[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
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