library brawl

Confrontation at glendale central library

BRAWL IN THE BOOKS

In June of 1987, the Glendale Human Relations Council (GHRC) invited William Daniel Johnson, white nationalist leader of the League of Pace Amendment Advocates (Pace) 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? 

Advocate Bulletin (1987, July)-1.jpg

On June 25 1987, several different groups met at the Glendale Central Library in anticipation of the debate. This included the Ku Klux Klan, leaders of the Nazi Party, anti-Klan demonstrators, the Jewish Defense League and a group called the International Committee Against Racism (InCAR). As the groups converged at the library, taunts and antagonization built to violence, and a brawl broke out that needed to be broken up by the police, who were waiting on the second floor of the library.

 

Once the group was thought to have calmed, the meeting was to proceed. However once inside the library, which was still open to the general public, the groups once again clashed, with banners being ripped up and chairs being thrown amongst the outbreak. A Klan member was cut above the eye and began bleeding down his face. A member of InCAR was arrested and charged for disturbing the peace. Only then was the debate between Glendale Human Rights Council and William Daniel Johnson was cancelled.  

Editorial is criticized

Ray Reyes of the GHRC who organized the event was lambasted, and threatened to be removed from his position as chairman. However, he wished to try the debate again at a later date, saying “Sometimes a circus environment is required to focus on the issues.” 

Scenes from clashes between Klansmen and anti-Klan demonstrators
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INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE AGAINST RACISM 

InCAR, the International Committee Against Racism, originally began in New York City in 1973 as the Committee Against Racism. It later added “international” to its moniker as it sought to challenge apartheid in South Africa. InCAR opened chapters in other major cities and physically confronted racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan across the country.  

Anti-racist court rally

InCAR continued to protest and disrupt any public forums that racist groups held. In September of 1987, 2 months after they were involved in the violent clash at Glendale Central Library, InCAR protested outside of an Anaheim hotel where KYI radio was broadcasting a debate between Ken Carlson of the Glendale Human Rights Council and William Daniel Johnson of the League of Pace Amendment Advocates.  

The following year after a clash at the Glendale Holiday Inn (See “Church Bomber"), InCAR showed up in support of one of their members, Jose Hernandez, as he was being arraigned in court for misdemeanor assault charges for throwing a can of soda at a white nationalist. The court hearing had a heavy police presence and was well-attended by the press, giving this minor moment a bad look for the anti-racist group. Susan Scheer, a spokeswoman for InCAR said “I think the city [Glendale] should be more concerned with the threat posed by racists rather than those who take an active part in protesting racism.” The InCAR members who rallied outside the court passed out fliers stating, “Glendale is clearly being used as a center to build racism throughout Los Angeles...In Glendale, racists have the freedom to run black workers and youth out of Glendale.” 

While InCAR was a group who actively opposed racism and fascism, the police still found them to be a violent group worthy of requiring a heavy police presence.  

Protesters disrupt immigration debate

THE RALLY THAT WASN'T

After the events of the June 25 debate-turned-brawl, the Glendale Central Library was being eyed once more as a site for racist groups to converge. Just one month later, the Knights of the Green Mountain, a group comprised of members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, planned a “spontaneous” rally to protest anti-communit, "race-mixing policies" of Glendale's mayor and other City officials. The planned the rally to coincide with another debate between the Glendale Human Rights Council and the League of Pace Amendment Advocates. However, their information was wrong, and no debate was on the Library’s schedule. Roger Marheime of InCAR gave a talk at the library the previous week, but William Daniel Johnson and the League of Pace Amendment Advocates were not part of the event. 

Aryan Nationalists Rally (1987, Jul 30).
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The Knights of the Green Mountain would hold their rally regardless. In their flyer promoting the July 30 1987 rally, the Knights of the Green Mountain stated that the “survival of the Aryan race depends upon the solidarity of our various individuals and group members. In order to serve as the standard bearers of light for civilization, we must unite.” Among a list of items they suggested all attendees to bring were hard hats, motorcycle helmets, field boots, two taped up rolls of coins (for phone calls of course,) and white placards mounted on solid handles or poles with a “pro-white or anti-race mixing statement.” 

On July 30, only a handful of  Knights of the Green Mountain members showed up to Glendale Central Library. One Klan member carrying an American flag stood outside, and seven members of the American Nazi Party were barred from the second floor, who accused a police officer of inviting them in and then claiming they were trespassing.  The racist group was met with counter-protestors from the Jewish Defense League and heavy police presence. A shouting match ensued but no violence. The next day, a member of the Klan was arrested outside a restaurant in Downtown Glendale for concealing two daggers.  

DWINDLING SUPPORT LEAVING GLENDALE WITH A BANG

By 1988 ,in an attempt to gain support, Johnson and the League of Pace Amendment Advocates made efforts to recruit Nazi skinhead youth by sponsoring skinhead rock concerts. In the article below Johnson says that he does not support the violent tactics of the Nazi skinheads while stating, "Skinheads have a good aspect to them..." The concert never came to be.

After the Central Library mini-brawl on June 25 and the shouting match outside the library on July 30, along with a violent clash at the Glendale Holiday Inn (see "Church Bomber") and anti-Semitic graffiti at Glendale Temple Sinai (see "Temple Terror",) the City of Glendale created a task force to deal with racism in the community. William Daniel Johnson of the League of Pace Amendment Advocates tried to join this task force stating, “we have a lot of insight into why people act in a racist manner.” He was denied membership reporting that Glendale Mayor Ginger Bremberg told him that he could not join the group because membership on the informal committee has closed." After these events, Johnson struggled to gain support for the League of Pace Amendment Advocates in Glendale.

PACE skinheads header.jpg
Skrewdriver
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By 1989 Johnson was making plans to move the group to Helena, Montana, but opposition in that community pushed him to Casper, Wyoming, where he qualified as an independent candidate for the state’s vacant U.S. House seat. The residents of Casper were not enthusiastic and he did not win election.  

  

George King, the League’s Director of Education, stated that they were leaving Glendale for a new location to accommodate their numbers. He said the group would have been content to stay in Glendale which he called, “a convenient ‘front-line’ against...the evil of the third world invasion.” Glendale City Councilman Carl Raggio said that “this was not a fertile place for them to spread their message.” Larry Zarian, then a fellow City Councilman said “maybe they realized that their group is not what we want in Glendale...their philosophy is not in sync with the people of Glendale.”

In August of 1989, the building that was occupied by the League of Pace Amendment Advocates, on the 1200 block of South Glendale Ave. was bombed using a home-made incendiary device with a delayed action-fuse. No one was injured and it was unclear if the group was the target of this attack.   

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.

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

Johnson, Daniel. Editorial. “Editorial Is Criticized.” Glendale News-Press, 3 July 1987. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

No KKK! No Fascist USA! John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, Winter 1988. The Freedom Archives.

Bagish, Stephen. “Anti-racist Court Rally Draws Tight Security.” The Foothill Leader, 6 Jan. 1988. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

“Protesters Disrupt Immigration Debate.” Glendale Daily News, 9 Sept. 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Knights of the Green Mountains Rally Flyer. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.

Lewis, Brian. "Racist Groups May Rally at Library." Glendale News-Press, 30 July 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Tucker, Carol. "Nazi Rally Never Really Got Off Ground." Glendale News-Press, 31 July 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Forgione, Mary E. "PACE Linked to NAZI Skinheads: Group to Snag Kids with Music." Glendale News-Press, 16 Feb. 1988. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Bleiberg, Laura. "Member of PACE Not Allowed to Join Racism Task Force." Glendale News-Press, 8 Mar. 1988. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Hamilton, Walter. "Racist Group Plans to Move Out of Town: Glendale Not a Fertile Place for White Supremacists' Ideas." Glendale News-Press, 12 April 1989. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Donnell, Alexander. "White Power Group Vacates Offices: Separatists Quit Bombed Building." Los Angeles Times, 7 Aug. 1989. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH:

“International Committee Against Racism.” African Activist Archive. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.