Second Amendment: The ultimate civil right

Since February is Black History Mouth, it's a good time to reread some articles on the role the second amendment played in the Civil Rights movement:

Reminder: Guns Helped Secure the Freedom and Civil Rights of Black Americans (Reason Magazine):

"I'm alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms." So declared John R. Salter Jr., the civil rights leader who helped organize the legendary non-violent sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s. As Salter recalled it, he always "traveled armed" while doing civil rights work in the Jim Crow South. "Like a martyred friend of mine, NAACP staffer Medgar W. Evers, I, too, was on many Klan death lists and I, too, traveled armed: a .38 special Smith and Wesson revolver and a 44/40 Winchester carbine," Salter wrote. "The knowledge that I had these weapons and was willing to use them kept enemies at bay."

Salter was not unique among civil rights activists in this regard. Anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass called a "good revolver" the "true remedy for the Fugitive Slave Bill." Civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer said, "I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom." Rosa Parks once described her dinner table "covered with guns" while civil rights activists met for a strategy session in her home. Martin Luther King Jr. carried guns for self-protection, applied for a conceal-carry permit (denied by racist white authorities), and once declared, "the principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.

Read the whole thing here.

When black Americans used the Second Amendment to fight the Ku Klux Klan (RARE):

If government is supposed protect citizens and their liberties, what do you do when government either refuses or passively encourages violence through inaction?

  In 1946, the black community of Monroe, under Williams’ leadership, had had enough. The New York Times reported that Williams formed “the Black Guard, after seeing Klan members make a black woman dance at gunpoint ‘like a puppet.”


The primary purpose of the Second Amendment has never been simply to hunt or even just to protect one’s property. It was for Americans to protect themselves against tyrannical government.

Robert Williams might’ve understood the true purpose of the Second Amendment better than any American of the last half-century.
Williams told a critical NAACP convention in 1959, “Tom Paine, Washington, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry were all honorable men who are supposed to represent the true spirit of America. These noble men advocated violence as a vehicle of liberation…”
 Williams added, “We as men should stand up as men and protect our women and children. I am a man, and I will walk upright as a man should. I will not crawl.”

Read the whole thing here.

Author: 2nd Amendment made Civil Rights possible (Brietbart):

In his new book,This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made The Civil Rights Movement Possible, journalist Charles Cobb shows how important guns were not only to leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. but also to many black Southerners who “believed in both nonviolence and self-defense.”

According to The Root, Cobb focuses on “how armed black Southerners helped fight for Civil Rights.”

Cobb examines how MLK kept armed guards around his home and “a pistol tucked in his sofa” while leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He laments that “most history students never learn .” They never learn that those who fought for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the lives of others kept a means of protecting their own lives, their own liberty, and their own happiness close at hand.

Cobb uses examples from his uncle’s life to show how these two things–nonviolence and self-defense–“dovetailed in the minds of black Southerners.” He writes of his uncle’s roots in a Georgia sharecropping community of his generosity with people “of all races”; of his opposition to racism, his Christian faith, and his “faith in self-defense.”

Cobb writes that his uncle also “kept a shotgun behind the door”–a loaded shotgun–“like many black Southerners of his generation.”

Read the whole thing here.

And buy Charles Cobb's book here.

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