May 27, 2016
‘Negroes With Guns: The Untold History of Black NRA Gun Clubs and the Civil Rights Movement’
Nick Pell on one of my favourite topics:
Few are aware that weapons played a pivotal part in the American Civil Rights Movement, specifically through the person of Robert F. Williams. A curious figure in American history, Williams doesn’t so much defy definition as he’s a product of a bygone age. Libertarians might be quick to lionize him and his radical approach to black self-defense, however they’ll quickly cool when they learn of his longstanding association with leftist totalitarian politics and governments. Conservatives likewise might initially find themselves infatuated with a man who did not wait for “big government” to deliver his people, but rather leveraged the Second Amendment for that purpose. Liberals, for their part, might find something to admire in Williams’ notion of liberation, but will recoil in horror when learning that his preferred vehicles for change were the NAACP (great!) and the NRA (terrible!) (…)
C.O. Chinn is another figure you won’t read about in the Civil Rights Chapter of your history book. Chinn’s allegiance to firearms was originally just good business sense. He was, among other things, a bootlegger and the owner of a rhythm and blues club in Canton, Mississippi. He was also armed to the teeth, something that caused the segregationist sheriff of the county to once state that Chinn was the only other “bad son of a b*tch” in the county besides himself.
Chinn is instructive for one reason: Even officially “nonviolent” sectors of the Civil Rights Movement like SNCC and CORE were happy to outsource their violence to Chinn and his band of rough and readies. Violence for thee, but not for me.