Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How I Handle Hostile Crowds (#2)


That's what the sheriff the Chief of Police of Waco and McClendon County told me in my room in the Raleigh Hotel in October 1923.  I had rented the city auditorium, paid for it myself, and it's still paid collection (OFFERING) was taken ... and I went to Waco to deliver an address on evolution, and announced that I was going to "hang the apes and monkeys on the faculty of Baylor University."  The evolution fight was red hot among Texas Baptists.  I just thought it would be a quiet, peaceful, harmless address.

When I got to Waco I found the President of the University had called a mass meeting of everybody in town, including all the hoodlums, boot blacks.  They went out with bells, and tin cans and packed the Chapel, while they "hung Norris in effigy."

The University adjourned all classes and it was like onE of Hitler's meetings at Nuremburg.

A bunch of students is not an easy thing to handle.  They are like cattle, they are very easy to stampede.  They came early and took possission of the auditorium, even before sundown.  The excitement was running high.

The Sheriff and Chief of Police came over to my hotel and said, "We cannot guarantee you any protection ... the mob spirit is beyond our control."

I repliedk "Gentlemen, I have not asked you for any protection."

I remembered some 20 years or more before when the Brann riot was on in Waco several years ago and it centered around the University, four or five men were killed and there were 23 widows and orphans.  I confess it looked a little squally after what the Sheriff and Chief of Police told me.

~ Roy Falls

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