Injustice League

league of Pace Amendment advocates stir trouble

WILLIAM DANIEL JOHNSON - LEAGUE OF PACE AMENDMENT ADVOCATES

In the 1980s, a new white supremacist threat emerged in the Southland in the form of an attorney named William Daniel Johnson who, under the pen name James O.Pace, authored the 179-page Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and Fall of America. Johnson would deny being the author of this work and claim that the true James O. Pace was an attorney living abroad. 

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"No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro Blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor may be citizens if , in addition to meeting with aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are, in appearance, undistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States." 

The Pace Amendment would also repeal the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, thus challenging the citizenship, equal protection and right to vote for all people of this country. 

In 1986, Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and Fall of America was sent to members of the U.S. Congress, state legislatures and targeted citizens. This is what put Johnson and the group in the public eye. Along with coming up with the Amendment proposal, William Daniel Johnson also led an organization called the League of Pace Amendment Advocates, created as a multi-level marketing scheme to sell more copies of his book. White supremacist groups such as the Aryan Nation fully supported the Pace Amendment. And while the goals of groups like the Aryan Nation, the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-nazis are the same, the League's

The book was written in the hope of amending the U.S. Constitution along racial lines. It calls for the mass deportation of any non-white citizens in hopes of saving America from collapse and ruin. With his book, Johnson proposed a twenty-seventh amendment which would be called the “Pace Amendment”, and stated in part:  

same, the League’s method was very different, masking their blatant racism with the appearance of legality and dressing pseudo-intellectualism. Johnson saw the League and its purpose as humanitarian and constitutional, and the amendment was a last ditch effort to avoid a race war. They presented themselves as a non-violent, rational group looking to return the United States to its “former glory."

In January of 1987, the League of Pace Amendment Advocates moved their headquarters from Sunland to 1222 S. Glendale Avenue. According to the League’s Director of Public Affairs, Arch Edwards, the group moved because the organization “wanted to get closer to the furnace and makes ourselves more accessible.” The headquarters was primarily used for coordinating marketing and lobbying the amendment as well as recruiting new members.

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While the League of Pace Amendment Advocates were planning their move to Glendale in 1986, the non-governmental Civil Rights group named The Glendale Human Relations Council (GHRC) was being revived in response to several racial incidents in town, including vandalism, racial slurs and the accusation that a police officer told a Black motorist that he had no business being in Glendale. The chairman of the group, Ray Reyes, commented to the Los Angeles Times, “people continue to pay attention to [the] assertion that racial discrimination is tightly woven into Glendale society.... People seem to lose sight of the fact that, in terms of social relations, there has been a history of negative racial practices in Glendale. And we pretend that this isn't part of the history of this city." Reyes felt that direct confrontation was the only way to combat racial bias. 

In June of 1987, The Glendale Human Relations Council invited William Daniel Johnson to the Glendale Central Library to a debate against members of the GHRC, with the intention of unpacking and exposing the ideals and perspectives of the League of Pace Amendment Advocates, and to pose the question: Was Glendale a congenial home for racists? 

The meeting was quickly denounced by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, warning the GHRC that granting Johnson an unmerited public forum, giving Johnson publicity towards extremist white-supremacist groups, and unintentionally giving the League the appearance of legitimacy. The GHRC ignored these calls for caution.

The publicity that was generated ahead of the planned debate at Glendale Central Library provided William Daniel Johnson and the League of Pace Amendment Advocates a spotlight, as was predicted by the Anti-Defamation League and the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. Johnson was invited as a guest on the Sally Jessy Raphael syndicated talk-show in June of 1987 to represent the League. He appeared along side other white supremacist groups including the Ku Klux Klan and the skinhead movement. Members of the International Committee Against Racism (InCAR) were in the audience including a young Frank Recchia who is now a well known news anchor for News 12 in Connecticut. 

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Copyright notice: Any materials under copyright in this exhibit are covered by the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act.  Permission and preferred attribution were requested of all copyright holders.

Citations:

 

Stop the Decline and Fall of America Flyer. League of PACE Amendment Advocates. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and America, cover, 1985. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

Lewis, Brian. "Group Seeking Removal of All Non-Whites Moves In." Glendale News-Press, 12 March 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Gordon, Larry. "Effort to Cancel Debate on Plan to Remake U.S. Racially Fails." Los Angeles Times, 23 June 1987. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Advocate Bulletin, vol.1, no. 5. League of PACE Amendment Advocates, July 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

“League is Guest on TV Show.” The Advocate. Advocate Bulletin, vol.1, no. 5. League of PACE Amendment Advocates, July 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

“Sally’s Show Debuts in City with a Wallop.” The New Haven Register, 16 June 1987. Advocate Bulletin, vol.1, no. 5. League of PACE Amendment Advocates, July 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

“Frank Recchia Confronts KKK 1987.” CTSY: Multimedia Entertainment. YouTube, uploaded by tvnewsarchives, 28 Oct. 2008.  

 

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH: 

Campbell, Roy H. "Panel to Ease Racial Tension Reborn; Time Deemed Ripe: [Home Edition]." Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov 1986, pp. 1. ProQuest

O'Neill, Stephanie. "Glendale Gadfly Human Relations Panel Chairman-Called Brilliant, Confrontational-Faces Ouster: [Home Edition]." Los Angeles Times, 16 Jul 1987, pp. 1. ProQuest