Tag Archives: violence

May 21st: Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo

25 May

Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965)-

Viola was a civil rights worker who was murdered by the Klu Klux Klan in Alabama. She was a mother of 5 in Michigan, who was moved by the Civil Rights movement. She travelled down south to take part in protests and marches. She was helping to drive local marchers home after the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. In her car was 19 year old Leroy Moton, who was an African American. Driving home, they were forced off of the road by another vehicle. The Klansmen shot into the car, hitting Viola twice and killing her. Leroy played dead when the Klansmen came to inspect the car. After they left he ran for help.

The murderers were quickly apprehended. The reason this case can be said to involve the state is that one of the 4 men in the car was an informant for the FBI. The four Klan members in the car, Collie Wilkins (21), FBI informant Gary Rowe (34), William Eaton (41) and Eugene Thomas (42) were all arrested.

A series of all white juries acquitted and mistrialed the case for a while. In the mean time 2 of the Klansmen died from other accidents and natural causes before they ever served time. They were eventually all found guilty and sentenced to 10 years. Gary Rowe, the FBI employee, was put into the Witness Protection Program, because of Death threats from the KKK.

The Klansmen received a lot of community support, even having a parade in their honor.

On December 28, 1977 the Liuzzo family, filed a lawsuit against the FBI. They charged that Rowe, as an employee of the FBI, had failed to prevent Liuzzo’s death and had in effect conspired in the murder. Which would make the state culpable for the murder. Later, the ACLU filed another lawsuit on behalf of the family.

Rowe was indicted in 1978 and tried for his involvement in the murder,but the first trial ended in a hung jury, and the second trial ended in his acquittal.

Ultimately the folks who were accountable for this murder were not truly held accountable. The state and the Klansmen got away with the murder of Viola Liuzzo.

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May 18th: Waco

18 May

In 1993 there was a community located outside of Waco, Texas of Branch Davidian believers. Their compound was known as Mt. Carmel. The leader of the group was David Koresh.

David Koresh was accused of misconduct and sexual abuse. The group was suspected of stockpiling illegal weapons. ATF authorities got a search warrant to find the weapons. It turns out that the Branch Davidians were legally purchasing many weapons, but the ATF used the excuse that some of the parts they were purchasing could potentially be used to modify weapons illegally.

A professional advised them against arrested Koresh at the compound, saying that because of the brainwashing his followers were likely to respond violently.

When the ATF began investigating the gun issue, Koresh invited them to come inspect the compound and guns and paperwork- but they declined.

So based on what is most likely a combination of prejudice, lies, speculation and repression the ATF raided the WACO compound on February 28th, 1993. The Davidians were tipped off about the raid, and despite knowing this the ATF continued with it. Koresh came out to meet the ATF when they arrived, unarmed. At that point, shots were fired. It is still disputed as to which party fired the first shots.

Over the next 2 hours a gun battle ensued. 4 ATF agents were killed, and 16 more were injured. 5 Davidians were killed- 2 by friendly fire. Continue reading

May 9th: Nat Turner

10 May

Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 56 deaths of white people. Turner was smart and also very religious. He believed he was destined to do something, and that signs pointed towards a rebellion against slavery.

Turner started with a few fellow slaves, and then went from house to house freeing slaves and killing white people. Eventually around 70 slaves and freed blacks were involved. They actually avoided attacking some homes of poor white people, thinking they had more in common with the blacks.

Continue reading

May 8th: Gabriel

10 May

Gabriel was an enslaved blacksmith in the Richmond, Virginia area who was planning a slave revolt in 1800. Someone snitched, and as a result Gabriel and 26 others were murdered- hung at the Negro Burial Ground in Richmond- the place that is currently covered by 1-95 and a VCU parking lot.

While Gabriel and the others were not able to actually begin the revolt, the threat of a revolt was enough to scare many white people in Virginia. Continue reading

May 5: Sacco and Vanzetti

6 May

Sacco and Vanzetti were two Italian immigrant anarchists arrested on May 5, 1920 for a bank robbery and corresponding murders that had happened on April 15 in South Braintree, Massachusetts.

Luigi Galleani was an Italian anarchist at the time who promoted violent revolution. Sacco and Vanzetti were purported followers of Galleani, and so they were suspected of robbing the bank so as to fund the bombing campaigns going on at the time.

The evidence against Sacco and Vanzetti was circumstantial at best. And in fact even the judge in the trial made no qualms about coming out and saying that even if they were not guilty of this particular crime they were still the enemy. Through multiple trials and appeals, they were still found guilty. Esculpatory evidence, such as their alibis, was not given fair hearing. Continue reading