[Ppnews] Omaha Two story, Part 3, George Wallace rally in Omaha

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Mar 13 15:47:40 EDT 2011


Part 3 of the Omaha Two story tells of the George Wallace rally riot 
in Omaha on March 4, 1968.  Mondo we Langa was there and got maced by 
police.  Mondo tells his story from the Nebraska State Penitentiary 
where he and Ed Poindexter are serving life sentences for the murder 
of an Omaha policeman.


George Wallace rally in Omaha triggered riot after demonstrators were beaten

    * By <http://www.examiner.com/user-richardsonreports>Michael 
Richardson, COINTELPRO Examiner
    * March 12th, 2011 12:45 pm ET
Omaha Two story:  March 4, 1968

Third-party presidential candidate 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wallace>George Wallace, the 
former-governor of Alabama, was in Omaha to qualify his American 
Party in Nebraska.  Wallace had arrived in Omaha on Sunday, the day 
before, and held an angry news conference to provoke a large turnout 
at his rally.  The event was technically a convention and Wallace 
needed to collect 750 signatures to appear on the ballot.

Wallace said riots were "caused by militants, activists, Communists 
and revolutionaries."  Further, "Leaders and sympathizers of militant 
civil rights organizations are Communists."

A crowd of 1,500 supporters greeted Wallace on his arrival at the 
airport.  Excited news reports of the visit put Wallace's critics on 
notice and numerous protestors dogged him on Monday as he campaigned 
in the city.  Police guards had to hold off demonstrators blocking 
Wallace from getting into his car after speaking at Omaha University.

Mayor A. V. Sorenson assigned four uniformed police officers to 
protect Wallace by the city and off-duty policemen were also hired 
for crowd control at the rally.  George Wallace also traveled with 
his own security detail.

One of the protestors at the Omaha Auditorium Arena where the 
American Party convention was held was 
we Langa, then known as David Rice.  Mondo was a reporter for two 
local underground newspapers, Buffalo Chip and Asterisk, and often 
played guitar at Holy Family Church.

On the floor were 1,000 Wallace supporters sitting on metal folding 
chairs.  The balconies were full with several thousand more 
supporters.  Mondo and about 50 other protestors, mostly black, 
gained entry to the main floor and marched right in front of the 
podium charging up the crowd as shouts rang out.

Wallace delayed his entrance for nearly an hour while tempers flared 
from the front rows where some of Wallace's most fervent supporters 
were seated.  After Wallace came out to a thunderous ovation the 
protestors got busy and jeered nearly every word.

Soon some of the protestors began tearing up their signs and throwing 
the bits of paper and stick at Wallace.  Mondo attempted to stop the 
group from pelting Wallace but was sprayed in the face with mace by 
an undercover policeman.  Two of the other demonstrators helped Mondo 
outside through a side door.

Police moved in to clear the aisles and suddenly the floor erupted in 
violence as Wallace supporters began hitting the trapped protestors 
with the metal chairs.  The bloody battling continued outside the 
Arena where $1,200 worth of windows were broken.  Before the night 
was over the Near North Side was in riot.

Thirteen people went to the hospital with injuries and a 16 year-old 
was shot to death by police attempting to break in to a pawn 
shop.  Horace Mann Jr. High had 50 windows broken out.

On Tuesday two dozen black community leaders descended on the mayor's 
office complaining about police conduct during the 
disturbances.  That night more rioting continued with firebombs being 
thrown at businesses.

Police arrested two Catholic priests for their role in the protest at 
the Auditorium.  One of the priests arrested was Father John 
McCaslin, head of the Catholic Social Action Office and pastor at Holy Family.

Seven youth were arrested Tuesday night including Central High School 
basketball star player Dwayne Dillard who was scheduled to play in 
the state tournament which had to be moved to Lincoln because of rioting.

Mayor Sorenson defended the police conduct saying the protestors were 
handled "properly and superbly."  Governor Norbert Tiemann monitored 
the situation ready to order in the National Guard.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was also watching.  The FBI 
Edgar Hoover had ordered a secret counter-intelligence operation 
against "Black Nationalist" groups, code-named 
into effect in 27 selected cities on August 25, 1967.

Hoover's secret COINTELPRO operation was established at a time when 
Hoover was taking criticism for the lack of action by the FBI on 
racial disturbances sweeping the nation and had been told his 
intelligence was not good.  To blunt criticism from the White House 
daily briefings were sent culled out of reports sent to FBI 
headquarters from the field offices.

The "Confidential" FBI report to President Lyndon Johnson told of 
events in Omaha:  "Omaha, Nebraska, Police Department, advised 
yesterday that as an aftermath of the appearance of former Alabama 
Governor George C. Wallace at a political rally on the night of March 
4, 1968, several incidents of violence by Negroes took place in Omaha."

"Among these were the vandalizing of a pawnshop early yesterday 
morning and the subsequent fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Negro boy 
by an off-duty police officer during an attempt by the young Negro to 
loot the pawnshop.  Several assaults by Negroes against white persons 
also occurred after the former Governor Wallace rally and two of the 
white persons reportedly were seriously injured," stated the FBI report.

The confidential memo concluded, "Public buses were stoned by Negroes 
as they passed through Omaha's north side and yesterday morning Negro 
students of several Omaha high schools broke windows in business 
establishments while on their way to school.  The students later 
caused minor damage in the schools by setting fires in wastebaskets 
in the restrooms and by throwing rocks through the windows of the schools."

On March 4, 1968, the day of the Wallace rally, Hoover sent out a new 
COINTELPRO directive expanding the program to 42 cities, including 
Omaha, Nebraska.  Hoover's order would soon be put into action by 
Paul Young, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Omaha FBI office.

When Mondo we Langa was maced at the Omaha Auditorium he did not know 
that same day, far away in the nation's capital, the director of the 
FBI had issued an order that would lead to a lifetime of imprisonment.

To view all the Omaha Two story articles click 

Permission granted to reprint

Continue reading on Examiner.com: 
Wallace rally in Omaha triggered riot after demonstrators were beaten 
- National Cointelpro | Examiner.com 

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