Thursday, August 17, 2017

Greensboro City Councilman Mike Barber on Charlottesville riot, the KKK and when Jim Melvin was Mayor

"Ask Mike Barber about the Klan-Nazi shootout"

I certainly don’t think those people deserved to die 

But if you go and poke a bunch of rednecks who have guns 
and you print ‘Death to the Klan’ fliers, 
that puts you in the stupid category if you ask me.

The bigger issue for me is that in a city of almost 300,000 people, 
we continue to have just a handful of people 
who live their lives looking in the rearview mirror.

That’s what holds Greensboro back 
— a small group of people who make an industry of racism and unhappiness,
marketing all that’s unpleasant and negative 
no matter how long ago these things occurred

Greensboro Councilman Mike Barber 

"Posters advertising the Nov. 3 rally in Greensboro described it as “organize to physically smash the racist KKK wherever it rears its ugly head,” and challenged the Klan to appear, promising “we will show you no mercy.”

During Jim Melvin's rein

He's got the City government building named after him

Nov. 3, 1979 — Members of the Klan, Communist Workers Party and neo-Nazis clash at the former Morningside Homes at a “Death to the Klan” march. Five people are killed and 10 injured.

"Violent clashes between the CWP and the rival Revolutionary Community Party were well documented."

"...on Nov. 3, 1979, law enforcement — from the Greensboro Police Department and FBI, which had informants among the North Carolina Klan and neo-Nazi contingents, to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which had an active undercover agent among the neo-Nazi group — failed to prevent a tragedy."

Along with Jim Melvin's police department

"According to later investigations and testimony, officers failed to effectively communicate with each other.  Some were completely unavailable by radio.  Tactical units were not in place when they were supposed to be."

Kind of just like Charlottesville

"Greensboro police officers observed as a nine-car caravan of Klan and neo-Nazi members drove from I-85 to Morningside Homes. Once there, the caravan met protesters who taunted them and attacked their cars with sticks and clubs. The Klan/Nazi contingent fired shots, unloaded their cache of guns and opened fire on anti-Klan protesters.

Police took action only after shots were fired.

Where were the police in Charlottesville?

CWP members fought with the Klan and neo-Nazis.  Some produced guns — despite a demonstration permit forbidding them — and a gunfight ensued.

...“But what hasn’t been talked about by the city, the government or the media is the shameful role played by the police on that day,” Foxworth said. “They want to talk about that as little as possible.”

Has the 'media' talked about where the police were hiding in Charlottesville, 
just like Greensboro when Jim Melvin was mayor?

Aug. 4, 1980 — Criminal trial of 14 Klan and Nazi members begins in Guilford County Superior Court.  Six face first-degree murder charges.

Nov. 17, 1980 — Trial ends with not guilty verdicts on all counts.

Jan. 9, 1984 — Criminal trial in federal court in Winston-Salem begins for nine people involved in the shootings.

April 15, 1984 — Federal trial ends with not guilty verdicts.

Nov. 6, 1985 — The city of Greensboro settles for $351,000 to the estate of Michael Nathan, one of the men killed.*

How heavy the irony must be 
as the marginalizer imagines the chains of marginalization

"The two criminal trials against the Klansmen and the Nazi Party members led to all defendants being acquitted by all-white juries.

A 1985 civil rights suit ...resulted in one of the few decisions in a Southern court to date against law enforcement officials accused of collusion with Klan violence.

"Bernard Butkovich, an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), later testified that he was aware that Klansmen and members of the American Nazi Party unit he had infiltrated would confront the demonstrators. In an earlier testimony, the neo-Nazis claimed Butkovich encouraged them to carry firearms to the demonstration."
WaPo Op-Ed Openly Calls For Political Violence;

"The white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, a city that boasts “diversity makes us stronger,” made a lot of things clear. One of them is that generic solutions to the racial problem — bland affirmations of inclusiveness, tolerance and “free speech” — will no longer work. Indeed, they have never worked, at least not on their own. …

[I]n April 1968, amid a flurry of other “rocks,” riots shook American cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It took that rolling unrest, not the promise of further economic growth, to spur President Lyndon Johnson and Congress to action. Within a week they had passed the Fair Housing Act.

Over the past century, liberalism, vexed by an ever-sharp, ever-cutting white supremacy, has needed these rocks. …

Segregationists have again assumed their pedestals in the Justice Department, the White House and many other American temples. Paper alone won’t drive them out. Start throwing rocks."

Justin King; "We are now in the fourth stage of the cycle of insurgency"

"The Rise of the Unprotected"

"Economic Underpinnings of the U.S. Revolutionary War"
KKK, Nazi Communist Shootout; "City Response"

"...Gary Cepnick, news editor for the local WFMY station, recalled immediately after the shooting that he felt pressure from the City not to show the footage of the shootings. He recalled a visit from top City officials:

"The mayor and the police chief and the public safety officer and a deputy were all in the lobby and were wanting to come back to the newsroom and wanted to talk to us.

…the thrust of the conversation was, “Do we really think it is necessary to put this on the air… isn't it going to do more harm than good?”

…It was a very intimidating group. I was incredulous. I looked at them and I said, “I think you need to look at this from the perspective that this has been on the radio and it has been reported.  People are aware … that it is going on and we are going to report it.  We are going to put it on television.  We were there.  We witnessed it, we have footage that shows what happened.  And we’re going to air it.  And I’m sorry if you don’t agree with that, but you are not going to dictate editorial policy to us.  I respect what you are telling me here, but we’re not going to…”

“But you are going to incite a riot.”

They didn’t. I don’t recall having the mayor on the air that night, but they expressed concern, but basically we went with the story itself without City reaction, without police reaction."

City officials contributed to this fear by broadcasting public service radio and television announcements urging people to stay away from the march.

Proposed wording of the KKK, Nazi, Communist shootout "Massacre" Historical Marker and some Facebook comments

It was a shootout (not a shooting) as both sides fired shots."

"from a News & Record (then Daily News) reporter who was an eyewitness. Key part: "After the first Klansmen emerged and fired into the air, three or four white members of the Communist Workers Party drew small pistols and fired into the air".

"in broad front of a television crew..... with no police in the area....."

A video put up on YouTube by Ben Holder today on the 1979 KKK and historical marker about the “Greensboro Massacre.”

"I have always wanted to ask Nelson Johnson why he seemed so surprised that people were killed after taunting the historically violent KKK. They went to disrupt the KKK's movie night and were armed with guns. They burned the rebel flag and then made Death to the Klan posters and promoted the event. What exactly did he think would come of it? It's like I always tell my kids. Do stupid stuff, end up in stupid places. I should take this clip to the council meeting tonight to show the entire picture of the events that happened."

Ben Holder