Tribe Commemorates 58th anniversary of Battle of Hayes Pond
Nearly 100 tribal members braved the frigid 35 degree weather Monday to mark the 58th anniversary of the Victory over the KKK.
A ceremony was held at Hayes Pond south of Maxton to remember those who broke up a Klan rally in 1958.
"This is a part of who we are," said Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. "We drove the KKK out of Robeson County and they haven't came back since. We need to use that energy to fight our battles today, but without the weapons."
On Jan. 18, 1958, several hundred Lumbee, most of them armed, met in a field near Hayes Pond after word spread of a KKK rally organized by Grand Dragon James "Catfish" Cole.
Tribal Councilman Bobby Oxendine recognized tribal members like Woodrow Dial who was there that night.
"After Neill Lowery shot out the light, there was a scuffle and then the gunfire began," said Dial, chairman of the Lumbee Regional Development Association's board of directors. "Then came the tear gas from the Sheriff's Office. Our eyes started burning."
The Klansman retreated to the swamps and eventually made their way to South Carolina.
"We are lucky no one was killed that night," said Charles Bryant, who was there that night. "That had a lot to do with a lot of those men had military experience."
Lee Ancil Maynor brought 14 years of experience in the US Army and Reserves with him that night.
"If we had to do what we had to do," said Maynor, who is 83. "If we hadn't done it, they would have soon been in our front yard," Maynor said.
Southern Sun drum group performed honor songs during the hour-long ceremony. Bobby Oxendine read an ordinance that the Council passed in 2011 which declares January 18 as a Tribal Day of Historical Recognition.
"We are standing on hallowed ground," Godwin said.
"Let's continue to use these past events to make us stronger," Godwin said. "This is what we talked about six months ago. We have several communities represented here today ... united here today for a common cause. I want to thank you all for being here today."