Published 1969 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Robert Williams Urges Militants to Kill Because the nation has just experienced a summer of relative racial tranquility, it is extremely disturbing to note the return to the United States of black militant Robert F. Williams. Williams, 44, is a vicious, Communist-oriented militant who makes no bones about his preference for the violent approach to race relations. His terror tactics while he headed the local NAACP chapter in his hometown of Monroe, N.C., caused the NAACP to censure him. In 1961, after being charged with kidnapping a white couple during racial disturbances in Monroe, Williams fled to Cuba in order to escape prosecution. To understand the sinister threat Williams now poses to our country, one need only study the content of radio messages which Williams beamed back home from a station in Havana. Three times a week he would take the air and exhort American Negroes to violence with such statements as, "It is not enough to be willing to die for freedom and dignity. One must be willing to kill." In another broadcast monitored in this country, Williams told his listeners: "The time of battle approaches. Remember our traditional weapons of warfare. Prepare the gas bomb, sharpen the razor, stockpile the lye cans…" After a few years in Cuba, Williams moved and was welcomed by Mao Tse-Tung's followers in Peking where, according to Williams, he was treated royally. Now, he has left his Communist friends and has moved into Detroit to take control of the "Republic of New Africa," a paper nation which wants to take over the Southern states for the black people. In the meantime, Williams is fighting extradition to North Carolina, where he still faces the kidnapping charge. If he ever is sent back, he has said, "I am going back for war, to fight." It seems clear that Williams intends to wage war whether or not he goes back to North Carolina, and it is anyone's guess as to what promises of support he may have been given by his Red Chinese hosts. The Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, of which I am a member, will be keeping close tabs on Williams' activities. I am very concerned about his presence in this country, and I believe that he is potentially more dangerous than any previously known black militant.