AT LEAST two of our readers are holding us to our promise to research Peter Nygard’s far-fetched claim that a racist gene is embedded in Lyford Cay neighbour Louis Bacon’s DNA.
Mr Nygard would be surprised to know how many Bahamians are incensed that after so many generations of struggle to bring all races in this country together as one people a foreigner has come into our midst to re-inject the racial virus and open up old wounds. Many believe that – despite his financial generosity — Peter Nygard has betrayed this country’s hospitality by assuming to have more rights than a resident’s permit gives him.
The quarrel between these two neighbours — Bacon and Nygard — is so intense that seemingly Mr Nygard can’t even present a donation without burdening his listeners with the Nygard-Bacon saga. It is almost like a plea to recruit Bahamian sympathy to his side in his campaign against Mr Bacon in return for his financial generosity.
This last episode, which resulted in our promise to our readers that we would research a statement by Mr Nygard, which was made at Mr Nygard’s home — Nygard Cay — when he presented a $10,000 cheque to the Acklins regatta. It could have been a very pleasant afternoon if Mr Nygard had not decided to turn it into a Bacon-bashing event. Possibly this was to deflect attention from reporters’ main interest — the extent of his financial generosity to the governing party, both before, during and after the 2012 election. Also reporters wanted to know what he expected from our government in return, especially in view of his latest video release announcing that he — Peter Nygard — had taken this country back. Mr Nygard will never know how much he has damaged himself and his government with this one presumptuous pronouncement. He must learn that people do not like to feel that they have been bought.
On the afternoon of the $10,000 presentation, Mr Nygard told reporters that Mr Bacon’s attitude against blacks was in the Bacon family’s blood line.
In fact, he said, it stemmed from a great grandfather — one Colonel Roger Moore — who, he claimed, was a high-ranking Ku Klux Klan member.
As we stated at the time, although no one can be held responsible for his ancestors, the story told by Mr Nygard is not the same as the one we discovered when we did a quick check before writing the July 16th article. However, we promised to do further research and report back to our readers.
Nevertheless, we did point out at the time that the Moore – later Bacon — plantation was owned by Mr Bacon’s great-grandfather 11 times removed in 1752. The Ku Klux Klan did not come into existence until a century later, around 1866.
As a result of a superficial search, we obtained the following from the US governmen’s Official Records p. 86-87, which is entitled the “Wilmington race revolution - the true story from the official records”.
“… the building caught fire soon after the arrival of the crowd. Many joined in the statement that the fire resulted accidentally. In any event the building was practically destroyed, the blaze, at the same time wiping out of existence the negro sheet which had carried the editorial defaming and traducing the white women of the South.
“When reports of the fire were received in the business district, considerable excitement prevailed. At the corner of Front and Walnut Streets, a large crowd of negro laborers, who were employed at the nearby cotton compresses, gathered. These colored people were not intent on making trouble. The fact is, the belief was expressed that few, if any, were armed. They were, rather, in a state of bewilderment, wondering what had happened, and what might eventuate.
“Colonel Roger Moore, as stated above, was in command of the entire situation. While controlling the assembled citizens at Front and Walnut Streets, Colonel Moore was harassed by two or three excitable, white men. They told him, in effect, if he did not give the order to fire into the negroes on the opposite corner, that they would do so. Without losing his head, but with calmness and determination, Colonel Moore responded to these hot heads. He said he had been placed in command by his fellow citizens. Until they recalled him he intended to remain in command. He said there was no occasion at this time for bloodshed and he certainly had no intention of having bewildered negroes slain in cold blood.
“With this announcement Colonel Moore told the several men who were commanding him to give the order to fire, that he would allow them exactly one minute in which to take their place in the ranks. If they did not comply immediately, then he would have them arrested and placed in jail until they cooled off. These men clearly perceived that Colonel Moore meant exactly what he said. They then lost no time in obeying his command.
“The actual outbreak, resulting in loss of life, happened in the northern section of the city, early in the afternoon. A negro fired into a crowd of white men, standing near the corner of Fourth and Harnett Streets. One white man was seriously wounded. Later, another was shot and painfully hurt. During the turbulence and conflict which resulted, it was estimated that from seven to ten negroes were killed.
“Realizing that the aid of military forces was essential, appeal had been made to the Governor for declaration of martial law. In the late afternoon, this step was taken. Several companies of soldiers from nearby points were ordered to Wilmington. Colonel Walker Taylor, of the National Guard, was then placed in command. With this step, the organized citizens forces which had been functioning on a quiet basis for a year or more under the direction of Colonel Moore, disbanded. There was no further need for their services. Colonel Taylor was a man of discretion and good judgment, and the situation within 48 hours was so much quieter, that the visiting troops were ordered home.
“Many negroes who were frightened to the point of distraction with the turn of events, went to the woods near the city. They thought their lives were in jeopardy. One of the last orders given by Colonel Moore before his authority was vested in Colonel Taylor, was to a number of white men. He told them to go in the woods, tell the negroes they could safely return to their homes, if they behaved themselves, and that they would be protected.“
This is obviously the story to which Mr Nygard referred, embellishing it with his own twisted anger against Colonel Moore’s descendent – Louis Bacon – who has lived quietly at Lyford Cay for many years.
If Mr Nygard has a problem with his neighbour, then let him find redress in the courts, not create divisions in our community over something that is none of their business.