The Freedom Archives is honored to continue our work with the Williams family. We are currently working as part of a collective committed to preserving the physical items, writings, and historical legacy of Robert and Mabel Williams. Assembled by John Williams (son of Robert and Mabel), we’re working collaboratively with Akinyele Umoja, John Bracey, Muhammad Ahmad, and Lisa Williams, to complete work on a number of projects including:

  • Publish While God Lay Sleeping: The Autobiography of Robert Franklin Williams
  • Publish a currently untitled memoir of Mabel Williams
  • Publish a partial memoir by John Williams
  • Publish a complete set of transcripts and recordings of “Radio Free Dixie” (news and commentary broadcasts to the South from Havana, Cuba from 1961-1965, while Robert and Mabel were in forced exile)
  • Publish a complete reprint of The Crusader newsletter (1959-1969)

These projects build on a history of  work around the legacy of Robert and Mabel Williams, who we’ve had the good fortune to work closely with on several documentaries and events. You can see some of that work below.

Rest in Power Mabel Williams:

We were very saddened to learn of the passing of Mabel Williams, the legendary African-American activist, who, with her husband Robert F. Williams, fought for and engaged in the right of armed self-defense against the vicious attacks of the Ku Klux Klan, militantly represented the liberation struggle of her people during exile in Cuba, China, and Africa, and continued her active lifelong engagement in social justice struggles when they returned to the US. Mabel Williams was born June 1, 1931 and transitioned Saturday, April 19th, 2014 at her family’s home in Detroit.

While she often downplayed her role, Mabel, among many other activities, illustrated and wrote articles for their influential newsletter The Crusader, narrated and selected music for their radio program from Cuba, “Radio Free Dixie,” collaborated on the famous book, Negroes with Guns, was a strong voice for her people in Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Moscow, China, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, and Africa, and met with revolutionary leaders, such as Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao Zedong.

Mabel Williams made lifelong contributions in her own right and this needs to be recognized and celebrated. Yes, she was the lifelong comrade and companion of her justly famous husband Robert F. Williams—and she was with him every step of their courageous way—in Monroe, North Carolina where, as NAACP leaders, they and other activists organized for racial equality and dramatized the right of self-defense against the vicious attacks of the Ku Klux Klan—with Mabel defending her home, Robert, and her two sons with shotgun and determination.

Photos from Former Programs:

Robert and Mabel Williams Collection

Full Video of Self Respect, Self Defense and Self Determination Program

Video Clips from Self Respect, Self Defense and Self Determination Program

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