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Out in the country a white man attempted to rape a Black woman who was 8 months pregnant. Her neighbor who was a white woman had brought her to the police to try to get an indictment against the man who tried to rape her, and the Chief of police refused to give a warrant, so we had to get involved with the NAACP.
As a result, some of the men in community said, “well, suppose we take care of this. They’re not going to do anything.” Then I explained to them that they couldn’t take care of it. They said, ‘well, we could just go by his house and sprinkle maybe a few machine gun bullets,’ I said, ‘no, you can’t do that.’ They said, ‘we’ll just scare him,’ ‘no’. Then they said, ’ well, we could throw a stick of dynamite on his porch,’ ‘no.’ So I said it will be taken care of in the law.
So what they did, there was a young white woman lawyer from New York who volunteered to come and prosecute this man. She came all the way to North Carolina, and when it came up for trial, she never got the chance to say anything on the floor because they had brought this white man’s wife, and they set her down in the court.
And his attorney got up and said, ‘judge, your honor, this man is not guilty of any crime. He was just drinking and having a little fun. Now, you see this lovely creature? God’s pure flower, God’s greatest gift to man? This lovely flower, this lovely white woman? These people are going to have you to believe that that man left God’s greatest gift to him for this?” Talking about the Black woman.
So, that was all! The white woman lawyer volunteer didn’t even get a chance to say a word in the court. The judge said, ‘dismissed.’ Then all the women in the courtroom, they had packed the courtroom, and they turned to me and they said, ‘if it hadn’t been for you, that man would have been punished. Now you’ve opened the floodgates on us. They feel that they can do anything they want to to us with impunity. Now what are you going to say?”
And I said,’ I’m going to say: From this day forward, we will meet violence with violence. We will become our own judges, our own prosecutors, and our own executioners. And that’s what we’ll do from now on.
And so they had to take the man out of the back door of the courthouse. They couldn’t bring him through the crowd of black women who had congregated there. It just happened a man was there from United Press International; he heard me say that. That night he called me back at midnight, he wanted to know, said, ‘you had time to cool off. I’ve got a statement you made today, and before I sent it out on the wire, I’d like to know, do you stand behind that statement?
I said, ‘yeah, I stand behind that statement. If you call me back 6 years from now I’ll still stand behind it.’ And they sent it out all over the country. Next day, it was like the world was on fire….
Robert F. Williams
The story behind the statement where said saying, “We must meet violence with violence.”
Somehow “the jury has spoken” wasn’t enough for him.
Do you work at a breakneck pace all day, only to find that you haven’t accomplished the most important things on your agenda when you leave the office?.
With wisdom from 20 leading creative minds: Stefan Sagmeister, Seth Godin, Gretchen Rubin, Dan Ariely, Steven Pressfield, James Victore, Scott Belsky, Leo Babauta, Tony Schwartz, Erin Doland, and many more.