“Robert Franklin Williams, advocate of armed self-defense in the Civil Rights Movement, hunted by the FBI since fleeing Monroe, North Carolina in 1961, after years in exile in Cuba and China, is interviewed by Robert Carl Cohen in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1968.
From Radical Films
It’s good to hear a prominent African-American leader support the Right to Self-Defense. Especially with Robert Williams being on the New-Left, or Far-Left in America and a self-described Communist. And I say that, because if there’s one large population in America that has suffered a lot of violence and abuse against them, it’s the African-American community in America. If there’s one community that deserves that right more than anyone else, it would be this community. And I tend to fall on the side of the Martin King social democratic wing of the civil rights movement. But its easy to see why people who have suffered so much against them, would want and need the Right to Self-Defense.
The civil rights movement in America, was multi-racial and multi-political as far as ideology. You had a pacifist social democratic wing in it. Led by Dr. King and his organization. You had a liberal wing that was always talking about self-empowerment and empowering African-Americans to take control of their lives. That also believed in the Right to Self-Defense, led by Malcolm X. And you had a New-Left wing, Communist even, that believed in Black Power and part of that power was using violence against violence and self-protection and defense. Led by the Black Panther Party and many other groups on the New-Left in America.
It sounds like to me that Rob Williams, became more radical as he left America for Cuba in the 1960s. He was President of the NAACP in North Carolina. The NAACP, is a mainstream center-left organization. That is about racial-equality and other issues. It is not a group of Socialists and Communists by in large. And perhaps Williams got tired of all the violence and racism that he was seeing in America and believed he was being persecuted by the U.S. Government. And decided that he needed to change his politics and needed a different approach to take on racism in America and push for racial-equality.