the federal government.
Poole was a 32-year-old employee of the Works Progress Administration,
an agency set up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide jobs
for millions of unemployed Americans during the Great Depression.
One night in May, 1936, Poole was lured to a location in Dearborn by
members of a violent nightshirt group called the Black
Legion. He had been told that he was needed to round out a sandlot
baseball team as a pretext for his torture and murder.
After a round of drinks, members of the Black Legion realized that
they had forgotten to bring a rope along to hang Charles, so their
ringleader pumped five slugs into his body. The pretext for his murder
was that he was a wife-beater, something his widow denied at the
The Black Legion was a militia-style group founded in Detroit in 1933.
Some said it was the particularly vicious enforcement wing of the Ku
Klux Klan, which was still semi-respectable at the time. The group had
an estimated 20,000-30,000 members in Michigan. According to a 1936
Time magazine article, the group was made up mostly of Southern
hillbillies who came north to seek jobs in auto factories. Members of
the Black Legion vowed to uphold Protestantism, Americanism and
Heres what Time had to say about the group in its June, 1936 story:
No man could apply for membership, but if sponsored by friends, was
enticed to a meeting. There, with a revolver at his heart, he was
permitted to declare his willingness to be torn limb from limb and
scattered to the carrion if he betrayed a word of society secrets.
After swearing to support God and the Constitution, to give his all in
any war against Catholics, Jews, Negroes, aliens and Communists, he
paid $7 for a robe, 10¢ monthly dues, bought himself a gun, became a
member in good standing.
They also hated government employees and labor organizers, including the U.A.W.
Sound familiar? Change a few words and youve got much the same
scenario as that of the nine members of the Hutaree Christian militia
group arrested and charged last week in a plot to kill Michigan police
Youve probably heard of Hutarees alleged plan to kill an
unsuspecting police officer and then bomb the funeral in the hope of
sparking a war against the federal government. But the group also
reportedly considered killing the family members of cops. Here are the
details from the indictment filed in U.S. District Court:
Possible acts which were discussed included killing a member of law
enforcement after a traffic stop, killing a member of law enforcement
and his or her family at home, killing a member of law enforcement in
rural communities, luring a member of law enforcement into a false 911
emergency call and then killing him or her, and killing a member of
law enforcement and then attacking the funeral procession motorcade
with weapons of mass destruction.
According to the federal indictment, Hutaree militia members thought
that planting an IED bomb alongside a funeral procession or shooting
up the ceremony would intimidate and demoralize“ the cops and rally
regular Americans against the Antichrist.
Talk about kicking up a hornets nest. More likely, these guys would
have been used for some well-justified target practice.
The Hutaree bust demonstrates that some Americans have become so
unhinged by their racist fears of the Obama administration that
they‘ve become kissing cousins with the likes of Charles Manson, who
hoped to launch a race war called Helter Skelter by luring young
people into his violent Family.
And the story of Charles Poole offers proof that violent,
anti-government kooks have always been with us. In fact, since the
earliest days of the United States we‘ve always had militias in our
country in one form or another, made up of angry, impotent people and
religious fanatics who feel entirely justified to pursue violent ends
rather than going through the democratic process of the ballot box and
But these groups can also be stopped. The Black Legion hatched plans
to pump cyanide gas into synagogues in Detroit and to inject typhoid
germs into milk and cheese to deliver to blacks, Catholics and Jews in
various neighborhoods. But the organization fell apart in the face of
public outrage over the death of Charles Poole.
Its said that black robes were found in trash cans all over Detroit
the day after Poole‘s body was found and the evils of the Black Legion
were brought to light. Lets hope the same is true of our modern-day
militia members in the aftermath of the Hutaree trial. The alternative
is an America torn apart by roadside bombs, cop killings and shopping
mall attacks, no different than what goes on with the religious
fanatics of the Mideast.