Interview with Robert Williams
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

OKAY. UM, WHAT—WERE THERE ANY SPECIFIC INCIDENTS THAT TRIGGERED OR THAT CAUSED YOU TO ARM?

Robert Williams:

Well, we had a situation where in uh, eighteen black women had been struck with missals thrown from cars, passing cars, occupied by white men. We had the situation where blacks had been attacked, some had been beaten, and we had a one, one situation wherein a black woman was made to dance at pistol point in the black community by Klansmen. And Klansmen, because we had organized a branch of NAACP and it was active and we had broken down some discrimination in the town, that uh, the Klansmen started to move in and they had had mass rallies wherein newspapers reported that they had had as many as 7,500 people in fields for these mass rallies. And they were beginning to attack us, so having been in the Marine Corps and having been in the army that uh, I understood uh, weapons and I understood the military science, so as a result of that, and I had built the branch of NAACP, and uh, the people had authorized me to appoint a member of the fellow officers instead of an election. They said since I had built the branch and I would have to work with these people. I should have the people I wanted to work with. So they authorized me to do this, so I appointed all veterans with the exception of one woman who was the secretary of the branch. And as a result of that, we also, having been in the Marine Corps, I had seen uh, civilians come to Camp Pendleton in California to use the rifle range and I had inquired as to how it was that civilians could have access to the rifle range. And they said they were members of the National Rifle Association and that gave them the right to use the government rifle ranges when they were not in use. So then I asked questions about the National Rifle Association. So when we ran into difficulty in the South, I started to organize a branch of the rifle association.