Read Negroes with Guns by Robert Franklin Williams Online


First published in 1962, Negroes with Guns is the story of a southern black community's struggle to arm itself in self-defense against the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. Frustrated and angered by violence condoned or abetted by the local authorities against blacks, the small community of Monroe, North Carolina, brought the issue of armed self-defense to the forefronFirst published in 1962, Negroes with Guns is the story of a southern black community's struggle to arm itself in self-defense against the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. Frustrated and angered by violence condoned or abetted by the local authorities against blacks, the small community of Monroe, North Carolina, brought the issue of armed self-defense to the forefront of the civil rights movement. Under the leadership of Robert F. Williams (1925-1996), Monroe became the test case of the right of blacks to armed self-defense when law and order broke down. The single most important intellectual influence on Huey P. Newton, the founder of the Black Panther Party, Negroes with Guns is a classic story of a man who risked his life for democracy and freedom....

Title : Negroes with Guns
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780814327142
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Negroes with Guns Reviews

  • Sheehan
    2018-11-15 02:39

    I believe this quote best summarizes why this book is the bomb...and why Robert Williams was ahead of his time in identifying flexible armed defensive AND non-violent demonstration as case-specific and dynamic based on the circumstances you find yourself dissenting."The existence of violence is at the very heart of a racist system. The Afro-American militant is a 'militant' because he defends himself, his family, his home and his dignity. He does not introduce violence into a racist social system--the violence is already there and has always been there. It is precisely the unchallenged violence that allows a racist social system to perpetuate itself. When people say they are opposed to Negroes "resorting to violence" what they really mean is that they are opposed to Negroes defending themselves and challenging the exclusive monopoly of violence practiced by white racists."How more honestly can you speak truth to power than by speaking that truth with the force to back it up. Look at the difference between protesting nowadays and demonstrating in the 1960's civil rights movement. Protests now yell into the void all of the problems, but provide no tangible "cost" to those who wield power, thusly the government and business simply turn a blind eye, and do nothing. Whereas demonstrations which impinge upon a governing power's ability to profit, war make, silence dissent, etc. are immediately heard and often greeted with violence (see Civil Rights South, WTO, etc.) Then you must switch from passive non-violent protest" to assertive "non-violence" with the understood power to defend yourselves, and the inplied understanding that force will be used if necessary. This is not a call to incite violence, nay it is a caveat that no non-violent demonstration is respected by immoral oppressors without the threat of retaliatory violence to raise the cost of trying to quell dissent with this book...

  • Kusaimamekirai
    2018-11-16 03:36

    Robert Williams was the head of the Monroe, North Carolina NAACP, and an important voice in the early Civil Rights movement. This book in particular served as an inspiration to a generation of influential groups, including Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party. What makes this book interesting is that it is not a handbook for action but rather a chronicle of some of the horrific violence and abuse the Black community of Monroe suffered at the hands of Whites. It’s a chronicle of a complete breakdown of law and order where the sheriff can be standing next to a Black man protesting some locals shooting bullets over his head only to have the sheriff repeatedly say “I didn’t hear anything. Did you?”. It’s a chronicle of a town where Williams asks for the assistance of the Governor’s office to protect his community from an imminent attack only to hear this: " When I called back the Governor's office he replied, 'You mean to tell me that you're not dead yet?' And I told him, 'No, I'm not dead, not yet, but when I die a lot of people may die with me.' So he said, 'Well, you may not be dead, but you're going to get killed.' I kept telling him that we wanted protection, trying to avoid bloodshed. He said, 'If you're trying to avoid bloodshed you shouldn't be agitating.' " Events such as these that Williams relates throughout the book are shocking, and when he makes his argument that violence in the name of self defense is justified, it becomes difficult to argue with him. As he so eloquently writes:" Always the powers in command are ruthless and unmerciful in defending their position and their privileges. This is not an abstract rule to be meditated upon by Americans. This is a truth that was revealed at the birth of America and has continued to be revealed many times in our history. " He goes on to write:“Why do the white liberals ask us to be non-violent? We are not the aggressors; we have been victimized for over 300 years! Yet nobody spends money to go into the South and ask the racists to be martyrs or pacifists. But they always come to the downtrodden Negroes, who are already oppressed and too submissive as a group, and ask them not to fight back.” What I admire most about Williams however, is his recognition that different situations call for different tactics. Refusing to move from a lunch counter or a bus seat was extremely effective in achieving limited goals. However if a man is storming your house with a gun, sitting quietly while he shoots you and your family is an ineffective means of resistance. It’s this flexibility that Williams writes about when he says: " The tactics of non-violence will continue and should continue. We too believed in non-violent tactics in Monroe. We have used these tactics, we've used all tactics. But we also believe that any struggle for liberation should be a flexible struggle. We should not take the attitude that one method alone is the way to liberation. This is to become dogmatic. This is to fall into the same sort of dogmatism practiced by some of the religious fanatics. We can't afford to develop this type of attitude. We must use non-violence as a means as long as this is feasible, but the day will come when conditions become so pronounced that non-violence will be suicidal in itself. " In short, the powerful and entrenched interests rarely give up their power simply by being asked to. Williams is not advocating violence here, but he is arguing that until a man understands that his violence has the potential to be answered with equal or greater violence, his brutality is unlikely to end.

  • Andrew Hains
    2018-12-09 00:35

    “God damn, God damn, what is this God damn country coming to that the niggers have got guns, the niggers are armed and the police can’t even arrest them!” This was spoken by an old white man upset that Rob Williams was defending himself against a mob. It is also the quote used by Rob Williams for the title of his book, “Negroes with Guns” (1962). Rob Williams is one of the many unsung heros of the Civil Rights Movement. If it was not for his short manifesto, “Negroes with Guns,” Williams would have faded into the past. His argument is simple and few people would disagree with Rob Williams. “But where there is a breakdown of the law, the individual citizen has a right to protect his person, his family, his home and his property” (4). The racist, according to Williams, is not willing to risk loosing their life for dehumanizing someone they view to be inferior. Racists will continue to abuse and violently attack the non-violent protester until the protester defends themselves against attacks by racists. Williams sets out to do a number of things in his book. First, he wants to argue for the importance of non-violent protest as one of many tactics in the struggle for equality. Second, he believes that there are circumstances that a person must defend themselves against injustice and mob rule (which happens to include the police and government officials at the national, state, and local level). Third, he sets out to simply tell his story to set the record straight against the FBI’s false accusations, injustice of local law enforcement, and the “Uncle Tom” leaders of the NAACP, along with Dr. Martin Luther King who feared a race war. Lastly, he includes the African-American struggle for equality within a larger international context of oppressed peoples around the world fighting for liberation. Rob Williams is representative of the American character. Yet, he showed far more discipline and restraint then many of the celebrated white heros of America’s past. Sadly, he was demonized for articulating a deeply held American belief of self-defense because of the color of his skin. “Negroes with Guns” is an important text for any student of American Civil Rights. It is a shocking text and it is hard to believe that the events he lived through happened in the United States.

  • Maggie
    2018-12-14 07:37

    Profoundly necessary, especially as a corrective to dogmatic pacifism - a pacifism that does not only disallow but passionately berates and ridicules any other strategies to liberation that do not centre "nonviolence". Also important with regards to challenging the deeply held idea (*cough* myth) that the civil rights movement was entirely based on/fuelled by a 'let's-hold-hands-and-sing-as-our-bodies-are-torn-to-shreds' motto. Ward Churchill's 'Pacifism as pathology' also does a phenomenal job in adding nuance and a deeply needed universal perspective to understanding the pivotal roles armed self-defence/violence have played in revolutions (as well as why ignoring/belittling is central to American exceptionalism)."...we came to have an active understanding of the racist system and we grasped the relationship between violence and racism. The existence of violence is at the very heart of a racist system. The Afro-American militant is a 'militant' because he defends himself, his family, his home, and his dignity. He does not introduce violence into a racist social system - the violence is already there, and has always been there. It is precisely this unchallenged violence that allows a racist social system to perpetuate itself. When people say that they are opposed to Negroes 'resorting to violence', what they really mean is that they are opposed to Negroes defending themselves and challenging the exclusive monopoly of violence practised by white racists".

  • Steph
    2018-11-27 04:42

    Negroes with Guns is an account of how Robert F. Williams arrived at this belief in armed self-defense. To be clear, Robert never called for violent provocation by black individuals, “I do not mean that Negroes should go out and attempt to get revenge for mistreatments or injustices,” he advocated for black individuals to defend themselves and the lives of their loved ones. This account of life in Monroe reveals a time that is not to foreign to today. Williams recalls the atrocities he and black citizens of the south, particularly Monroe, faced as they tried to push for integration—specifically a white’s only pool that refused to permit black children, forcing them to swim in creeks resulting in several drownings. Williams talks of how he leaned on the law for protection and for enforcement of the 14th amendment and all inalienable rights supposedly due to American citizens. When the law repeatedly failed to do either, Williams reveals how self-defense thwarted many situations that could have resulted in the death’s of innocent black citizens of Monroe. Read more:

  • Keka
    2018-11-22 05:27

    I can see how this book inspired the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Quick and easy read. It gets heavy quite a bit so although I thought I was going to finish it in one day, I ended up stretching it out over 4 days. I couldn't take in all those accounts of racial hatred and injustice at once. It was too much.Well-written, frequent breaks in the writing (which is kind of my thing), blunt, straightforward, and a very quick read. Loved it. Another favorite. All of these social media activists and hashtag warriors could learn a thing or two about making headway in a cause for social justice and liberation of the oppressed by reading this. It should be required reading in all movements of racial equality and social justice...

  • Malik Newton
    2018-11-16 05:23

    If interested in tracing the genealogy of the Black Radical Tradition, one cannot overlook this book. Williams has influenced generations of Black freedom fighters by laying it plain and speaking from a position consistent with the realities of American terror.The book is short and more documentary than theoretical; it does not seek to elucidate a moral argument for self-defense. It tells the story of a small North Carolina town under siege by white racists and their legal, institutional apparatus. Through speaking his own truth, his lived experience, Williams dismisses the insidious myth: we must turn the other cheek. Williams is precise and never dogmatic and, surely, I will continue to learn from what his legacy has produced.

  • Ying
    2018-11-27 07:25

    hm.. a different kind of American revolution. incredibly nuanced arguments. could it be that fighting back might be a kind of civic duty? curious about definitions of "civilization" and legitimate forms of "civil" disobedience. wondering how we can begin to redefine fear. wondering about the spectacle of lynchings and the murder of all black heroes. thinking about erasure and liberating knowledge and militant youth. thinking about how to make youth know their humanity, instead of knowing their oppression.

  • Joe
    2018-11-18 01:29

    I read this for an African American history class and absolutely loved it. Although it’s a very short book, I feel as if Robert F. Williams managed to put forth a lot of good content that other books triple the length couldn’t do. “Negroes with Guns” illustrates a very grim yet detailed image of the Southern US in the 1960s that wasn’t apparent to most people. The first third of the book is more of Williams telling the story of what led him to write the book, and it’s honestly jaw-dropping. His description of the events sound as if they are coming from a Tarantino movie instead of a nonfiction historical novel; Williams talks of having his car run off the road by racist police officers for no reason, being surrounded in a ditch by a mob of angry white supremacists ready to kill him, and being chased out of town and forced to live in Canada and eventually Cuba while under constant surveillance. It’s a lot of things that segues nicely into his overall message of self-defense empowerment and semi-violent action against oppressors. I was really glad to find that beyond just the interesting account of Williams’s life during the civil rights struggle, there were actually some meaningful and insightful messages in “Negroes with Guns”.It’s a very quick read and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the grittier side of African American history or even just US history in general.

  • Raph
    2018-11-16 03:43

    Classic book on why 'gun control' is a historically dangerous and shortsighted mistake. Following the pogroms in the Jim Crow South, this is a firsthand account of the most important catalysts in 20th century black America: Robert Franklin Williams. Recounting a spontaneous armed resistance against the KKK/Monroe NC Police Department, the books details events of a community under siege, exercising their natural right to self-defense that shook the establishment and racists to their core. Forget Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X, and everyone else. Direct action gets the goods. Remember, you will get the exact amount of tyranny that you will put up with.

  • Chris
    2018-11-19 06:21

    This book is a must read! I believe it will empower anyone of any background in the value of their unique struggle, the importance of resistance and standing up for your human rights, and the connections we share with all peoples who realize the beauty of our humanity. Pick it up!

  • Marley
    2018-12-11 05:24

    I'd givce this 5 stars--10 stars if I could. I donl't know how I missed this classic until now I think whenver I read some white liberal wonker on FB complain about "guns" 'll refer them to this book.

  • Chris brown
    2018-12-10 23:18

    a must read. at least once

  • Jef Janis
    2018-11-24 04:32

    This is a must read!

  • Jeff
    2018-11-26 03:23

    When one opens this book, they delve into the hotbed of Jim Crow oppression , and explore the heart and mind of a revolutionary who will get rid of it, through any means necessary. A returning war veteran of the WW2 , Robert Franklin Williams joins the NAACP to contribute to the fight for civil rights of African-Americans. Seeking to integrate spaces such as public libraries , restaurants and pools, Williams is faced with not only repression from state forces such as police , local politicians and judges, but from extralegal entities. Whether the Klan, Black Legion or an unaffiliated mob of whites who share the same ideological sentiments as the aforementioned groups, Williams ,like the rest of the black civilians of Monroe , North Carolina, were all subjected to racial tyranny. Cases stemming from unindicted lynchings, unfair sentencing , attacks and murders of black civilians led Williams to abandon the national nonviolent policy of the NAACP and arm his local branch. This book is a long way from the rose colored glasses many US citizens have of the Civil Rights Movement, which is propagated by public schools and media to be a struggle won from perseverance and respectability. What a nonsensical fantasy, erasing many individuals, actions, ideologies and complexities associated with one of the most pivotal points in American and Global history. Freedom fighters weren't treated with respect or dignity, they were jailed, killed or exiled like Williams . This book shatters widely held myths of the Civil Rights Movement and shows the efficacy of Armed self defense in times of intense state repression, terror and tyranny. Must read.

  • feux d'artifice
    2018-11-15 00:37

    wow. what a dense read for such a small book. I found the parts re: the pool and the last chapter the most compelling. I think what this book accomplished the most for me what to expose me to how little I know of NAACP and the time period. have lots of reading to do on my end and knowledge to acquire.

  • Walter
    2018-12-10 01:36

    Very interesting book though I wish it gave a wider history of black Americans and guns, not just in one specific instance

  • Alex
    2018-11-24 03:23

    Fascinating and convincing (and heartbreaking) argument for violence as a form of self-defense. Highly recommend reading.

  • KingFleek
    2018-11-26 04:30


  • Michael
    2018-11-17 01:32

    I read this book fast.Since the recent release of Beyoncé's Formation music video and Super Bowl performance, the Black Panthers have had a near constant presence in the media. I wanted to read something that focused on what every white talking head seems to be concerned with: Black militants.Robert Williams was president of the Monroe, NC, NAACP chapter and was one of the first who promoted the arming of Black Americans in the interest of self-defence against KKK aggressions and an apathetic and often times complicit local police force.Yes, Williams' Negroes With Guns inspired Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party, but more than anything, it stands as a testament to and historical record of the need for Black Americans to protect themselves against what was then and remains today small-s state-sponsored violence.

  • Tree Olive
    2018-11-26 04:41

    I'm sure you've heard of Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X, right? But have you heard of Robert Franklin Williams? In SLC catholic schools/public schools they didn't really discuss him or how MUCH OF AN INFLUENTIAL CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS HE WAS!!!!! It outrages me that I wasn't taught anything about him in school actually. please read this book. I need to read more of his work. I really do. This book..... is a must for anyone researching or just wanting to know more about the 50s/60s and civil rights in general. That's my opinion.

  • Nancyp
    2018-11-28 07:42

    Robert F. Williams is a little known civil rights leader of the 1950's and 1960's. Went on to read this after Reading Timothy Tysons: Tyson Timothy Radio Free Dixie Robert F Williams & The Roots Of Black Poer' In the small town of Monroe, just outside of Charlotte, Williams was invited to join the Unitarian Congregation by John Ray Shute. He spoke several times over the pulpit. I've done further research for a graduate paper which I never completed. But very interesting!

  • Johns
    2018-11-29 07:31

    This landmark book, written by a now-deceased black man, absolutely proves the importance of our Second Amendment. When local law enforcement would not render appropriate protective services to his own community, Mr. Williams, a former Marine with experience in WWII, exercised his rights, armed himself and protected himself and others in his community from outrageous, illegal actions at the hands of the KKK.

  • Ray A
    2018-12-14 06:28

    Outstanding insight into the development of the Civil Rights Movement's attitudes on self defense in the early '60s. From reading Mr. Williams' memoir, I get the distinct feeling the Civil Rights Movement would not be where it is today without the Panthers' and Nation of Islam's Yang to balance the NAACP's pacifist Yin. The section on Mr. Williams' debate with Dr. King was especially enlightening.

  • Bob
    2018-12-08 01:38

    Not your typical civil rights book, complicates the popular image of Rev. King and non-violent activism as THE civil rights mvmt. Also a story of great personal courage. Read with My Soul is Rested by Howell Raines.

  • Ameer
    2018-11-17 23:32

    an interesting read.

  • Nathan
    2018-11-23 00:37

    This was an interesting book. It is a good case for the second amendment. Not incredibly well written, but thought provoking.

  • B. Ross Ashley
    2018-11-16 06:18

    Good if episodic autobiography of Robert F. Williams, advocate of black self-defence in the US South.