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.
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.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON: HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE BATTLE OF HAYES POND? IF NOT, YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
BUT TODAY IT’S ALL THE BUZZ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. HERE’S WHY.
CHARLES GRAHAM, A DEMOCRAT, RUNNING FOR U-S REP IN NORTH CAROLINA PUT OUT THIS POWERFUL CAMPAIGN AD USING A LITTLE-KNOWN PIECE OF HISTORY.
GRAHAM: “When I was a young boy the KKK announced a night rally in my home county. A cross burning with hundreds of klansmen to terrorize the Blacks and Lumbee.”
JIMMIE: THE EVENT GRAHAM IS DESCRIBING IS THE BATTLE OF HAYES POND, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN MAXTON, NORTH CAROLINA. IT’S A SMALL, POOR, AND PREDOMINATELY NATIVE AMERICAN AND BLACK RURAL FARMING COMMUNITY.
ON JANUARY 18TH, 1958, THE LUMBEE TRIBE HAD ENOUGH OF THE KLAN AND TOOK THEM HEAD-ON AT A SCHEDULED RALLY.
GRAHAM: “Hundreds of normal folks decided to stand together against ignorance and hate. Lowery shot out the light. The Klansman scattered. By the time the sheriff arrived to fish them out the swamp, the press was running with the story: The Battle of Hayes Pond where one town beat the Klan.”
JIMMIE: IN LESS THAN 24-HOURS, GRAHAM’S AD HAS BEEN WATCHED MORE THAN 3-MILLION TIMES. AND LEFT MANY PEOPLE, LIKE ME, WANTING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BATTLE OF HAYES POND
THE FIRST PLACE I TURNED TO IS THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT PEMBROKE — WHICH COMPLIED AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE EVENT.
JACK LOWERY WAS ONE OF THOSE INTERVIEWED. HE REMEMBERS THAT NIGHT VIVIDLY.
LOWERY: “They’re just fortunate, I’m telling you, I’ll say it again. They’re fortunate that somebody didn’t get killed.”
JIMMIE: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GRAHAM’S CAMPAIGN AD? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.