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Excerpts from chapter one of We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement by Akinyele Omowale Umoja:

Terrorist violence disrupted [a state senate] election debate on September 4, 1875, in Clinton [Mississippi]…. The Democratic candidate spoke first with no incident, but after Caldwell [the Republican] began his speech, heckling and other disruptive behavior by Whites escalated into shooting at the predominantly Black and Republican audience, resulting in the death of four people (two Whites, two Blacks) and injury to nine others (four Whites, five Blacks). Blacks fled Clinton, seeking refuge in Jackson—a Republican stronghold—or the swamps and woods. Caldwell, along with others who retreated to Jackson, demanded that Governor Ames provide weapons so they could protect themselves . . .

In subsequent days, the terror continued, targeting Republicans, Black and White, in Clinton, with dozens of people killed. The reign of terror spread throughout Hinds County…. Mississippi Republican governor Adelbert Ames mobilized citizens loyal to the state Reconstruction government to form seven companies of the state militia. Recognizing the level of genocidal violence being waged on their leadership and communities, Black people answered the call for forming a militia for defense from the White supremacist onslaught. Recently emancipated Blacks were willing to defend their liberty, lives, and newly acquired political and human rights….

[T]he Black militias were not as well equipped or trained as the former Confederate, pro-Democratic paramilitary forces. However, they did possess the determination and will to maintain their newly won freedom. In an interview several decades later, Black Mississippi state senator and militia leader George Washington Albright remembered, “Our militia helped to fight off the Klan which was organized by the old slave owners to try and make us slaves again in all but name….”

While they did not defeat the Black militia on the battlefield, the Democrats were able to defeat them in the courts. One month prior to Caldwell’s march through Hinds County, Democratic lawyers filed motions to prevent the state from allocating resources for the organization of state-supported militias. The state supreme court ruled in favor of the Democrats, and on October 12, 1875, three days after Caldwell and his forces initiated their march, Governor Ames demobilized the state militias. The disbanding of the predominantly Black militias significantly weakened the defense and resources available to Mississippi’s Black communities ten years after the end of chattel slavery. A Reconstruction based upon democracy and radical reform was doomed to failure in the face of a White supremacist armed rebellion, insufficient federal intervention, and the decision not to provide “arms to the Black majority. White supremacy would be the order of the day in Mississippi for nearly a century. Within ten weeks of the decision to disarm Black militias, Caldwell was assassinated.


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  1. We constantly talk of a smaller .gov on this site. And to some degree I support that sentiment. But, as this event shows, too weak a ,gov and your rights and freedoms can be infringed upon by the group with the most hired guns.

    As a descendent of WV and KY coal miners I grew up with stories of company police, no more than hired goons, having the power of life and death over miners and their families.

    Too much .gov is a bad thing. But so is too little .gov. Our biggest failing in this country is hitting that happy medium.

    • “Just the right amount of government”- a common definition of a republic, and why a republic is the most effective form of government.

      • You missed one key aspect. Actually you probably assumed it, but it should be stated explicitly. It must be a rights-respecting, rights protecting republic.

        “Republic” simply means not a monarchy. The Soviet Union was a republic, and Russia is one today. Red China is a republic. But they were/are awful examples of such.

        Once upon a time the United States was very, very close to the ideal.

        • Indeed, you are correct. I also wanted to separate republic from democracy, for obvious reasons.

      • They had their own guns. Shotguns and .22s mostly. Miners got paid in company money that was only good at company stores. And they had to work long, hard days to feed their families.

        Company goons had as their job intimidating miners and their familes. They could bring armored vehicles and machine guns to the party. Robber barons had deep pockets and no hands tied behind their back.

        Eventually, the miners did win, of a sorts. They managed to unionize. Things got better for them til the unions got power mad.

        Like I said, we have trouble hitting a happy medium.

        • I’ve only seen a little bit of history about the miners battling the company and if I recall correctly the government backed the company in a few battles.

        • The robber barons had deep pockets and no scruples. They could buy judges and elected officials. The old timers that fought against that were some tough mofos. And they were desperate. Their families were suffering.

      • Check out battle of Blair mountian. It was in your American rifleman a few months back.

        I have a 1871 Swiss Vetterli that was a popular cheap gun, although woefully outdated, used by poor miners in West Virginia. 10mm big bore black powder rimfire. I converted mine to centerfire.

    • This is why I’m a minarchist. Powerful companies are no better than powerful governments. Bullies will be bullies.

    • Like so many other statists, you confused “crony government” with “government too weak to stand up for the oppressed”. Like Occupy Wall Street, you identify the problem — corruption — but refuse to recognize the government and the cronies are the same people, and that the solution is not more government cronies, but less government power.

      Slavery was only legal because government made it so. Jim Crow segregation was only legal because government mandated it — look up Plessey, where the government ordered the railroads to have segregated cars at great expense and inconvenience to everybody, blacks and whites alike.

      More government is NEVER the solution, ALWAYS just compounding the problem.

      • So there’s little to no .gov. Bunch of guys board ships, sail to Africa and round up a bunch of people at gunpoint to work as slaves. There’s no real .gov. Is the slavery real or not? Legal or Illegal? Do the guys with the guns and ships actually become the .gov by virtue of the fact they have the power?

        What if the same bunch of guys come down your street and round you and your family up to work as slaves. There’s little or no .gov. Are their actions legal or illegal? And who do you appeal to if you think their actions are illegal?

        Maybe I’m a statist. Maybe not. I guess it depends on if I agree with you or not.

        • I think that the confusion here is between limited (as if having less delegated powers) vs weak (as in unable to execute the delegated powers).
          I think many of us are for a powerful government (capable of enforcing the rule of law) but against a gov that regulate every aspect of our life.
          Limited != weak.

        • Yep, finding that balanced middle ground seems to be ever elusive for us humans. My fantasy of how .gov should work is that if it’s not helping you it’s getting out of your way and allowing you to help yourself.

        • No body from this country went into African villages and rounded up peaceful villagers at gunpoint. When the Dutch/Spanish/English arrived in African ports, they found a thriving slave trade in which tribal Africans captured one another and sold them to Islamic traders. I definitely don’t chock that up to a “lack of centralized government”. The only way you can have a free society is by first having a civil society.
          Every example from history shows that once gained, power is never relinquished by government. Already in this country we have whole industries (ethanol) being completely supported by the feds. There is nothing at all that isn’t regulated, taxed or legislated. The government is already broke, with over 61% of the federal budget going to Medicade/Medicare/ACA and social security alone. We spend more money per year on just social security than on all of our military operations all over the world COMBINED.
          Maybe in the times before child labor laws and even the most basic of regulations existed, we needed unions and big government, but today those laws already exist and more often, unionization and crony capitalism goes the way of hostes, British Leyland or worse you get guys like the Hoffa’s and the SEIU breaking kneecaps and confiscating your paycheck in the name of helping you.

          Sorry buddy, but nobody can convince me that in 2015, the answer to any problem is more power in the hands of the same people who said “we have to pass it to find out what is in it”.

        • You are a statist because you can think of no way to handle such situations except with a government. You may want a small government, but there is no such thing; once a state exists, and has a monopoly on coercion, including taxation and defining its own limits, it can only grow. Do not confuse a constitutional court with an independent review of the state’s limits; it is part of the state, and when push comes to shove, it will always side with its brethren, just as sailors and Marines will be worst enemies until an airman or soldier or coastie comes along and they revert to best buds.

          There are many ways to maintain civilized order without a coercive monopolistic immortal state. People can have mutual aid contracts, or as they are also known, family and friends. No, this won’t deteriorate into feuds and gangs and turn into governments; that is a statist attitude to think that only coercive monopolistic governments can prevent chaos.

          All that is needed is a framework for redressing collisions of the most basic rights: the right, and concomitant duty, to control yourself and your property. If you want specific laws against robbery and assault, you can have some small elected body to maintain them, without pay; it is not an onerous task. Or you can simply have hearings on disputes about colliding rights, and weigh the various sides. The same legislative body can set out procedures and policies, and the parties to the dispute can hire courts; victims bring charges and name the accused. If police work is required to find a burglar, victims front the cost. The losers pay at the end, or both parties pay in proportion to their fault in the dispute.

          None of this requires a government which collects any taxes or has any authority other than setting up basic policies. If people think the procedures and laws are defective, perhaps for being internally inconsistent or inconsistently enforced, or vague and unclear, they bring suit to throw the laws out, and the legislature takes another whack at it.

          If you stop thinking that government is necessary, you can come up with a zillion ways to handle disputes. My turning point was when I found that radio frequencies were allocated by private people maintaining lists just like a phone book; the government didn’t get involved until, I think, 1934, when a bunch of cronies bribed some congress critters with campaign donations. If government was unnecessary up til then, I doubt it was necessary afterwards, and I decided the shoe was on the other foot, that it was up to statists to prove the necessity of coercive, monopolistic, self-defining governments. So far I have not seen a single instance where such a solution was better than either no solution or a voluntary contractual one among willing parties.

          I played a little game with a copy of the Constitution and decided to see how much of it was unnecessary. The census, for instance, was considered necessary to keep representative districts more or less equal sized. It has morphed into an awfully intrusive nosy parker activity which costs billions of dollars. You could get rid of it by one or both of two methods: have representatives cast not one vote each, but how many votes they got in the last election; and let people who own parcels on the borders of voting districts switch to a neighboring district if that new district had fewer total votes in the last election.

          It’s amazing how much you can get rid of if you simply step outside the mindset that we have all grown up with, that a coercive, monopolistic, immortal government is necessary to keep us from degenerating into chaos.

        • Just FYI: X! = Y is logic code in a few computer languages for “X is not equal to Y”. I’ve used that before and people think that it was the opposite of what I was saying.

        • Felix, can you name a country or society(within the last thousand years with a population of more than 10,000) that has actually used your model of .gov?

        • JWM — Look up Iceland’s medeival system; I don’t know what it was called. There was one set of laws, but you signed up with whatever chief you wanted for enforcement. The Somalian Xeer system is different again, family and clan based. The early English Borh system, before the Normans took over and co-opted it into the King’s system, had small groups of 10 or 12 people being responsible for each other, but vountarily; anyone who could not or would not be part of a group was untrustworthy. Merchant law in medeival Europe allowed traders across the entire contient and among several religions to trust each other with money, credit, and insurance.

          But the basic intent of your questions is meaningless. Before the US Constitution, no one had ever done anything similar. To imply anything not tried is hopeless, useless, or impossible simply because kings and coercive majorities have always ruled the roost is a strawman.

        • The slave trade did not work like that- not at all. Africa already had a massive slave trade that was started by individual kingdoms that conquered other kingdoms and enslaved the vanquished. The first outside power that actually tapped into this system was the Muslim empire of medieval times. The Portuguese later made contact on the shores of west Africa and were given people as a gift. This started the European slave trade, and the rest is history. Contrary to popular belief, where a bunch of rebel flag waving racists tool up and attack an African village and enslave everyone. It’s revisionist history.

        • I have been making that point for 4 decades. Ain’t made a dent in the leftard mantra of “America created slavery” and I doubt anyone ever will.

        • To all concerned. I’m well aware of the fact that slavery was not created by the US. But until the .gov of the time grew a set and stepped up to its responsibilties slavery was practiced openly in this country.

          Felix, we’re a first world country. Do you really believe medieviel european or Icelandic systems are our answer?

        • JWM: First you asked for examples within the last 1000 years or more than 10,000 people. I gave you several. Then you say they don’t apply because they aren’t current.

          Go away.

        • Felix, I asked did YOU actually believe if those near tribal systems would work in a modern first world nation.

          Now, you go away. I was here first.

    • I completely agree. Guess that makes me a “RINO”.

      No government and no regulations results in Wazirastan, where Taliban warlords fill the power vacuum. Or early America, where robber barons filled the vacuum.

      The free market self regulates, except that the powerful will always put their thumb on the scale, so truly free markets usually only exist in economics textbooks.

      • Yeah, we need to make the government more powerful, so that the people that own the government, won’t be able to control the government. There is no point in bribing a man with no real power.

        • Thats a strawman actually.

          Raising all government in every aspect is obviously about as “reasonable” as getting rid of it all together; in other words, not very

      • Robber barons were, first off, no such thing; Rockefeller, for instance, made his millions by providing oil cheaper than everybody else, until eventually his competitors got wise and started copying him and inventing their own cheaper and better methods; his market share had been declining for quite a while when the government finally wasted everybody’s time and money breaking up Standard Oil. Did you know that the muckraker who “exposed” him was related to one of his competitors?

        In the second place, the cronies who made a mint corrupting government could not have done so without the active and eager participation of the very government which statists claim saved the people from the cronies. Look up the history of AT&T some time. They got their start as just another of the hundreds of regional phone companies, but they made fraudulent deals, backstabbed business partners, and were starting to lose court cases when they had the bright idea of talking the government into regulating them as a monopoly.

        Slavery was backed by government; Jim Crow segregation was enforced and mandated by government. If government had done nothing but establish a framework for victims to pursue criminals, neither would have been possible.

    • Finally somebody gets it.

      People are attracted to the idea of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but it doesn’t work that way. In fact, a small, weak government is precisely the end result of the articles of confederation and why they are now defunct.

      Federalism works, as not only demonstrated by the US (which has one of the oldest standing forms of original government), but also by Rome (before they became a imperial power), Switzerland, etc.

      Getting rid of government outright, or gutting it, will result in corporations and industrialists picking up the slack to fill in the power vacuum, and they already have significant power today. Tearing down the dam that holds reservoir back is straight up insanity.

      Read about the guilded age sometime, kids. Or the aforementioned miner strikes. Or the labor disputes where the pinkertons were called. With the cancer that is globalism and unregulated, neoliberal economics, we are headed down the well-trodden path to another guilded age.

    • Spot on, JWM. And to whoever it was who pointed out that limited is not the same as weak, spot on as well. Government needs to be strong enough to do its (extremely limited) proper task.

      • “Government needs to be strong enough to do its (extremely limited) proper task.” Yes, and when those inside government exceed the Constitutional limits placed upon them they should be punished severely. Had this been done from the start we would not be in the position we find ourselves in today.

  2. Yeah, so the Democrats learned from that and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, then built-out the Big Government Plantation Welfare State and enslaved a large number of American Blacks all over again without them ever figuring it out. Even the guy who wrote this hasn’t figured it out. Good Grief!

    • True. LBJ even said “I’ll have those niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years”, when describing the legislation.

      • Could you please site, from a reputable source, when LBJ ever said this. It is often quoted, but it comes from a Ronald Kessler, who never gave a legitimate source for it. Just because you read it on the internet does not make it true.

        • I’m also interested in this, as I have heard/read it so many times. I know Johnson had many of his conversations recorded so perhaps it is on record somewhere. Anyone here with extensive knowledge on the Johnson administration?

        • Looks like Ron Kessler’s book “Inside the White House” (1996) is the only source for the “quote” and IF Kessler listed a source, it would be in the Book. Since Kessler was a Journalist, he may not have revealed his source, but he is also in discredit as a tabloid type writer, apparently, so I could not verify the truth of the quote.

    • What the democrats have done is enslave all of us.
      regardless of race or gender. The nanny state and free shite has ensnared most of us in a gilded cage.

      • You have a good point there, JWM. Parsing enslavement is a bad habit I need to break,,,or maybe it’s a form of denial….either way, it needs to go.

    • Although the Democrats had the majority, it was the Republicans that passed the Civil Rights Act after the Southern Democrats filibustered the bill. A higher percentage of Republicans voted in favor of the bill than Democrats.

      • From what I can find, you are correct. The Bill actually passed was watered-down from the original Bill, after Southern Democrats filibustered it 75 days in the Senate, and few Southerners voted for even that Bill.

      • Thanks for bringing up the party vote totals. I always like to learn new things.

        Something else for me to rub in the face of the sanctimonious.


        “The FBI began secretly tracking King’s flights and watching his associates. In July 1963, a month before the March on Washington, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover filed a request with Attorney General Robert Kennedy to tap King’s and his associates’ phones and to bug their homes and offices.

        “In September, Kennedy consented to the technical surveillance. Kennedy gave the FBI permission to break into King’s office and home to install the bugs, as long as agents recognized the “delicacy of this particular matter” and didn’t get caught installing them. Kennedy added a proviso — he wanted to be personally informed of any pertinent information.”

    • Democrats, including John F. Kennedy, actually did everything they could to filibuster and kill the Civil Right Act of 1964.

      • John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, in June of 1963 JFK gave a speech about Civil Rights and the need for a National Law that Martin Luther KIng praised, saying “It was one of the most eloquent, profound and unequivocal pleas for justice and the freedom of all men ever made by any president.”


        Lyndon Johnson got the Bill passed and signed into law on July 2, 1964, as a memorial to John F. Kennedy. LBJ worked to build consensus in Congress and advocated for Public Support to get it passed. So, despite resistance from Southern Democrats and the remaining States Rights Democrats or “Dixiecrats” the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was engineered and passed largely by two Democratic Presidents and Northern Democrats with Republican consensus to be sure. LBJ later used it as part of his “Great Society”, which built upon CRA 1964 with programs aimed at ending racial discrimination, poverty and even included the Gun Control Act of 1968.

        There was a need for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it eventually led to bad consequences for the very people it was intended to benefit. Hence, I condemn its dysfunctional, human life wasting, tax dollar wasting offspring.

        • Actually,CRA 1964 was never intended to benefit anyone other than government. Blacks did not want their own, special rights, they wanted their God given and Constitutionally guaranteed rights to be recognized by the government and courts. That is precisely NOT what CRA 1964 did, or was ever intended to do, it was a wedge to further separate the people of America into rigid, balkanized groups, and it has worked spectacularly.

        • Yes, I agree with your assessment. I probably created an inference that CRA 1964 was “good”, by saying “There was a need” for it, but, as you say it missed the mark widely. In the end it opened the Gateway to Government using money hand-outs to Blacks that worsened their situation, rather than improving it IMO.

          There indeed was a need for it, but that need should have addressed what you pointed-out “Blacks did not want their own, special rights, they wanted their God given and Constitutionally guaranteed rights to be recognized by the government and courts. That is precisely NOT what CRA 1964 did, or was ever intended to do,,,, Had CRA 1964 done what you suggest it should have done, we Americans would be in a much different and, dare I say, “better” place than we are today. Hell, we might have even elected a rational Black President.

        • Wow, took a couple of days for this comment to hit the thread. 😉

          Did not mean to sound accusatory on you, just galls me that so many people blithely accept CRA 1964 as good and needed. It is one of the most singularly destructive pieces of legislation in our history, and that fact needs to be hammered home, endlessly without end.

        • I did not feel you were criticizing me at all. Your comment made me see I had created a possible unintended inference, and I appreciated being able to see that. I further agree 100% with your last sentence of the current post. Strange it took so long, but the other day I was trying to post to an article and it, apparently, never took either. Hmmmm…maybe I better check. Anyway, Thanks, again!

        • Yea, TTAG been having some comment platform issues of late, had several that either disappeared or got the dreaded 404 or 504 error page.

        • I just looked and found-out both my “lost” posts eventually made it onto that other Comment Thread. Next time I’ll wait awhile.

  3. Men like AL Gore Sr. Read from the phone book and peed in a bag in order to block passage of equal rights for minorities. Others like Robert KKK Byrd were/are high ranking members of the Klan, and Byrd was called by Pelosi, Kerry,Hilary Clinton the “soul of the Senate”…

    Funny how Black people still line up to throw their freedoms away for these people.

    • Of course, you know the Dixiecrats abandoned the Democratic Party, turning the South solidly Republican.

      Blacks don’t seem to have had the foot lifted from their necks by the Southern Pols so much as by the Northern Republicans, now disreputedly known as RINOs.

      • Thanks for perpetuating the “Southern Strategy” myth. It is true that Nixon wanted Southern white’s support. It is false that he did this by appealing to racism. The GOP on the whole was more in line with what whites of the South wanted. Conservatism. The racial issues actually slowed this process. It is not the cause of it. Southern whites had been trending Republican steadily since 1928.
        True, Strom Thurmand and Jesse Helms switched parties. That they did this in order to carry on the racist traditions of the Dixiecrats is false. All Dixiecrats that joined the GOP did so as they recanted their former positions on Jim Crow. The Dixiecrats that remained continued to campaign on racial issues. Blacks started supporting the Democratic party when LBJ took credit for Civil Rights acts after the Republicans earlier had compromised on Reconstruction leaving the blacks in the South subjected to continued oppression. The remaining Dixiecrats eventually died out.
        In a nutshell, that Southern Republicans are just Dixiecrats that switched parties because the Democrat party was the equal rights party, is a lie.
        For more proof beyond learning history, look at the Democrat party today and tell me how they have helped the plight of minorities. Even Barack Obama has failed the black community. Unless you think 47 million people on welfare is a success. Or if you think amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens taking low wage jobs helps Americans get a job.

        • Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

          I agree that Lincoln really screwed up the nation with his strong central government and weak state position. I think this would be a better country if Lincoln had honored the Constitution, including the Tenth Amendment, instead of reducing the states back to colonial status again.

          Let’s see if the European Union goes to war, like Lincoln did, to keep its economically devastated nations from secession.

  4. My grandmother was very heavily into genealogy and documented our family in MS, FLA, GA, LA, and the Carolinas from colonial period forward. I had family who fought against slavery and defended the rights of freed blacks, they also fought on the side of the Confederacy because they already knew the Federal Government was trampling the rights of states and individuals with onerous and unbalanced taxation and takings of land and assets. Had family killed in the Reconstruction era for their activism against the Democrat Party, had family kill Democrats and other terrorists during that time, too.

    I’ll have to add this book to our collection.

    • Sounds a lot like the history of my family. From WV and eastern KY. Related to the feud. From what I can tell most of my family that took part in the civil war fought for the confederacy.

      Lunacy at its best. Defending states rights in states that practiced slavery. All I can think is there must have been a lot of lead in the environment back then.

      • Funny, I still support state’s rights and the rights of citizens to determine their own destiny without government stealing everything from them. Weird how that is, huh?


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