Top Ten Videos to watch

Graduates tossing caps into the air
Freddie Gray Baltimore Protests
Mid section of man in graduation gown holding diploma
Legendary Baseball Player Tony Gwynn's Family Files A Lawsuit Against Big Tobacco
ME.jailhouse#2.0117.CW Montebello City Council has approved use of a private contractor to run the n
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Addresses Police Misconduct At Chicago City Council Meeting
WWII Soldiers Standing In A Flag Draped Sunset - SIlhouette
Students Taking a College Exam
Bill Cosby Preliminary Hearing
Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Louisville, Kentucky
Worried black businesswoman at desk
Tyler Perry And Soledad O'Brien Host Gala Honoring Bishop T.D. Jakes' 35 Years Of Ministry
Teacher with group of preschoolers sitting at table
FBI Officials Discuss Apprehension Of Explosions Suspect After Three-Day Manhunt
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons
Protests Erupt In Chicago After Video Of Police Shooting Of Teen Is Released
Nine Dead After Church Shooting In Charleston
Portrait of senior African woman holding money
President Bush Speals At Federalist Society's Gala
Police Line Tape
Senior Woman's Hands
Police officers running
New Orleans Residents Return to Housing Projects
David Banner
2010 Jazz Interlude Gala
Leave a comment

nat king cole attacked on stage

Celebrated crooner Nat King Cole (pictured) faced racism for much of his career, even at his Los Angeles home where Ku Klux Klan members set a burning cross on his lawn in the summer of 1948. However, on April 10, 1956, Cole was attacked by a Klan offshoot group while performing in Birmingham, Ala. The group of men attempted to kidnap the singer, and the news of the heinous attack came to light on this day in newspapers nationwide.

SEE ALSO: British Rulers Spark ‘Golden Stool’ War With Ashanti Tribe On This Day In 1900

Performing in front of 4,000 in Birmingham’s Municipal Auditorium, aghast onlookers witnessed three White men, who were members of the North Alabama Citizens Council, knock Cole to the ground. Luckily, the attackers were quickly apprehended by police waiting on the sides of the stage and Cole would return to finish his performance in a courageous move.

According to accounts read in Alabama newspaper the Florence Times, the singer was met with a passionate standing ovation and tears from members of the audience who were appalled by what they had seen. Three other men were arrested in the plot, and outside the venue, a car loaded with weapons was found.

At the time, the Council was led by KKK leader and famed novelist Asa “Forrest” Carter, and the attack was said to be part of the group’s plot to stop rock & roll music from being played publicly. The move was an obvious oversight as Cole did not perform music from that genre, but the attack was clearly motivated by racism.

Watch coverage of Cole’s attack here:

Cole was performing with English orchestra band leader Ted Heath at the time, and much of the audience members in attendance were considered part of high society. Considering he was a native of the state, Cole’s response to the attack, though, was controversial at the time:

“I can’t understand it. I have not taken part in any protests. Nor have I joined an organization fighting segregation. Why should they attack me? I’d just like to forget about the whole thing,” said Cole regarding his attack.

His comments prompted NAACP legal counsel Thurgood Marshall to consider him an “Uncle Tom.” NAACP members rejected Cole’s insistence on playing segregated shows and considered him a traitor. After years of berating, Cole would eventually join the Civil Rights Movement and was an active participant of the legendary 1963 March On Washington.

SEE ALSO: Enslaved Human Zoo Captive Ota Benga Ended Life On This Day In 1916

Also On News One: