Important Updates about COVID-19

Read more about UNCP's response to COVID-19.

Battle of Hayes Pond: Routing of the KKK

On January 18, 1958, members of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were all set to hold a rally in a field they had reportedly leased near Maxton. The rally had been announced for several weeks in advance, and everyone in Robeson County knew about it. Maxton Mayor Bob Fisher, who was at the time Chief of Police in Maxton, had sent several letters to other law enforcement agencies, including the State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking for their help in preventing what he saw as inevitable violence. Mr. Fisher had clearly announced in his letters that he opposed the K.K.K. But the rally was apparently going to happen anyway.

Both the Indian and Black communities were full of excitement. Many women pleaded with their husbands, brothers, and fathers to stay at home and out of harm's way. But the Klan had gone too far. Recent cross-burnings in St. Pauls and other nearby communities had made it clear that the Klan meant business.

Reportedly several hundred Indian men (by some accounts 1,000 men), many of them armed, decided to put a stop to the Klan's activities in this area. It has also been reported that a group of Black men spoke with some of the Indian men on their way to the rally, offering their support if it was needed. Apparently it was not needed. The Indian men confronted the Klansmen, and after heated words were exchanged, shots were fired and the only light bulb knocked out, leaving the field in darkness. The Klansmen apparently disappeared quickly into the night, abandoning their fallen flag, cross, and other items for the safety of the woods. The Indian community, and no doubt the Black community, and the county's progressive Whites, celebrated. What could have been a massacre turned out to be a miracle: there were only a few minor injuries, and no one was killed.

This event quickly made national headlines. LIFE magazine carried two separate articles on the subject. Letters poured in to the area from all over the country, most of them in support of the Indians. The Klan did not really die that night, but it did apparently learn to stay out of Indian Country.

Most of the materials for this permanent display were generously donated by Mayor Bob Fisher.

Verdia Locklear was 24 years old, married, and four months pregnant when the Ku Klux Klan advertised that they would hold their first gathering in Maxton, N.C. She shares her story with Nancy Fields of the Museum of the Southeast American Indian at UNC Pembroke.
Jim Jones shares his experience surrounding the routing of the KKK at Hayes Pond. 
Jack Lowery shares his experience and insight into that night and the events that lead up to the conflict.