In Monroe, North Carolina in the 1930's, many young Black girls worked as domestic servants & whatnot in the white households on the other side of town. These girls were often forced to walk home at night on unlit country roads, where they would routinely be terrorized by white men driving along the same way.
Rob Williams was a teenager at the time. He and a couple of his buddies started camping out in the woods along those same roads at night. And when a truckload of rednecks would ride pass and try to harass a young sista just trying to make it home, Rob & his buddies would stone the rednecks.
The harassment stopped.
I believe he got his first gun from his grandmother.
As you can see, very little had changed about Mr. Williams by the time he'd grown up.
In 1962, he published a manifesto called "Negroes with Guns" which eventually found it's way into the hands of another young man named Huey Newton.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
This month, PBS is airing a documentary on the life and times of Rob Williams, entitled, (surprise-surprise) "Negroes with Guns". I had the great fortune of seeing this film at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival, and I'm so happy to see that it actually got some sort of wide distribution.
If you want to get a better idea of the origins of the Black Power movement, I highly recommend it. Click the link in the title to find out when and where it's playing in your town. Or just go to PBS.org.
You can also still buy Mr. Williams' book, here from Amazon.com: