsheets running for their lives.
A while later the same Klan leader decided to hold a cross-burning rally near the Lumbee Indians -- he objected to their intermarriage and dating of europeans. About 50 Klansmen showed up. And about 500 Lumbees. The rally was lit by a single lightbulb, which was either shot or knocked out, and the Lumbees charged in. In the aftermath, the Klan leader was charged with incitement to riot and imprisoned for two years. The twin defeats disintegrated the Klan in the State. I'll post my summary of the press coverage in extended remarks below.
I suspect the first Life article would be the most authoritative, in that it has the photos. These show the Klansmen (not in robes) standing near a lightbulb and PA system, and a large number of Lumbees confronting them at close range. The Lumbees have lots of shotguns and rifles. One gives the Klan leader a butt-stroke to the head, at that point the light disappears, and they then push the leader away from the PA system. Other photos show a huge crowd of Lumbees, and then carting off the Klan cross in triumph.
The narrative says under 100 Klan attended, and about 350 Lumbees. A Lumbee shot out the bulb, there was a hand-to-hand scuffle and a noisy barrage of gunshots into the air. One Klansman was arrested for drunkeness and CCW.
The second Life article covers the drunken Klansman being sentenced to a fine (by a judge who was a Lumbee!) and notes Klan leader Cole had been charged with inciting a riot.
The 1975 True magazine article is entitled "The Night the Klan Died in North Carolina," and is by an AP reporter who was present. It says that when the Klan leader started attacking the Lumbees, they got seriously po'ed, and the local sheriff (who opposed the Klan) warned them to stay away.
The reporter got to the field before the rally. A few Klansman trickled in -- some were armed, talked tough, and the reporter got worried. The Klansmen had expected 500 to show, and found that maybe a tenth of that number did. A long line of cars pulled up, and a mass of Lumbees got out. It turned out they were reinforced by Sioux soldiers from Ft. Bragg. The Lumbees began shouting, one did a war dance, and then they charged. A scuffle began near the light, gunshots went into the air, and the light went out. The sound of guns being cocked was everywhere in the dark. The Lumbees shot out the tires of some of the Klan vehicles. The Lumbees seized the PA system, the Klan banner, and the cross.
State police waited until the Klan was driven off (they explained to a reporter that if they'd moved in earlier the Lumbees might have thought they were protecting the Klan, and no way were they going to get into that). They arrested one drunken Klansman who protested that his friends had abandoned him. Cole was convicted of inciting a riot and sentenced to 18-24 months. The judge said that perhaps the Lumbee were "not blameless," but there was no evidence against any individual. (Since Life magazine had run the photos, he may have been chuckling as he spoke).
And finally we have the New York Times. 500 Lumbees "many with knives or squirrel guns" balked a Klan rally. The milling crowd of Klanmen and Lumbees broke up when someone set off a tear gas grenade. (No other account mentions tear gas). "Scattered shots and a few weak war whoops were heard..."