DISCLAIMER: The Huey P. Newton Club is not an affiliate of Nation of Islam. The political views and group membership of individuals in photos should not be assumed. Neither the author nor Unicorn Booty endorses the aforementioned Nation of Islam, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The views and opinions expressed herein reflect only those of its author.
On Saturday, April 2 in the southern sector of Dallas, Texas, counter-protestors occupied the streets outside the Nation of Islam’s Muhammed Mosque #48 to challenge the arrival of an armed right-wing white nationalist organization known as the Bureau of American-Islamic Relations (BAIR).
BAIR had planned to convene upon the mostly Black neighborhood in an act of retaliation for the perceived “anti-patriotic” rhetoric of the Nation of Islam and its supporters. The seething tensions had put the increasingly militarized local police force on high alert with helicopters, armored cars, snipers, and more than fifty officers deployed for “crowd control” in case of violence.
The police stood on the opposing side of the boulevard in front of barricades set in place to shield the undersized posse of eight white supremacists whose bodies seemed overburdened in weapons: some simultaneously armed with revolvers in their holsters, assault rifles, shotguns, and handguns of varying caliber. I could see three police snipers on top of a local barbecue restaurant who had their marks pointed towards the area where some of the Black community activists stood.
I am not a pacifist. My sense of justice runs far too deep for me to subscribe to ridiculous notions of nonviolence. I have been a peacemaker since childhood. I was always the kid who separated squabbling classmates and negotiated an end to conflict between the two parties involved. I have also have never been one to back down from defending myself. I have had to knockout more than my fair share of homophobes who thought I’d be an easy target for their bullshit.
I don’t like guns. Because my teenage father thought it was a good idea to point a BB gun at his toddler, one of my earliest memories is of a loud popping noise and blood pouring from my arm. I try to avoid being casual about tools of mayhem and death, but I was giddy at the sight of a bunch badass looking, shit-talking young Black militants stepping onto the scene in hard army gear with cool sleek assault rifles and twelve-gauge shotguns thrown across their backs. The thought of a ragtag group of xenophobic assholes getting a well-deserved bashing gave me goosebumps.
The Black counter-protestors were a group called Huey P. Newton Gun Club, named for one of founders, Huey P. Newton, of the notorious Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. In the ’70s, Newton opened health clinics, operated a free school for children living in inner-city poverty and advocated for the rights of Black people to armed self-defense in the face of white supremacy and police brutality. No one was certain what the police response would be to the appearance of law-abiding Black people who were proudly exercising their Second Amendment rights.
As quickly as the BAIR organization showed up, within five minutes of seeing a crowd of amped Black people- some as heavily armed as themselves- they left. The crowd roared in victory with ferocious chants of “Black Power! Brown Power! All Power to The People!” There was a dreamy, cinematic quality to all of it.
Chaaz Quigley is an Oak Cliff-based activist in Dallas, Texas who loves Black people and hates Hillary Clinton. He enjoys hot bubble baths, Nina Simone and good weed — at the same time.