4 Klansmen injured in exchange of gunfire; several Lumbee disoriented or injured by tear-gas grenades, none seriously.
1 Klansman arrested by police.
The Battle of Hayes Pond or Maxton Riot was an armed confrontation between members of the Ku Klux Klan and the Lumbee Native Americans at a Klan rally near Maxton, North Carolina, on the night of January 18, 1958. Grand Dragon James W. "Catfish" Cole was the organizer of the Klan rally. Sanford Locklear, Simeon Oxendine and Neill Lowery were leaders of the Lumbee who attacked the Klansmen and successfully disrupted the rally.
In reaction to the US Supreme Court ruling in 1954 calling for public school desegregation, the organization, Ku Klux Klan (KKK), took action throughout the American South designed to intimidate black people and discourage them from demanding greater civil rights.
Cole targets the Lumbee
In 1957, Cole began a campaign of harassment designed to intimidate the Lumbee. He hoped to use his campaign against the Lumbee to build up the Klan organization in North Carolina.
Klan violence escalates
Robeson County Klansmen in robes with burning cross, c. January 1958
Believing that he had the Lumbee on the run, Cole announced plans for a Klan rally on January 18, 1958, near the small town of Maxton, intended "to put the Indians in their place, to end race mixing".
Lumbee Indians confronting Klansmen
On the night of the rally, 50–100 Klansmen arrived at the private field near Hayes Pond which Cole had leased from a sympathetic farmer. Cole set up the public address system and erected the cross, all under the illumination of a single light bulb. Before Cole could finish the arrangements, over 500 Lumbee men, many armed with rocks, sticks and firearms, appeared and encircled the assembled Klansmen.
Afterward, the Lumbee celebrated by holding up the abandoned KKK banner; Charlie Warriax and World War II veteran Simeon Oxendine were shown wrapped in it in Life magazine photos.
Hayes Pond in 2019
In the days after the confrontation, a defiant Cole called the Lumbee "lawless mongrels" and denounced local law enforcement for failing to intervene earlier in the confrontation. Public opinion, however, turned against Cole. North Carolina Governor Luther H. Hodges denounced the Klan in a press statement, and Cole was later convicted for inciting a riot and given a two-year sentence.