Albion Monitor /Commentary
[Editor's note: Although Clinton pledged in June to do more to investigate burnings of black churches, little has changed. Activists claim that federal and state law enforcement have done little to prosecute these arson cases -- except to investigate the black pastors and church members as suspects.

According to an AP story in July, insurance companies are also treating claims from black churches different from white churches. According to that article, white pastors said they were treated courteously and paid promptly. By contrast, payment is indefinitely delayed as black pastors were investigated by their insurers, and black churches often find that their policies are dropped.

We encourage you to repost this call to action or copy this URL
wherever appropriate. You might also wish to reread the story about church burnings in our last issue, showing how the violence effected one small community.]

March to Protest Black Church Burnings

WHAT: A Mass March to protest the burning of Black churches, and other acts of racist terrorism.

WHEN: Saturday, November 2, 1996. Assemble at 11:00 a.m. in Miller Park in downtown Chattanooga, march at 12:00 noon.

These modern night riders are "not necessarily" in a racist conspiracy, according to both the government and media, and so they have "investigated" the pastors and parishioners of the churches

Since January 1995, over 75 churches have been fire bombed in the South in an orgy of racist and sick violence, but the homes and offices of a number of activists in Chattanooga and other parts of the South have been attacked this year as well.

Ralph Williams, an activist challenging racism on his job as a bus driver at CARTA, the city transit agency, had his house burned down in January 1996, shortly after filing a complaint to the Federal Transit Administration and the EEOC, demanding an investigation. He was fired a few weeks later when he said that he felt the fire was related to his job. His insurance company, Allstate, refuses to process his claim.

In late July 1996, the home of the Rev. Amos Baker, President of a local Black community organizations called "People Wanting A Change," was fire bombed while he was a central public figure in a hotly contested electoral race against local school consolidation. This was a severe blow to Reverend Baker and his family, but also a attack upon the Black community itself. Yet, like the Church bombings, where Black Pastors and parishioners were accused of destroying their own churches, Rev. Baker was ridiculed by a public statement from federal and police agencies saying he was "the main suspect" in destroying his own house, even though "KKK" was found scrawled on the outside of the structure.

Is the government now simply refusing to implements the civil right laws, which would prevent or punish such terror? That is a huge part of the problem, especially in a period when Blacks, the poor and others are being scapegoated for America's economic problems. The present round of church burnings are an attempt to beat back the civil rights gains of Blacks in the South as the result of the mass movements of the 1960's. This terrorism is being done to silence Blacks and poor people from demanding their human rights and to protest acts of a growing police state, official racism, mass unemployment, criminalization of Black youth and other crimes of the government as its economy deteriorates.

These modern night riders are "not necessarily" in a racist conspiracy, according to both the government and media, and so they have "investigated" the pastors and parishioners of the churches. Yet, even the FBI and ATF cannot cover-up the fact that a significant part of the torchings are by racist paramilitary groups.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, before the burning of the Inner-City Community Church in January this year, the church had been receiving threats for several weeks from a group calling itself "Skinheads for White Justice." They had even written to the local cops threatening to "burn the place down," denouncing "race mixing."

The pace of the fire bombings is increasing at an alarming pace, almost approaching one a week, and now including the private homes of outspoken Southern activists. Yet there have been no major demonstrations or public protests in the South to mobilize masses of people to engage in self-defense and fight it. Instead, there have only been further calls for a police and/or FBI "investigation," something which clearly is not going to stop it.

Activists in the South, having had enough, are organizing for a mass march on Chattanooga, Tennessee, and other demonstrations to be held in Chattanooga [and later all over the south] to beat back this violent White supremacy.

On November 2, 1996, we will march and rally in one of the most violent cities in the South and show the world that we are not only not afraid, but indeed will fight back. We call upon progressives of all sorts: anti-racist, human rights activists, church and labor groups, and Black communities nationwide to join with us to make a loud voice to beat back this terrorism and the federal harassment of the victims. Unless we stand up now, we will likely not be able to stop this atrocity and we will likely see many killed in their churches and homes, like in the 1950's and 60's, when even small children were not spared.


1. Create local organizing committees to attend the protest the protest and support our struggle. You can bring together various elements in your community to do so where ever you live. Get buses or a car caravan together from your community, and bring as many as you can.

2. Put a copy of this article in your newsletter, local newspaper, and in other media so that everyone knows about the protest. Make a copy of it and send it to everyone on your mailing list. Post it on the Internet to other newsgroups and e- mail lists that you belong to.

3. Go to every church in your community and ask for their support in assembling people for this demonstration, obtaining donations, and using their church buses to get people to the demonstration in Chattanooga.

4. Make a donation to the Ad Hoc Coalition Against Racism, which is putting on the protest in Chattanooga and other cities. Send your donation to:

account #202-39-84
c/o Lorenzo Komboa Ervin
First Tennessee Bank
101 Market Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

We need money for postage, printing and copying, and other expenses related to these demonstrations.


CONTACT: Maxine at [423] 698-8940 or Lorenzo at [423] 622-7614.


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Albion Monitor October 7, 1996 (

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