Charles Graham, a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly running to represent North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, became a household name overnight. Graham put out a powerful political ad highlighting the Battle of Hayes Pond that garnered national attention. Twitter metrics indicated Graham’s ad had attracted more than three million views in less than 24 hours.
As a legislator, I don't play politics. I study, listen, and vote my conscience. Those values are absent in Washington today and it's tearing us apart.
— Charles Graham (@CharlesGrahamNC) October 4, 2021
The Battle of Hayes Pond took place on January 18, 1958, in Maxton, North Carolina, a small, poor, rural community of Blacks and Native American Indians called the Lumbee Tribe. Men in the Lumbee Tribe had enough with the Ku Klux Klan and confronted them at a night rally. (Graham, a member of the Lumbee tribe, is the only Native American currently serving in North Carolina’s General Assembly.)
“Hundreds of normal folks decided to stand together against ignorance and hate,” Graham said in the ad. “Lowery shot out the light. The Klansman scattered. By the time the sheriff arrived to fish them out of the swamp, the press was running with the story: The Battle of Hayes Pond, where one town beat the Klan.”
Attorney and entrepreneur Jack Lowery remembered that night vividly.
“You know, there were knives up there, there were guns. They came equipped. The [Klan] were not going to hold a rally that night, I can tell you that,” Lowery said in a 2019 interview with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “They never got. They never got to say a word.”