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The Drum. Reverend Jesse Jackson 
Volume 14, Number I & II 

University of Massachusetts 
Amherst, Mass. 01003 
1-413-545-0768 

New Africa House 
Room 115 



FRONT COVER: "JESSE JACKSON," Nelson Stevens 
BACK COVER: Charles Abrams 



DEDICATION 



This page of DRUM Magazine is dedi- 
cated to John Coleman Wright, Jr., who 
on August 1, 1983 drowned at Puffers 
Pond in North Amherst. The students 
at UMass who knew John, knew him as 
the star hurdler of the UMass Men's 
Track Team. John did not want to be 
known only for track, but as a student 
of Political Science, photo editor for 
NUMMO NEWS and as a friend. John 
was to finish his school career in the fall 
semester of 1983. John was a good ex- 
ample of a student-athlete because of 
the way he stayed up on his studies and 
ahead of the other hurdlers. 

He was the kind of person who 
would enter a room without a sound 
but his presence was known to all in 
the room. John always seemed to find 
time to listen if you had a problem to 



tell. One could always see John with his 
camera around his neck or up to his eye 
ready to snap a picture whether you 
were ready or not. His love of running 
and taking pictures was surpassed by his 
love for planes. Before coming to 
UMass, John was deciding whether to go 
to UMass or to go straight into the Air 
Force, as you can see, UMass was the 
pick. Coach Ken O'Brien, of the UMass 
Men's Track Team said "He was a very 
warm person with an infectious atti- 
tude. He had the ability to relate to 
people and got along with everyone." , 
This is true because at the funeral, there 
were coaches and other hurdlers, along 
with friends who came from out of 
state, such as New Hampshire and 
Maine, to pay their respects to John. 
John was there when help was need- 



ed, as a Residential Assistant, at track 
meets when he would not run, and 
during summer orientation for new 
students. Once a person had met John, 
that person would have a friend for 
life. 

Leah Loftis 



"Your artistic creativity was soothing to 
our eyes and souls. As an athlete, the 
way you glided over the hurdle and 
passed the finish line made us all feel 
like the winner you were. And as a 
human being, you showed us the true 
meaning of friendship. Your spirit shall 
live on." 

Black Home Coming in Memory of 
John Coleman Wright, Jr. 
Afrik-Am/UMass 



STRONG MEN S8888Sg88g!8gS8g8888888888888Sg8888S??8S8ftS8geSS??8SSS:?8S88888g«8Seg8S88S8«S® 

The strong men keep coming on. 
— Sandburg 



They dragged you from homeland. 

They chained you in coffles. 

They huddled you spoon-fashion in filthy hatches, 

They sold you to give a few gentlemen ease. 

They broke you in like oxen. 

They scourged you. 

They branded you. 

They made your women breeders, 

TJiey swelled your numbers with bastards . . . 

They taught you the religion they disgraced. 

You sang: 
Keep a-inchin ' along 
Laka po' inch worm . . . 

You sang: 
Bye and bye 
I'm gonna lay down dis heaby load . . . 

You sang: 

Walk togedder, chillen, 
Dontcha git weary . . . 

The strong men keep a-comin ' on 
The strong men git stronger. 

They point with pride to the roads you built for 

them, 

Tliey ride in comfort over the rails you laid for 

them. 

They put hammers in your hands 

And said— Drive so much before sundown. 

You sang: 
A in 't no hammah 
In dis Ian ', 

Strikes lak mine, bebby. 
Strikes lak mine. 



They cooped you in their kitchens. 
They penned you in their factories. 
They gave you the jobs that they were too good 

for, 
They tried to guarantee happiness to themselves 
By shuting dirt and misery to you. 

You sang: 
Me an ' muh baby gonna shine, shine 
Me an ' muh baby gonna shine. 

The strong men keep a-comin 'on 
The strong men get stronger . . . 

They bought off some of your leaders 

You stumbled, as blind men will . . . 

They coaxed you, unwontedly soft-voiced . . . 

You followed a way. 

Then laugh ted as usual. 

They heard the laugh and wondered; 

Uncomfortable; 

Unadmitting a deeper terror . . . 

The strong men keep a-comin' on 
Gittin' stonger . . . 



What, from the slums 

Where they have hemmed you. 

What, from the tiny huts 

They could not keep from you- 

What reaches them 

Making them ill at ease, fearful? 

Today they shout prohibition at you 
"Thou shalt not this" 
"Thou shalt not that" 
"Reserved for whites only" 
You laugh. 



One thing they cannot prohibit 



by Sterlin Brown 



Sl««g8gS?g«!?S5= 



The strong men . . . coming on 
The strong men gittin ' stronger. 
Strong men . . . 
«s«8e55;?!=«88eesggg«8«s: Stronger . . . 



4 



84 




c 



'drum 



6 The President-Reject and The Last Lady 
by Andrew Salkey 

11 Jazz: Will it Survive 

by Playthell Benjamin 

22 Thoughts on Dick Gregory 
by Brad Kaplan 

25 United States Intervention in Central America 
by Sister Aott 

31 An Interview with Tony Batten 
by Richard Thorpe 




36 


Aveytara 


42 


Jesse's Rainbow 




by Brad Kaplan 


44 


A Salute to John A. Kendrick 


46 


An Interview with Ray Almeida 




by Robert Treixeira 




a 51 Paul Carter Harrison 

i by Schyleen Quails ^^ 

i 56 A Discussion with Rev. Robin L. Harden 

° 58 Centennial Vision 

U 63 Messages from the Prophets 
•S by James Baldwin 



g 70 Quincy Troupe 

^ by Janice Lowe 



w 75 Book Review 



78 Don King 

by Leah Loftis 



" 81 "Winners 



^Lfc 85 An Excerpt From ^g^ 

^M^ Z?}' 7b«/ CflJe Bambara ^S9tk 



Photos of Tony Batten, Quincy Troupe, and Paul Harrison, by Adger Cowans 



^K>Boeoeooeooe>Booooo^Hoa^H» RAPE POEM ^>ooeoooBO»oc»eooooeoeooeo« 

By Marge Piercy 



There is no difference betweeti being raped 
and being pushed down a flight of cement steps 
except that the wounds also bleed inside. 

There is no difference between being raped 

and being nin over by a truck 

except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it. 

There is no difference between being raped 
and being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake 
except that people ask if your skirt was short 
and why you were out alone anyhow. 

There is no difference between being raped 
and going head first through a windshield 
except that afterward you are afraid 
not of cars 
but half the human race. 

The rapist is your boyfriend's brother. 
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn. 
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male 
like a maggot in garbage. 

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing 
all of the time on a woman's hunched back. 
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine 

woods, 
never to climb a trail across a bald 
without that aluminum in the mouth 
when I see a man climbing toward me. 



Never to open the door to a knock 
without that razor just grazing the throat. 
The fear of the dark side of hedges, 
the backseat of the car, the empty house 
rattling keys like a snake's warning. 
The fear of the smiling man 
in whose pocket is a knife. 
The fear of the serious man 
in whose fist is locked hatred. 

All it takes to cast a rapist to be able to see your 

body 

as a jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine- 

gun. 

All it takes is hating that body 

your own, your self, your muscle that softens to 

flab. 

All it takes is to push what you hate, 

what you fear onto the soft alien flesh. 

To bucket out invincible as a tank 

armored with treads without senses 

to possess and punish in one act, 

to rip up pleasure to murder those who dare 

live in the leafy flesh open to love. 



^>0q^>00 000'P000O0P000000000^« 



THE PRESIDENT-REJECT and THE LAST LADY 

A Long Poem 

by 
Andrew Salkey 

Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirl- 
wind. 



Gwendolyn Brooks 



from Part 4 of "The Second 
Sermon on the Warpland", in 
In the Mecca 



To forever blot our slavery is the only 
possible compensation for this 
merciless war . . . 

Adrienne Rich from "Culture and Anarchy", 

in A Wild Patience Has Taken 
Me This Far: Poems 1978 - 
1981. 



The powerful lictors of policy floss sat down 

on the high mound outside the city limits, 

and as the wiser wounded, 

they contemplated and spoke about 

the freedeom they had earned 

from the prolonged decade of garish self-assertion, 

the dramatized lunges into sudden, new habits 

of seeing and revelation and bankruptcy, 

all the quick transformations 

into quirky styles and presentations, 

all the careless emblems that pretended 

to be substantial, on-going realities of mind-play, 

and they knew that empty symbols 

and smooth surfaces had been their way. 



II 



Lictors everywhere did the same. 

They careened over the past, lickety-split , 

while the electors humdnimmed their routines 

into passive rituals and angular driftwood, 

a vote for ice cream, here, 

another for false security , there, 

every obedient act a blind turn. 



Ill 



The President's radio voice, disembodied 
but for fidgety phlegm, oozed post-prandial place- 
bos, 
squishy silly billies of quips and anecdotes, 



right across the New World, 

and brazenly declared that although Aeschylus 

is no friend of his, 

his presidency is beginning to know 

the pain that never sleeps. 

At that moment, he bagan to gauge 

the slurp of letters he would receive; 

but little did he know 

that dead air had snatched his declaration, 

and stubbed out the sympathy 

which the state of his office had hankered after. 

IV 

The President's wife ricked, and then rolled, nifti- 

ly, 

with the jagged criticism that darted her appear- 
ances 

on the balcony; women threw all the accurate 
needles. 

She kept on defending her husband's true policy 
floss, 

everywhere, in every cordon sanitaire, 

made available to her rickety endeavour, 

but with such dangle and hauteur, 

so much so that her inepitude of floss 

appeared like rectitude of thought made flesh. 

She was a splendid partner in grim times, 

a wife and a half, a naiional treasure. 



And yet, the nation was going to the dogs of war, 
and even they were reluctant to go; 
against their rabid instincts for patriotic sky-diving, 
they dissembled like bad-tempered angels. 
Quite openly, some claimed desuetude; 
the efflorenscence of technics and covert contrap- 
tions 
had cut the old personal commitment to the quick; 
others professed their disclination to slice 
their way into lives and cultures not their own. 
What's cultural penetration, anyway? 
Before the late, late September presence 
of the President and his wife, 
the tactical planner replied: 
"Our flying representatives of leaping lucre 
and the way they inspired, 
with their gross PX example, 
the wayward Cargo cults, 
cuasing the new consumers 
to breathe out ramshackle runways, 
not so innocent simulacra. 



and wait at sunset, 
believing their ancestors will return 
with divine, prettily labelled cartons, 
so subversive of social security and sovereignty. " 
Is that really all? No damage done! 
The tactical planner, a pleasant, pampered person 
of ivy personality and language on the rampage, 
spoke candidly of the far-flung goodness of Em- 
pire, 
just how it civilizes the unthinking and sinful, 
how it equips the disabled with ballooning oppor- 
tunities, 
how it upends the dialy void, effortlessly, ' 

and produces an upside-down cake for all 
at the bottom line of lean and bone. 

VI 

And then the talk turned to stirred leaves. 
The opposition reminded thepalace of gloom 
that every new liberation carries it political yoke, 
partly made oftmtive, dead wood, 
partly of cynical, alien joinery: 
Tanzania calls her Zanzibar; 
Cuba calls hers Guantanamo; 
no journey is for ever and a day. 



VII 



The President, who had always disliked stirred 

leaves, 
especially when the swirl festoons the lull of dry 

backyards 
where profitable stability depends on airlessness 

and stasis, 
fixed his frown and pretended to listen to the re- 
port 

of the meddlesome Archbishop's dismemberment: 
"He died talking garrisons and guards 
and interminable injustices, 
as his lopped head shattered the wheatsheaf of 

faith. " 
Not far from the Cathedral steps, 
not far from the dead sermon, 
herded villagers, their thumbs tied behind their 

backs, 
had acid thrown in their faces. 
The President resented the procession of blood 
on his front doorstep; his, as he often stressed, 
was certainly a Christian sovereign power, 
a constantly blessed promenade of the possible. 
He resented, too, that he had half heard the report, 
even though he had devised a deaf ear, at the start. 
Such an invasion of presidential privacy 



was yet another banana cross he was forces to 
shoulder, 
without public pity or religious rapture. 

VIII 

It's true that the President and his wife 

and all the pre-empted women and men, 

cabinet close enough 

for their tetchy smiles and corporate scowls 

to seem to be triumphs of cloning, 

had the blunders of bronco inflation and unem- 
ployment 

and the drop in income - and sales - taxes 

nagging the brink of the corning budget; true. 

Nevertheless, the President thought about distant 
Paraguay; 

the flat-out dissidence of a recent article rankled 

but beefed up his jolted resolve; 

he would stick to the imperial bargain he had 
made. 

Still, the article attacked the stillness of his storm: 

"Paraguay, Paraguay, galanty show, 

that reversible one-man plan 

for still hopeful German guests; 

that shuttered, down-hill house, 

battened with fylfot-for-luck 

whose terrible patterns no longer 

fill the foot of the window-blocks 

with master race lies and fungus; 

that cardboard house on the rocks. " 

IX 

Ex Africa semper aliguid no vi. 
No, not that, the President shouted. 
Pliny, the Ninny, had got to him, 
presidential stillness and all. 



X 



Village voices sounded so global, now, 

each hoarse proclamation, each threat, 

becoming denser and denser, every day, 

upsetting the President's wife, 

and causing her freshets of pain. 

Hers was a thoroughgoing admiration for the cour- 
age 

of the poor throughout the wretched southern 
cone; 

she knew they had to be euchred, regularly, 

for their own good and hers; 

but that they should dare think of euchring her 
world. 



in return, quite flummozed her patronage and 
poise. 

Lyrical badinage sprouted in samizdat; it connect- 
ed; 

there was no point in double deep concealment: 

"Once, there was this singer 

who married this dancer 

and they both took the country 

for a long song and dance. " 

Another reflected, with proletarian disdain, 

the popular rejection of royalty and subjugation: 

"King, never! 

Queen, never! 

Subjects as objects, no, no, no! 

Monarchy belongs, elsewhere. 

Monarchy belongs, elsewhere. 

Yet another uttered this detonation of Attic wit 

and steely decsiveness: 

"Body, nind, heart and soul, 

bury the tyrant in a hole!" 



XI 



in profile, their group countenance portrayed clip- 
ped will 
and slouch towards tomorrow; in the balcony light, 
it was a frieze f give-over and sag 
in honour of the bombardment the tyranny 

thought impossible. 
Empire had been betrayed; puffed-up emptiness 

lingered, 
hovering above the rhetorical architecture, 
above the stuffed eagles, trifles for featured dis- 
plays 
in flea-market sales on Saturdays and Sundays 
in the months ahead. But just how was the breach 

made 
in the thraldom of the heartland's sprawl? 
Surely, not by bhand or betel on the streets! 
No! Mere pleasure hauled nothing down! 
The betrayal was capital. It was by trickle, 
then flood, and it washed away the glitter 
of the stranglehold, and drenched the pomp 
in slump and stagnant wishful thinking. 
The palace lights dimmed. Belie f-in-boom oozed. 



Spiky cracks sizzled all over the palace walls. 

Critical hinges creaked loose. Vaults disgorded the 
wealth 

of their classified histories. Edifice changed its 
name. 

Governance glared just below the tops of confer- 
ence tables 

and blinked, as the hush of twilight covered the 
lawns. 

The last to squirt form listless to dead 

were the dountains whose arcs of spume 

once signalled spectacular hubris. 

The deflation of floss seemed abjectly complete. 

The minds outside the city limits, the wiser 
wounded, 

had not escaped the rampant devaluation. 

Tumescent hucksterism limped back to the provin- 
ces. 

All the national symbols bunched and dropped 

witha brassy bangarang, no more stars, 

no more thunderbolts, no more outstretched 
wings. 



XII 



The powerful lictors, bearing appropriate fasces 
far higher than the occasion warranted, 
stared towards the sad, over-dressed President's 
wife, 
then towards the prune-faces President; 



XIII 

The President had been unaccustomed to post- 
scripts, 
preferring paralysis to sophisticated apologies, 
but his wife well knew he had to face the New 

World, 
debacle in hand, and tell the vile tale 
for all it was worth, just in case bounce back. 
Empire-repair, new fountains and capital times 
were possible, in the offing, click, click, click. 
The President stumbled. The New World waited. 



XIV 

Brought to its knocking knees, half wry genuflex- 
ion, 

half bodily collapse, the gutted order couldn 't eas- 
ily field 

convincing excuses or support torment-soothing 
extravagances; 

words, for both the President and his wife, 

were seldom ever as accomplished as actions. 

Now, off the active list, events subsided into his- 
tory, 

and fulminations of memory were all too available. 



8 



XV 



The President and his wife, with their dislodged 
cabal, 

were averse both to discourse and contrition: sil- 
ence, 

icy obduracy and private wait-and-see were the 
masks 

their crumbled power required and received, close- 
ly. 

Strange, but their new quiet resembled the solitude 

of the enslaved on whom they had built Empire 
and secured it. 

Of course, irony of that bite had no resonance for 
the President; 

he stood beside his wife and glowered at the lavish 
sumet. 



XVI 

And the New Wrold waited. Hardly any woman, 

there, 
would be thwarted by elitist explanations; 
hardly any man, favoured with middling nous, 
would be fobbed off by mortgaged crop-over or 

guff 

The break was clean, down to the marrow cord. 
And most of those who were standing in front of 

the palace, 
late that afternoon, well understood they had long 

known 
that empty symbols and smooth surfaces ahd been 

Empire's way, 
ist glossy track, the press of policy floss, 
polity persiflage, and slavery by another name. 



GRANDMA PICKS OUT HYMNS 

on the family room piano 
cold keys gleam white 
against polished mahogany 
like grandma's teeth 
against her skin 
rich and warm 
as plowed earth 

an apologetic cough 

a few do-re-mis 

Grandma, president 

of the Enterprise, Alabama 

Sacred Harp Music Association 

lifts her head to sing 

she struggles 
to reclimb the heights 
glides through lower tones 
hers is an alert face 

at eighty-two 

she sings about 

being called nigger 

by a five-year old 

how she cooked and cleaned 

for his folks 

in Hoover's time 

was paid in old clothes 

and baby chicks 

old clothes 

and pats on the back 

"Lee Aria, you shore can bake cakes" 

"Lee, sing us a song" 

"Lee, your baby girl shore is pretty, who've 

you been steppin' out with Lee, 

she can't be Tom's, skin's too light 

hair's too red" 

her songs have been recorded 

by the Smithsonian 

taken just like 

her recipe for lemon cheesecake 

recorded for others to copy 

to be stamped American 



THE LIFE OF LINCOLN WEST 



Gwendolyn Brooks 



Ugliest little boy 

that everyone ever saw. 

That is what everyone said. 

Even to his mother it was apparent— 
when the blue-aproned nurse came into the 
northeast end of the maternity ward 
bearing his squeals and plump bottom 
looped up in a scant receiving blanket, 
bending, to pass the bundle carefully 
into the waiting mother-hands— that this 
was no cute little ugliness, no sly baby wayward- 
ness 
that was going to inch away 
as would baby fat, baby curl, and 
baby spot-rash. The pendulous lip, the 
branching ears, they eyes so wide a?id wild, 
the vague unvibrant brown of the skin, 
and, most disturbing, the great head. 
These components of That Look bespoke 
the sure fibre. The deep grain 

His father could not bear the siglit of him. 
His mother high-piled her pretty dyed hair and 
put him among her hairpins and sweethearts, 
dance slippers, torn paper roses. 
He was not less than these, 
he was not more. 

As the little Lincoln grew, 
uglily upward and out, he began 
to understand that something was 
wrong. His little ways of trying 
to please his father, the bringing 
of matches, the jumping aside at 
warning sound of oh-so-large and 
rushing stride, the smile, that gave 
and gave and gave — Unsuccessful! 

Even Christmases and Easters were spoiled. 

He would be sitting at the 

family feasting table, really 

delighting in the displays of mashed potatoes 

and the rich golden 

fat-crust of the man or the festive 

fowl, when he would look up and find 

somebody feeding indignant about him. 



What a pity what a pity. No love 
for one so loving. The little Lincoln 
loved Everybody. Ants. The changing 
caterpillar His much-missing mother. 
His kindergarten teacher. 

His kindergarten teacher— whose 

concern for him was composed of one 

part sympathy and two parts repulsion. 

The others ran up with their little drawings. 

He ran up with his. 

She 

tried to be as pleasant with him ai 

with others, but it was difficult. 

For she was all pretty! all daintiness, 
all tiny vanilla, with blue eyes and' fluffy 
sun-hair One afternoon she 
saw him in the hall looking bleak against 
the wall. It was strange because the 
bell had long since rung and no other 
child was in sight. Pitty flooded her. 
She buttoned her gloves and suggested 
cheerfully that she walk him home. She 
started out bravely, holding him by the 
hand. But she had not walked far before 
she regretted it. The little monkey. 
Must everyone look? And clutching her 
hand like that . . . Literally pinching 
it . . . 

At seven, the little Lincoln loved 
the brother and sister who 
moved next door. Handsome. Well- 
dressed. Charitable, often, to him. They 
enjoyed him because he was 
resourceful, made up 
games, told stories. But when 
their More Acceptable friends came they turned 
their handsome backs on him. He 
hated himself for his feeling 
of well-being when with them despite— 
Everything. 

He spent much time looking at himself 
in mirrors. What could be done? 
But there was no 
shrinking his head. There was no 
binding his ears. 



10 




Jazz: Will it Survive? 



A. Comment on the State of the 
Great A^merican A.rt 

by Playthell Benjamin 



THE GENRE OF MUSICAL expression 
popularly known as jazz is a modem 
complex form of instrumental music 
based in the blues idiom and created 
by African-American artists. In spite of 
the late Marshall McCluhan's contention 
that the commercial is an indigenous 
American art form, or the rather extra- 
vagant claims made for abstract expres- 
sionist painting, jazz is without ques- 
tion, the great American contribution 
to fine art. Polemics to the contrary 
not-withstanding, no other art form 
embodies so many of the best ideals 
and characteristcs to which American 
civilization aspires. Jazz is democra- 
tic, values individual freedom, promotes 
innovation, and reflects the complex 
rhythms of a machine age milieu. While 
these rather pedestrian observations 
may escape the attention of the average 
American, they should be all too ob- 
vious to our cultural commentators 
and musical critics. But alas, there is 
none so blind as he who will not see! 

Actually, the failure to award jazz 
its proper status in American culture 
reflects much more than a failure of 
aesthetic assessment. Rather, it symbo- 
lizes a much deeper cultural quandray: 
the continuing American identity crisis. 
This crisis is buttressed by the intellec- 
tual enslavement of the white cultural 
commissars, to a doctrine Afro-Ameri- 
can critic and cultural historian, Albert 
Murray, has properly called "the folk- 
lore of white supremacy." This bogus 
pseudo intellectual doctrine seeks to 
deny the influence of black folk on 



American culture in spite of the well 
known fact that Africans were present 
before the arrival of the Mayflower and 
have participated in the making of 
America ever since. Failure to take these 
facts into account has unnecessarily 
prolonged the national identity crisis, 
and contributed to the acute cultural 
schizophrenia so evident in American 
society. 

The essentially schizoid nature of the 
national character is due to several 
fundamental misconceptions about the 
nature of American culture on the part 
of the American cultural establishment. 
Epistemologically speaking, one could 
argue that they hold a fictitious view 
of American social reality. Thus, they 
continue to engage in the sort of wishful 
thinking that allows them to perceive 
American culture as white, Anglo- 
Saxon, and Protestant, with some 
Jewish injections here and there. Those 
who subscirbe to this theory of 
American culture confuse the WASPs 
ability to dominate the political, miliary 
and economic institutions with their 
capacity to control cultural evolution. 
The process of cultural interaction 
and fusion inherent in the symbiotic 
relationship of several antagonistic cul- 
tures occupying the same geographical 
territory effects both the powerful 
and the powerless in often unpredic- 
table ways. 

Addressing this question in his collec- 
tion of erudite treatises on American 
culture. The Omni Americans, Albert 
Murray has written, "There is, to be 



sure, such a thing as the destruction of 
specific cultural configurations by bar- 
barians and vandals. But even so, time 
and again, history reveals examples of 
barbarian conquerors becoming modi- 
fied and sometimes even dominated by 
key elements of the culutre of the very 
same people they have suppressed poli- 
tically and economically. In other 
words, cultural continuity seems to be 
a matter of competition and endurance 
in which the fittest elements survive 
regardless of the social status of those 
who evolved them." He then goes on to 
cite an example from the African ex- 
perience in America, "So, for example, 
the traditional African disposition to re- 
fine all movement into dance-like 
elegance survived in the United States 
as work rhythms (and playful syncopa- 
tion) in spite of the fact that African 
rituals were prohibited and the cere- 
monial drums were taken away." 

One quite striking example of a 
conquering people being culturally con- 
verted by a vanquished foe can be found 
in the Mongol conquest of China. 
Though Genghis Khan conquered China, 
Kubia Khan was very much Chinese in 
the span of a generation. Likewise, the 
influence of Afro-Americans on the gen- 
eral culture is widespread and profound. 
The presence of black folk in this 
country has influenced the way every- 
body else walks, talks, dresses, dances, 
jokes, cooks and composes and plays 
music. The black presence has also af- 
fected the literary concerns of some of 
white America's most important novel- 



11 



ists, from Herman Melville and Mark 
Twian to William Faulkner and E.I. 
Doctorow. On more than one occasion 
it supplied the materials for America's 
most celebrated playwright, Eugene 
O'Neil. And the American musical thea- 
ter has long been in love with Afro- 
American music and dance, albeit in 
white face. In fact, one could argue that 
the major theme in the history of 
American show business is the wholesale 
expropriation of black cultural ingre- 
dients by white performers who then 
went on to fame and fortune. 

The list of white performers who 
built artistic careers by plagiarizing 
black material is quite long. It contains 
the names of some of the most illus- 
trious of white America's pantheon of 
show business immortals. For example, 
a cursory inspection would reveal such 
names as: Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, 
Vernon and Irene Castle, Paul White- 
man, Benny Goodman, Gene Kelly, 
Blood, Sweat, and Tears, the Beatles, 
the Bee Gees, and Elvis Presley. It might 
also be added that John Travolta ascen- 
ded to the status of superstar by virtue 
of his rather mediocre imitation of 
Afro-American dance styles. This whole- 
sale pilage of black America's cultural 
storehouse has proceeded at full speed 
for wejl over a century and a half. To- 
day it continues unabated and there's 
no end in sight. To add insult to injury, 
the typical response of white America's 
cultural arbiters is to ignore or deny the 
existence of this phenomenon. And the 
odd men out in this curious game, the 
Afro- American artist, whose gifts have 
enriched everyone else, remains a strug- 
gling and ignored figure on the outer 
fringes of America's vast, cultural in- 
dustry. 

It was this state of affairs that led the 
great writers, dancers and comedians, 
George Walker and Bert Williams, to 
name their orginal act, "Two Real 
Coons". When they first got together 
in San Francisco in 1894, there were so 
many white acts in blackface, they felt 
the need to advertise the fact that they 
were the real deal. The most imitated 
American composer at the turn of the 
century, Scott Joplin, was driven to 
insantity and an early grave because of 
the anguish and stress of watching white 
composers grow rich from his ideas, 
while he remained in poverty. This fact 
was conveniently overlooked when he 
was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer 



Prixe during the Scott Joplin craxe a 
few years ago. Indeed, one could argue 
that the reason Joplin received this 
belated acclaim is because of Marivn 
Hamlish's decision to use his music as 
the basis of the soundtrack for the pop- 
ular film, "The Sting". The great Afro- 
American writer, Langston Hughes, gave 
th poetic expression to this condition 
in this poignant lament, "You've taken 
my blues and gone." 

Of course this sort of super exploit- 
ation of the black artist is possible be- 
cause of the subordinate status of 
African-Americans as a group. The con- 
centration of black Americans at the 
lower stratum of the socio economic 
order, is a direct function of the hisotry 
of race and class oppression in American 
civilization. In a competitive society, 
where culture and commerce are strange 
bedfellows, each ethnic group vies to 
market its cultural products and reap 
the rewards. Cultural historian and 
social critic, Harold Cruse, has written, 
"Hence historically, there has been on 
the cultural front in America, a tense 
ideological war for ethnic identity and 
ascendancy. This competititon has 
taken on strange and unique patterns. 
Often it is between WASPs and Jews, 
but more often than not, it is a colla- 
boration carried out through the owner- 
ship and management of the cultural 
apparatus." 

If we conceptualize the cultural 
establishment as that collection of per- 
sons who own and control the appara- 
tus that molds mass opinion, we can 
better appreciate the forces poised 
against the the survival of jazz as a via- 
ble art form. The cultural apparatus 
is comprised of the school system on all 
levels, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, 
radio and television broadcast outlets, 
publishing companies, recording com- 
panies, professional journals, popular 
magazines and newspapers. The elite 
group that controls this apparatus, 
possesses the power to determine public 
perceptions and manipulate mass taste 
on a scale unprecedented in history. 
One observer of the contemporary 
American scene has suggested that only 
intellectuals seriously resort to books 
for information about social reality. If 
this suggestion proves to be true, and I 
have witnessed nothing to convince me 
otherwise, then we are living in a time 
when most people form their concep- 
tion of reality from exposure to mass 



society, an epoch when the average 
citizen has been reduced to what 
sociolgist C. Wright Mills called "Cheer- 
ful robots". 

In one of the more imaginative and 
relevant sociological works of the last 
thirty years. The Power Elite, Mills 
describes type of communication is the 
formal media, and the public becomes 
mere media markets. In this view, the 
public is merely the collectivity of 
individuals each rather passively ex- 
posed to the mass media and rather 
helplessly opened up to the suggestions 
and manipulations that flow from these 
media." The central question for us, 
then, is: What. is the image of jazz that 
emerges from the mass media? Before 
we address this quesiton directly, per- 
haps it would be helpful to appreciate 
the fact that in capitalist societies the 
mass media is a business. It is therefore 
characterized by the two factors com- 
mon to all business enterprises; it is 
privately owned and exists for the 




enrichment of those who own it. 

The business of commerical broad- 
casting is the selling of advertising time, 
mainly to corporate sponsors. And the 
business of newspapers and magazines 
is the selling of space to the same 
basic corporate clientele. Since com- 
petition is a basic feature of the capital- 
ist mode of economic organization, 
there is always a mad scramble among 
owners of media outlets for the limited 
supply of advertising dollars. The princi- 
pal concern of media executives is in- 
creasing the bottom line; this insures 
that cultural values will be subordinated 
to commerical values, and finance will 
triumph over art. However, the commer- 
cial imperatives of capitalism represents 
a danger to all serious artists, whose 
artistic existence depends upon success- 



12 



fully confronting the imperatives of 
capitalism and racism. 

Once the nature of the mass media is 
understood, the character of jazz pre- 
sentation or lack of it, is easier to 
comprehend. Let us consider first the 
most powerful segment of the meida, 
television. Prime time television is 
almost completely devoted to the 
superficial and the banal. Therefore, 
even those art forms that are readily 
acknowledged as "classical", are seldom 
represented. For instance, there are no 
regular network programs featuring 
ballet, opera, or symphonic music. But 
compared to authentic Black jazz they 
are well represented indeed. This is 
particularly true of public television, 
which has become a virtual lyceum for 
the narcissistic glorification of Euro- 
American culture, with special emphasis 
on things European. Here, jazz does get 
an occasional hearing, but usually 
diviorced from its African -American 
antecendents. 

One is most likely to see white 
musicans, like Dave Brueck and Sons, 
alto saxophonist, Phill Woods, who 
personally owns the great Charlie Par- 
ker's saxophone, baritone saxophonist, 
Gerry Mulligan, or drummer, Louis 
Belson and Buddy Rich presented as the 
true purveyors of the jazz tradition on 
public television. In a recent interview 
of Gerry Mulligan, Dick Cavett asked 
with a sarcastic grin on his face, "What 
do you think of the claim that jazz is 
a black man's art?" to which Mr. 
Mulligan replied that he wasn't aware 
that there was any such claim. He then 
went on to talk about how much he was 
inspired and tutored by the Afro- 
American saxophone virtuoso, Charles 
Parker. Rarely does a black musician 
receive an invitation to discuss the 
origin, evolution and techniques of jazz 
artistry. It seems as though the Black 
jazz artist is permanently white-balled in 
the television developments in the 
evolution of the music ala John Berks 
Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Max Roach, 
Omette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, et al. 
In the last five years I am aware of only 
one istance in which black musicans 
were presented to perform and discuss 
the art of jazz. In a radical departure 
from the norm, Merv Griffin featured 
Herbie Hancock and John Faddis in 
performance. They were later inter- 
viewed about various aspects of jazz. 




However, the artist provided widest 
hearing and most consistent exposure 
is the white drummer. Buddy Rich. 
Johnny Carson, who claims to be an 
aficionado of jazz drumming has 
literally turned the show over to Buddy 
Rich on numerous occasions. On several 
of these occasions, Mr. Rich brought his 
entire band on the show. Considering 
the vast audience of the "Tonight 
Show", Buddy Rich was presented with 
a larger audience than many major 
black innovaters perform before over 
the span of a decade. It is hardly sur- 
prising that most Americans consider 
Mr. Rich the premier jazz drummer of 
our age. 

On one occasion, Mr. Rich's pre- 
eminence was verified by not less an 
authority than newsman David 
Brinkley. After informing America that 
his son is a serious student of jazz 
drumming and presently studying at the 
distinguished Berkley School of Music 
in Boston, he turned to Buddy Rich and 
stated, "My son thinks you are God." 
It was good enough to make even the 
great "Carsoni" blow his cool. So 
Buddy Rich beocmes embedded in the 
public consciousness as the quintessen- 
tial jazz percussionist while great black 
innovators like Art Blakely, Max Roach, 
Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones and Elvin 
Jones remain in relative obscurity. Of 
course, where the performing arts are 
concerned, there is a direct relationship 
between public recognition and finan- 
cial reward. It is no wonder then, that 
many white musicians have often be- 
come wealthy rendering third rate 
imitations of black originals. 



The other arm of the broadcast in- 
dustry, radio, has traditionally offered 
a much greater hearing to the art of jazz 
and the Afro-American musician. How- 
ever, jazz made its entrance into radio 
through the back door and not without 
protest. For in the early days of com- 
mercial radio, European classical music 
alone was deemed suitable for the pub- 
lic airways. In this period of the early 
twentieth century, not only was most 
black music confined to special labels 
known as "race records", but even the 
instrumental music, the saxophone, was 
held in suspicion. However, the first 
jazz recording made was not of a 
Black band. In 1917, a group of South- 
em white musicians with the audacity 
to call themselves "The Original Dixie- 
land Jazz Band", issued the first recor- 
ding of the Black New Orleans style 
jazz, commonly referred to as Dixie- 
land. Thus, most of the American and 
European public first heard this early 
black style from white musicians. 

This development set a pattern in the 
recording, distribution and promotion 
of Afro-American musical creations 
that manifestly favors the white music- 
ian to this very hour. With the growth 
of a serious jazz audience and the 
development of FM radio, black jazz 
was widely heard in these special media 
markets. But even this development is 
presently endangered. As a result of the 
hypersensitive attitude of station man- 
agers and programmers to the arbitron 
ratings, there is a stampede toward 
format changes in radio industry. There 
is perhaps no better example of this 
phenomenon than the present state of 



13 



jazz radio in New York City. For several 
decades now, New York has been 
regarded by both musicians and critics 
as the jazz capital of the world. Yet, 
today there is not a single commerical 
station devoted to the broadcasting of 
this musical form. 

The last commercial station to pro- 
gram jazz as its basic format was 
WRVR, but this station now programs 
country and western music exclusively. 
Listening to WRVR today, it would 
be difficult to tell if one were in the Big 
Apple or hangin' out in Nashville. But 
there is an important lesson in all this. 
For the way this conversion was accom- 
plished demonstrates the cut throat 
nature of the commercial media. On 
the morning of the format change, a 
staff meeting was called by the station 
manager. The meeting convened at 
about ten thirty and it was announded 
that the station was converting from 
jazz to country and western program- 
ming. At approximately eleven thirty, 
a truck pulled up to the loading plat- 
form and deposited a record library of 
country music and then collected the 
jazz library which was immediately put 
on sale. 

The disc jockeys had not been in- 
formed of these changes previously, in 
order to prevent them from informing 
the public. This method of program 
conversion was designed to frustrate 
the efforts to stop a change of format 
by organized listener groups. These 
kind of decision-making practices are 
standard fare in the corporate world and 
reflect the change of ownership the 
station had experienced. WRVR was 
originally owned by Riverside Church 
and operated with a sense of commit- 
ment to art and responsibility to its 
audience. But when financial difficul- 
ties forced them to sell out, the charac- 
ter of the station changed. When the 
Sounderling Corporation assumed 
control of the station's management, 
the programming changed from a well- 
balanced presentation of traditional jazz 
styles to an over-emphasis on highly 
electric jazz/rock fusion music. 

When Viacom, a large communica- 
tions conglomerate, purchased the 
station from Sounderling, it signalled 
the death knell for jazz of any style. 
Capitalizing on the country's swing to 
the political right and the resurgence of 
the cowboy mystique that accompanied 
it, Viacom is programming more and 



more country music over its stations. 
Some critics view this development as 
part of a conspiracy to innundate the 
Northeastern megalopolis with the reac- 
tionary "yahoo" values of the con- 
servative Southwest, the so-called 
"Sunbelt". While there may be some 
truth in this allegation, it does not 
square with the known facts about 
radio programming. For most program- 
ming decisions are based solely upon 
what the management believes will 
increase its share of the radio audience, 
thus raising its standing in the arbitron 
ratings. Like the Nielsen ratings for 
television, the arbitron ratings 
determine a station's attractiveness to 
potential advertisers and the price at 
which they can sell their time. And this, 
finally, is the whole point of commeri- 
cial brpadcasting. 

Decisions about what kind of music 
a target audience will like are not left 
to the chance selections of disc jockeys 
in commercial radio. General program 
choices are usually arrived at on the 
basis of highly sophisticated demo- 
graphic studies. These studies present 
detailed analysis of the socio-economic 
and ethnic characteristics of the target 
population. Specific choices of 
records for the playlist to which all the 
disc jockeys will refer, are made on the 
basis of their position on the various 
charts, i.e., Record World, Cash Box and 
Billboard. Also current sales at selected 
reatil outlets are considered. Beyond 
that, there is the conventional wisdom 
among programmers that radio listeners 
can be divided into two basic categories: 
passive and active, with the ove- 
whelming majority being classified as 
passive. 

Passive listeners are defined as per- 
sons who do not wish to participate 
intellectually in a music experience. 
Therefore, they must be force fed a 
diet of junk music consisting of the 
simpleest compositional forms and 
lyrical content. This fact explains why 
the airwaves are virtually polluted with 
songs characterized by melodic banality 
and lyrical redundancy. The program- 
mers seek a musical product in which 
creativity has been sacrificed to ex- 
pendency; and this, by definition, ex- 
cludes the fine art of jazz. It is as 
though the managers of commercial 
radio all agree with P.T. Barnum's 
statement, "You can never go broke 
underestimating the taste of the Ameri- 



can public." Fortunately, there is an 
alternative to commercial radio. 

Perhaps the best opportunity for 
serious jazz programming is to be 
found in public radio. In New York 
City, the void left by the decline of 
commercial jazz broadcasting has been 
quickly filled by several publicly 
supported stations. The most important 
of these statiosn are WBGO, SKCR and 
WBAI. By virtue of the fact that these 
stations are not constantly fighting for 
position on the arbitron charts, they are 
able to program music based on purely 
artistic values. WBAI is an affiliate of 
the Pacific network which is wholly 
supported by its listeners. WBGO is 
associated with National Public Radio 
and also solicits funds from its audience; 
and WKCR is a member of the National 
Collegiate Network. Together these 
stations offer a wide variety of music 
from the classic jazz tradition. 

Of equal importance are the 
extensive interviews with the creative 
artists and their peers. Leading the pack 
in this regard is WKCR, the Columbia 
University station. This station has 
distinguished itself with productions of 
special profiles of selected artists. For 
instance, one hundred and twenty-five 
hours straight were devoted to the 
music of Miles Davis, and one hundred 
and fifty to the music of Max Roach. 
These comprehensive musical offerings 
were accompained by indepth inter- 
views with many of the artists appearing 
on the record sessions. The tapes of 
these discussions represent priceless oral 
history archives to students of jazz 
hsitory. WBGO, a station based in Ne- 
wark, New Jersey and broadcasting 
throughout the metropolitan area, 
offers a full twenty-four hours of jazz 
programming, interspersed with news 
and public affairs. As a member of the 
National Public Radio system, this 
station has access to a wide variety of 
unique programs. 

WBAI is the only one of these 
stations that is totally listener support- 
ed. And while the format is not exclusi- 
vely, or even predominantly, devoted 
to jazz programming, what is offered 
is excellent. One program features the 
virtuoso bass violinist, Reginald Work- 
man, who offers many insightful com- 
mentaries on the music. Judging from 
the facts at hand, it appears that the 
future of jazz broadcasting lies in non- 
commercial public radio. And given the 



14 



growing hostility of the Reagan admin- 
istration toward pubUc funding of the 
arts, public radio will have to rely on 
its listeners for increasing amounts of 
financial support. But this fact raises 
an important question: is the jazz audi 
ence sufficient to support a non 
commercial network? 

The critical role of radio in the mark-^ 
eting of records, largely determines the 
decisions of recording executives in 
regard to the type of artist they are 
willing to sign. The tremendous pressure 
on managers of capitalist corporations 
to expand operations and increase pro- 
fits, leaves little opportunity for experi- 
mentation or altruism. The result is a 
preference for the sure thing, which 
explains why so many recordings sound 
alike. Obviously, such an attitude 
is hostile to the creative enterprise that 
most jazz musicans are about. One high- 
ly-accomplished Afro-American trump- 
eter reported to this writer that he was 
actually approached by a recording 
company and asked if he could sound 
hke Chuck Magione. To the serious jazz 
artist this is the ultimate insult. While 
this sort of imitation is a standard prac- 
tice in popular music, no classical art 
form could long survive such an impedi- 
ment to orginality. 

So long as the major record 
companies are run by executives who 
look upon music solely as a product, 
we can expect no serious changes in the 
present state of affairs. Many of these 
executives have no personal interest 
in music and would be just as happy 
selling lawn mowers. As an alternative 
to this situation, some artists are organ- 
izing their own recording companies. 
There have been both collective and 
individual efforts in this direction. 
Strata East was perhaps the best 
example of a collective effort by 
Afro-American musicians to produce 
and market their music, organized by 
trumpeter Charles ToUiver and 
pianist Stanley Cowell, Strata East 
practically reversed the terms on which 
artists related to record companies. 
Under this arrangement, the artists 
produced their own records with com- 
plete artistic profits going to the artist. 
It was an excellent concept but this 
experiment eventually failed due to 
financial and management difficutlties. 

Some individually owned labels like 
Rashied All's "Survival" Records and 




Byard Lancaster's, "Philly Jazz", con- 
tinue to exist on a marginal basis. The 
major problem with these small labels 
is lack of proper distribution. In both 
cases, the artists often sell their records 
on the sidewalks outside of jazz clubs 
and concert halls. Given the vast distri- 
bution networks of the estalbished re- 
cording companies, even the most opti- 
mistic view would not offer much hope 
of success for these artists. When these 
realities are taken into consideration, 
one must question whether jazz can re- 
main a viable art form if left to the ra- 
vages of the commercial market palce. 
It is fairly well understood that classical 
art forms, because of their 
complexity, do not generally attract 
a mass audience. Consequently, these 
fine art forms require public subsidies or 
private philanthropy in order to sur- 
vive. The problem is that America's 
cultural establishment has resisted the 
inclusion of jazz in its definition of 
Fine Art. 

The reasons for this resistance are 
at best spuroious nonsense and at worse 
self-serving falsehoods designed to 
flatter the fragile cultural ego of white 
America. For around the question of 
the critical assessment of jazz hover 
all the thorny issues of race and class 
realtions, as well as the influence of 
these factors on the character of Ameri- 
can culture. Harold Cruse had this to 
say on the matter, "The cultural arts 
are the mirror of the spiritual condition 
of anation, and the use of a nation's 



social ingredients in its art reveals a 
great deal about how a nation looks 
at itself. Thus, the way in which the 
social relations in the United States 
between black and white are reflected 
in the art forms, represent a open book 
of the American psyche. 

"The impact of the Negro presence 
on American art forms has been tre- 
mendous and also historically condi- 
tioned; but this fact the American 
psyche is loath to admit in its establi- 
shed critical schools of thought. As 
Americans, white people in America are 
also Westerners and American white 
values are shaped by Western cultural 
values. America possesses no critical 
standards for the cultural arts that 
lave not been derived from the 
European experience. On the other 
hand, the basic ingredients for native 
(non-European) American originality in 
art forms derive from American Negroes 
who came to America from a non- 
Western background. We need only to 
point to American music to prove the 
point." 

Of course, the majority of America's 
cultural elite could never remove their 
Eurocentric blinders long enough to 
take a candid look at the realities of 
American culture. For to admit the 
influence of Blacks on American music, 




culture that followed. El Presidente 
Fidel Castro has called Cuba and Afro- 
Latin society, an obvious enough 
description, but one never before ad- 
mitted on an official level. Once the 
true ethnic components of Cuban cul- 
ture were acknowledged, it was then 
possible to develop a cultural policy 
which reflected these realities. Many 
Afro-Cuban performing artists who were 
previously confined to dives or street 
comers are now leading a dignified 
existence with their creative activities 
subsidized by the government. Under 
these new policies the indegenous artis- 
tic traditions of Cuba are flourishing. If 
the small economically underdeveloped 
island nation of Cuba can do this for 
its artists, we ought to insist on nothing 
less from the wealthiest country in the 
world. 

In announcing this decision to cut 
the National Endowment for the 
Arts, President Reagan suggested that 
artists look to the private sector for 
support. The problem with this point 
of view is that it leaves fundamental 
decisions about cultural matters to 
those with the most money to spend 
on philanthropic causes. This will 
insure that the American people will 
have only that culture which the cor- 
porate elite deems suitable. For jazz, 
this is an ominous development because 
most white businessmen either hold a 
racist patrican view of culture, or none 
at all. Giving businessmen control of 
the arts is much like placing a hawk in 
charge of the chicken coop. For this is 
the very group that is responsible for 
the banalization of American culture. 
Such an arrangement is certain to 
result in the people being offered bread 
and circuses in place of the great art 
that serves as food for the mind and 
soul. 

Perhaps the greatest danger to the 
continued existence of jazz is the de- 
cline of an Afro-American audience. 
This decline reflects the alienation of 
contemporary Black Americans from 
the jazz tradition and poses serious 
questions about both the future of jazz 
and the state of AfroAmerican culture. 
For most of its history, jazz was an art 
performed by black musicans for black 
audiences. The decline of this audience 
symbolizes a profound change in the 
collective sensibilities of Black Ameri- 
cans. For above all else, Black Music is a 
pretty accurate sound mirror reflecting 



the inner life of Afro-Americans. And 
jazz is the most sophisticated artistic 
response to the American experience 
as synthesized in the soul of Black 
America. In the language of jazz one 
hears the articulation of a wide range of 
attitudes, ideas and values. The wit of 
Lee Morgan, the humor of Dizzy 
Fillespie, the revolutionary thunder of 
Max Roach, the ascetic religious devo- 
tion of McCoy Tyner, the academic pre- 
cison of Hubert Laws, the abstract ex- 
pression of Omette Coelman and the 
mystical musings of John and Alice 
Coltrane are all part of the lexicon of 
jazz. 

One can only speculate as to whether 
the rejection of the jazz tradition im- 
plies the dulling of these sensibilities, 
expecially among the youth who are 
devoted listeners to mechanically pro- 
duced dance msuic. But one thing is 
certain, commercial music with its lack 
of musical complexity and monothe- 
matic concerns, can never convey the 
subtlety and texture of human emotions 
one hears in jazz. Furthermore, no 
commercial music can pose the intellec- 
tual challenge offered by jazz; and for 
that reason alone, black youth are mis- 
sing out on an important part of their 
heritage. The wealth and celebrity 
associated with success in popular 
music is leading many young musicians 
to avoid the difficult challenge of jazz 
improvisation, and opt instead, for a 
musical career in which knowledge of 
five chords is sufficient for success. 
The danger to the survival of the jazz 
tradition here is obvious, for it is being 
subverted at the source. 

It would seem that if anyone would 
recognize the value of jazz and cele- 
brate its achievment it would be the 
black bourgeoisie. For here is a splen- 
did example of the black creative intel- 
leigence at work. In jazz, we have an 
artistic discipline which sets the highest 
standards of excellence and requires 
years of devoted study to master. 
Yet, most of the black middle class re- 
mains oblivious to the dimensions of 
this achievement. Part of this problem 
results from the fact that many middle 
class blacks have adopted the material- 
istic Philistinism of their white counter- 
parts. It's not the soaring stacatto 
attacts of Freddie Hubbard that excites 
them; or the indigo moods of an EUig- 
ton tone poem that delights them; oh 
no, only a steel gray Mercedes 450XL 



can really turn them on. 

Having spent a lifetime in schools 
that despise and ignore black cultural 
traditions, much of the black bour- 
geoise remains miseducated and cultur- 
ally insecure, indoctrinated in the idea 
that fine art music is synonymous 
with the European classical form, they 
are ambivialant when confronted with 
the finest fruit of their own traditon; 
jazz. In an essay entitled "Philistinism 
and the Black Writer", Imamu Baraka 
describes the tremendous struggle they 
waged against the administration at 
Howard University in order to produce 
a jazz concert. The Dean of the Music 
School cried hysterically when it was 
suggested that the concert be held in the 
Fine Arts building. It is almost beyond 
belief that such culturally backwards 
ideas could have prevailed in the leading 
Black University in the world as late as 
1957! 

The hostile attitude towards jazz 
displayed by many black academics, 
reflects an embarrassment about certain 
aspects of jazz history. In their zeal 
to disprove the sterotypical image of 
black folks as immoral creatures given 
to licentiousness and debauchery, earlier 
generations of these academics were 
quite ambivalent about jazz as serious, 
representative, Afro-American art. This 
was due largely to the fact that jazz 
was associated with brothels in its early 
development; bars and cabarets through 
its history, and some of the arts most 
gifted innovators were addicted to 
alchol and drugs. But the fact that 
Socrates and Tchaikovsky were homo- 
sexuals; Shakespeare a bi-sexual; 
Guaguin an irresponsible philanderer; 
Robert Browning an opium addict; and 
Edgar Allen Poe, a habitual drunk never 
brought on similar rejections of their 
creations. However, such attitudes are 
consistent with the outlook of coloniz- 
ed intellectuals who slavishly adopt the 
chauvinistic views of their ruling class 
tutors. 

However, it would be misleading to 
leave the reader with the impression 
that this is the prevailing attitude of 
contemporary Afro-American acade- 
mics. For there are many black scholars 
engaged in serious efforts to define 
and preserve the jazz legacy and its 
antecedents, such scholars as Professors 
Oritz Walton, Roland Wiggins, Ann 
Southern, Fred Tillis, David Baker, 
J.R. Mitchell, Archie Shepp, Bob 



Cole, Portia Maultsby, A.B. Spellman, 
Albert Murray and Imamu Baraka are 
all making important contributions. Of 
course, there has long been a healthy 
interest in jazz on the part of black 
creative intellectuals. This concern ex- 
tends to the very beginnings of the jazz 
tradition. The turn-of-the-century novel- 
ist and poets, Paul Laurence Dunbar 
and James Weldon Johnson were both 
great lovers of the music and were also 
fine lyricists. 

The meter and style of the poetry of 
Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes 
make conscious reference to the blues 
tradition and Albert Murray argues that 
Ralph Elison's great novel, "The Invisi- 
ble Man" is really an extended blues. 
The wonderfully inventive fiction and 
drama of Ishmael Reed and Aisha Rah- 
man are both based on a jazz motif. 
And of course, many of the best con- 
temporary Afro-American poets are 
singing a jazz song. Carlyle McBeth, 
Imamu Baraka, David Amus Moore, 
Camille Yarboorogh, Ntozake Shange, 
Larry Neal, Askia Muhammad Toure, 
Stanley Crough, Sonia Sanchez, Yusef 
Rahman and Quincey Troupe all con- 
struct their work around a jazz aesthe- 
tic. It should also be pointed out that 
modern Afro-American choreographers 
such as Alvin Alley, Rod Rogers, Elo 
Palmare and Diane Mclntyre all feature 
jazz prominently in their work. But, 
alas, all of this is of little consequence 
to the majority of bourgeois blacks, for 
they are equally indifferent to all forms 
of serious Afro- American art. 

The ultimate tragedy in this case is 
that these attitudes deprive the black 
jazz artists of their logical patrons. For 
one of the moit important roles of the 
educated and affluent classes in each 
ethnic group is to subsidize the advance- 
ment of group culture by patronizing 
their important artists. The absence of 
any coherent concept of black culture 
and a confused sense of values has 
resulted in an attitude of indifference 
toward the plight of the jazz artist. 
Instead, the black bourgeois spends 
millions of dollars annually on cosmetic 
music that anesthesizes them from 
reality. This is a sad situation indeed, 
for this group possesses the resources 
to insure the continuation of the jazz 
tradition. The relative deprivation and 
artistic obscurity that plagues the aver- 
age jazz musician is causing many artists 



to abandon this genre and opt for 
careers in popular commercial music. 
Among them are some of the most 
important virtuosos in jazz: Herbie 
Hancock, Wayne Shorter, George Ben- 
son, Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers and 
Stanley Turrentine are all presently lost 
to Mickey Mouse music. 

The final nail in the coffin of jazz 
may well be the vanishing opportunites 
for young musicians to participate in 
jam sessions. In the absence of the kind 
of institutional structure advocated by 
Dr. Oritz Walton in his excellent book, 
"Music: Black, White and Blue", these 
sessions have been the main classrooms 
of instruction for developing musicians. 
The centrality of the jam session to the 
evolution of jazz artistry is verified 
by the testimony of a long line of 
musicians. Jelly Roll Morton, Scott 
Joplin, James Weldon Johnson, Ralph 
Ellison, Billy Taylor, Mezz Mezzro, Max 
Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie have all 
commented on the importance of these 
sessions to their development. Interest- 



ingly enough, most of the establish- 
ments that hosted these sessions were 
black-owned. A great deal of the early 
ragtime, musical theater, and large 
ensemble styles were worked out in 
places like the Old Marshall Hotel on 
West 53rd Street and the Clef Club 
Uptown. And one of the most exciting 
movements in Modem art, the be-bop 
revolution, was largely developed in 
Minton's Playhouse. All of these estab- 
lishments had black proprietors. Here is 
a clear cut role affluent blacks can play; 
and it requires neither extensive musical 
education nor control of the music 
industry. 

In view of the many obstacles facing 
the serious jazz artist, the active support 
of the black middle class is critical. If 
the black bourgeois fails to rise to this 
occasion, jazz may continue to exist in a 
hyphenated form practiced by whites, 
but the survival of jazz as a serious 
Afro-American art form is problematic 
at best. 




17 



is to recognize a creative intelligence 
in black folks, the denial of which is 
central to the American way of life. 
Even among the handful of white 
cultural critics who do recognize the 
artistry of jazz, most would deny that 
it is a creation of Afro-Americans. 
Addressing the attitude of these critics, 
historian and veteran commentator on 
jazz, Frank Kofsky remarked, "If they 
are in the jazz world proper, they will 
tend to deny that, whatever else jazz 
may be, it is first and formost a black 
art — an art created and nurtured by 
black people in this country out of the 
wealth of their historical experience." 

Speaking of the general attitude of 
his fellow white Americans in regard to 
jazz Kofsky writes, "On the other hand, 
if they are not a part of the jazz milieu, 
white Americans will automatically and 
virtually without exception assume that 
jazz is black — thought not an art — and 
thereforre, thought this may go unstat- 
ed, worthly of no serious treatment or 
respect". The preeminent example of 
this attitude is the refusal of the Pulitzer 
Committee to award Duke Ellington 
the prize for continued excellence in 
American music in 1965. At the time, 
Elligton remarked with an air of 
sarcasm, "Fate's being kind to me. Fate 
doesn't want me to be too famous too 
young." If Edward Kennedy Elligton, 
a quintessential American musical 
genius, could be rejected in this fashion, 
we can well imagine how the Pulitzer 
Committee and simialar constituted 
bodies of arbiters view the art he repre- 
sented 

The New York Times, the paper 

that claims to be the pacesetter in both 
the coverage and criticism of the arts, 
reported this story without benefit of 
its professed critical insights. While 
American pundits refuse to come to 
terms with the magnitude of Ellington's 
achievement, many European critics 
have long celebrated his artistry. Witness 
this description of Duke's music written 
thirty-one years earlier in New York 
Times, 1934, by the distinguished 
British music critic Constant Lambert. 
"The real interest of Ellington's records 
lies not so much in their color, brilliant 
though it may be, as in the amazingly 
skillful proportions in which the color 
is used. I do not only mean skillful as 
compared with other jazz composers, 
but as compared with so-called high- 
brow composers. I know of nothing 



in Ravel so dextrous in treatment as the 
varied solos in the middle of the ebul- 
lient 'Hot and Bothered', and nothing in 
Stravinsky more dynamic that the final 
section. The combination of themes 
at this moment is one of the most 
ingenious pieces of writing in modern 
music." Maestro Ellignton's experience 
testifies to the veracity of the old adage, 
"A prophet is without honor in his 
own land." 

Under the reign of the intellectual 
neanderthals and defenders of white 
culture mediocrity in the Reagan admin- 
istration, government funding to the 
arts in general will suffer. But we can 
be certain that jazz programs, scarce 
as they are, will suffer the most. If Mr. 
Reagan actually carries out his promise 
to cut the National Endowment for the 
Arts by half, federal funds for critical 
programs like the Jazzmobile may 
cease to exist. Even in the best of times, 
funding for such programs constituted 
a miniscule portion of the Endowment's 
budget. While annual grants to sym- 
phony orchestras totaled millions of 
dollars, funding for jazz projects came 
to less than half a million dollars in 
1980. Nothing demonstrates white 
America's genuflection before the pre- 
tensions of European culture more 
than this fact. 

Ambivalent about their national 
identity and unable to match the 
creativity and originality of the Afro- 
American musical tradition, the Euro- 
American elite lavishes resources on 
insittutions that perpetuate European 
music, while the great American art 
struggles to survive. At one point in 
American history, this contempt for the 
creative products of American culture 
extended to other art forms as well. 
That this attitude reflected a low 
estimation of the creative possibilities 
offered by the American experiece is 
clearly demonstrated in the attitudes of 
such literary artists as T.S. Eliot, who 
despaired over the poverty of American 
culture and Henry James, who found it 
incredible that Nathanial Hawthorne 
could actually produce novels in the 
wilderness of North America. Both 
found it necessary to emigrate to 
Europe in order to find an environment 
sufficiently rich in the cultural ingre- 
dients essentia] to the creation of great 
literature. Fortunately, not all American 
artists adopted so pessimistic a view of 
the artistic potential of the American 



cultural inventory. 

The historical record will verify that 
the first group of artists to create a fine 
art form that is quintessentially Ameri- 
can, is the Afro-American musician. 
Rooted in the uniquely American exper- 
ience of the black folk, the black music- 
ian established a classical musical 
tradition that made neigher reference 
nor apology to the traditions of Europe. 
Drawing liberally from a rich musical 
heritage that indluded spirituals, work 
songs, hollers, country blues, city blues, 
ragtime and gospel, Afro-American a 
artists produced a classical music that 
is wholly American in both form and 
content. It was the lack of self-cons- 
cious intimidation by the achievements 
of European culture that allowed the 
black musician to discover the process 
by which intellect and alchemy combine 
to transform folk art into fine art. 

Writing in his brilliant account of 
black New York in the 1920's, The 
Harlem Renaissance, Afro-American 
historian and Harvard professor, Nathan 
Huggins commented, "Everywhere they 
looked they found white men mimick- 
ing them, trying to master their blue 
notes, their slurs, their swing, their 
darting arpeggios, their artistic concept. 
It was as if black jazzmen from the very 
beginning sensed that they were creating 
an art and the whole world would have 
to find them the reference point for 
critical judgement." 

Though many arguments have been 
offered to the contrary, jazz exhibits 
all the features of a fine art form. 
Jazz has its own techniques, termino- 
logy, vocabulary and logic. Jazz is 
humorous and serious, worldly and 
spiritual. It is an art that requires instru- 
mental virtuosity and compositional 
skill from all its practioners. Unlike 
European classical music, where tech- 
nique is often pursued as almost an 
end in itself, in jazz, technical mastery 
of an instrument is only the starting 
point. The object of jazz performance 
is not to faithfully render the notated 
musical ideas of the composer but to 
express one's own attitude towards a 
musical idea as one experiences it at the 
moment. Hence it is improvisation, not 
composition that is the most valued 
attribute in the art of jazz. In the clas- 
sical European tradition, the instrumen- 
talist is subservient to the composer; 
but the instrumentalist in classical 
Afro-American music seeks to over- 



18 



throw the tyranny of the composer. 
Hence, in jazz, the composer's role is 
to set the theme and parameters of the 
musical repartee. 

It is clear that the classical music 
traditions of Europeans and Afro- 
Americans derive from different 
epistemologies. Therefore, attempts to 
compare these two art forms are like 
comparing apples and oranges. Such a 
comparison may be possible, but only if 
one devises a value-free method of 
analysis that recognizes each thing for 
what it is intended to be. The character 
of all art forms clearly relfects the life 
expericnes of the people who create 
them. The classical music of Europe 
developed under the patronage of the 
church, state and aristocracy. Many of 
these compositions were commissioned 
by princes, queens, bishops and other 
wealthy or powerful members of the 
ruling elite. Consequently, the music 
projects a formal etiquette that prizes 
rigid organization, hierarchy, and strict 
adherence to prescribed rules. 

The central value in Afro-American 
classical music is freedom of expression. 
This should come as no surprise, for the 
dominant theme in black American his- 
tory is the struggle for freedom. And 
the values of group cooperation and in- 
dividual dignity are central to that 
struggle. Logically, the ultimate artistic 
expression of black Americans is a 
music that is both highly collective yet 
profoundly personal. This desire for 
personal expression in group activities 
can also be observed in Afro-American 



popular dance styles as well as the 
structure and liturgy of much of the 
black church. For the jazz instrumental- 
ist, then, it is not enough to be a 
competent ensemble player, for one 
must also be able to stand alone as an 
effective soloist. Beyond this, the ser- 
ious jazz artists is never satisfied until he 
is able to speak with a unique voice on 
his instrument. 

If one thinks of any of the great 
jazz instumentalist, they each have a 
distinct style or sound on their instru- 
ment. Pianist, Willie "the Lion" Smith, 
Errol Garner, Theolonius Monk, Bud 
Powell and McCoy Tyner all have per- 
sonalised sounds that are immediately 
recognizable. This is equally true of 
alto saxophonist, Charles Parker and 
Cannonball Adderly. For anyone who 
has the slightest conception of what is 
required to play a musical instrument, it 
should be obvious that thousands of 
hours of serious study and practice 
are required for this level of achivement. 
Much is made of the amount of practice 
time required to perform European 
classical music; but jazz artistry re- 
quires just as much, if not more, of the 
same intense study; Percussionist, com- 
poser, and bandleader. Max Roach re- 
calls a bit of advice from Charles Parker, 
"You should know your instrument so 
well that it becomes like another part 
of your body." Furthermore, the jazz 
instrumentalist must also know some- 
thing of composition, for he must 
combine the creative and interpretive 
functions in his artistry. It should be 




abundantly clear to any serious student 
of the jazz tradition, that this music 
has evolved into a fine art form of 
classical stature. 

That America's largely Anglo-Saxon 
cultural cabal refuses to accept this fact, 
should surprise no one. For they have 
studied neither the jazz tradition, nor 
the African-American experience that 
produced and informed it. Having pro- 
claimed the inferiority of Black people 
for centuries, they are unwilling to ac- 
cept any product of Afro-American cul- 
ture as serious art. Hence they can 
deny financial support for jazz based on 
the argument that it represents little 
more than popular entertainment. The 
fact that the music of Bud Powell and 
Theolonius Monk commands no greater 
a popular following than that of Bach 
or Beethoven, seems to have made little 
impression on them. They also appear 
unimpressed with the fact that many 
jazz artists, past and present, are also 
fine interpreters of European classical 
music. 

In view of these facts, it does not 
seem reasonable to expect that there 
will be a change of heart among those 
who control funding to the arts. And I 
can envision no solution to this problem 
that does not presuppose the establish- 
ment of a nonracist socialist society in 
America. For only in such a society 
would anything approaching cultural 
democracy be possible. Those who wish 
to fight for the survival and growth 
of jazz as a serious art form, must 
eventually recognize that decisions 
about art are political. One need only 
look at the radical change in the status 
of black artists in Cuba after the 
socialist revolution to demonstrate this 
point. Today, black art and culture is 
celebrated in Cuba. The official poet 
laureate of the nation is Nicholar Guil- 
len, an Afro-Cuban; and the most 
important drama of the last twenty 
years is "Shango do Ima", a play that 
explores the magical ledgends of the 
singing voodoo gods of West Africa. 
Afro-Cuban artists such as the Paines 
Brothers and Los Folklorica Afro- 
Cuban travel all over the world as 
cultural ambassadors for Cuba. Under 
the old regime, white racism and cul- 
tural chauvinism never allowed for such 
a development. The status of the black 
artist in contemporary Cuba is a direct 
result of the success of the revolution; 
and the sweeping redifinition of Cuban 



19 



culture that followed. El Presidente Fidel 
Castro has called Cuba an Afro-Latin socie- 
ty, an obvious enough description, but one 
never before admitted on an official level. 
Once the true ethnic components of Cuban 
culture were acknowledged, it was then 
possible to develop a cultural policy which 
refected these realities. Many Afro-Cuban 
performing artists who were previously 
confined to dives or street corners are now 
leading a dignified existence with their 
creative activities subsidized by the govern- 
ment. Under these new policies the in- 
digenous artistic traditions of Cuba are 
flourishing. If the small economically 
underdeveloped island nation of Cuba can 
do this for its artists, we ought to insist on 
nothing less from the wealthiest country in 
the world. 

In announcing this decision to cut the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts, President 
Reagan suggested that artists look to the 
private sector for support. The problem 
with this point of view is that it leaves fun- 
damental decisions about cultural matters 
to those with the most money to spend on 
philanthropic causes. This will insure that 
the American people will have only that 
culture which the corporate elite deems 
suitable. For jazz, this is an ominous 
development because most white 
businessmen either hold a racist patrician 
view of culture, or none at all. Giving 
businessmen control of the arts is much like 
placing a hawk in charge of the chicken 
coop. For this is the very group that is 
responsible for the banalization of 
American culture. Such an arrangement is 
certain to result in the people being offered 
bread and circuses in place of the great art 
that serves as food for the mind and soul. 

Perhaps the greatest danger to the con- 
tinued existence of jazz is the decline of an 
Afro- American audience. This decline 
reflects the alienation of contemporary 
Black Americans from the jazz tradition 
and poses serious questions about both the 
future of jazz and the state of Afro- 
American culture. For most of its history, 
jazz was an art performed by black musi- 
cians for black audiences. The decline of 
this audience symbolizes a profound change 
in the collective sensibilities of Black 
Americans. For above all else. Black Music 
is a pretty accurate sound mirror reflecting 
the inner life of Afro-Americans. And jazz 
is the most sophisticated artistic response 
to the American experience as synthesized 
in the soul of Black America. In the 
language of jazz one hears the articulation 



of a wide range of attitudes, ideas and 
values. The wit of Lee Morgan, the humor 
of Dizzy Gillespie, the revolutionary 
thunder of Max Roach, the ascetic religious 
devotion of McCoy Tyner, the academic 
precision of Hubert Laws, the abstract ex- 
pressionism of Ornette Coleman and the 
mystical musings of John and Alice Col- 
trane are all part of the lexicon of jazz. 

One can only speculate as to whether the 
rejection of the jazz tradition implies the 
dulling of these sensibilities, especially 
among the youth who are devoted listeners 
to mechanically produced dance music. But 
one thing is certain, commercial music with 
its lack of musical complexity and 
monothematic concerns, can never convey 
the subtlety and texture of human emotions 
one hears in jazz. Furthermore, no com- 
mercial music can pose the intellectual 
challenge offered by jazz; and for that 
reason alone, black youth are missing out 
on an important part of their heritage. The 
wealth and celebrity associated with suc- 
cess in popular music is leading many 
young musicians to avoid the difficult 
challenge of jazz improvisation, and opt in- 
stead, for a musical career in which 
knowledge of five chords is sufficient for 
success. The danger to the survival of the 
jazz tradition here is obvious, for it is be- 
ing subverted at the source. 

It would seem that if anyone would 
recognize the value of jazz and celebrate 
its achievement it would be the black 
bourgeoisie. For here is a splendid exam- 
ple of the black creative intelligence at 
work. In jazz, we have an artistic discipline 
which sets the highest standards of ex- 
cellence and requires years of devoted 
study to master. Yet, most of the black mid- 
dle class remains oblivious to the dimen- 
sions of this achievement. Part of this prob- 
lem results from the fact that many middle 
class blacks have adopted the materialistic 
Philistinism of their white counterparts. It's 
not the soaring stacatto attacks of Freddie 
Hubbard that excites them; or the indigo 
moods of an Ellington tone poem that 
delights them; oh no, only a steel gray 
Mercedes 450 XL can really turn them on. 

Having spent a lifetime in schools that 
despise and ignore black cultural traditions, 
much of the black bourgeoisie remains 
miseducated and culturally insecure. Indoc- 
trinated in the idea that fine art music is 
synonymous with the European classical 
form, they are ambivalent when confronted 
with the finest fruit of their own tradition, 
jazz. In an essay entitled "Philistinism and 



the Black Writer," Imamu Baraka 
describes the tremendous struggle they 
waged against the administration at Howard 
University in order to produce a jazz con- 
cert. The Dean of the Music School cried 
hysterically when it was suggested that the 
concert be held in the Fine Arts building. 
It is almost beyond belief that such cultural- 
ly backwards ideas could have prevailed in 
the leading Black University in the world 
as late as 1957! 

The hostile attitude towards jazz 
displayed by many black academics, 
reflects an embarrassment about certain 
aspects of jazz history. In their zeal to 
disprove the stereotypical image of black 
folks as immoral creatures given to licen- 
tiousness and debauchery, earlier genera- 
tions of these academics were quite am- 
bivalent about jazz as serious, represent- 
ative, Afro-American art. This was due 
largely to the fact that jazz was associated 
with brothels in its early development; bars 
and cabarets throughout its history, and 
some of the arts most gifted innovators 
were addicted to alcohol and drugs. But the 
fact that Socrates and Tchaikovsky were 
homosexuals; Shakespeare a bi-sexual; 
Gauguin an irresponsible philanderer; 
Robert Browning an opium addict; and 
Edgar Allen Poe, a habitual drunk never 
brought on similar rejections of their crea- 
tions. However, such attitudes are consist- 
ent with the outlook of colonized intellec- 
tuals who slavishly adopt the chauvinistic 
views of their ruling class tutors. 

However, it would be misleading to leave 
the reader with the impression that this is 
the prevailing attitude of contemporary 
Afro- American academics. For there are 
many black scholars engaged in serious ef- 
forts to define and preserve the jazz legacy 
and its antecedents, such scholars as Pro- 
fessors Ortiz Walton, Roland Wiggins, 
Ann Southern, Fred Tillis, David Baker, 
J.R. Mitchell, Archie Shepp, Bob Cole, 
Portia Maultsby, A.B. Spellman, Albert 
Murray and Imamu Baraka are all making 
important contributions. Of course, there 
has long been a healthy interest in jazz on 
the part of black creative intellectuals. This 
concern extends to the very beginnings of 
the jazz tradition. The turn-of-the-century 
novelist and poets, Paul Laurence Dunbar 
and James Weldon Johnson were both great 
lovers of the music and were also fine 
lyricists. 

The meter and style of the poetry of 
Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes make 
conscious reference to the blues tradition 



20 



and Albert Murray argues that Ralph 
Ellison's great novel. "The Invisible Man" 
is really an extended blues. The wonder- 
fully inventive fiction and drama of Ishmael 
Reed and Aisha Rahman are both based on 
a jazz motif. And of course, many of the 
best contemporary Afro-American poets 
are singing a jazz song. Carlyle McBeth, 
Imamu Baraka, David Amus Moore. 
Camille Yarborough, Ntozake Shange. 
Larry Neal, Askia Muhammad Toure, 
Stanley Crouch, Sonia Sanchez. Yusef 
Rahman and Quincey Troupe all construct 
their work around a jazz aesthetic. It should 
also be pointed out that modern Afro- 
American choreographers such as Alvin 
Alley, Rod Rodgers, Eleo Palmare and 
Diane Mclntyre all feature jazz prominendy 
in their work. But, alas, all of this is of lit- 
tle consequence to the majority of 
bourgeois blacks, for they are equally in- 
different to all forms of serious Afro- 
American art. 

The ultimate tragedy in this case is that 
these attitudes deprive the black jazz artists 
of their logical patrons. For one of the most 
important roles of the educated and affluent 
classes in each ethtiic group is to subsidize 
the advancement of group culture by 
patronizing their important artists. The 
absence of any coherent concept of black 
culture and a confused sense of values has 
resulted in an attitude of indifference 
toward the plight of the jazz artist. Instead, 
the black bourgeois spends millions of 
dollars annually on cosmetic music that 
anesthesizes them from reality. This is a sad 
situation indeed, for this group possesses 
the resources to insure the continuation of 
the jazz tradition. The relative economic 
deprivation and artistic obscurity that 
plagues the average jazz musician is caus- 
ing many artists to abandon this genre and 
opt for careers in popular commercial 
music. Among them are some of the most 
important virtuosos in jazz: Herbie Han- 
cock, Wayne Shorter, George Benson, 
Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers and Stanley 
Turrentine are all presently lost to Mickey 
Mouse music. 

The final nail in the coffin of jazz may 
well be the vanishing opportunities for 
young musicians to participate in jam ses- 
sions. In the absence of the kind of institu- 
tional structure advocated by Dr. Ortiz 
Walton in his excellent book, "Music: 
Black, White and Blue," these sessions 
have been the main classrooms of instruc- 
tion for developing musicians. The centrali- 
ty of the jam session to the evolution of jazz 




Robin Chandler Smith 



artistry is verified by the testimony of a 
long line of musicians. Jelly Roll Morton, 
Scott Joplin, James Weldon Johnson, Ralph 
Ellison, Billy Taylor, Mezz Mezzro, Max 
Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie have all com- 
mented on the importance of these sessions 
to their development. Interestingly enough, 
most of the establishments that hosted these 
sessions were black-owned. A great deal 
of the early ragtime, musical theater, and 
large ensemble styles were worked out in 
places like the Old Marshall Hotel on West 
53rd Street and the Clef Club Uptown. And 
one of the most exciting movements in 
Modern art, the be-bop revolution, was 



largely developed in Minton's Playhouse. 
All of these establishments had black pro- 
prietors. Here is a clear cut role affluent 
blacks can play; and it requires neither ex- 
tensive musical education nor control of the 
music industry. 

In view of the many obstacles facing the 
serious jazz artist, the active support of the 
black middle class is critical. If the black 
bourgeois fails to rise to this occasion, jazz 
may continue to exist in a hyphenated form 
practiced by whites, but the survival of jazz 
as a serious Afro-American art form is 
problematic at best. 



21 






by Brad Kaplan 



Gregory began his career as a com- 
edian in 1958 at a black nightclub in 
Chicago, which turned out to be his 
spring board into the national limelight. 
He was the first black social artist to 
appeal to both black and white audien- 
ces. 

In 1962 Gregory became involved in 
civil rights and found this to be a more 
important outlet for his talent and 
energy. During the late 1960's he be- 
came involved in student activism, op- 
position to the Vietnam War, environ- 
mental protection and the rights of 
American Indians. 

Since November 1967, he has used 
fasting to bring attention to his protest 
of numerous social and policital wrongs. 
In 1967, Gregory ran a write - in cam- 
paign against Richard Daley in the 
Chicago mayoral election, gaining 
22,000 votes. A second write in cam- 
paign during the Democratic presiden- 
tial primaries of 1968 broght him 
150,000 votes. He has written numerous 
acclaimed books on civil rights and heal- 
the, including, "From the Back of The 
Bus", "Write Me In" and "Dick Greg- 
ory's Political primer". 

Always an individualist, Gregory 
doesn't identify himself with any single 
civil rights or peace organization. How- 
ever his celebrity status enables him to 
act alone for the causes he exposes. 
Speaking at Smith College recently, 
Gregory gave to DRUM an insiders look 
at his beliefs and politics. 



DRUM - What in your background led 
you toward the humor, beliefs 
and convictions you have to- 
day? 

DICK - Oh, I don't know, radio, I 
guess. We didn't have televi- 
sion. My mother listened to all 
the comdey stories and the 
news, so the humor, for the 
most part, came from those. 
I guess my convictions came 
from the Civil Rights move- 
ment, being a performer during 
the movement and also being 
married to a woman that 
never put demands on me as 
a celebrity. As a father of ten 
children, I've always wanted 
the best for them. I make deci- 
sions based on how they will 
affect my children as well as 
the mass of people. 

DRUM - That's a great view and it's 
to bad everyone doesn't have 
that conviction. 

DICK - Well, those of us who do have 
it and are vocal about it are 
just cin extension of a whole 
lot of good people who protect 
you. So we are just an exten- 
sion of a whole lot of people. 

DRUM - What led you to move away 
from pure comedy, into this 
activism? 

DICK - It was just being out in the 
Movement and seeing an awful 
lot of people - not the leader- 
ship, but the masses of people 
out there in the street that 
would never get their names in 



the paper. Nobody ever cared 
if they was beat or stomped 
or what. Remember, the dogs 
didn't bite King. (We react to 
celebrity status. Being out in 
the street and being a cele- 
brity at the same time and 
having a feeling that when 
I was laying up in jail in the 
middle of the movemnt, I real- 
ized that being a celebrity did 
not bring about the same good 
feelings that I experienced 
from working with the Move- 
ment.) So there was never a 
question of how my involve- 
ment in the Movement would 
affect my career in show busi- 
ness. The question was: How 
would my show business career 
affect my demonstrations? 
Would I be locked into con- 
tracts? First, I stopped booking 
myself far in advance. Next, I 
decided I wasn't going to work 
in nightclubs that served alchol 
that's all of them. There was 
a conflict saying, "Come on 
down to the nightclub and 
catch my act." I know I started 
smoking cause my heroes were 
smoking, Alan Ladd and 
Humphrey Bogart. I started 
drinking cause my heroes were 
drinking. I don't ever want to 
put myself in a position where 
I can trun someone on to 
something negative that's going 
to affect their body because of 
who I am. So I drew a line and 



22 




said, "No more nightclubs." 

DRUM - You can't really stand in a 
smokey nightclub and talk 
about how bad cigarettes are 
either. 

DICK - Oh you really can, cause when 
you're hot, man, they'll tole- 
rate anything. Man, if Hitler 
came back, they'd hook him. 

DRUM - How do you feel about 
racism as an underlying cause 
of all war, civil strife, poverty? 

DICK - I think you have to go at it at 
a level higher than that. Racism 
is something that's manipulat- 
ed by the handful of people 
who manipulate the system. 
They tell you who to hate and 
who not to hate. When you 
think of Russia you think of 
the color red. We always call- 
ed the Communist Chinese the 
Red Chinese. We've always 
taken liberties and priviledges. 
Then one day we decided we're 
going to like them. All at once 
we don't call them Red China 
no more. The problem is that 
racism and sexism are a detir- 
ment to those people who par- 
ticipate in it. For instance, 
if I came here tonight with a 
pocket full of horse manure to 
throw on everyone - whose 
pocket stunk all day? There's 
or mine? Horse manure will 
make my pocket stink. Think 
about racism and sexism and 
what it does to the mind. If 
I've got a choice I'd rather have 



a stinky pocket than a stinky 
mind 'cause at least I can take 
this coat off; that's where the 
problem is. 

DRUM - Are you optimistic about our 
generation? When we fill some 
of those positions of authority 
are we going to perpetuate the 
system? 

DICK - You ain't got no choice. 
Either you're going to turn it 
around or it's going to all fall 
in. We're at the end of it now. 
If there's any God at all that 
says "what goes around comes 
around", its "come around" 
time. We ain't got no choice. 
You see, we're in a very unique 
position during this period. 
You're either going to take the 
pot off the stove or you're 
going to have an empty pot. 
The steam is comin' out and 
what used to be in the pot 
ain't in there no more. 

DRUM - Student apathy on campuses 
is disgusting. We were wonder- 
ing what you think can be 
done about apathy in the black 
student communities? 

DICK - First you have to organize. 
It's like if I said I would give 
you ten thousand tons of dia- 
mond for the movement but 
you've got to carry it out now. 
I would be doing you a dis- 
service. I ain't gave you noth- 
ing cause you can't carry it. 
You take a little piece you can 
deal with. You find the hand- 



ful that's not apathetic and 
you sit down and build your 
inner group. There's a song 
that says, "start me with ten 
that are stout hearted and 
I'll send you the ten thousand 
more". It didn't say start me 
with ten thousand. All you've 
got to do is plant the seeds, 
build a foundation. All you've 
got to do is plant the seeds, 
build a foundation. You've got 
to pace in order to organize. 
You should bring a group on 
campus and charge $50 to get 
in, but if you've got a voter 
registration card you get in for 
a dollar. You see, the people 
who manipulate don't look at 
your voting pattern. They look 
at that block as "registered". 
Wow! That's power. If you had 
ten million dollars, everybody 
that has anything to sell is 
going to be beating a path to 
your door. Power lies in regis- 
tration, not voting. I'm not 
saying, "don't vote," but the 
power lies in registration. 

DRUM - It has so much to say about 
sour society, instant gratifica- 
tion. If people don't sense that 
they can change it overnight 
they're not even going to deal 
with it. 

DICK - You see that's what movies 
do. If I look at a ninety minute 
series on TV tonight, they'll 
show the scientist being born, 
doing his thing and dead. This 

continued page 30 

23 




Paul Goodnight 



24 



UNITED STATES 
INTERVENTION 
IN CENTRAL AMERICA 



/ 



by Sister AOH 




us intervention in Central America 
is made possible by many factors. Most 
of the countries in which the US govern- 
ment intervenes are ruled by dictatorial 
regimes. These dictatorial regimes are 
directly and indirectly supported by the 
US government. The predominant 
actions of dictatorships are corrupt, and 
their most common practices are the 
oppression and exploitation of the 
native population. The major problem 
that results is that the people of these 
countries do not have control of their 
resources because their leadership is al- 
lied to an outside power. The US 
government via puppet dictatorships ex- 
ploits the natural and human resources 
of Central American countries. In doing 
so, the US government decreased the 
dignity of each nation. The US govern- 
ment concerns itself only with the pros- 
pect of expanding its market for private 
enterprise while ignoring the welfare of 
the native population. 

The US government supports dictator- 
ship in Central America in order to 
maintain its control over these nations. 
The supported dictators and the ex- 
ploitation of Central America which 
follows is based on US fear of Com- 
munist expansion in the region. This 
fear of Communism was generated in 
the US following the Russian and the 
Chinese Revolutions in 1917 and 1948 
respectively. The theory that a Com- 
munist revolution could be exported 
has been used continously to justify US 
military presence in Central America. 

Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959 
and the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, 
the US government has been using 
Latin American countries as the front 
line in the battle aginast Communism. 
The US government propagates the 
theories that revolution is externally 
encouraged for Central America. How- 
ever, the makers of US/Central 
American policy ignore the evidence 
that the Central American people 
choose revolution in an attempt to over- 
throw an exploitative and repressive 
regime and to regain their self-deter- 
mination. 

The US government controls the region 
in terms of domestic political affairs, 
civil liberty, and Central American fore- 
ign policy toward other countries. The 
US government provides both military 
and economic aid to military dictator- 
ships in Central America, despite the 
common and widespread practice of 



25 



such regimes, given the support, in mur- 
dering anyone who opposes their 
policies. 

The US government has a long history 
of support for dictatorship in Central 
America, beginning 50 years ago with 
the support of the Somoza regime in 
Nicaragua before it was overthrown in 
1979. Since the US government sup- 
ports El Salvadoran, Guatemalian, 
Honduran dictatorial regimes, as well as 
the counter-revolutionaries in Nicara- 
gua. 



The US government directly intervened 
in Guatemala in 1954, by overthrowing 
a freely elected government and by in- 
stalling a CIA protege in the presidential 
palace. Then, Colonel Carlos Castillo 
Armas was flown in form Honduras on 
a US embassy plane to head the first of 
a succession of anti-communist regimes. 
With their advanced weapons and tech- 
nology, Guatemalan local bourgeoisie 
along with Guatemalan dictators and 
the US government created a complex 
pattern of oppression against Guatemal- 
ans, an oppression that lessens Guate- 
malan national self-determination. The 
situation called for a struggle that would 
lead Guatemalans out of both US imper- 
ialist intervention and local bourgeois 
oppression. 

Currently, in El Salvador, the US 
government backed Salvadoran military 
regime. Salvadorian successsive military 
regimes began when a junta composed 
of two army and three civilians, seized 
power on October 15, 1979. Since then, 
military death-squads have systemically 
repressed peasant organizations. In spite 
of the death-squads widespread activi- 
ies. El Salvador is still the largest reci- 
pient of US military aid. It has been 
estimated that 80% of all Salvadorian 
victims of terrorism are killed by army 
members and other US supported 
"security forces". Despite these facts, 
the US government has taken on an in- 
creasingly sharp role in directing the 
junta and its policy. 

President Reagan sees El Salvador as a 
prime target of Soviet bloc "expansion- 
ism". Similariy, former President John- 
son blamed the Viet Nam conflict on 
outside Communist intervention. IN 
both cases, the struggle resulted from 
long standing internal strife with US 
backed military governments, not com- 



munist intervention. Opposition to US 
intervention in El Salvador is a response 
to the continuation of unjust and re- 
pressive dictatorial regimes. 

What's going on in El Salvador is a strug- 
gle of peasants and workers against 
social and economic injustice. The 
struggle has gained support from the 
Jesuit order of the Catholic church in 
El Salvador. The church has been deeply 
involved in Salvadorans' struggle since 
the meeting at Medellin, Columbia, in 
1968, wherein the Jesuits declared the 
hujan rights situation intolerable. 

Right-wing "death-squads", financed by 
rich Salvadorans living inside and out- 
side of the country, have been used to 
terrorize the Salvadorans into submit- 
ting to dictatorial rule by force. It is 
widely believed that the US supported 
Salvadoran military regime controls 
much of the activities of the "death- 
squads". This belief was recently con- 
firmed by US Vice President George 
Bush. Bush condemns the Salvadoran 
government's "right-wing fanatics". 

In the face of these attacks, human 
rights in El Salvador are virtually non- 
existent. Despite this fact, the Reagan 
Administration has certified, beginning 
Jan. 1981, progress on human rights in 
El Salvadorans' economic and political 
system every 6 months for over two 
years. A week after this certification, 
the Salvadoran Right-wing increased its 
political violence by arresting and 
bombing the Salvadoran freedom figh- 
ters' controlled territory. The Reagan 
Administration observed that murders 
have slowed down from several thous- 
ands per month to three hundred per 
month. Six months later, the murders 
shot back up to about two thousand 
per month, according to a report by the 
US embassy in San Salvador. 

The Salvadorans' struggle is in response 
to the intensity of dictatoral oppres- 
sion and the exploitation of El Salva- 
dor's resources. With or without any 
political influence, the Salvadoran 
struggle is purely a struggle for basic 
human needs. It would seem that recent 
US aid would benefit the human needs 
of El Salvador. In 1980 alone, the US 
government sent aid to El Salvador at 
the amount of $32.2 million. However, 
the millions of dollars sent to El Salva- 
dor did not benefit the needy is re- 
flected in the 12th of December 1982, 



UN General Assembly resolution. That 
resolution called on "all governments 
to refrain from sending arms and mili- 
tary assistance to El Salvador". The im- 
plication is obvious that the US sup- 
ported military purchase and by that 
action showed that the US government 
does not place any value on the UN 
decision concerning US intervention in 
other countries' domestic affairs. These 
particular aids to El Salvador are not 
only and indication of the US direct 
intervention through Salvadoran repres- 
sive regime, but also an indication of the 
"insignificance" of the UN as a world 
organization. 

In January 1981, President Carter sent 
an emergency military assistance worth 
$5 million to El Salvador. The package 
included M-16 rifles; grenades and gre- 
nade launchers; steel helmets; flak 
jackets; and C- reaction (chemical reac- 
tion). Carter justified such aid by stating 
that "intelligence reports confirm that 
Salvadoran freedom fighters have ob- 
tained from abroad a substantial quan- 
tity of lethal weapons". By 21 Jan., 
1981, close to 250 US military advisors 
were in El Salvador. 

Also in 1981, the Reagan Administra- 
tion sent 50 military advisors to El Sal- 
vador to teach Viet Nam-Style counter- 
insurgency techniques, i.e. the use of 
toxic gas and Huey-helicopters; and 
special search-and-destroy technique. 
Then, in 1982, the Reagan Administra- 
tion announced plans to train 1500 
Salvadoran soldiers. The training was to 
take place in North Carolina and Geor- 
gia to circumvent the need for addition- 
al US training personnel in El Salvador. 
In 1983, a thousand men were trained 
as an infantry battalion at Fort Bragg 
in North Carolina. Fort Bragg is a 
special Warfare Center which has been 
used to direct US counter-insurgent 
operations in the Third Worid for two 
decades. The remaining five or six hun- 
dred-junior officers were trained at Fort 
Benning in Georgia. 

The Salvadoran military is "one of the 
most out - of - control, blood - thirsty 
groups of men in the world", according 
to Robert White, the former US Ambas- 
sador to El Salvador. The increasing US 
aid to Salvadoran dictatorial regimes 
from $100 million to $300 million with- 
in one fiscal year reveals the desperate 
need for Salvadoran self-determination. 
Salvadorans are an independent people, 



26 



capable of resolving their own affairs. 
When Salvadorans conclude that dicta- 
torship must be overthrown, the US 
government ignores Salvadorans' in- 
dependence and intervenes by support- 
ing repressive regimes. 

The US government has also been using 
Honduras a regional gendarme. Hon- 
duras is currently the second largest 
recipient of US military aid in all Latin 
America, trailing only El Salvador. 
Honduran military, under command of 
Gustova Alvarez, and Argentine trained 
soldier favored by the Pentagon, pro- 
nounced the military's three elements 
of policy: prevention; repression; and, 
no capture. The prevention is to elimi- 
nate the possibility of a strong radical 
organization; repression is targeted 
primarily at Salvadorans in Honduras 
who help these Salvadorans; and a no 
capture, but kidnap policy is self 
explanatory. 

Along with its repressive policy, the 
military gorges itself with new dollars 
from Washington despite the swelling 
numbers of starving Hondurans. Under 
Alvarez the decisions concerning Hon- 
duras' domestic and foreign affairs 
begin with the US State Department. 
From the US State Department, the 
decisions proceed to the US Embassy, 
then, to Alvarez and subsequently to 
civilian president Roberto Suazo Cor- 
dovra. 

The US government installed in Hon- 
duras a training regional military unit, 
CREMS - the Centro Regional de Entre 
Amiento Military. The CREMS has a 
double impact on Honduran life out- 
side the military. One impact is in in- 
creased incidence of prostitution, bars 
and restaurants catering to service 
personnel. Consequently, prices for 
basic goods have been severely inflated, 
as much as four times due to the sudden 
influx of US dollars. Thus, the struggle 
of Hondurans has increased, and the 
increase is evident in the decision to 
openly oppose each other within both 
the liberal and the National Parties. 

The US supported Honduran dictatorial 
regime continues to repress the Hon- 
durans' voice which speaks out against 
political and economical conditions. 
The Hondurans' struggle is another 
struggle for self-determination and 
human rights. Hondurans strive against 
the military regimes while US interven- 



tion and exploitation support that same 
regime responsible for oppression. Re- 
volution is one, and only one, process 
to totally eliminate oppression and 
exploitation in Honduras, and the 
Hondrans have come to recognize this 
fact. 

In Nicaragua, US naval forces first inter- 
vened in 1909 after two American citi- 
zens had been executed General Au- 
gusto Sandino began to rid his country 
of American troops in 1927. Under his 
leadership, the Nicaraguan freedom 
fighters fought the US troops successful- 
ly until the US withdrawal in 1933. 
After the withdrawal, the US govern- 
ment set up a repressive regime to reas- 
sert its control over Nicargua. The US 
trained General Anastasio Somoza Gar- 
cia to head the National Guard. Somoza 
assassinated Sandino and overthrew the 
liberal President Juan Batista Sacassa. 
Somoza, than, established a military 
dicatatorship andbecame the new pre- 
sident. In 1956, Somoza was succeeded 
by his son. Louis, who was in the pre- 
sidency until 1967. Another son. Major 
General Anastasio Somoza Debayle, 
became President in 1967. This was a 
one family dictatorial regime, backed by 
the US. 

In August 1979, the provisional govern- 
ment and the National Direction of the 
Saninista National Liberation Front 
(FSLN), along Sandinista columns were 
welcomed at Managua's central plaza. 
Nicaraguans had defeated the US sup- 
ported dictator Somoza. Once again, 
Nicaraguans regained their indepen- 
dence and their rights to their own des- 
tination. To the US government, the 
Nicaraguans' victory threatened the US 
"superprofit" in Central America. 

If imperialism is the extension of one 
nation's authority over another's sover- 
eign power, then, the US reactions to 
the Nicaraguans' victory are obviously 
an impearialist intervention in Central 
America. Primarily, hardline militarism 
was used. As the Pentagon and CIA have 
stated consistently since July 1979; the 
US must continue to supply weapons to 
the rightist military regimes in Central 
America in order to avoid the "Nicara- 
guanization of the region". The US 
moderates its action in order to prevent 
the spread of people's revolution in 
the region. The US reaction evokes 
memories of Johnson's "domino 
theory" for Southeast Asia - isolate 



Nicaragua to prevent the spread of 
Communist revolution in other coun- 
tries in the region. 

On July 4, 1982, a Nicaraguan Air force 
helicopter was fired on near Seven Bank 
after the three day fight with well pre- 
pared counter-revolutionaries. These 
counter-revolutionaries had planned to 
take over Puerto Cabazas and the Tasba 
Pri resettlement camp for Miskito In- 
dian, near Rosita in Central part of the 
zone. After this battle, the Nicaraguan 
military captured weapons, including: 
new automatic rifles; grenades; and in- 
flatable boat; and, disposable rocket 
launchers - all made in USA. The US 
government has not stopped its inter- 
vention in Nicaragua, but its interven- 
tion has taken differnt forms (i.e. sup- 
porting the counterrevolution). 

An interview with a congressional 
source familiar with US plans in Central 
America and the Caribbean indicated 
that regardless of the Sandinistas' 
accomplishment, "the (Reagan) admin- 
istration hammers away at Nicargua 
because they believe it is the place 'you 
have got to score' ". The US pretends 
that once the Sandinistas are out of 
power, the problem in El Salvador and 
in the region will clear up itself. This 
fantasy in destabilizing the Sandinistas 
clearly indicates that the US does not 
recognize Nicaraguan and Salvadoran 
self-rule. This practice carried on by any 
superpower is one of the outstanding 
characteristics of imperialism. 

US intervention in Central America 
stems not only from the balancing of 
US polictical power with the Commun- 
ist camp, but also fromt he protecting 
of US superprofits in the region. Us 
companies have large investments in 
Central America. 

For example: 

"32 nationally owned companies in 
Guatemala were bought out by US 
interests at a cost of $24 million. 
Guatemala was transformed into the 
hub of regional economic planning 
head quarters for US agency for: 
International Development (AID) 
Central American mission; the Cen- 
tral American Economic Integration 
System (SIECA); and, the Central 
American Monetary Council." 
In other words, the US government pro- 
tects its benefits by supporting repres- 
sive dictatorial regimes. 



27 




OYA Series, MOVING SPIRITS 



NELSON STEVENS 



28 



The US economic aid to El Salvador has 
increased drastically under the Reagan 
Administration. However, this increase 
is much to the benefit of US firms. US 
economic aid to El Salvador creates a 
dependent economic structure in the 
nation. According to Alberto Bonilla, 
president of the Central Bank in El Sal- 
vador, without US aid "almost all our 
industries would stop, and we would 
have at least 20% negative growth". 
US corporations are the main market 
for Salvadoran exports and are the key 
sources of need foreign exchange. US 
firms, such as Proctor and Gamble, and 
Hills Bros., purchase over one third of 
Salvador's coffee crop. Coffee accounts 
for 70% of El Salvador's export. El 
Salvador's manufactured goods are sent 
to the US. However, these manufactur- 
ed goods are produced by US garment 
and electronic assembly plants operating 
in El Salvador's free trade zone, where 
labor is cheap and profits are untaxed. 

Texas Instruments and Datran are two 
firms operating in Salvador's And 
Bartolo free trade zone, established in 
1975 in order to encourage foreign in- 
vestment. The firms pay Salvadoran 
labour about $4 per day, or one-tenth 
of the US wage for the same work. 
The Salvadoran government plays a co- 
operative role through restriction on 
labour unions and wage freezes. Other 
US firms operating in the same manner 
in El Salvador are Kimberly Clark 
(paper product plant), Phelps Dodge 
(cooper product factory), Exxon, Stan- 
dard Oil, IBM, Xerox, Intemation Har- 
vester, Ralston Purina, Bristol Myers, 
and others. 

By the end of 1970's, 193 US compan- 
ies had taken advantage of the "favora- 
ble investment climate" in Guatemala: 
52 of them are in argibusiness; and US 
direct investments amounted to $260 
million in Guatemala alone. This 
amount is the largest figure in Central 
America. Also thirty-three of the 
world's top hundred firms had establish- 
ed local operations in Guatemala. 

Not only does the US government 
directly support a repressive regime, 
but US business executives also openly 
discuss politics and conduct business 
affairs with the repressive regime in 
Guatemala. Miami tailored business suits 
discussed with the Guatemalan military 
uniforms "how to eradicate communism 
and return to the status quo of the 
1970's." During .1970's, before the 



Nicagaraguan revolution, the climate for 
investment in Central America was sta- 
ble due to the repression of the native 
population's voice and human rights. 
The Bank of America's (BoA) manager, 
Keith Parker, made an obvious state- 
ment in support of dictatorship in 
Guatemala. Keith Parker stated: 

"Where we've got a situation like you 
have here, you need the strongest 
government you can get. If you use 
human rights in a country with 
guerillias (or from author's view 
freedom fighters), yoiu're not going 
to get anywhere . . . What they 
should do is declaremartial law. 
There you catch somebody; they go 
to military court. Three colonels are 
sitting there, you're guilty, you're 
shot. It works very well." 

In other words, the BoA's manager was 
saying that human rights are not applied 
to people whose country is politically 
supported by the US government and 
economically exploited by US business. 

BoA is the main agricultural lending 
agency in Guatemala, second only to 
the Guatemalan government as a source 
of agroexport capital. The BoA's man- 
ager's statement clearly indicates the 
purposes of US investment and involve- 
ment in the region: to polictcally eli- 
minate alleged Communist expansion; 
and, to exploit natural as well as human 
resources of the region. These purposes 
were fulfilled through suppression of 
the Guatemalan' voice. 

By its nature, a dictatorial regime takes 
over power without the people's permis- 
sion. This fact needs to be recognized as 
a cause of each oppressed nation's up- 
rising. What are the alternatives for the 
oppressed Central American people if 
not a revolutionary struggle to end such 
oppression? Are there really peaceful 
ways to end this oppression while the 
oppressors are supporting "death-squ- 
ads"? The oppressed Central American 
people have been hoping in vain for gen- 
eration after generation, but they still 
suffer unbelievable oppression. Are they 
supposed to continue hoping in vain un- 
til all of them are eliminated, and their 
children, the next generation, are train- 
ed to rebel aginst their own people? 

The flow of events in Central America 
reaches its central function when human 
beings in an attempt to raise their con- 
sciousness decide to unify and fight 



against any form of oppression. The 
oppressed people have no more time 
to fight among each other because they 
all have a common enemy, the im- 
perialsit superpower. The enemy must 
be eliminated if people want to see their 
children grow up with healthy concepts. 
It is time for oppressed people to step 
forward both in consciousness and in 
the struggle for better global social con- 
ditions. 

In order for the US dominance in Cen- 
tral America to fully end, the US 
citizens must recognize that they, too, 
have a great responsibility to work to- 
ward terminating US government's in- 
tervention in the region. US imperial- 
ism opposes the drive for self-determina- 
tion in Central America, and this 
opposition continues only because US 
citizens have not recognized their re- 
sponsibility to support humanitarian 
goals. US citizens are not informed that 
the Communist expansion theory has 
been used in Central America in the 
same manner as in the Viet Nam war 20 
years ago. In the same manner as in 
Viet Nam war. Central Americans will 
defeat the dictatorship and its support- 
er, the US government. The US citizens 
must be informed that the so-called 
"Communists" are the native people, 
who will tolerate neither the local 
capitalist bourgeoisie nor US imperialist 
intervention. 

US imperialist intervention and its op- 
pression will have, in the long run, a 
great effect on the US's relationship to 
other countries. US destructive policies 
prevent mutual intemation trust, and, 
before long, there will be furious con- 
frontations as a result of imperalistic 
degrading foreign policies. The US 
actions in Central America undoubted- 
ly indicate a pattern of imperialsim. The 
US foreign policy is not a friendly 
policy toward the Central American 
countries. Only unity between citizens 
of both Central America and the US will 
change the course of the imperialist 
oppression in Central America. The 
Central American war is a war to regain 
self-determination, not a war to desta- 
blize US position in the world. Self- 
determination is an important political 
element of each independent nation, 
including the US itself. Thus, the war in 
Central America is significant to each 
nation in the region. It is a war that will 
determine the pattern of US interaction 
with all the Third World countries. 



29 



continued from page 23 



means that years of television 
has shortened my attention 
span. So all at once teachers 
are going to have to teach 
students with shorter attention 
spans. 

DRUM - In your beliefs about vege- 
terianism and fasting, especial- 
ly, I was wondering if you were 
influenced by the teachings of 
Ghandi? or is it common 
sense? 

DICK - Not really, Ghandi never fasted 
for more than thirteen days. 
Ghandi's life never changed un- 
til he became aware of the 
energy flows of the body and 
then things started making a 
difference in his life. 

DRUM - How did you come about 
with these ideas? 

DICK - I became a vegetarian because 
I was in the movement, and if 
I'm dedicated to nonviolence 
how can I participate in the de- 
struction of animals for my 
dinner. I didn't know anything 
about fasting. I decided on a 
four-day fast to protest the war 
in Vietnam. Through the 
years, I've met with many doc- 
tors and now I'm extremely 
good at it. It's common sense. I 
mean if you go to the hospital, 
the meat eaters don't send you 
a basket of steaks, they send 
you a basket of fruit. So if 
fruit is so good for you after 
you get sick just think what it 
would if you had enough sense 
to eat it before you get sick. 

DRUM - How will Jesse Jackson's 
campaign affect political ap- 
athy? 

DICK - He is doing more than that. He 
is exciting them. He is talking 
about something more than 
just the hardline game. The im- 
portant thing is that he is not 
one of them. The others can 
do it with money and the 
media. Jesse's got to do it on 
his wits. Jesse's letting people 
get really involved in the cam- 
paign - they're getting a feel for 
politics. Until the sixties came 
around, most people on college 
campuses believed everything 
the police said. But when you 
see the tear gas and the club- 
bings, all at once things change. 
All at once there was a new 



world in our vocabularly 
"blue flue". All at once there 
were no "support your local 
police" bumperstickers. No- 
body ever told anybody to do 
it, but as you get exposed to 
things, your life starts chang- 
ing. So I'm saying that Jesse's 
candidacy sounds good, it feels 
good and people will go out 
and register. Listening to that 
same old bunch of cats talk- 
ing the same old garbage don't 
make you want to do anything. 
Now the Coalition wants that 
huge segment of people to get 
registered because Jesse's com- 
ing through. It's going to be 
more than that because now I 
get to participate more in the 
share. 

DRUM - Let's say you were running 
for president in 1984. You're 
against Ronnie. What would 
you do to change the system? 

DICK - First off I would tell most 
Americans to be careful in vot- 
ing for me. I would run to say 
that we would wipe out wars, 
hunger, sickness, and racism. 
But I would say to be careful 
before you vote for me. One of 
the first things I'd do before 
I'd deal with all the other 
crazies is tell the Mafia and the 
CIA that we couldn't peaceful- 
ly coexist. I'd give them 
twentyfour hours to eigher get 
out or kill me. Then I would 
tell the churches not to vote 
for me because I'd take away 
their tax exempt status. I'd 
say to them, "Either y'all are 
in the spiritual business or real 
estate. If y'all are in the estate 
business, I'm going to tax you 
the same as I do that steel 
worker over there." I'd tell all 
these folks who like al little 
reefer and cocaine not to vote 
for me. With me reefers and co- 
caine would not be tolerated. 
I wouldn't tolerate whiskey. I 
would not tolerate anything 
that destroys and brings a na- 
tion to its knees. I'd put the 
tobacco industry out of bus- 
ness. How in the world can a 
country that calls itself a ligiti- 
mate, humane country, pro- 
mote something that is known 
to kill its citizens. I mean it 



don't make no sense in no 
shape, form or fashion. I'd tell 
all the tobacco people, "We are 
going to grow grain and stuff 
to feed a hungry world." I'll 
make them all more money do- 
ing that than we would make 
doing the other. You just total- 
ly change it around. We're go- 
ing to have two armies. We are 
going to have this crazy army 
over here and this other army 
to see to it that we never 
use it. We will go around the 
world and we'll use these fleets 
we've got as hospitals. We're 
going to show people how to 
plant, we're going to show 
them how to make their own 
lives different. Then maybe 
things will start changing. I 
mean people are afraid. We got 
into this nuclear mess by peo- 
ple being afraid. Now we've 
got it and we've got to think 
of a way to diffuse it. If you 
broke all this stuff down, 
where are we gonna put all 
the v/aste? These are the pro- 
grams we've all got to start 
working on. 
DRUM - In your writings you men- 
tioned "the price one has to 
pay for freedom". What do 
you think that price, your 
identy? 
DICK - It depends on you, how much 
drugs you have in your body, 
your fear. A free man or a free 
woman is a person with no 
fear. Anything you fear in life, 
you are enslave to. If you 
speed you fear the cops are 
chasing you. See, you are en- 
slaved to the cops, so what you 
do is stop speeding. If you 
fear getting caught with reefer 
you are enslaved to reefers. A 
free person is a person with no 
fear and everywhere you have 
fear shows enslavement. If 
you're scared of dogs you are 
enslaved to dogs. If you're 
messing around with my wife 
and are scared of getting 
caught, you are my slave. It's 
just a simple thing. Whatever 
price your integrity is , is what 
price you want to pay to be 
free and is a simple price to 

pay. 
DRUM - Thank you Dick Gregory. 



30 




AN INTERVIEW WITH 

TONY BATTEN 



Anthony Batten, motion picture 
director, was born August 17, 1935 in 
New York City. He attended the Col- 
lege of Arts of New York, the Univer- 
sity of Xalayor (Mexico), the San 
Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco 
State College, and the University of 
California at Berkley. Currently, he is 
founder and president of Tony Batten 
Productions which was formed in 
1980. Mr. Batten's work in film and 
television is both uncompromising and 
probing in nature. He has produced, 
written, and directed programs for the 
ABC "Close Up Series" in addition to 
hosting that series from 1974 until 
1976. Under Mr. Batten's direction, 
the first profile of Paul Robeson was 
produced. Batten's documentaries 
have covered such diverse topics as: 
East Africa in "Ends and Beginnings" 
(1969), street gangs in the South 
Bronx in "Ain't Gonna Eat My Mind" 
(1972), prison revolts in "Bedlam in 
the Jails" (1970), and labor disputes in 
"The Toughest Labor Game in Town" 
(1971). Mr. Batten is an accomplished 
photographer. His photographs have 
appeared in such notable publications 



as: The Liberator, New York Sunday 
Magazine and the Washington Post. He 
is the New England Regional Chairman 
of the National Association of Black 
Media Production which was founded 
in 1969. He belongs to the following 
media organizations: New York 
Academy of Television Arts and 
Science, International Center for 
Photography, Directors Guild of 
America, American Federation of 
Television and Radio Artists and Writ- 
ers Guild of America. He has been 
awarded an Emmy for the Documen- 
tary "Ain't Gonna Eat My Mind" 
(1972), a Du Pont award for the ABC 
Close Up show "New Religions: Holi- 
ness or Heresay" (1972 and 1978), 
and induction into the Black Film- 
makers' Hall of Fame in 1976. 
DRUM - As a Black director and pro- 
ducer, what obstacles, if any, 
have you faced and how has 
this affected you work? 
BATTEN - Obviously, the obstacle is 
a racist society, which means 
you're dealing with deception. 
Anybody that has to deal with 
images must. You've got to 



by Richard Thorpe 

translate images which many 
people might see in the context 
of racism and if you see im- 
ages in the context of racism 
and those images, or your per- 
ceptions of them, are viewed 
by the total society and if 
racism is systematic to that 
society, then you have diffi- 
culty in communicating or 
demonstrating or filming or 
presenting something in terms 
of your own reality. Probably 
after that, the other obstacles 
are: limited job opportunities, 
limited financing and capital 
and limited interest in things 
that a Black person might be 
interested in. For expamle, it's 
pretty clear to anybody watch- 
ing the Twenty-Fifth Anniver- 
sary of Motown television 
special that that was terrific 
entertainment. It was cross- 
cultural, it certainly appealed 
to an enormous audience and 
the aestics were quite good. 
When you think that there is 
nothing like that on television 



31 



on a regular basis, then you 
understand the nature of 
racism in the society. You see 
all kinds of programming in 
America but there are just 
limited ways for Blacks in the 
entertainment field to be in- 
volved in television. 

DRUM - You were talking about Paul 
Robeson, you had profiled 
him. He was banned from tele- 
vision during the 1950's. Are 
there any other examples of 
prominent Black figures being 
banned form television? 

BATTEN - Well, I would say that all 
prominent Blacks were banned 
from television. They just 
weren't on. When was the last 
time you saw Wilson Pickett on 
TV? Is he still there? You 
know what I mean? 

DRUM - I mean a leader of Robeson's 
stature, someone who was as 
outspoken as he. 

BATTEN - I don't think that Martin 
Luther King or Paul Robeson 
or anybody that had some- 
thing to say was on television 
or radio often, unless it was 
perceived by the media that 
this was an interest of a sensa- 
tional sort. When Malcolm was 
talking "hate whitey" and that 
kind of philosophy, he was on 
television a lot because he 
made people angry; he was sen- 
sational and you could see him 
on the six o'clock news. When 
he came back from his pilgrim- 
age and began talking about 
Muslims of all different colors, 
he was on TV once a month. 
So I think the question you're 
asking - whether there's some- 
one else besides Paul Robeson 
who was banned from tele- 
vision - is sort of begging 
the question. Frankly, Blacks 
who have anything worthwhile 
to say are generally banned 
from TV I think the question 
ought to be, "Who was on?" 
Then you find that there's a 
paucity of people -- people just 
weren't on. They don't get a 
chance to speak to the issues; 
certainly that was true up until 
the time of the Watts riots; 
then there was some attempt 
to find minorities more op- 



portunity in the media. I think 
it's pretty clear that minority 
statements on TV occur far less 
in 1983 than they did in 1963 
and 1964. That's just a matter 
of public record. The problem 
is that a lot of people who are 
glued to the TV are never glued 
to anything else. They don't 
understand any historian be- 
cause they don't understand 
any history, then one is bound 
to repeat it." In the case of 
Black people, we not only do 
not learn from our history, we 
don't even know our history; 
that is a major problem in the 
Black community. Frankly, 
maybe we deserve what we get. 
We certainly aren't making any 
strides in those terms - not at 
all. It's just unfortunate. It just 
shows, in a way, that as much 
as Black people would like to 
be special, because every min- 
ority group yearns for special 
status, that we are erasing our 
specialness which is interesting 
and powerful. But to answer 
your question, I think most 
prominent Black people in the 
50's, 60's and 70's, are pretty 
much banned from TV. 

DRUM - Just adding to that, if Blacks 
have been excluded from tele- 
vision, how can they truly re- 
present themselves? 

BATTEN - By organizing politically; 
that's what they can do. They 
can set goals and work dilig- 
ently towards them. But that 
means they've got to give up 
something. They've got to de- 
vote energy. They've got to be 
constant. They've got to learn 
how to read. They have to do a 
whole lot of boring things 
which will help each individual 
as well as the whole group. But 
it ain't gonna be about Jeri 
curls and boogying. They can 
influence TV and radio sta- 
tions. They can challenge licen- 
ces but those processes are long 
and drawn out and they re- 
quire determination and pat- 
ience, sacrifice, intelligence and 
postponement of gratification. 
One of our biggest problems 
may be that we've been denied 
stuff for so long. There are 



just too many of us who grab 
what we can grab. 

DRUM - You're saying that the media 
can have a positive effect on 
Black people in helping to 
organize? 

BATTEN - What I'm saying is that 
Black people have to leam to 
organize in order to influence 
the media, that's what they 
have to learn to do. We don't 
have anything in this society 
except the ability to rap and 
the ability to lay down some 
"riff" on an instrument and 
to make poetry that soars. 
We need more than that to 
get by. We've got to be able to 
organize and to more or less 
know what objectives we need 
in order to manipulate the 
society to our benefit. Other 
groups have done that. I don't 
know what it's like in the 
community of Boston or any 
other city, but if a community 
is anything like Manhattan, I 
bet you there are several 
minority groups that operate 
small continuing businesses. 
Despite the fact that small 
businesses are being jeopardiz- 
ed by the economy, I know 
that in the community of Man- 
hattan, I see Korean small busi- 
nesses, and Hispanic small busi- 
nesses. Those people who are 
operating those small business- 
es get up at four o'clock in 
the morning to go get their 
vegetables. A lot of those peo- 
ple work long hours. They have 
family businesses and they 
don't get much out of that. 
What they get is a little money 
to send their kids to college 
with so that they can do some- 
thing else besides selling grocer- 
ies. The basis of survival in 
capitalistic economy is the 
maintenance of the small busi- 
ness - the small bourgeois 
business. Until Blacks are ready 
to get up at four in the morn- 
ing to get their vegetables, they 
can't do that. Until they're 
really ready to identify objec- 
tives in terms of the media or 
get television to act right or 
get out and picket and shut 
places down, they ain't going 



32 



to get nothing. They're going 
to be satisfied with the Jeffer- 
sons; they're going to be satis- 
fied with the little boy clone 
that is now on TV. We just 
don't have enough energy to 
make it any different. 

DRUM - Tony Brown said something 
similar when he visited UMass. 
He said, "Black folks spend 
their money in a 180 degree 
circle instead of having money 
pass through their hands only 
eight different times before 
it leaves the community. As 
soon as they get it, they spend 
it and it goes right back into 
White society. It goes into their 
pockets and right back out of 
it." Why? 

BATTEN - Well, obviously that does 
not make much sense for it to 
do that, but, if on the other 
hand, it stays in the commun- 
ity and it passes through a 
dozen hands and those dozen 
hands don't amount to any- 
thing more than the mainten- 
ance of a beer company or the 
maintenance of a "SNACK" 
society or the maintenance of 
the number man or the main- 
tenance of a dream book or the 
maintenance of a forty dollar 
pair of sneakers or the main- 
tenance of shck shoes then, 
hey man, it might as well go 
back to the White community. 
Because it ain't doing any good 
in the Black community. It's 
not just buying Black that's 
important. What is important is 
to buy Black in such a way 
that Black people, the person 
that buys and the person that 
sells, advance at the same time 
- that's what's important. So 
that means that we can't be 
blinded simply by color be- 
cause that's a trap; that's just 
a trap. And I'm not saying that 
a Black person should take his 
or her hard earned money and 
go plunk it down in a small 
Black store that does not both- 
er to clean its shelves or does 
not bother to keep any articles 
in there or doesn't bother to 
maintain itself and its store 
front. If that is the case, then 
go buy from the Korean be- 



cause at least they pick the 
dead leaves off the lettuce. So 
I mean. Black people have to 
be able to compete on what- 
ever level they're operating on. 
I live in a community where 
there is a chicken and rib fran- 
chise joint. Now the first per- 
son to have that franchise was 
a Black person but that person 
was so busy grandstanding and 
showboating because they had 
a franchise that meant that 
they could suddenly get white 
walls for their Mercedes and 
ain't nothin' the matter with a 
Mercedes except that dude 
doesn't have the franchise any- 
more. Afghan people have the 
franchise and they've got three 
shifts of their families in that 
franchise and Balck people are 
lining up in the other side of 
the plexiglass, bulletproof wall 
plunkin' down their money for 
Afghan chicken and carrying 
out paper bags. That's what 
I'm talking about. We all know 
what it's about. We can all 
rationalize, we can always 
blame people but come on, 
there's always been a joke that 
you can't get the same kind 
of service in the Black com- 
munity that you get some 
place else. To a large extent, 
that may be true. Why that is 
true, I don't know. I don't 
know why we get so much 
poor service. But those are not 
the basic issues except that it 
is a modality for us that we 
have to suffer from. So, when 
you ask me what kinds of 
obstacles I've had to face as a 
Black director and a Black pro- 
ducer, sure I've had to face the 
obvious kinds of obstacles that 
a Black person would have to 
face in a racist society, but to 
tell you the truth, I've never 
really had active Black support. 
I've never had that. I mean, I'm 
on the air in your community 
(Amherst). I used to be on the 
air every day, now I under- 
stand, I'm on the air only on 
the weekends. I call the sta- 
tions up. I know people in 
your community that don't 
even know the call letters of 



the stations that they listen to. 
So, how in the hell can a per- 
son like me, who depends on 
community support, how can 
I expect it when the folks who 
listen and . say they like it, 
don't even know the call let- 
ters. Don't know where to find 
the damn thing on the radio 
and don't know the first thing 
about providing a letter to a 
station in Albany, NY and say- 
ing, "Hey, how come the act's 
off the air?" 

DRUM - I understand that. That's the 
sort of thing that curtials you 
when people aren't aware of 
these thing. They're not intelli- 
gent enough to know that 
when they call up a station 
they need to know what the 
call letters are 

BATTEN - Well, let me point some- 
thing out, and I'm not going to 
specify the minority groups 
that I'm talking about but I 
think it ought to be pretty 
clear to anybody that there are 
other minority groups with far 
fewer numbers than Black peo- 
ple that have far more influ- 
ence. They know how to do 
that and as long as we wait and 
remain ignorant, as long as we 
want to go for the admiral 
hat and the uniform and the 
sword by the side, we ain't 
gonna do nothing. And sure 
we're going to foreswear the 
pointed letter, we're going to 
foreswear some sort of pressure 
politics, because we don't have 
the long-lasting energy, we 
don't have the determination, 
we don't have the heart to do 
it. And in a way, people like 
me get kicked off the air, but, 
hey man, we're going to 
bounce back. We're going to 
come back some other place. 
And I'll just say I'm sort of 
tired of just wondering when 
the people are going to say, 
"Batten needs some help, why 
don't we help him out." Be- 
cause all they need to do is 
turn on the radio and boogie. 
And when it's gone, they 
accept the fact that it's gone. 
Why? like a guy said, "We've 
been down so long, we don't 



33 



even know where up is." 
DRUM - You touched upon your radio 
show and the fact that you're 
not on as much as in the past. 
Could you describe the types 
of things that are on the show 
and what things have to go into 
the making of the show? 
BATTEN - It is a very simple broad- 
cast. It's simple because there 
is an underlying sensibility 
about the music. It is a disc 
show, it focused on jazz and it 
is very clear that the underly- 
ing sensibility of the program, 
certainly the person making 
the program belives that some 
of America's classiest music is 
what the broadcast might be 
talking about - Black music ~ 
because that's what jazz is. 
Now, if that is the case, then 
there needs to be some subtle 
understanding of the political 
nature of the broadcast. 
Secondly, it has a very wide 
choice of selection of material. 
I play anything that is or has 
been important from 1926 or 
so right down to the present. 
So, let's say that it's 1923, just 
to make our addition easy. 
We're talking about sixty years 
of Black music. Now, I don't 
know where else on the radio 
dial anybody can find a range 
of 80 years of Black music that 
they can enjoy and is presented 
in what I think is a profes- 
sional manner or way. It seems 
to me that that might be a kind 
of broadcast treasure. But 
again, it's a lot easier for 
people to listen to whatever 
"breakdance" is happening, 
and listen, hey, I've got noth- 
ing agciinst Lionel Ritchie, 
believe me. If you listen to 
Ritchie and the stations that 
give you the kind of consistent 
hum drum, then I don't want 
the scholars or the students in 
the university, particularly the 
Black ones, to be saluting no 
Black flag, no Afro-American 
thing or none of that because 
they are constantly narrowing 
down their sensibilities; they 
are constantly narrowing down 
their brain to deal primarily 
with what the hucksters, the 



narrowist. Black music gives 
them. And that's what they 
accept, that's what they like, 
that's what they groove behind 
because they're too politically 
lazy to understand something 
else and too emotionally in- 
secure to venture out from the 
bass beat of the drum to some 
other kind of more complex 
sensibility that might be an 
Archie Shepp, might be a Nat 
Cole, might be a George Kirby, 
a Charlie Parker or a Lester 
Young but they ain't doing 
that. They're with Kool and 
the Gang. 

DRUM - What advice would you have 
for a Black person who serious- 
ly wants to get into video such 
as yourself? 

BATTEN - To learn to think. I'm 
serious. What do you want me 
to say? Get a job, go to school? 
No, that ain't it. You want to 
go to school, to learn how to 
operate a camera, you want to 
join a union to get a job, fine, 
terrifc. I'm always happy when 
I learn about or read or see 
Black people who have gainful 
employment and are not stand- 
ing around on the corner not 
knowing what to do and being 
mixed up about racism and 
drugs. I think it's an enormous 
achievement for any Black per- 
son to get a toe-hold on the 
society, to get a job and to do 
the things necessary to hold 
that job and to perform and 
function at their best. How- 
ever, having said that, finally, 
one is only doing what every- 
body else is doing. Black peo- 
ple have a greater need; we 
have a greater responsibility to 
ourselves. I mean, what is that? 
We cannot afford to spend the 
majority of our time glued to 
some dumb television set with 
some beer in our hand. We 
have a bigger responsibility, 
which means to the extent 
that we have some free time, 
we got to use that free time to 
"move our stuff." You know, 
maybe it means "moving" on 
ourselves. Maybe it's learning 
something; it means learning 
how to do something. Do you 



know that in the national 
Black community that some- 
thing like 25% of the land we 
used to own in 1951 has been 
lost? Now, how many people 
who are reading this or your 
magazine (Drum) know the 
first f— ing thing about groviang 
their own coUard greens? 

DRUM - I didn't know that the land 
lost was quite so high. 

BATTEN - As the total land held by 
Black people gets smaller, the 
percentage of loss gets larger. 
Now, that's a mathematics 
truism. If you lose half an acre 
and you only have an acre, 
then you lost fifty percent of 
your land. 

DRUM - Are these the types of things 
that Black people getting into 
the mass media need to know 
about and inform others about 
to produce change? 

BATTEN - Well, I don't think it has 
to be that complicated, that 
comples or abstract. I think it 
could be simple. Let me ask a 
question, thetorically, to any- 
body, "How many of you read- 
ing this, read a bonified news- 
paper everyday? How many 
of you read a news magazine 
every week? How many of you 
bother to question the news, if 
you look at the news or tele- 
vision? How many people 
bother to question that serious- 
ly, and to really try to under- 
stand and to find out the 
answer." I'm not saying that 
it's got to be as complex as 
learning how to grow some 
collard greens. What I am say- 
ing is it has to be as comples 
as learning how to read and 
develop strategies for getting 
true information in a racist 
society and until we can do 
that, then hey, I think we're 
standing up in line waiting to 

be lynched volunteering 

for it. 

DRUM - I didn't mean it had to be as 
complicated as that. Maybe 
just as simple as "Each one 
teach one." If you have some 
knowledge about something, 
you just pass it on. 

BATTEN - I think that's a good idea, 
too. I think that's wonderful 



34 



slogan, "Each one teach one." 

DRUM - In a serious manner. 

BATTEN - Yeah, and it's serious. But 
I think a whole lot of people 
know that slogan and don't 
live by it. I think a lot of 
people know that slogan and 
don't have the where-with-all 
to be anything to anybody. So, 
when I said earlier that we are 
a race of poets, that is part of 
what I mean. There's a lot of 
poetic energy taking place in 
the barber shop, on the street 
corner, in the chruch. Those 
things are quite valuable and 
they go a long way into help- 
ing our community survive. 
But it's isolating and if the 
only way that we understand 
or can learn the weaknesses 
of our energy is by working 
in their kitchen, then I guess 
what I'm saying is we've got 
to develop other kinds of 
strategies so that we're not 
always bound to the kitchen. 
That's all I'm saying. 

DRUM - One of your documentaries 
seems to stand out - "Ain't 
Gonna Eat my Mind." What 
was it all about and could you 
describe it? 

BATTEN - "Ain't Gonna Eat My 
Mind" is a kind of statement, a 
slogan, that a lot of Hispanic 
gang kids used to use in the 
early 1960's, the late 1950's 
and the early 1960 's. They 
would look at a cop, they 
would look at a teacher, they 
would look at an authority 
figure, and they would reject 
the bullshit of that authority 
figure by saying, "You ain't 
gonna eat my mind— not with 
that." I used that, "Ain't 
Gonna Eat My Mind" as the 
title, a profile of one gang 
family in south Bronx and the 
program was in two protions. 
One portion was a half-hour 
filmed documentary, the other 
portion was a one hour studio 
confrontation between the 
leaders of this gang family 
from the United States, but 
was an English-speaking per- 
son. At a certain point in the 
program, when the argument 
was getting quite heated, this 



host looked at these guys, who 
were dressed in denim cut-off 
jackets with studs and what 
they call their "colors," looked 
at one of these guys and said, 
"I'm in costume for the same 
reason that you are in costume, 
I got my war costume on. Now 
I am presuming that you have 
your war costume on too, be- 
cause you msut know that 
there's a war out here on the 
streets." And he looked at this 
guy, who was dressed in a tur- 
tleneck sweater, sports coat 
and a very kind of collegiate 
dress and said, "But on second 
thought, you msut not know 
that there's war out here on 
the streets, because if you went 
to war in the street with the 
costume you got on, you 
wouldn't last a second! But 
what I want to say is that we 
both got our costumes on. I'm 
just wondering whether yours 
is as appropriate to your place 
as mine is to mine." When kids 
of that kind are able to muster 
those sorts of sensibilities and 
analyse society in the way that 
they did, I think that in a way 
"Ain't Gonna Eat My Mind" 
is as valid a poetic statement 
and as valid a proposition and 
as valid a kind of slogan to 
live by as "For God and 
Country." 

DRUM - That's almost like the slogan, 
"You bled my mama, you bled 
my papa,, but you're not gonna 
bleed me." 

BATTEN - Right. 

DRUM - Do you view yourself more as 
a producer, director or photo- 
grapher. Which one do you pre- 
fer, if any? 

BATTEN - I view myself essentially as 
a complete artist. I have to use 
different tools at my disposal. 
The tools I chose to use are 
tools which are made avialiable 
to me because I have some way 
of making money or earning a 
living by doing it. If I were to 
be as specific as I could be, I 
would have to avoid all of the 
words you just used and just 
say that I consider myself more 
as an author of films and tele- 
vision and radio shows because 



I write them, I produce them. 
DRUM - What is your favorite work? 
BATTEN - "The Robeson Profile," 

without a question. 

DRUM - Why is that? 

BATTEN - I think the finest thing an 
artist can do is to celebrate the 
finest person that the artist 
knows. And for me, I think I 
was very fortunate. I was very 
fortunate because since Robe- 
son had been excluded from 
American television, it was 
possible for me to give Black 
people, at least the ones 
generally glued to the televi- 
sion, the opportunity to check 
someone out who was a Black 
person that many of them had 
not known about. So, I felt 
doubly lucky. On the one 
hand, I was able to do a pro- 
gram the best way that I knew 
how to do, on someone I truly 
respected and who I thought 
is a profoundly important 
American. I was able to give 
this person to a lot of my 
brothers and sisters, if you will, 
as a gift, open handedly, with- 
out fear of contradiction and 
having to say, "Hey, he's some- 
body, what about this per- 
son?" Here is a Black American 
let's get with him for a minute. 
I can't think of anything finer 
to do. 

DRUM - Finally, what projects are you 
working on at the present 
time? 

BATTEN - One of the things that I'm 
obviously working on is the 
radio program which is broad- 
cast in your community 
(Amherst, MA) with diminish- 
ing frequency. I will say that 
it is a National Public Radio 
station and let the audience 
figure out what to do with 
that. Seroiously, I'm involved 
in an extended series, a 13 
hour series on Black American 
history from before the War 
of Independence to the present 
day. I'm also developing a 
docu-drama film of Frantz 
Fanon and another on Ruth 
Fulton Benidicter. 

DRUM - Thank you for sharing this 
time with us. 



35 




At 



It least twice a week, in the late 
afternoon, as the juniper trees around 
Tatem began sending out their cool 
elongated shadows, her great-aunt (who 
resembled the trees in her straight, 
large-boned mass and height) would 
take the field hat down from its nail 
on the door and solemnly place it 
over her headtie and braids. With 
equal ceremony she would then draw 
around her the two belts she and the 
other women her age in Tatem always 
put on when going out: one belt at the 
waist of their plain, long-skirted dress- 
es, and the other (this one worn in the 
belief that it gave them extra strength) 
strapped low around their hips like the 
belt for a sword or a gun holster. 

"Aveytara". 

There was never any need to call 
her, because Avey, keeping out of sight 
behind the old women, would have 
already followed suit, girding her non- 
existent hips with a second belt (an 
imaginary one) and placing— with the 
same studied ceremony— a smaller ver- 
sion of the field hat (which was real) 
on her head. To protect her legs from 
the scrub grass and bruch along the 
way she was made to wear wool stock- 
ings despite the heat and her high- 
topped school shoes from last winter, 
which her mother always sent along 
for her to finish out the summer in. 

Thus attired, they would set out, 
her great -aunt forging ahead in her dead 
husband's old brogans, which on her 
feet turned into seven-league boots, 
while Avey, to keep up, often had to 
play a silent game of "Take a Giant 
Step" with herself: "Avey Williams, 
you may take two giant steps." "May 
I?" 'Yes, you may." 

The first leg of their walk took them 
along the road which bordered the large 
wood belonging to their neighbor. 
Shad Dawson. The wood, dark even on 
the sunniest day because of the Spanish 
moss hanging in great silver-gray skeins 
form the oaks, was a place filled with 
every kind of ha'nt there was, accord- 
ing to the children she played with in 
Tatem. 

Once past the wood which Shad 
Dawson was to lose eventually to the 
white man in Beaufort whom he had 



entrusted to pay his taxes for him, 
came the one church in Tatem, set in 
a bare yard, a decrepit hsting clapboard 
structure that also served as the school. 
A cross and an open book painted on 
the front window marked its dual pur- 
pose. In its lopsided stance the church 
looked as if it had never recovered from 
the blow dealt its authority one evening 
long ago when Avey's great-aunt had 
raged out of its door never to return. 

The old woman (she had been young 
then) had been caught "crossing her 
feet" in a Ring Shout being held there 
and had been ordered out of the circle. 
But she had refused to leave, denying 
at first that she had been dancing, then 
claiming it had been the Spirit moving 
powerfully in her which had caused her 
to forget and cross her feet. She had 
even tried brazening it out: "Hadn't 
David danced before the Lord?" Final- 
ly, just as she was about to be ejected 
bodily, she had stormed out of the cir- 
cle and the church on her own. The ban 
had been only for the one night, but 
outraged, insisting still on her innocen- 
ce, she began staying away from the 
Ring Shouts altogether. After a time 
she even stopped attending regular 
church service as well. 

People in Tatem said she had made 
the Landing her religion after that. 

Some nights, though, when they 
held the Shouts she would go to stand, 
unreconciled but nostalgic, on the dark- 
ened road across from the church, tak- 
ing Avey with her if it was August. 
Through the open door the handful 
of elderly men and women still left, 
and who still held to the old ways, 
could be seen slowly circling the room 
in a loose ring. 

They were propelling themselves for- 
ward at a curious gliding shuffle which 
did not permit the soles of the heavy 
work shoes they had on to ever once lift 
from the floor. Only their heels rose 
and then fell with each step, striking 
the worn pineboard with a beat that was 
as precise and intricate as a drum's, 
and which, as the night wore on and the 
Shout became more animated, could be 
heard all over Tatem. 

They sang: "Who's that riding the 
chariot?/Well well well . . . ";used their 
hands as racing tambourines, slapped 
their knees and thighs and chest in daz- 



36 




BEING and BECOMING 



NELSON STEVENS 



37 



zling syncopated rhythm. They worked 
their shoulders; even succeeded at times 
in giving a mean 1*011 of their aged hips. 
They allowed their failing bodies every 
liberty, yet their feet never once left 
the floor or, worse, crossed each other 
in a dance step. 

Arms shot up, hands arched back 
like wings: "Got your life in my hands/ 
Well well well ..." Singing in quaver- 
ing atonal voices as they glided and 
stamped one behind the other within 
the larger circle of their shadows cast by 
the lamplight on the walls. Even when 
the Spirit took hold and their souls and 
writhing bodies seemed about to soar 
off into the night, their feet remained 
planted firm. I shall not be moved. 

It wasn't supposed to be dancing, 
yet to Avey, standing beside the old 
woman, it held something of the look, 
and it felt like dancing in her blood, 
so that under cover of the darkness she 
performed in place the little rhythmic 
trudge. She joined in the singing under 
her breath: "Got your life in my hands/ 
Well well well ..." 

With the church behind them on the 
walk, they came to the last few houses 
in the small settlement. There was the 
drab-gray, unpainted bungalow of 
"Doctor" Benitha Grant, which she 
had enlivened with a crepe myrtle 
bush— all red blossoms— at the door and 
a front yard bright and overflowing with 
samples of the herbs she used to treat 
the sick and ailing. During Avey's first 
summer in Tatem she had instantly 
stopped the pain and swelling of an in- 
sect bite on her arm with fennel picked 
fresh from the yard. 

Next along the road stood the frame 
dwelling belonging to Pharo Harris and 
his wife, Miss Celia. There not a single 
flower or herb or blade of grass was to 
be seen out front. Instead he and his 
wife had piled their dusty yard and the 
porch to the house with all the rusted 
washtubs, scrubboards and iron kettles 
from the years she had taken in washing 
and all the broken plows, pitchforks, 
hoes and the like from his sharecropping 
days. Pharo Harris had even dragged 
out the worn traces and reins from his 
mules who had died and flung them on 
the heap. All of it left there for anyone 
passing to see, while they— old and bent 
now— kept busy in their vegetable gard- 
en out back. A Tidewater gothic amid 
the turnip greens and squash. 

The two walking seldom saw the 



Harrises, but their neighbor, Mr. Golla 
Mack, whose greater age made them 
seem almost young, was always visible. 
The moment they rounded a bend in 
the road they would spot him. a short, 
thick-set old man with unseeing eyes 
the milky blue of a play marble, seated 
in 

monumental stillness on his tumble- 
down porch. Propped against his chair 
was one of the walking sticks he had 
been known for making before going 
blind, a snake carved up its length. 

In his stillness there on the porch, in 
the shadow cast by the overhand, Mr. 
Golla Mack scarcely seemed a living 
breathing man, ordinary flesh and 
blood, but a life-size likeness of himself 
fashioned out of some substance that 
was immune to time, the August heat 
and flies and the white folds in Beau- 
fort. 

"Miz Cuney, is that that little ol' 
sassy gal from New York I sees with 
you?" 

Mr. Golla Mack! They stopped to 
pay 

their respects on the way both to and 
from the Landing. 

His was the last house. Beyond it all 
resemblance of a road vanished, the 
trees and plant cover disappeared and 
the countryside opened into a vast 
denuded tract of land that had one, 
more than a century ago, been the lar- 
gest plantation of sea island cotton 
thereabouts. "War is cruelty and you 
cannot refine it": General WilUam 
Tecumseh Sherman on his march of 
blood and fire up from Atlanta. 
The huge field had fallen victim to the 
pillaging and had never been replanted. 

It took Avey and her great-aunt— the 
old woman never slackening her pace- 
over a half-hour of steady walking out 
under the sun just to cover one section 
of it. Almost the same amount of time 
was then spent picking their way down 
a rocky incline of high thistle grass 
and scrub that led to another ruined 
field at the bottom, this one a soggy, 
low-lying rich field that had been more 
recently abandoned. 

Here her great-aunt always put to 
practical use the second belt girding her 
hips. Stopping briefly she would draw 
the top of her skirt up over it until 
the cloth lay in a fold around her and 
her hem stood clear of the sodden 
ground. The next moment she was 
striking out across the rice field toward 



a small pine forest at its edge. 

The forest marked the final leg of 
their journey. Moving over the footpath 
the old woman knew by heart they were 
treated to the cool resinous smell of the 
pines, the soft, springy padding the 
needles formed underfoot, artd the salt 
drift from the nearby marshes. And 
soon, coming to meet them like an eager 
host through the trees, there could be 
heard the bright sound of the river that 
was their destination. And over it, 
farther off, the distant yet powerful 
voice of the sea. 

It was only a matter of minutes then 
before they were standing, the forest 
behind them and the river at their feet, 
on the long narrow spit of land, shaped 
like one of Mr. Golla Mack's walking 
sticks, which marked the point where 
the waters in and around Tatem met up 
with the open sea. On the maps of the 
country it was known as Ibo Landing. 
To people in Tatem it was simply the 
Landing. 

"It was here that they brought 'em. 
They taken 'em out of the boats right 
here where we's standing. Nobody 
remembers how many of 'em it was, 
but they was a good few 'cording to 
my gran' who was a little girl no bigger 
than you when it happened. The small 
boats was drawed up here and the ship 
they had just come from was out in the 
deep water. Great big ol' ship with sails. 
And the minute those Ibos was brought 
on shore they just stopped, my gran' 
said, and taken a look around. A good 
long look. Not saying a word. Just 
studying the place real good. Just taking 
their time and studying on it. 

And they seen things that day you 
and me don't have the power to see. 
'Cause those pure-bom Africans was 
peoples my gran' said could see in more 
ways than one. The kind can tell you 
'bout things happened long before they 
was born and things to come long after 
they's dead. Well, they seen everything 
that was to happen 'round here that 
day. The slavery time and the war my 
gran' always talked about, the 'mancipa- 
tion and everything after that right on 
up to the hard times today. Those Ibos 
didn't miss a thing. Even seen you and 
me standing here tailing about 'em. And 
when they got through sizing up the 
place real good and seen what was to 
come, they turned, my gran' said, and 
looked at the white folks what brought 
'em here. Took their time again and 



38 



gived them the same long hard look. 
Tell you the truth, I don't know how 
those white folks stood it. I know I 
wouldn't have wanted 'em looking at 
me that way. And when they got 
through studying 'em, when they knew 
just from looking at 'em how those 
folks was gonna do, do you know what 
the Ibos did? Do you . . . ?" 

"I do." (It wasn't meant for her to 
answer but she always did anyway.) 
"Want me to finish telling about 'em? 
I know the story as good as you." 
(Which was true. Back home after only 
her first summer in Tatem she had 
recounted the whole thing almost word 
for word to her three brothers, com- 
plete with the old woman's inflections 
and gestures.) 

"... They just turned, my gran' 
said, all of 'em—" she would have 
ignored the interruption as usual; 
wouldn't even have heard it over the 
voice that possessed heir- "and walked 
on back down to the edge of the river 
here. Every las' man, woman and chile. 
And they wasn't taking they time no 
more. They had seen what they had 
seen and those Ibos was stepping! And 
they didn't bother getting back into the 
small boats drawed up here— boats 
take too much time. They just kept 
walking right on out over the river. Now 
you wouldna thought they'd of got very 
far seeing as it was water they was 
walking on. Besides they had all that 
iron on 'em. Iron on they ankles and 
they wrists and fastened 'round they 
necks like a dog collar. 'Nuff iron to 
sink an army. And chains hooking up 
the iron. But chains didn't stop those 
Ibos none. Neither iron. The way my 
gran' tol' it (other folks in Tatem said 
it wasn't so and that she was crazy but 
she never paid 'em no mind) 'cording 
to her they just kept on walking like the 
water weis solid ground. Left the white 
folks standin' back here with they 
mouth hung open and they taken off 
down the river on foot. Stepping. And 
when they got to where the ship was 
they didn't so much as give it a look. 
Just walked on past it. Didn't want 
nothing to do with that ol' shop. They 
feets was gonna take 'em wherever they 
was going that day. And they was 
singing by then, so my gran' said. When 
they realized there wasn't nothing be- 
tween them and home but some water 
and that wasn't giving 'em no trouble 
they got so tickled they started in to 



singing. You could hear 'em clear across 
Tatem 'cording to her. They sounded 
like they was having such a good time 
my gran' declared she jsut picked her- 
self up and took off after 'em. In her 
mind was long gone with the Ibos . . ." 

She always paused here, giving the 
impression she was done. A moment 
later though would come a final coda, 
spoken with an amazed revemtial laugh: 
"Those Ibos! Just upped and walked on 
away not two minutes after getting 
here!" 

"But how come they didn't drown, 
Aunt Cuney?" 

She had been ten— that old!— and had 
been hearing the story for four summers 
straight before she had thought to ask. 

Slowly, standing on the consecrated 
ground, her height almost matching her 
shadow which the afternoon sun had 
drawn out over the water at their feet, 
her great-aunt had turned and regarded 
her in silence for the longest time. It 
was to take Avey years to forget the 
look on the face under the field hat, the 
disappointment and sadness there. If she 
could have reached up that day and 
snatched her question like a fly out of 
the air and swallowed it whole, she 
would have done so. And long after 
she had stopped going to Tatem and the 
old woman was dead, she was to catch 
herself flinching whenever she remem- 
bered the voice with the quietly danger- 
ous note that had issued finally from 
under the hat brim. 

"Did it say Jesus drowned when he 
went walking on the water in that Sun- 
day School book your momma always 
sends with you?" 

"No, ma'am." 

"I din' think so. You got any more 
questions?" 

She had shaken her head "no". 

And then three nights ago, in the 
dream, there the old woman had been 
after all those years, drawn up waiting 
for her on the road beside Shad Daw- 
son's wood of cedar and oak. Standing 
there unmarked by the grave in the field 
hat and the drawn with the double 
belts, beckoning to her with a hand that 
should have been fleshless bone by now: 
clappers to be played at a Juba. 

Did she really expect her to go walk- 
ing over to the Landing dressed as she 
was? In the new spring suit she had just 
put on to wear to the annual luncheon 
at the Statler given by Jerome Johnson's 
lodge? (He was outside the house this 



minute waiting for her in the car.) With 
her hat and gloves on? And her fur stole 
draped over her arm? Avey Johnson 
could have laughed, the idea was so rid- 
iculous. That obstacle course of scrub, 
rock and rough grass leading down from 
the cotton field would make quick work 
of her stockings, and the open-toed 
patent-leather pumps she was wearing 
for the first time would never survive 
that mud flat which had once been a 
rice field. Gaising down, she saw they 
were already filmed with dust just from 
her standing there. Her amusement 
began to give way to irritation. 

From a distance of perhaps thirty 
feet, the old woman continued to wave 
her forward, her gesture exhibiting a 
patience and restraint that was unlike 
her. And she was strangely silent stand- 
ing there framed by the moss-hung 
wood; her face unlike her body, had 
apparently not been able to oversee the 
grave. 

She kept up the patient summons; 
and from where she stood on the un- 
paved country road, Avey Johnson 
ignored it, getting more annoyed each 
time the hand beckoned. If she could 
have brought herself to it, she would 
have turned and walked away and left 
her standing there waving at the empty 
grave. But such disrespect was beyond 
her. She would stand her ground then! 
Refuse to take even a single step for- 
ward! To reassure this, she dug her shoe 
heels into the dirt and loose vines at her 
feet. A battle, she sensed, had been join- 
ed. 

They remained like this for the long- 
est time, until finally, the old woman, 
glancing anxiously at the declinging sun, 
abruptly changed her tactics. Her hand 
dropped and, reaching in with her arms, 
she began coaxing her forward, gently 
urging her, the way a mother would a 
one-year-old who hangs back from walk- 
ing on its own. 

It was behavior so opposed to the 
Aunt Cuney she had known, Avey 
Johnson stood there mystified, and then 
was all the more annoyed. She swung 
away her face, telling herself, hoping, 
that when she looked back, she would 
find that the old woman had given up 
and gone on the walk alone; or better 
yet had returned to her grave in Tatem's 
colored cemetery. But not only was the 
tall figure still there when she looked 
around again, the coaxing had become 
more impassioned. 



39 



DRUM PROFILE 

JOHN 
BIGGERS 




40 



Drum Salutes 



JESSE JACKSON 




NELSON STEVENS 



41 



JESSE'S 
RAINBOW 



by Brad Kaplan 



It has been two decades since the 
national Civil Rights revolution was 
launched by the Reverend Martin 
Luther King, Jr. His eloquent dream of 
racial unity and the palpable witness 
of a quarter of a million marches at 
the Lincoln Memorial are deeply etch- 
ed in our nations history. What was 
then a Civil Right movement has be- 
come a political movement, but the 
goal is still the same: an equal place 
for Black Americans. First as an aide 
to King, now as leader in his own 
right, Jesse Jackson has been part of 
part of both movements. King's legacy 
hangs over Jackson, as it does over the 
rest of the nation. 

What Martin Luther King, Jr. start- 
ed Jesse Jackson is carrying to new 
heights today. What King strove for 
was freedom from oppression, segrega- 
tion and hatred for his people. He did 
this through visible non-violent pro- 
test, and through this gained the 
sympathy and understanding of the 
majority of our nation. It was an 
achievement and symbol for peace 
unequalled in our time. Gone are the 
past realities of segregated bathrooms 
and busses, yet Black Americans are 
far from reaching the racial equality 
and brotherhood Dr. King strove for, 
and ultimately died for. Black America 
for the most part is no longer reject- 
ed yet in many ways it is far from 
accepted. Economic inequality still re- 
veals a strong under current of racism 
in society and our political structure. 
Whereas Dr. King got us over the wave 
we must still deal with a strong under- 
tow which threatens to bring us back 
out to sea. 

The civil rights movements of the 



60's were a triumph for Black America 
and a symbol to all unjust nations 
throughout the world; yet where does 
the black movement go from there. 
The answer is politics, and Jesse Jack- 
son had realized this for quite some 
time. Once segregation and other 
visible signs of inequality are abolish- 
ed, the next logical and crucial step is 
to gain political power to further the 
movement through legitimate legal 
networks. Once blacks gain political 
power they msut be listened to and 
reckoned with. 

Since the mid 1960's there has been 
a political awakening in Black America 
like no other time in U.S. history. Yet 
in terms of sheer numbers, this awak- 
ening has been extremely apathetic. It 
would seem that after MLK let Black 
America on the boat most of its popu- 
lation seems content to sit back and 
enjoy the ride;, doing nothing to better 
that ride for themselves and others. 
Yet into this scene comes an antagon- 
ist by the name of Ronald Reagan. 
President Reagan has inadvertently 
made a bad enemy of the black com- 
munity and in doing so has politically 
'reawakened Black America. This re- 
awakening is spurred in part by 
Reagan's domestic cuts and insensiti- 
vity to civil rights. "This administra- 
tion has mounted a counter revolu- 
tion," says Vernon Jordan. "They are 
not only stopping the clock, they are 
pushing it back." In the South where 
affirmative action and equal employ- 
ment have never been strong, the 
Regan cutbacks in civil rights enforce- 
ment have been devastating. Another 
largely overlooked factor in generating 
Black America is Reagan's unbridled 



escalation of the arms race which has 
infuriated countless activist groups and 
peace lovers. As is remembered in the 
1960's, the civil rights movement was 
the catalyst for all the other move- 
ments and these other factions don't 
forget their kinship with the black 
struggle. "Jesse Jackson's idea and 
Ronald Reagan's reality have commit- 
ted black people to the political pro- 
cess like we have never been commit- 
ted before," says Michael Tomax, 
chairman of the board of commission- 
ers in Fulton County, GA. 

So into this warming pot of black 
activism comes the reality of Jesse 
Jackson's campaign for the presidency 
of the United States. To stoke the 
flame, he is not the first. The first 
black to be considered by a major 
party for the presidency was the 
abolisionist Frederick Douglass, who 
received a single, complementary vote 
at the 1888 Republican Convention. 
In 1972, New York Congresswoman 
Shirly Chisholm entered the Demo- 
cratic race and in fourteen primaries 
picked up 28 delegates. Though both 
were very respectable efforts, they 
were premature in their goals. Now the 
time seems to be right. As Dick 
Gregory said to us in a recent inter- 
view. "Jesse Jackson's candidacy; it 
sounds good, it feels good, and its 
giving blacks a reason to get involved." 
Jackson is convinced that black people 
will not vote unless they have some- 
thing to vote for. A black candidacy 
does more than inspire black voters; it 
is also a way to increase black power 
at the lower levels of politics. "The 
more we talk, the more we convince 
people that the issue is not just the 



42 



White House (although this would be 
the greatest culmination of the effort) 
He says, "People really buy in at the 
level of supervisors and school board 
members. Victory here is not the 
leader getting across the finish line 
first. Victory is how many people you 
carry with you." It is obvious that 
Martin Luther King, Jr. carried one 
very important person with him. 

The most important goal of Jack- 
son's candidacy is in the registering of 
black voters. This was realized by 
MLK but its significance is being 
brought to the fore front by Jackson. 
Power lies in registration in registra- 
tion not in voting. A fine analogy is 
made by Dick Gregory, "If you had 
10 million dollars every body that got 
anything to sell is gonna be beatin a 
path to your door. Trying to sell you 
whatever they think you need. Jesse 
Jackson states, 'There's a freedom 
train a coming, but you got to be regis- 
tered to ride." 

In registering a huge black block of 
voters you gain leverage power. Those 
who seek positions of power will have 
to appease that block, and listen to its 
grievances. For too many years blacks 
haven't been a significant enough 
pKDlitical power, in terms of registra- 
tered numbers, to force any politician 
count their vote. Thus, the black 
community has been exploited by the 
mainly white, corporate source of 
minimum - wage labor on which cap- 
italizm thrives on. 

As Jackson has said, "When you 
run, the masses register and vote. 
When you run, you put your program 
on the front burner. If you run, you 
might lose. If you don't run, you're 
guaranteed to lose." Since Jackson's 
bid for the candidacy, blacks are regis- 
tering to vote and running for office 
in a groundswell of activism that 
promises to alter permanently the 
policital balance on local, state and 
national levels. The candidacy will 
significantly reshape the 1984 (and 
future) political landscape for the bet- 
ter and help the Democratic Party 
oust Ronald Reagan. It would firmly 
place a large block of uncommitted 
and/or non-existent voters on the 
Democratic door-step. If black voter 
participation increases by a 25% by 
the time of the general elections, 
Reagan could lose eight states he won 
in 1980 - Alabama, Arkansas, Massa- 



chusetts, Mississippi, New York, North 
Carolina, South Carolina and Tennes- 
see. In Alabama for example, where 
Reagan won by 17,462 votes, there 
were 272,390 unregistered blacks. In 
New York there are 900,000 unregis- 
tered blacks (55% of those eligible), 
more than five times as many as 
Reagan's 1980 margin of victory. 

What Jackson's Rainbow Coalition 
is doing is generating excitement; not 
only in the black community but in 
others out side of the power structure. 
Blacks, along with other minorities, 
women, laborers, peace activists, the 
white poor and very significantly the 
younger generation, are given a plat- 
form of peace, justice and equality 
they can relate to. 

In Alabama, Georgia and Florida, 
Jackson has had very successful show- 
ings in the polls largely due to the 
younger generation. In all three states, 
younger blacks and whites were Jack- 
son's most enthusiastic supporters. 
In Alabama he was backed by 67% of 
black voters aged 18-49, compared 
with 45% of the over 50 crowd. Young 
people today want a peaceful world 
to grow up in and raise a family in. 
Our generation is the first to ever have 
to deal with the aspect of a nuclear 
future. Never before in our history 
have we lived under the threat of 
worldwide destruction and this is the 
utmost concern of today's young. Jesse 
Jackson seems to be the most viable 
option to this madness. 

The excitement generated by Jack- 
son is bigger now in the black com- 
munity than it has. ever been. There is 
a new sense of hope. It is the ultimate 
embodiment of the American political 
ideal, and affirmation that every child 
of the nation - yes even a black one - 
can some day seek the presidency. 
Americans like to tell their children 
that if they work hard enough they 
can grow up to be President. "I have 
one proposition," says Richard Hatch- 
er, mayor of Gary Indiana, "either we 
ought to stop lying to our children 
or we ought to start believing it and 
doing the things necessary to make it 
come true." Jackson is the embodi- 
ment of the American dream, yet the 
color of his skin still turns the hair up 
on the back of the necks of white 
politicians. He has given the black 
community a new source of hope and 
pride. 



The excitement generated by Jack- 
son in recent years reflects, and con- 
tributes to, a resurgence of black poli- 
tical activism not seen since the 
1960's. He is inspiring (and in inspired 
by) other blacks who seek offices on 
their own; forcing white candidates 
as well as blacks to raise and consider 
issues that are important to minor- 
ities. "My running will stimulate thou- 
sands to run," he says. "If you can get 
your share of legislators, mayors, 
sherrifs, school-board members, tax 
accessors and dog catchers, you can 
live with who ever is in the White 
House. His goal is "parity", a fair 
share of elected offices for blacks. For 
years blacks were prohibited to use 
the ballot box, now they not only 
are able to use it. some are learning to 
play the game. In 1963 there were 
fewer than 50 black elected officials 
in the entire South. Now there 
are nearly 3,200 - more than the rest 
of the nation combined. Atlanta is 
a black - run city. Nearly every black 
belt county in Alabama has a black 
sherrif. And Mississippi has more 
black elected officials than any state. 
In 1982 the number of black state 
legislators increased by 35, to 355, 
the largest jump ever. In Boston, once 
a hotbed of racial tension, Melvin 
King, a black former state legislator 
became the first black to be on that 
city's final mayoral ballot. Yet Jack- 
son becomes bitter when other black 
leaders; those he feels are content to 
serve as "trustees of the ghetto," dis- 
miss him as opportunistic. "Part of our 
problem now is that some of our 
leaders do not seize opportunities," he 
says "I was trained by Martin to be an 
opportunist." 

In terms of delegates, Jackson does 
not figure to be much of a factor at 
the Democratic Convention. His in- 
fluence will come from his proven 
ability to rally black voters. Jackson 
has already stated that he will support 
only a nominee who shares his opposi- 
tion to run off elections, dual registra- 
tion and other measures he feels un- 
dermine the Voting Rights Act. If the 
nominee is agreeable, then Jackson 
will work to deliver voters onto the 
Democratic Party. "If the party is 
forthcoming, I'd put jet fuel in my 
butt," he promises "if it's not, I'd sit 
on it." 



43 



John A. Kendrick 

A SALUTE 



By Jeff Donaldson 



On May fifth of 1982, death came suddenly and quite unexpectedly to John 
A. Kendrick, a Virginia-born New York artist and Black collegian who was 
expected to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. in Art History this past 
spring. 

Kendrick was barely thirty years old and to Kim, his wife, and to his many 
friends, associates and a fast-growing coterie of art patrons his passing was 
profoundly lamentable. 

Yet, John had already achieved world class status in the Transafrican Art 
world during the short span of his brilliant career. Moreover, his art history 
research and insight reflect undeniable scholarly potential of the first rank. 



Street Corner Symphony, 42" x 60", mixed media 1975 




Street Encounter, 24" x 42", 
mixed media 1974 




44 




Prelude, 48 " x 60 ", mixed media 1976 





NT 



5-<' 




Transitions, 48" x 60", mixed media 1975 



H2O Ritual, 36" x 48", oil and acrylic 1977 



Wall Of Spiritual Aspirations 
(outdoor mural) 8' x 10', acrylic 1977 P 




Courtesy of BLACK COLLEGEAN MAGAZINE 



45 



The following contains excerpts from 
an interview with Ray Almeida, the 
Public Relations Officer from the 
Embassy of Cape Verde. 

Mr. Almeida came to the University 
of Massachusetts at Amherst on the 
weekend of December 3rd, 1983 to at- 
tend the Third World Student Leader- 
ship Conference, to address the local 
Cape Verdean student community, and 
to establish closer links between the 
Government of Cape Verde and the 
University of Massachusetts. 



An Interview with 

RAY ALMEIDA 



by Robert Treixeira 

•' DRUM - Mr. Almeida, during the 

first visit ever by a Cape Ver- 
dean head of state to the 
United States, Cape Verde's 
President Pereira met for several 
private sessions with the Reagan 
Administration. During Pereira's 
White House meeting with Rea- 
gan, what was the topic of dis- 
cussion? 
R.A. - There were several topics discus- 
sed. Certainly, among them was 
the general amicable nature of 
relations between our two na- 
tions. The Cape Verde and 
United States relations are des- 
cribed as normal, which is a 
diplomatic term which fits into a 
particular place in the spector of 
relations. There are normal rela- 
tions and there are friendly re- 
lations. President Pereira left the 
White House having felt the U.S. 
would continue its commitment 
to provide food and economic 
development assistance. How- 
ever, he did mention the tendecy 
for the decrease in the level of 
aid which the United States has 
been providing. For example, 
there is no correction for the in- 
flation factor in the level of aid 



46 



provided. So what looked like 
five million dollars seven years 
ago, in fact, comes down to con- 
siderably less. 

The two presidents also spoke 
about the role of Cape Verde's 
in attempts to find an interna- 
tional solution to the problems 
in South Africa. Pereira descri- 
bed the sentiments of the parties 
involved, in particular, the role 
of Namibian independence and 
the role of the front Angolan 
government and several other 
governments immediately before 
he came to the United States. 
He once again communicated to 
Angola and the other parties 
involved. Remember, Cape Ver- 
de has not been acting on behalf 
of the countries directly involve- 
ed. Cape Verde has been provid- 
ing its territory for face to face 
discussion in a safe environment 
where there is an opportunity 
for tight-lipped discussion. 

Cape Verde has very real inter- 
ests in this issue, not just be- 
cause she comes from a non- 
aligned place whose ideology 
says she wants to do every- 
thing she can do to resolve 
internationl tension and restore 
viable peace. Rather, because 
of our historical colonial con- 
nection with Angola, we have 
real interests. With the cessation 
of hostilities within Angola and 
her neighbors, Angola is going 
to turn its human and other 
resources to creating some great 
economic stuff for themselves. 
This "will only be to the benefit 
of Cape Verde. We have stong 
historical, political, cultural, and 
linguistic connections with 
Angola. Cape Verdeans have his- 
torically been employed in An- 
gola as part of a skilled labor 
force. Cape Verdean people 
should understand that this isn't 
just one highly regarded diplo- 
mat, head of state, that has 
access to a number of warring 
parties. But there is a very 
practical side. The Cape Verdean 
self-interest is very much in- 
volved. 

DRUM - What was President Pereira's 
reaction after his meeting with 
the Reagan Administration? Was 
he satisfied? 

R.A. - The senior level administrators. 



the President, Vice-President, 
and Assistant Secretary of State 
for African Affairs Crocker, 
spent several hours with him. 
Vice-President Bush lunched 
with him and President Reagan 
met with him for a half hour. 

This was an unofficial visit, 
a personal visit, and yet it was 
accorded this high level of im- 
portance. With the fact that 
President Pereira has been on the 
scene for a long time, before 
Cape Verdean Independence, 
and from the generation of 
Nkruma is quite interesting. 
President Pereira is satisfied with 
his visit with the Reagan Admin- 
istration because he accomplish- 
ed what he had hoped for. I 
think American officials would 
agree. 

DRUM - What kind of interest did the 
United States government ex- 
press in regards to developing 
closer relations with Cape Ver- 
de? Did the Administration ex- 
press any military interests? 

R.A. - My answer to the second ques- 
tion is no, not to my knowledge. 
Remember, Cape Verde is a non- 
aligned country. Now, the an- 
swer to the first question. 

The U.S. has been participating 
in aid programs for Cape Verde 
since Independence in 1975. 
Over a period of time, they have 
been developing a strategy where 
the U.S. effort is in agriculture 
and rural training projects. They 
have provided agricultural train- 
ing schlarships for Cape Verdean 
students. These scholarships pro- 
vided by the U.S. are, according 
to their A.I.D. agreedment, ad- 
ministered by the Cape Verdean 
government. 

There is some interest that 
these opportunities be expand- 
ed. For example, we talked a- 
bout providing additional com- 
mitments of com. Here, one of 
the things that needs to be ex- 
pressed is that in this case, poli- 
itics needs to be put aside. The 
bottom line is feeding the peo- 
ple. There is an incredible 
drought that is in its 16th year. 
There is going to be a total loss 
of harvest this year. We thought 
that Cape Verde would be able 
to produce about 3000 metric 
tons of corn and then that 



figure was revised downward. 
Now, it's clear that only 100 
metric tons of corn will be pro- 
duced in Cape Verde this year. 
Thus we will have to import 
somewhere between 96% to 
97% of what we have to eat. 
This is an incredibly devastating 
thing that's going to have a 
profound impact upon everyone, 
but in particular, the rural poor. 
The U.S. government has made a 
commitment to provide emer- 
gency assistance over and above 
the 1500 metric tons of corn 
which it planned to contribute 
every year, for the next 15 
years. There may also be as 
much as a million dollar increase 
in aid from them this year. This 
came about as a result of the 
worsening drought situation and 
from President Pereira's visit. 

DRUM - What kind of non-government 
private investment opportunities 
does the Cape Verdean govern- 
ment encourage? 

R.A. - 1 assume you are talking about in- 
vestments from private U.S. 
firms and not N.G.O.'s, Non 
Governmental Organizations like 
Oxfam America and the Uke. 
There is presently a private in- 
vestment and development code 
which is now in the process of 
being developed. Up until now, 
every private investment pro- 
posal has been dealt with on a 
project to project basis. The 
government has more than half 
of the ownership and some cases 
where there is no partnership at 
all. We have a hotel on the Island 
of Saul which is privately owned 
by some Belgians since before 
Independence in 1975. 

There is going to be expansion 
in this sector. It's going to be 
slow and deliberate. The doors 
are just not open for anyone to 
rush in with a fast buck making 
scheme because like everything 
else in Cape Verde, we want it to 
fit in with the overall frame- 
work of doing what will be best 
for the majority of people for 
the longest period of time. It 
has to have an empowering ef- 
fect. If it will create jobs, if it 
will impart some skills; it it will 
increase the hard currency that's 
available within the economy; if 
it will slowly enable our people 



47 




CAPE VERDE FISHERMAN 



DRUM - Would you encourage Cape 
Verdean Americans to come 

to particiapte in ownership. 
These are at least four criteria 
that must be looked at in any 
private investment scheme. If 
the people bringing money from 
the outside are just going to be 
preoccupied with repatration of 
thier capital as quickly as pos- 
sible, they should forget it. A 
hotel or a construction scheme 
for instance has to include some- 
thing that's going to belong to 
our folks. If just can't exist in 
order to create ditch digging 
jobs and waiting jobs for Cape 
Verdeans. Some how, it must 
teach Cape Verdeans how to 
manage and participate in own- 
ership, etc. 



RON BARBOZA 



back and invest in Cape Verde? 
R.A. - To a certian extent this is already 
going on, principly though, with 
the Cape Verdean communities 
in Europe. An invenstment pat- 
tern is just being developed 
there. There is no clear invest- 
ment pattern from the U.S. 
There have been a lot of inquir- 
ies from the U.S. Cape Verdean 
Community. However, with the 
enactment of Cape Verde's uni- 
form private investment code, 
we will start to see more Cape 
Verdean Americans investing 
their monies there. 

We have a future in fishery 
related stuff, in tourism, and a 
future in the service industry. 
Cape Verdeans have a lot of 
skills that are highly prized in 
the West African region. That's 



because Cape Verdeans have had 
much experience in dealing with 
outsiders. Also, another major 
area of investment may relate to 
our ports. We potentially have 
the deepest water port in West 
Africa. It must be developed, 
though. This will be a center- 
piece for development in the 
long run. 

DRUM - Besides the U.S., What other 
countries provide aid to Cape 
Verde? 

R.A. - There are many. We have some 
very old friends (some social 
countries) since the liberation 
movement that have continued 
to help Cape Verde in a much 
more structural and systematic 
way. Independence obviously 
created the opportunity for re- 
construction, which otherwise 
would have been impossible. 

We get significant support from 
countries like the Netherlands 
and Belgium. The Dutch provide 
us with more support than the 
U.S. does. Sweden and West 
Germany are also significant par- 
tners. Portugal, even with its de- 
vastated economy, provides us 
with a considerable amount of 
money which is dollar for dollar 
more than the U.S. 

The interests of the U.S. in 
Cape Verde are limited. We 
would like that support expand- 
ed. However, the U.S. has re- 
cognized Cape Verde ever since 
independence eight years ago, 
and has been involved in aid pro- 
grams ever since. 

Thus the U.S., Italy, France, 
Portugal, Canada, Belgium, Hol- 
land, Norway, Sweden, Den- 
mark, Switzeriand, West Ger- 
many, and others are involved 
in clear development projects in 
Cape Verde. Interestingly, we 
have immigrant communities in 
all these places, in particular in 
the U.S., where it is the largest. 

DRUM - Where are the Cape Verdean 
communities in the U.S.? 

R.A. - The U.S. has the oldest and lar- 
gest immigrant community in 
the world. The largest concentra- 
tion resides in the city of New 
Bedford. The largest community 
of new immigrants in the U.S. is 
in the Roxbury/Dorchester sec- 
tions of Boston. Pawtucket, 
Rhode Island is the next largest; 



48 




FIXING OUR NETS 



RON BARBOZA 



the greater Providence are being 
the second largest ethnic com- 
munity. In the Cape Verdean 
Islands, people do not make this 
distinction. All Cape Verdeans 
are considered Cape Verdean 
immigrants. Of course Ameri- 
cans do not make this distinc- 
tion because the U.S. has a rat- 
her unique way in how it deals 
with immigrants. Outside of 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 
there are Cape Verdean com- 
munities throughout Connecti- 
cut, in New York City, and a 
scattering throughout New York 
State. There are communities up 
and down the East Coast. There 
are small sets of Cape Verdean 
families throughout the middle 
parts of America. Cape Verdean 
families throughout the middle 
parts of America. Cape Verdean 
communities are growing all over 
California. There are large com- 
munities in Sacremento, Oak- 
land, San Francisco and San 
Diego. 



DRUM - You have already spoken of 
the interest that the Cape Ver- 
dean government has in the U.S., 
and its obvious interests with 
Cape Verdean Americans. What 
kind of interest does the Cape 
Verde government have with 
Cape Verdean students, especial- 
ly since UMass - Amherst has a 
rapidly growing record of Cape 
Verdean student recruitment? 

R.A. - The government and PAIGC (the 
political independence party of 
Cape Verde), believes in the 
power of young people, and 
their responsibility. We are a 
young country. Sixty percent of 
the people are under twenty 
years old. The government itself 
is only eight years old. Thus, 
every government program has 
to address issues relating to 
youth. There has to be youthful 
and creative solutions all issues 
in Cape Verde. We have only 
two high schools. There are a 
small number of elementary 



schools. We do not have a 
University. By the year 2000, 
there are going to be one and a 
half times more Cape Verdeans 
living in Cape Verde than there 
are now. 

American Cape Verdeans are 
by far the most well fed and 
generally, better educated peo- 
ple of Cape Verdean orign on 
the planet. They have access 
to some of the finest education- 
al, cultural, and technological 
institutions in the world. 

Cape Verde would really like 
to look at what opportunities 
might exist for creating some 
institutional contacts between 
various emerging institutions and 
organizations in Cape Verde, and 
similar institutions here where 
Cape Verdeans are involved. 
There are about twenty students 
that have gone through or are 
completing various technical 
programs dealt with arid rural 
area agricultural farming. These 
students have come back having 



49 



fully learned English and with a 
set of skills which they have 
acquired in this American insti- 
tution. 

We are just now understanding 
what the potential might be for 
a more systematic hook up bet- 
ween the Ministry of Rural 
Development and other agencies 
in Cape Verde and this Univer- 
sity. New England is a sea coast 
region; it has the resources in 
oceanography. It is also an area 
of high tech. 

Cape Verde is trying to plug 
into modern international tele- 
communications networks as 
well as trying to develop thier 
inter - island communications. 
There are other interests. Cape 
Verdean students in the Univer- 
sities they attend are generally 
involved with the larger com- 
munities of color and Third 
world' student organizatons. 
Most of these organizations have 
a progressive rhetoric that talks 
about identifying with the pro- 
gress of peoples of color where- 
ever they may be. Our students 
tend to understand that we can 
never be totally free as long as 
some of us are in chains, are 
hungry, or continue to get 
raped and pilaged elsewhere on 
the planet. 

We see in Cape Verde a micro- 
cosm of all the issues that plague 
the Thirld World; issues of col- 
onial inheritance, transportation 
problems, inequitable distribu- 
tion of wealth, and many more. 
And because Cape Verde is so 
small, a student after analyz- 
ing the way Cape Verdeans con- 
struct their world, can make a 
very real contibution to the 
people of Cape Verde. The 
slightest consistent input will 
have very real results. For 
example, there is a real future 
for responsible Cape Verdean 
students who learn to use the 
American political process to in- 
fluence the level, the quality 
and the quantity of support 
that the U.S. government gives 
to Africa. There really is not 
much of an African lobby in 
this country. 

We also are interested in creat- 
ing a vehicle to organize Univer- 
sity students to come to Cape 



Verde on a scholarly or solidar 
ity visit. This is very practical 
because there are some Cape 
Verdean students who have re- 
turned and immediately ended 
up working as administrators for 
various government departments 
For example, there is a Food 
Science and Nutrition major 
from this institution who is an 
administrator for a science lab- 
oratory. 

We welcome any inquires about 
student returning to Cape Verde 
in order to work and help the 
people of Cape Verde. 
DRUM - Thank you Ray Almeida 

ARISTIDES 
PEREIDA 

BY ROBERT TEIXEIRA 

On September 28th, 1983 in honor 
of the first visit by a Cape Verdean Pre- 
sident to the United States since the 
Cape Verde Islands gained independence 
in 1975, a reception was held at the 
Massachusetts Insitute of Technology at 
Cambridge. 

Aristides Pereira, President of the 
Republic of Cape Verde (Cape Verde 
Islands), in what was labled as a "pre- 
sidential address" to the greater Boston 
community, said, "I am overwhelmed 
by the presence of so many Cape Ver- 
deans here ... I feel right at home". 

Pereira came to the United States 
on an eleven day visit. His goals were 
to establish closer links with the tightly 
knit U.S. Cape Verdean community, 
develop friendlier relations with the 
U.S. government, and to address the 
United Nations General Assembly in his 
capacity as current president of the 
Interstate Committee for Drought 
Control in the Sahel (CILSS). He visited 
a number of Cape Verdean communit- 
ies, met with the World Bank president. 
President Reagan and Vice-President 
Bush, and of course, addressed the U.N. 

In his address Pereira spoke of the 
need to open more channels of com- 
munication and exhange between the 
two countries. He siad, "Cape Verdean 
Americans don't need an invitation to 
visit their people in the islands". He said 
that such visits and the establishment 
of small scale business investments will 
help develop "closer links that will 



benefit our two nations". "We encour- 
age the building of private, voluntary, 
non-governmental insitutional net- 
works". 

On foreign policy, Pereira repeated 
his country's stand on non-alignment. 
"Our foreign policy follows a strict 
policy of non-alignment and mutual 
cooperation and respect among na- 
tions." He pointed out that his country 
was the host country for negotiations 
concerning South African aggression 
between apartheid South Africa and 
Angola. 

At a reception following the address, 
a member of the Cape Verdean Embassy 
staff approached a group of UMass 
Amherst Cape Verdean students who 
had come between the Embassy and 
Cape Verdean students in the U.S. 
Many students took the offer to heart. 
One student replied, "to make these 
types of official contacts with my 
homeland can only strengthen Cape 
Verdean culture and unity here in 
the U.S." 

The Cape Verde Islands are located 
approximately 300 miles off the coast 
of Senegal, West Africa. In 1462 the 
Portugese arrived and formed Europe's 
first African colony. Subsequently, it 
became a center for the Atlantic slave 
trade. Through time, the Portuguese 
began to intermarry with the African 
slave population, creating the so-called 
Creole ethnicity, the dominant ethnic 
group in the Cape Verde Islands today. 
Cape Verde's population is now 
300,000. 

In the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries, many Cape Verdeans emigrat- 
ed into Southeastern Massachusetts, in 
particular the New Bedford area, to 
work as indentured servants on whaling 
and fishing expeditions. They also 
emigrated to places like Senegal, Hol- 
land, and Brazil to escape harsh drought 
and economic conditions imposed upon 
them by 500 years of Portuguese colon- 
ial rule. 

Pereira thanked the Cape Verdean 
American community for their "over- 
whelming support" for the aid given to 
the hurricane-stricken island of Brava. 
"The people of Brava thank all of you 
for your support." 

Lastly, Pereira challenged Cape Ver- 
dean Americans to become more poli- 
tically active. He said that if more 
Cape Verdean Americans become more 
politically active and visible, it will 
create a climate for more "positive 
realtions between our two countries." 



50 




by Schyleen Quails 





DRUM - What should we talk about, 
your work as writer, director, 
producer, educator . . .? 

PCH - How about life and death . . .? 

DRUM - Anybody I know . . .? 

PCH - The Race, its in trouble you 
know. 

DRUM - But, we are surviving. 

PCH - Sure, but I'm not always sure 
that we're living. 

DRUM - In terms of Reagonomics . . .? 

PCH - Socially and culturally too . . . 
Sometimes I get the feeling that 
we are losing the good fight to 
establish a sense of ethnic ex- 
cellece that is not circumscribed 
by White America. We are, after 
all, 30 million people, are we 
not? 

DRUM - And growing . . . Our people 
are closer now than ever before. 
People wanna be close, you 
know, be family. 

PCH - Yeah, but is the family really 
happy? Until recently, perhaps 
until the infiltration of Am- 
erican values into the family, I 
had never heard the word suicide 



uttered from the mouths of 
Black people. We seem to be 
caught up in the self-destruct 
insinuations of Acid Rock and 
Heavy Metal. 

DRUM - I think Black life is still being 
sustained by vigorous and resili- 
ent social rituals, those con- 
nected to an African sense of 
morality. Folks still have a 
strong consciousness of racial 
objectives. 

PCH - Then along comes a Milton Cole- 
man to profane the honest aspir- 
ations of the Race. He spit in 
the face of Black identity in 
order to secure his self-interests. 

DRUM - I guess Coleman felt he was 
morally correct to scream on 
Jesse, and as a journalist. Profes- 
sionally ethical. 

PCH - But in these critical times of 
struggle for survival, one's moral 
judgement must necessarily be 
selective. Machiavellian and ac- 
countable to the objectives of 
the Race. After all, the social 
ritual known as American Poli- 



tics has always served special 
interest groups. It's a corrupt, 
patronage game which manipu- 
lates people through artificial, 
even fraudulent devices of per- 
suasion rather than being a 
moral mandate. The best man 
does not necessarily win, and 
Coleman knows that. He opted 
for the side that butters his 
bread rather than the side that 
nurtures and potentially sustains 
his spirit. Ethics is a commend- 
able virtue. But, I don't believe 
that Black folks can afford to 
be blind liberals. Independence 
of thought and action is a luxury 
not a given right, for an oppres- 
sed people, though we're sup- 
posed to accept the illusion that 
we live in the Land of the Free, 
knowing very well it's more like 
the Home of the Brave. It takes 
courage to be one of the oppres- 
sed in a land with so much op- 
pulence. There are many social 
rituals within the Race that 
border on parochialism and 



51 




ARLENE TURNER CRAWFORD 




ROBIN CHANDLER SMITH 



52 



thereby seem restrictive to those 
members of the Race who've 
developed a more sophisticated 
posture, one that allows them to 
be designated a social status 
outside the often arbitrary 
sociogrammatic indicators of 
economic oppresion. I recall be- 
ing invited to a friend's parents' 
home for Thanksgiving dinner. 
Thanksgiving doesn't mean any- 
thing to me except a good meal. 
So, in preparation for the 
feast, I dressed in jeans, sweater 
and sneaker much to the con- 
sternation of the sister accom- 
panying me. She said, "You 
can't go to your friend's parents' 
house dressed like that." A pro- 
per jacket and tie would be nec- 
essary for the occasion. I had 
forgotten that my casual de- 
meanor was way out of line for 
a formal eating ritual in the 
home of elders. I didn't care 
much for my independence be- 
ing abridged, but elders adhere 
to a strict code of behavior 
which should not be violated. 

DRUM - You felt restricted? 

PCH - I felt a certain restraint but 
restraint, self-imposed or other- 
wise, is often necessary when 
one lives in a socially chaotic 
environment. Restraint, when 
appropriately focused, gives one 
a sense of discipline, a way to 
negotiate moments of euphoria 
and depression. Too much free- 
dom often leads to self-destruc- 
tion. Americans strive for fame 
and fortune which is supposed 
to provide one the ultimate in 
personal liberation. Fame and 
fortune were not able to insulate 
Teddy Pendergrass and Marvin 
Gaye from the deceits of free- 
dom. Very few of us are able to 
survive the kind of freedom that 
separates us from the traditional 
values that corresponds to our 
culturally conceived sense of 
right and wrong. Such values 
may seem archaic and confining 
when we aspire towards stand- 
ards of conformity outside the 
social ritual of the Race. 

DRUM - You're saying, freedom must 
be earned and not simply de- 
sired? 

PCH - I'm saying that freedom is a 



great responsibility and should 
not be abused. We do abuse it 
when our actions are indifferent 
to our lack the support of social 
and cultural objectives that de- 
fine our circumstances here in 
the Home of the Brave. For ex- 
ample, if I'm teaching a course 
that requires a student to possess 
certain basic skills in order for 
him to benefit fully from the 
lesson, and a student can rap 
but cannot read, would it be 
unfair of me to deny him access 
to the experience? That's some- 
thing of a moral dilemma. Sup- 
pose I accept the student when 
he is not prepared for the exper- 
ience and he fails. Clearly, I 
have done him a great disservice. 
If I don't accept the brother or 
sister, it appears to be rejection, 
as opposed to a prudent selec- 
tion process which signals that 
all experiences are not good for 
all people. That might sound like 
elitism but the process of sur- 
vival does not mean that every- 
body must perform the same 
tasks in order to make a mean- 
ingful contribution to the Race, 
certainly not for the sake of 
sentimentality or some kind of 
quasi-egalitarian posture of fair- 
ness. The notion that everyone 
must have a college degree, is 
a hoax perpetuated on the mid- 
dle-class. We also need farmers, 
fishermen, electricians, carpen- 
ters, even surrogate mothers for 
Day Care centers. In order to 
overcome oppression, there are 
many hard questions a people 
in struggle must ask themselves, 
many difficult choices they must 
make. In the Afro-American 
Folk Culture class I taught at 
Smith College, a young woman 
from Italy was the only student 
to closely inspect the choice of 
freedom the slaves had in the 
film, "The Autobiography of 
Miss Jane Pittman." She surmis- 
ed that the brutal masters had 
instilled an emotional antagon- 
ism in the slaves which made 
their desire for freedom clear 
cut. Conversely, the benevolent 
masters instilled in the slaves an 
ambivalence toward freedom, 
a certain sense of security. 



causing many of them to opt 
for staying on the plantation in 
the protective custody of the 
master. Even today, paternalistic 
affiliation continues to be the 
emotional preference for many 
Blacks who view America as the 
only possible haven in the world, 
as if freedom could not be 
realized beyond these frontiers. 
I mean, leaving this plantation 
with its 25 inch color T. V.'s, 
quadro-phonic stereos. General 
Motors cars, its six-packs of 
Miller's Lite and ample supply of 
Extra-Strength Tylenol for some 
place like Africa, is a terrifying 
thought for most Blacks. 
DRUM - True, Paul, but there was 
something else about "Jane Pit- 
tman" that I found interesting. 
She was portrayed as the Eternal 
Mother preoccupied with pro- 
tecting the males in her life. 
Black mothers and their sons 
have traditionally has a special 
relationship, but don't you think 
that the protrayal of Black 
women as great matriarchs is a 
bit misleading? 

PCH - Great books, particularly those 
dealing with the Black experi- 
ence, are always misleading 
when translated into popular 
television films. Jane Pittman 
was an archetypal reflection of 
traditional relationships between 
men and women. Men are 
designated to organize society. 
Women are powerful sources of 
spirituality. Jane Pittman as- 
sumed a protective posture over 
the men in her life because they 
had the potential to erect a 
society following slavery. Rem- 
ber, it was always the males in 
her life who were assaulted as 
she made her way through a 
century of struggle. Even in 
Hansberry's play, "Raisin in 
the Sun", you find the mother 
running the household through 
the omnipresent spirit of the 
father. Thus, when she finally 
decides to give the coveted in- 
surance money over to her 
formerly indolent son, it be- 
comes a reflection of her man- 
date to make the man-child a 
responsible leader the family. 



53 



DRUM - Harriet Tubman was also a 
leader, though if you've seen the 
Tee Vee film, you'd think she 
was some kind of Amazon by 
the way she bullied men. 

PCH - Harriet Tubman wouldn't have 
had to knock a man down. Men 
followed her because of her 
strength of spirit. They trusted 
her and they survived. Black 
women have never been power- 
less and Black men know it. 

DRUM - Black women need to feel 
secure within the strengths of 
men. We've gotta find a balance 
so everybody is protected. Men 
have got to start asserting them- 
selves and not just laying-in-the- 
cut, because whatever under- 
mines Black women. 

PCH - You wouldn't deny that women 
are powerful? 

DRUM - Of course not! Women see the 
power in women too. 

PCH - My aunt, Gladyce De Jesus was 
such a woman. She had a parti- 
cularly compelling influence on 
young women like Ester Phillips 
when she was Little Ester, Dee 
Dee Bridgewater, Yolanda 
King, yourself . . . 

DRUM - Gladyce had a magical aura. 

PCH - She v/as my heroine. As a child, 
I found it quite remarkable that 
she could earn a living compos- 
ing songs. Her career spanned 
fifty years. She had some hits, 
some misses and many songs 
that were simply ripped off by 
white artists for popular con- 
sumption for which she did not 
receive proper royalties. What 
impressed me was her inspired 
commitment to her work. Her 
efforts made it seem reasonable 
for me to consider taking the 
risk of working in the arts 
rather than becoming a doctor, 
lawyer, Indian chief. In those 
early days. Blacks were discour- 
aged from pursuing careers in 
the arts. The lady was a pioneer 
composer of Black popular 
music. Although she never be- 
came rich, she never suffered 
from poverty or pessimism. But 
neither the Race nor I could 
protect her gift because we did 
not, and still don't, control the 
apparatus of distribution and 
marketing of the product. Not 



having control over any Black 
artist's fifty years of creation 
has severe consequences on the 
articulation and definition of the 
culture. Without control, the 
culture is vulnerable to eccen- 
tric or exotic packaging. 

DRUM - Would you call Michael Jack- 
son an industry creation, some 
kind of cliche on the sexually 
ambivalent, sweet, pretty Black 
man which makes his image 
accessible to both males and fe- 
males? 

PCH - Michael Jackson, however gifted, 
is a neuter personality. With all 
the money he has earned, there 
is no reason for him to be an- 
drogenous. If he's not careful, 
the industry is gonna package 
him as a hologram and the real 
Michael Jackson will never 
stand up for applause in public. 

DRUM - In agreement with Minister 
Farakhan, I believe that Michael 
is being used by the industry as 
a vehicle for the public's sexual 
fantasies. 

PCH - But we're talking abot an enter- 
tainer. It's becoming increasingly 
difficult for me to depend on 
entertainers to be accountable to 
the collective objectives of Black 
people. They are a temporary 
relief from the anxieties of a 
chaotic world. How can you 
take them seriously when they 
seldom deliver enlightened ex- 
pressions of Black culture? What 
is a Grammy award but a cele- 
bration of American popular 
culture? When Black culture is 
absorbed by pop culture, it loses 
its vital essence, its ability to 
enlighted. Unfortunately, many 
Blacks find pop culture more 
appealing, in fact more legiti- 
mate than Black culture. They 
don't find it peculiar that Chuck 
Berry, a true enough "blues 
man", must wear the mantle of 
Father of Rock 'n Roll in order 
to be authenticated. White 
youths, for some reason, take 
the blues tradition seriously. 
Very few young Blacks pay at- 
tention to blues, or even the 
tradition of so-called jazz. One 
should not be surprised when 
Chuck Berry is joined on the 
stage at the Grammy Awards 



with two white youths who 
emulate his style of guitar play- 
ing and dancing with utter 
devotion and reasonable skill. 
So, we have Chuck Berry, a 
traditional blues man, designated 
the Father of Rock 'n Roll, 
passing on the tradition to the 
children of the American pop- 
ular culture. 

DRUM - But as the tradition becomes 
popularized, we're already 
moving on to some place else, 
the problem is, wherever we 
move, there's no money to sup- 
port what we do. Yet whites can 
get into it and make money. It's 
very hard for us to sustain our- 
selves commercially within the 
tradition. 

PCH - But if we don't, the tradition will 
no longer belong to us. For ex- 
ample, during the same Grammy 
ceremony, the Gospel category 
was won by a white man who 
sang like Ray Charies. Then a 
sub-category was presented cal- 
led Soul Gospel. What the hell is 
Soul Gospel if it isn't Gospel? 
The winner was a Black woman 
who at best was rather pedes- 
trian. Accepting an award for a 
sub-category relegates our sacred 
music to a sub-cultural status. 
We need to drop the word Soul 
from our lexicon anyway. It has 
been over-used and popularized 
to the point of robbing it of its 
resonance. The word has become 
merely a descriptive tool of 
sociologists to designate racial 
traits. If an experience is created 
from the spiritual ethos of Black 
culture, then Soul is simply a 
redundant expression, even mis- 
leading. 

DRUM - What do you feel about Miss 
Black America vs. Miss America? 

PCH - What's the point in the designa- 
tion "Miss Black America" if the 
lady wants to be authenticated 
for standards of beauty found in 
Miss America? I've never heard 
of Miss Jewish America or Miss 
Chinese America. If Blacks are 
seeking some kind of unique 
definition of beauty, why not 
call the standard Miss Thang? 
All Blacks can relate to the 
nuances of a Miss Thang! 

DRUM - We tend to be what we're 



54 



programmed to be in American 
culture though we seldom re- 
ceive any of the true benefits of 
it. 
PCH - As long as we have a paternalistic 
dependence on America to ad- 
vance our economic interests or 
to perpetuate Black culture, 
we're in trouble. I think we need 
to establish a posture of industri- 
alization, develop our own pro- 
ducts and take advantage of our 
vast market. Blacks control more 
money than many small nations 
but invariably, we invest in 
creature comforts, not self-sup- 
porting industries. Perhaps it 
has something to do with Blacks 
never viewing themselves as im- 
migrants. All other people in 
this country view themselves as 
immigrants in the land of pro- 
mise and do whatever is neces- 
sary to exploit the wealth with 
independent initiative rather 
than depend on the paternalistic 
largess or moral imperatives of 
the Great White Father. 
Garvey understood the impor- 
tance of self-industrialization 
just as the newly arrived Cubans 
and Vietnamese understand it 
today. It's interesting that when 
the West Indians arrived back in 
the Twenties, they were vlllified 
and disdained by many Ameri- 
can Blacks because of thier ag- 
gressive efforts to secure a sense 
of economic independence. 
They had put a premium on edu- 
cation and developing small busi- 
nesses even if it meant doing 
menial jobs at first to accumu- 
late the necessary capital to at- 
tain their collective objectives. 
Seems to me we should be doing 
more than pleasure-fishing off 
the coast of South Carolina. We 
should be developing an inter- 
national export industry of cat- 
fish, for example. All it takes is 
a marketing scheme similar to 
the one that has people believing 
that sardines from Portugal are 
more tasty than sardines from 
any other part of the Atlantic. 
I'm sure there must be enough 
used tires scattered around as 
debris in the inner cities to be 
harvested for the beginnings of 
a rubber vulcanization factory. 



The opportunities for industrial- 
ization are all around but we 
seldom take advantage of them. 

DRUM - That's probably because 
America tricks Blacks into bel- 
ieving that they should aspire 
towards jobs that will pay us 
$30,000 per year rather than 
$300,000. 

PCH - Our aspirations are often limited 
by the expectations of main- 
stream culture. In the arts, it is 
not uncommon for a writer, 
actor, painter, or humorist to be 
applauded at his lowest level of 
development simply because of 




his accessibility to the popular 
culture. 

DRUM - Maybe there are just too many 
of us out there trying to make 
it in a television and film indus- 
try that Umits our images to 
"One More Time", "Gimmie 
A Break", and "The Jeffersons". 
There's a lot of talent out there 
with no place to go. 

PCH - A few years ago, after a lecture at 
Stanford University, I had lunch 
with a group of very bright 
Black students who were vitally 
concerned with and active parti- 
cipants in the performing arts 
despite the fact that they were 
studying more traditional aca- 
demic disciplines. They wanted 
to know when Hollywood was 
going to give them more realistic 
images of themselves (Blacks). I 
replied, "When you. Doctor, 



Lawyer, Indian Chief are ready 
to purchase some prime time!" 
The notion brought a hush over 
the table. It had not occurred to 
them that it was their respon- 
sibility, and not the industry's, 
to celebrate their reality. Pro- 
fessional Blacks must begin to 
prioritize how they spend their 
money so as to become a viable 
resource to support, sustain, and 
perpetuate the culture. Given 
the vast market, we need to de- 
velop a systematic approach to 
tapping into the market, a mar- 
keting strategy for a cultural in- 
fra-structure which is not vulner- 
able to the capriciousness of the 
American popular culture. For 
the past few years, I've discon- 
tinued talking about aesthetics 
and given my attention to the 
development of a national net- 
work for the marketing and 
dissemination of Black perform- 
ing and visual arts. What's the 
point in making claims to a uni- 
que cultural aesthetic if there is 
only a limited forum for the pro- 
duct? We have spent the last 
twenty years developing an 
extraordinary pool of artistical 
talent - writers, directors, pain- 
ters, film-makers, dancers. The 
next ten or fifteen years needs 
to be devoted to developing a 
systematic apparatus for the 
dissemination of the products 
throughout the Black Worid. 
What's the point in encouraging 
students to become professional 
artists while we remain trapped 
by the biases of popular cul- 
ture? 

DRUM - You sound fed up with it all, 
Paul. 

PCH - 1 am! 

DRUM - You've made a major contri- 
bution to the performing arts 
over the years. If you had it 
to do all over again, would 
you do something other than 
write, direct, produce? 

PCH - I wouldn't change a thing. 
Right now, I'd like to do what I 
do differently. A change does 
not simply come. You've gotta 
create the changes while you're 
playing the tune! 

DRUM - Thank you Paul Carter Har- 
rison. 



55 



A DISCUSSION W 
REV, ROBIN L, HARDEN 




Robin L. Harden accepted the position 
of Protestant Cliaplin at the University 
of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 
of 1983. Rev. Harden is an ordained 
minister of the American Baptist 
Churches of Massachusetts. She gradu- 
ated in 1983 from Harvard Divinity 
School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 
She did her undergraduate work at 
Hamilton College in Clinton, New York 
where she majored in anthropology. 
At Harvard, Rev. Harden was an assist- 
ant minister at the Grant A.M.E. Church 
in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She also 
participated in a ministerial internship 
at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Wash- 
ington, D.C. 



DRUM - Why did you choose ministry 
as a profession? 

ROBIN -Ministry is a unique profession 
particularly when women 
become ordained ministers. 
Ministry chose me; I didn't 
choose it. If you had asked me 
several years ago what career 
I wanted to pursue, I would have 
said education, law, or medicine. 
The decision to go into ministry 
came out of a period of fasting 
and prayer for me. I don't see 
it so much as a career but as 
one of the many expressions of 
my relationship with God. 



DRUM - Why did you choose the job 
at the University of Mass. and 
how do you feel about it? 

ROBIN - Again, I see it as an ongoing 
relationship with God. When I 
heard about the job, things 
started to click in a positive 
way. For one thing, I was famil- 
iar with academic structures. 
Secondly, the people to whom 
I would be called to minister 
would be primarily students 
whom I felt I would have 
enough distance from to serve 
as a pastor and big sister. There 
is a healthy kind of distance 
and a special kind of closeness, 
I'm close enough in terms of my 
education to pretty much know 
what they may be going 
through. 

DRUM - What recommendations would 
you give to other Black women 
going into ordained ministry. 

ROBIN - My advice to anyone who is 
thinking about the ordained 
minsitry is to be certain it is 
what you want. Don't do it as 
a career choice. Do it because 
you have received a calling; 
there is a radical difference 
between the two. I don't think 
one can make the decision to go 
into ministry arbitrarily. Be cer- 
tain it is a gut conviction. For 



Black women in particular, in 
weighing the factors of sexism 
and racism, you really have to be 
certain of your calling and also 
be aware of the price you are 
going to pay. It is going to affect 
every aspect of your life. And by 
virtue of being Black and a 
woman, you are going to be a 
rarity. I have heard a woman 
preach and they have had 
biased opinions. After one of my 
preaching engagements, a man 
approached me and said, "I now 
believe women are called to 
preach, that was a really good 
sermon." But if you turn the 
compliment around you will see 
that the sermon had been bad, 
he would have been convinced 
that women had no business in 
the minsitry. Now if a male 
preacher gives a bad sermon, 
nobody would cast all men out 
of the ministry. We are under 
constant scrutiny, more so than 
male preachers. 

DRUM - What are your reactions to the 
legalities of the separation of 
churches and how does it affect 
your minstry? 

ROBIN -Historically, I can see why the 
separation exists. If we consider 
the exodus of the founding 
fathers from Europe, and their 



56 



quest for religious freedom, we 
can understand their establishing 
a new government in a new 
country and how they felt a 
need to safeguard their freedom 
of religious expression by setting 
up leaglities to insure that the 
government or no government 
official is inhibiting thier right to 
worship. I think by virtue of 
being a minister at a state in- 
stitution, I have freedom. Had I 
been employed by the Univer- 
sity, I would not have the same 
freedom. This freedom is parti- 
cularly helpful when it comes to 
sticky issues. I can't be threaten- 
ed or fired by the University 
because I am not employed by 
the university to begin with. 
It assures ministers a certain 
kind of freedom so that we can 
stand up for what we believe in. 
In a theological context, it al- 
lows us to remain as protection 
for and against the institution 
when we see injustices. 

DRUM - What is the importance of 
Black Theology? 

ROBIN - Black theology developed as 
the theological aim of the Black 
Power movement in the 1960's. 
I feel that it is a good theology 
in terms of upholding Blackness. 
It doesn't present to us namby- 
pamby, weak-kneed, blond- 
haired, blue-eyed Jesus. Instead 
it presents a Jesus who was 
strong.; a Jesus who was and is 
acquainted with the sufferings 
of Black people; who serves as 
our liberator; who stands against 
injustice and impression and a 
Jesus who considers us his own 
by virtue of having shared our 
oppression and having endured. 
Black Theology upholds that 
Jesus was Black, not in terms of 
pigmentation, but Black in terms 
of his own consciousness, having 
been descendents of slaves, hav- 
ing been part of an economically 
oppressed people -- Jews in times 
of Roman dominion. And Blacks 
in this country are politically, 
economically, and socially op- 
pressed. Black people have been 
misunderstood, isolated and 
"custified" ultimately in a way 
that makes them psychologically 
strainted. Our identies are 



"custified". Everything that is 
bad is black. If you go to a 
funeral, you wear black. If you 
have been framed, you have 
been blackballed. If you are on 
the wrong foot with someone, 
you have been blacklisted. 
Everything in this country that 
is Black has a negative conota- 
tion to it. Theology makes Black 
into something righteous, as 
much as Jesus has shared our 
consciousness and is all-right- 
eous. I Uke what it does in pre- 
senting a positive image of 
what Black is. However, Black 
liberation Thoelogy lacks a fem- 
inist consciousness. W^at Black 
feminist theologians are saying is 
that we can affirm the need 
for a Black Christ but we also 
have to take our rhetoric about 
liberation and be wholeistic in 
application. Black thoelogy must 
also address the liberation of 
Black women. Liberation must 
be wholistic and inclusive. I and 
my sister theologians must hold 
Black theology in accountabil- 
ity. 

DRUM - How do you feel about 1983? 

ROBIN - I don't fell that this country 
has made any progress in 1983. 
I am not very optimistic about 
how this year has transpired 
politically or economically. I 
don't feel that we £ire any closer 
to establishing a nation that is 
leagally just and a nation in 
which every american is a first 
class citizen. Racism, classism, 
sexism, agism still exist and are 
indeed growing strong in this 
country. My pessimism is fed by 
the lack of responsiveness by the 
Reagan administration to the 
needs of the poor. The growing 
number of people who are dis- 
placed and homeless; the grow- 
ing number of people who are 
hungry in this country; the 
number of people who are un- 
employed need indicate that 
we have a long way to go and 
that we to radically assess our 
values and hold our govern- 
ment in accountability. We can't 
talk about liberation, we can- 
not talk about having every 
american fed and having the 
opportunity to pursue liberty 




and happiness when we are talk- 
ing money from the poor, 
money programs designated to 
help the poor and buying mx 
missies. There is something 
wrong when we uphold war 
uphold the welfare of our 
people. I think the events of 
this year, for example the 
shooting down of the Korean air 
flight have gone to feed an ill 
pathology, orientated towards 
war. The Reagan adminsitration 
used this situation to justify the 
wasteful spending of warfare. 
Our technology is continuing to 
grow while our capacity for 
compassion is dwindling in lieu 
of the spirit of militarism. All 
of that says we are heading to- 
wards self-annihilation. Only by 
cultivating spirit of peace and 
understanding do we ever begin 
to reverse the military process 
that has begun to escalate in 
this country in 1983. 
DRUM - Thank you Miss. Harden. 



DRUM - Thank you Sister Harden. 



57 



THE HISTORICAL EYE 



by Larry IMeal 



Art teaches some awesome lessons 
about the human condition. One of 
the specific lessons it teaches is that 
history, a people's memory and record 
of themselves, is often a tricky cluster 
of contradictions. Thus, we constantly 
find ourselves grappling with the mean- 
ing of history. We are very much like 
those mythic heroes of the narrative 
epics who, having crossed the rivers of 
fire, must now defeat the chimera on 
his own ground. For us the chimera is 
history with its fire breathing contra- 
dictions and weird distortions. 

As late children of the West, we are 
of necessity goaded on by the demons 
of historical progress. Yes, we are a 
profound people who have audaci- 
ously struggled to create an eloquent 
and life sustaining response to an 
often hostile world. Hence, from the 
perspective of drama, Afro-American 
history places before us a pantheon of 
warriors and system builders. But this 
pantheon is itself full of conflicting 
ideas, idols, and attitudes towards his- 
tory's true and false prophets. And we, 
who are the active agents and witness- 
es of history, are constantly being ex- 
horted to negotiate these conflicting 
visions about how history should be 
perceived and felt. 

This is so because these conflicting 
voices all assume and imperative, and 
hence compelling tone. Some voices 



urge a state of continous war. These 
demand forceful action. And then there 
are the others who caution restraint 
and reliance on patience, and the 
so-called traditonal values. 

But sometimes in the deepest, most 
sincere part of ourselves, we sense that 
none of the voices is absolutely correct. 
It is then that we are confronted with 
the disconcerting notion that the 
historical mode is essentially formless 
and chaotic. It is at that point that we 
turn to prayer or to art. For art (image 
making) is fundamentally one of the 
ways in which humankind imposes 
order and form on the debris of his- 
tory. 

This is what comes to mind as 
I mediate on Nelson Stevens' glorious 
visual celebration of the "idea of Tus- 
kegee." Here in this self-contained vi- 
sual universe all of the contrary voices 
coalsece into a comprehensive artistic 
vision. As rendered here all of the im- 
ages strongly exude a sense of vitality 
and purpose. They all seem blessed as 
their faces appear to be illumined by 
light from some mysterious source. For 
the movement from darkness (ignor- 
ance) to light (intelligence) is a reoc- 
curing pattern in Afro- American histor- 
ical narratives. The mural is "Narrative" 
in that it is impossible to encounter 
it without "reading" something into 
it. Hence for me, the mural is an epic 



saga on Afro-American leadership. 

So, and when the stories of the mural 
are recounted; and when the various 
mythologies have been stated and 
counter-stated, it will be obvious to 
all that though the mural is inspired 
by the "idea Tuskegee," it finally 
reaches beyond that specific reference 
to celebrate the special will of a great 
people who, like the Biblical Joseph, 
managed to prevail in an alien land. 

It will be well to remember the 
words of Dr. Booker T. Washington, 
when he paid tribute to the self-libera- 
tors in the great Tuskegee Institute 
Story by his statement that: "Tuskegee 
Institute has been built up and has 
been sustained largely through the co- 
operation of a number of individuals 
who have been willing to stand by it, 
who ahve been willing to sacrifice their 
all, who have worked in season and out 
of season in order that it might suc- 
ceed", (quoted from E. Davidson Wash- 
ington, ed., "Selected Speeches of 
Booker T. Washinton" Garden City, 
N.Y.: Doubleday, Droan and Company, 
Inc., 1932, p. 272). The Founder paid 
this tribute in his last Sunday evening 
address to the students, faculty, staff 
and administrators in the Tuskegee 
Chapel on October 17, 1915, less than 
a month before he died on November 
14,1915. 



"TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE-RENOWNED 

MATRIX OF A GREAT 

SELF-LIBERATION MOVEMENT" 



"Centennial Vison— Tuskegee Insti- 
tute" decipts the far-sighted leadership 
and historical achievements of Tuskegee 
Institute during one hundred years of 
service as a learning center for thou- 
sands of hopeful students, most of 
whom have been victimized by the 



evils of slavery. Few institutions have 
launched out with such meager re- 
sources and served mankind in so many 
useful ways as are reflected in the Cen- 
tennial record of Tuskegee Institute. 
This mural emphasizes a most impor- 
tant factor of this record by portray- 



ing some of the time-tested responses 
to the wisdom of Lord Byron's chal- 
lenge to the enslaved peoples of the 
world in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 
when he wrote: 

"Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not 
Who would be free themselves must 
strike the blow?" 
This is an asset which sets Tuskegee 
Institute apart from other institu- 
tions and exalts its true greatness that 
its administrators, faculty, staff, stu- 
dents and alumni have continually 
struck self-liberation blows for free- 
dom in the first one hundred years of 
existance. 



58 



strides toward self-liberation that 
led to the founding of Tuskegee Insti- 
tute were first made by Lewis Adams, 
who rose from slavery to operate 
his own trade shop in downtown 
Tuskegee, Alabama, where he was 
recognized as a black leader in the 
post-Civil War era. When youthful 
freedmen asked for apprenticeships 
in Adams' shop he accepted as many 
of them as he could spare time and 
space for instruction in his tinsmith, 
harnessmaking and shoemakeing trades. 
When his business became over-crowded 
with potential learners, Adams struck 
a second blow for freedom by agreeing 
to secure the black vote to help re- 
elect Colonel Wilber F. Foster and 
Attorney Arthur L. Brooks, both 
Tuskegee residents, to the Alabama 
House of Representatives in exchange 
for their promotion of legislation to 
create a Normal School for black 
people in the community. When House 
Bill 165 was introduced by Brooks for 
this purpose, it passed in both houses 
of the Legislature and Governor Rufus 
W. Cobb signed it on February 12, 1881 
—the birth anniversary of Abraham 
Lincoln, the Great Emancipator. And, 
thus the spirit of liberation was reco- 
gnized and honored in official quarters, 
also. 

Showing early promise as a self- 
liberator, youthful Booker T. Wash- 
ington was recommended by Hampton 
Institute's principal, Samuel Chapman 
Armstrong, to State Commissioners 
George W. Campbell and Lewis Adams 
for appointment as the first principal 
of the proposed Tuskegee Normal 
School. Washington accepted the chal- 
lenge and opened the school with thirty 
students and himself as the only teacher 
on a special liberation holiday— July 4, 
1881, the 105th anniversary of the 
Declaration of Independence. He faced 
the educaitonal and economic obstacles 
before him and his students in the 
spirit of such great black abolition- 
ists as Frederick Douglass, his hero 
whom he would honor with a biography 
he would publish later; Sojourner 
Truth, the female orator of "Is God 
Dead?" fame; Harriet Tubman, who 
liberated herself and over 300 slaves 
over the Underground Railroad. Wash- 
ington found the time in his busy 
schedule to inspire the hopeful students 
I with information about these self- 
j liverators and many others, including 
Joseph Cinque and his daring exploits 
in the successful slave revolt on the 



Amistad, a slave transport ship. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Washington's reputa- 
tion as an educator grew with the pro- 
gress of the Tuskegee Normal School- 
in terms of increasing student enroll- 
ment, adding personnel to carry out the 
program, and expanding plant facilities. 
More and more, his services as a coun- 
selor and public speaker on community 
affairs were sought, and these activities 
brought him into contact with such 
black leaders as Hon. Frederick Dou- 
glass, who supported the school and 
came to deliver the 1892 Commence- 
ment address; Ida B. Wells Barnett, 
who rose from slavery to lead one of the 
first anti-lynching crusades and to help 
in founding the NAACP; Dr. W.E.B. 
DuBois, the best trained black scholar 
of his day and a co-founder of the 
NAACP, who served on the Summer 
School faculty of the Tuskeegee Normal 

and Industrial School in 1903. 

Dynamic and creative leadership in 
educational and community affairs 
became a tradition, as revelent pro- 
grams for school and community 
were among the highlights of the 
presidential administrations of Dr. 
Robert; Russa Moton (1916-1935); Dr. 
Frederick D. Patterson (1935-1953); 
and Dr. Luther H. Foster (1953- ). 
Some of these outstanding develop- 
ments were: the National Negro 
Business League, which Dr. Washington 
founded in 1900; Veterans Admini- 
stration Hospital— Number 91, estab- 
lished in 1922 under the direction of 
black hospital administrators largely 
through the efforts and influence of 
Dr. Moton: the Arm Air Corps Avia- 
tion Cadet Program that Dr. Patterson 
in 1943; and the National Historic 
Site that was established, as the first 
of its kind at a predominatly black in- 
stitution, through the leadership sup- 
plied by Dr. Foster and his staff. While 
all of these programs were nationally 
significant, the Army Air Corps Avia- 
tion Cadet Program expanded to inter- 
national proportions when it produced 
the black pilots of the 99th Pursuit 
Squadron and the 332nd Fighter 
Group that were among the Allied 
forces that successfully engaged the 
Axis powers' air fighters in the skies 
of the Mediterranean Sea area in 
Wold War IL Also, a Tuskegee alum- 
nus. General Daniel "Chappie" James 
reflected very favorable credit upon 
his training in this program by flying 
101 combat missions in the Korean 
War and seventy-eight missions in 



the Vietnam conflict, with distinc- 
tion, prior to becoming the first black 
four-star general in the history of the 
United States. 

Dr. Washington's successors con- 
tinued his practice of exposing the stu- 
dents to community issues and leaders, 
as a variety of self-liberators came to 
the campus during each presidential 
administration. Among them were: Dr. 
Mary McCloud Bethune, who founded 
Bethune-Cookman College in 1904 
with five students and only one dollar 
and fifty cents in financial resources; 
Paul Robeson, the Phi Beta Kappa 
scholar and All-American football play- 
er at Rutgers College who became inter- 
nationally famous as an actor and a 
baritone singer; Malcolm X, the mili- 
tant and eloquent advocate of Black 
Nationalism who defected from the 
Black Muslim movement and was 
assassinated, several years later; Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. internationally 
recognized apostle of non-violence who 
won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for 
his leadership of the mid-Twentieth 
Century Black Revolt. 

Realizing that the vitality of a true 
democracy requires that the student's 
education will be directed toward a 
high role in helping to improve the 
world community, Tuskegee Institute 
has continually oriented its program 
toward the total development of alumni 
fully prepared to serve as productive 
citizens in society. This approach ex- 
posed all persons at this institution to 
an 

open forum of issues and personalities 
over the first one hundred years. This is 
best illustrated in the coming of Marcus 
Garvey to the United States from his 
native Jamaica in 1916 to promote the 
growth of his Universal Negro Improve- 
ment Association and sponsor a "Back 
to Africa" movement, after he had been 
encouraged to make the trip in corres- 
pondence he exchanged with Dr. 
Washington. Of this experience, he later 
wrote: "I visited Tuskegee and paid my 
respects to the dead hero, Booker 
Washington, and then returned to 
New York, where I organized the New 
York division of the Universal Negro 
Improvement Association." (quoted 
from Amy Jacques Garvey, ed.. Philo- 
sophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, 
vol. II New York: Atheneum, 1969, 
p. 128). 



59 






CENTENNIAL VISION 

by Toni Cade Bambara 



In the 60's when poets took to the 
streets, artists made galleries of the 
outdoors. And once again we rediscov- 
ered in our neighborhoods and in 
ourselves the motive, subject, audi- 
ence, and the style for our expression. 
Artists, writers, musicians and other 
cultural workers became engaged in 
defining the nature of the Black art 
character, how and why it does what 
it does. Africobra/Farafindgu, the 
visual art collective that sprang from 
Chicago's OBAC, spearheaded the Out- 
door Mural Movement in the United 
States with the Wall of Respect in 1967 
made indelible on urban walls those 
features we have come to expect and 
appreciate from our interpreters— per- 
formance, celebration, communalism. 

When Nelson Stevens mounts the 
scaffold with a cigarette behind the 
ear, technique and research under the 
belt, his official master artist outdoor 
mural hat (that one with the blue 
snake carrying pyramid on its back) 
clamped ace duce on his head, the per- 
formance with paint is bound to be 
public and collaborative. His 40 mur- 
als to date, executed most usually with 
students and community workers, im- 
mediately arrest the attention of our 
foremost critics— the passerby folks of 
the neighborhood, who witness daily 
the building up of statements through 
color, line, rhythm, texture, and home 
based iconography. 

"Say, that whirlwind of blues and 
reds goes on next to those sitting still 
panels— is that to represent the winds 
of change, Bro? That's deep. That's 
good. Check you later." 
The Tuskegee Centennial Mural to 
celebrate the Institute and its mission, 
presented artist Nelson with an espe- 
cial challenge— how to collaborate with 



one hundred years of history. "I AM 
BECAUSE WE ARE" draws us into 
the 12 x 26 mural. A statement that 
hallmarks Black practice in art, litera- 
ture, music and the dance— private 
expression derived from group mores 
rendered for public ends, the blend of 
the collective history and the interpret- 
ing eye, the melding of the worker's 
craft and the processes of the commu- 
nity that supports, sustains, and offers 
up its lore for transmutation by the 
artist. 

The statement also heralds the 
achievements of the early builders, 
who in carrying out the Booker T. 
Washington directive, "Learn by Do- 
ing," fashioned an interdependent, 
self-sufficient communtiy at Tuskegee. 
In the cutting and measuring of a cord 
of wood, in the mixing and curing of a 
ton of bricks, one mastered math and 
chemistry and contributed to the 
resources of the Institute. In working 
with the sweet potato, in mining the 
mysteries of the African goober, one 
balanced the diet, balanced the bud- 
get, and expanded the whole field of 
agronomy. Further, the statement re- 
minds us that our very existence in 
these times was decreed to us by those 
who came before, and lived by the law 
of the Black ethos— responsibility to the 
group. 

When Harriet Tubman crossed the 
border, she might have sat down for a 
leisurely cup of coffee, might have 
draped a shawl around her shoulders 
and settled comfortable into the 
hearth-side rocker, humming out the 
rest of her days. But she didn't. She 
took respnonsibility for what she 
knew— that there is no life of honor for 
the "I" when the "we" are penned up 
and down pressed. With a price on 



her head— and with no government 
stipend, mind you, to conduct a feasibi- 
lity study before hand— she went back 
again and again to break the Family 
out of prison. 

Ida B. Wells, owner of the Memphis 
Free Press, could well have succumbed 
to "professionalism" and negotiated a 
private (read fraudulent) peace with out 
tormentors. She chose instead to be 
responsible to her eyes, to become a 
danger, to move on what she saw out 
of the window as a lynch mob armed 
with rope kerosene and The Fugitive 
Slave Act sought to snatch back into a 
final captivity this time, those runaway 
Bloods they had cornered. Strapping 
on her pistols and stepping out into the 
street, she formed in less than five 
minutes the first anti-lynching league in 
America. Her relentless crusade for jus- 
tice as an organizer, as a disturber of the 
bogus peace was always in reponse to 
the constraints imposed on our people. 
"I AM BECAUSE WE ARE." 

A hero is not some self-birthed crea- 
ture, uniquely remarkable, singularly 
significant. A hero is a member of the 
group that puts us in touch with the 
best of ourselves and calls us to some- 
thing higher than participation in self 
ambush: a model, one who exemplifies 
what is characteristically us. The tote- 
mic figures in Nelson Stevens' paintings, 
or the larger than life sense of the heroic 
heads in the new mural is a call to do 
justice to our most basic nature, a 
reminder of what is characteristic of 
ourselves. 

George Washington Carver, one of 
the principal figures in Tuskegee's his- 
tory, and a central presence in the 
Centennial Mural demonstrated in his 
work with crop items, an aspect of 
Black genius persistently observ- 



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61 



able— the ability to make something 
from nothing. Season in and season 
out we have pulled gardens out of 
stone; have taken the throw aways 
and the non prime cuts and created a 
presitge cuisine. Have rescued from 
the dump battered cigar boxes and 
dented no. 3 tubs and transformed them 
into instruments of music. Rescued 
the sax from the pratfall constraints of 
burlesque, and developed it into a 
front-line soloist's axe. Have taken 
Mickey Mouse tunes and Tin Pan 
Alley formula melodies and trans- 
formed them into unforgettable jazz 
classics. We, as people, have consis- 
tently pushed past Wasteland con- 
straints in our search for beauty and 
justice and autonomy. Pushed past the 
theory and practice of America, its 
political (de) arrangements, it eco- 
nomic and social (un) orthodoxies, its 
(an) aesthetics in our continual search 
for new space and new beginnings. 

Booker T. Washington, master- 
strategist of the Brer Rabbit ploy, se- 
cured a space for stoop-labor students 
and cramped-quartered teachers to 
stand up in and begin anew. Behind 
the head of Booker T. are panels in 
blues of the Kech monument depicting 
Washington "lifting the veil fo ignor- 
ance" as people were wont to say in 
those days, from the shoulders of a 
brother, sinewy with potential about 
to rise. Whose stroke of genius was it 
to use a wall with a vertical dominant 
thrust to draw the viewer continually 
up and still further up? But then, what 
has been the sign post of Africobra 
artists and other cultural workers that 
came of age in the Neo-Black Arts 
Movement is the recognition that the 
task of the Black artist is to be a healer, 
to re-align the communities political 
and spiritual loyalties. 

Among the many remarkable things 
that strike the viewer is the artist's 
impartial and respectful embrace of 
seemingly contrary figures— Booker T. 
and W.E.B., Robeson and Mary McLeod 
Bethune, for example. The stunning 
appearance of international figures such 
as Malcom X and Marcus Garvey might 
strike some as gratuitous additions, 
until we recall that it was Booker T. 
who first invited Garvey to the States, 
and until we consider the particular 
mix of forces it takes, at a given point 
in our process, to give us a range of 
reasons and to create space within 
which to get up and keep getting up. 



Completing the compositon of heroes 
are those past and current figures of 
the immediate community— The Tus- 
kegee Airmen of the 99th Pursuit 
Squadron, the author of House Bill 
165 that secured the histitute's site, 
previous college presidents with its 
current leader in the foreground. Dr. 
Luther Foster. 

What seems to intrigue those who 
daily come in contact with the mural 
is its invitation to explore the whole 
section by section. One finds, in moving 
from the lobby of the adminstration 
building to the upper gallery stories 
on either side, nuances of feeling, 
rouches of wit, new statement/relation- 
ships missed in previous encounters. 
Moving into the Carver test-tube area, 
for example, one discovers the ingre- 
dients that give rise to the polyrhythmic 
climate that sets the foot tapping- 
butterflies in flight, aliting, and at rest; 
bubbling brews in a rolling boil; the 
steady march of flat tile design sweet 
potato plants one after the other; 
and on the lip of one turbulant test 
tube, a quaint and sentimental (in the 
best sense of the word) touch— Carver's 
hibiscus flower, and echo of the sweet 
potato buds above. The eye then tends 
to travel to an area of stasis— the early 
buildings of the Institute, rendered in 
crisp, prescisioned architectural lines 
and planes. The metronymic sensibility 
that informs the work and the employ- 
ment of repetitive motif thoughout are 
not the least bit surprising in the light of 
the artist's affinity to music. Music and 
musicians are frequent subjects in his 
paintings, visual equivalents of the Black 
music aesthetic. Black polyrhythms, 
and improvisational process. In addition 
to murals, prints and book cover de- 
signs, Nelson Stevens had also designed 
numerous album covers: Archie Shepp's 
"Cry of My People" '73, and "There's 
a trouble in My Soul" '75, Max Roach- 
es's "Froces" '76, and Marion Brown's 
"Solo Saxophone" '77. 

Finally the Centennial Mural is no 
less musical in orientation than the 
"Singing Windows" of the Chapel, ad- 
jacent to the Administration building. 
Both are comprehensive testaments to 
the courage of the initial group of men 
and women who gathered in the one- 
room school house on July 4, 1881 to 
begin the honorable work that is still 
an imperative in these time— the build- 
ing of Black Institutions. 



62 



by James Baldwin 



On April 4, 1984, James Baldwin ad- 
dressed the topic: "Message from the 
Profits" before a capacity audience at 
Simon's Rock of Bard College, Great 
Barrington, Massachusetts. The intro- 
duction of Mr. Baldwin and his topic 
was given by Professor Homer L. Meade, 
of the DuBois Department of Afro- 
American Studies and adjunct faculty 
member of Simon's Rock of Bard Col- 
lege. 

It would be sufficient in an introduc- 
tion to higiiligiit tlie awards and worlds 
of the special guest so many have come 
to hear. James Bladwin, recipient of the 
Eugene F. Saxton Memorial Trust 
Award, Rosenwald Fellowship, Guggen- 
heim Fellowship, National Institute of 
Arts and Letters Grant, Ford Founda- 
tion Grant, author of "Go Tell it on 
the Mountain," "Notes of a Native 
Son", "The Amen Comer", "Giovanni's 
Room", "Nobody Knows My Name", 
"Another Country", "The Fire Next 
Time", "Blues for Mr. Charlie", "Noth- 
ing Personal", "Going to Meet the 
Man", "Tell Me How Long the Train's 
Been Gone", "A Rap on Race", "No 
Name in the Street", "One Day When 
I Was Lost", "If Beale Street Could 
Talk", "Just Above My Head". In such 
Baldwin and his work have been sub- 
jects of essays the naming of which 
would go beyond my short time alloted 
to make this introduction. 

For the sake of time then I will say 
the following: that it has been in five 
decades that James Baldwin has been a 
voice calling to those who would wish 



to save themselves and their culture 
fromthe infections and affectations 
which ignorance, racism, and prejudice 
breed. 

For those of us who have not seen 
the pain that hatred spawns, for those 
of us who have not felt the exhilara- 
tion which the true artist of the word 
can create, for those of us who have 
remained sealed safe inside the pro- 
tective womb of democracy dispensed 
rather than democratic principles en- 
sured to all, and for those of us with 
James Baldwin who have experienced 
all of this and know all too well that we 
have battles yet to fight . . . For all of 
us, to all of us, James Baldwin has 
spoken, written, walked and talked. 

In 1957 he traveled to be with Mar- 
tin in Montgomery, in 1963 he traveled 
to Carnegie Hall to be with Martin, in 
April, 1968 he traveled to Atlanta to be 
with Martin. And in addition to his as- 
sociation with Martin Luther King, the 
names of those with whom James Bald- 
win has worked reads as a Who's Who of 
Internaitonal politics, literature. 

The highest level of the artist as 
James Joyce describes the artist must 
possess the power of creation, i.e. the 
male and female elements within one- 
self so that one creates what the 
readers/viewers/listeners have known all 
along. A classic. 

This is the case for us tonight - so 
much labor by James Baldwin has 
brought us the reward of sharing this 
evening: "Messages From the Prophets". 
Ladies, Gentlemen, James Baldwin. 



I am very glad to be here tonight in 
Great Barrington, the home place, the 
birth place of Mr. W.E.B. DuBois. For 
some reason, I am thinking of postage 
stamps, birthdays, celebrations, who is 
honored in this countrj', and who is 
not. 

One might say for example, that it 
is ridicilous if not impertinent to have 
a Black history month. It is certainly 
significant that one suppose that Black 
history can be isolated from American 
history, and to see it all in a certain 
month. I thought it was very cunning 
and it reminded me of something that 
happened to me in Philadelphia where 
there is a liberty bell which is cracked. 

I was with Tony Morrison, one of my 
very good friends, we were having a 
bite to eat before we went back on 
stage. The waitress, who was legally 
White, said "I reminded her of Louis 
Armstrong", and Tony did not take that 
well. Tony then said, "You remind me 
of George Washington". The waitress 
said, "I don't understand that". Tony 
said, "look on the back of a dollar". 
Now I tell you that story because you 
live in a kind of hall of mirrors in this 
country, in which the waitress was com- 
pietly astounded. She thought I didn't 
know what she thought of my being 
compared to Louis Armstrong, in fact I 
adore Louis Armstrong. I don't particul- 
arly look like him, and the reason that I 
don't look particularly like him is be- 
cause I don't look like him. I look like 
him according to the people in the hall 
of mirrors in which they do not see 
anybody except what they think is 
themselves. 

I would like it to be as simple as pos- 
sible, but history is complex. History 
is imprecise because it is "not" so much 
denied which is one thing. Everybody is 
not history one way or another, the 



63 




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JOHN BIGGERS 



65 



French is not a history, The English 
is not a history. The real history of 
Europe written by Europeans, the 
history of France, for example is 
written by an English man is one his- 
tory, not true at all. To read the same 
history written by an Englishman is not 
a history. There is no history effectively 
of Ireland, there is no history really of 
Spain. We have a peculiar system of 
vocabulary design to do one thing. 
History until this hour in the western 
world is a kind of hymn to White peo- 
ple. Now let us try to examine what it 
means to be White. It only matters in 
a most crucial way in this most peculiar 
and most crucial country and if I seem 
to be a little persistent on this, it is 
because I'm aware that Martin was mur- 
dered sixteen years ago, and this cen- 
tury is ending sixteen years from now. 
One might even date Martin's death, the 
thirty-two years between that move- 
ment and now. Sixteen years ago and 
sixteen years from now, we'll be facing 
another world all together. One of the 
reasons for the panic in this country, 
in the Western world, is that it is impor- 
tant to consider the people who set up 
this country, and according to them 
they settled it. Importantly, bear in 
mind the nature of the coalition that 
happened on these shores the first time 
the so called Indian saw the European, 
he referred to them the people from 
heaven, because of the way they looked. 
He helped them in every way he could, 
to understand this place and the means 
of keeping alive the coalition. It was 
enormously unstated, the native Ameri- 
can, the only person the European yet 
encountered in the new world has a 
concept of identity which has nothing 
whatever to do what Europe thought of 
as either a nation or an identity. 
The savage, to use European terms, 
acted on this belief, that he was part of 
a nation; he was part of a nation, not a 
tribe. He was part of a language, not a 
dialect and he belonged to the nation 
that was reduced by the language that 
had responsibilities to the language and 
to the nation which was sacred and 
quite beyond the life time of a single 
man. The European assumed that the 
nation belonged to them, and further- 
more, Columbus for example, never 
got anywhere near India, never, never, 
never, but he had to tell Queen Isabella 
something when he got back to Spain. 

The question is "How did it come 
about?" That people began enslaving 
each other; they treated each other like 
dirt all over Europe. Everybody was en- 
slaved to somebody else, not a single 



human being alive has not been a slave 
somewhere. 

But how did that happen? That a 
certain group of people of a certain 
moment and time decided that they 
were civilized and nobody else was. 
How did it happen that one could look 
on to another human being who was 
darker as though we were a thing. How 
did it escape the general attention that 
it is impossible for a human being to 
be born who is not civilized? Every man 
and woman is bom human. Every per- 
son is born somewhere and you are 
civilized by a village, by a language, by 
the place in which you find yourself, 
by the discipline that is imposed on you 
in order to keep alive at all means that 
you are civilized. Somebody takes you 
out of the womb, somebody gets the 
knife, somebody hears the first cry a 
human being makes; somebody washes 
the blood off, somebody covers you; 
somebody teaches you right from 
wrong; it is not possible to be human 
and not civilized. And yet, a European 
delusion after they left the caves was 
that they had the right to civilize me. 
They persuaded themselves that I was 
the void, the vacuum, the nothingness 
called Africa, with nothing to do but 
wait until they discovered me. Now 
it may sound preposterious, but the 
American myth is based on . . . what 
can we call it? It is perhaps pathetic to 
be called what it is, but it is too desper- 
ate to be called a delusion. It is a reality 
the people believe, they do not remem- 
ber that before they came here they 
were not white. 

I am beginning to hear in my own 
mind, sounds. Sometimes I could crack 
the record, but I'll say it again. Before 
the sea changed the people, the people 
who came from Portugal were 
Portugese, the people who came from 
Greece were Greek, the Poles from 
Poland, French from France, English 
from England. All over Europe they had 
those identities. In fact they have them 
today. Until today they do not get 
£ilong with each other, there is no 
Common Market. Europeans have never 
ever agreed on one or anything except 
one thing. The were not white . . .they 
weren't white, and nobody in this 
country can prove he or she is white. 
I dare you! I dare you! They became 
white in order to justify the way I enter 
the civilized worid, the Western worid 
on the auction block. Whereas it is true 



that everybody has been a slave to 
somebody, somewhere, in my case I 
am the first slave who has destined, and 
this was written down, to be a slave 
forever. 

Institutional chatteled slavery was 
a new invention. The child had a condi- 
tion, the condition of his mother, 
and law decreed that a slave was 3/5 ths 
of a man. The people who wrote these 
words: "We hold these truths to be self- 
evident that all men are created equal 
and are endowed by their creator with 
certain unalienable rights. Among these 
are life, liberty and the pursuit of happi- 
ness . . .", the trouble with this country 
begins at that moment, begins with he 
who looked on me and said I was 3/5ths 
of a man. Now that would not perhaps 
be so very important if it were the past, 
but the reason you called today, 
tonight, is because it is not . . . not the 
past history, is never the past, it is the 
present. We are responsible for this past, 
and this present. How can I put it to 
you? 

WEB DuBois, who was legally Black, 
who was spiritually Black, could have 
made other choices: he could have done 
other things, he could have refused to 
be the witness that he became. He as- 
sumed his inheritance for his sake, and 
for the sake of us all. He said in 1903 
"the problem with the 20th century is 
the problem of the color line". He died 
in Ghana at the age of 95. It was DuBois 
who insisted that black men should en- 
list in the First Worid War. In that war, 
which was waged to make the world 
safe for democracy, he said, "If Black 
men prove themselves to American pub- 
lic, the question, the right to citizenship 
can never be raised again". Many people 
disagreed with him but he meant it and 
he won, he won the day. After all, part 
of the trap is that infact you love your 
country. To be civilized it is impossible 
not to love your country, you may 
disagree with it, you may have to leave 
it. You may never, ever make your 
peace with it. I, for example, know that 
my father's father's father paid for this 
country and nothing can make it less 
my country even though I may be 
driven out of it or murdered here it is 
still my country. I have the right to 
claim it. I have no possibility of deny- 
ing it, the day will come that I may 
never be able to see it again, that hap- 
pens too. DuBois' belief in Black 
people, DuBois' belief in America drove 



66 



him to make those choices to say those 
things and who can say he was wrong. 
Well, how I can say it, that many, many 
years later that he was betrayed. We did 
go and fight that war to make the world 
safe for democracy. We did not fight 
under the American flag, by the way. It 
was a French flag. The American army 
was not ready to deal with black people, 
and did not change very much at the 
time of the Second World War. We came 
home in 1918. We, the black soldier, 
we, the black brother, we, the black 
witness, came home in uniform to be 
lynched, to be castrated, to be blinded, 
to be burned to death at the hands of 
our countrymen in American uniform. 
Now obviously that is a demonstration 
for the Black population of this 
country. It is really a terrifying situation 
because America is not what I, Sambo, 
had been through, and what I am 
going through today right down the 
road in Boston, it ain't but one city. 
What is terrifying is the energy, the 
republic spends pretending this is not 
happening. What is terrifying is what no 
one in this country understands the 
nature of the Sea Change which changed 
them from whatever they were before 
they hit the water to what they have 
become today. It is so obvious that it 
hasn't been mentioned yet; so blatant 
that it must be looked at again. No one 
here and no one in the history of the 
world, no one wanted to be a slave; and 
yet, the myth of this country is based 
on the image of the happy darkies. 
Stephen Foster could write a song 
saying " all the darkies are a weeping 
cause master is in a cold, cold ground"; 
Baby when master was in the cold, cold 
ground, I was not weeping. I never met, 
and neither have you, a happy darkies, 
contented slave. Slaves do not love their 
masters by definition. 

When 1 was growing up in the streets 
of Harlem, the streets in New York, you 
were a "nigger". By the time you are 
seven years old, in many, many ways 
you learn as I learned. I did not listen 
to what the white cat was saying, I did 
not listen to the cops; I watched his 
eyes, I wondered, I had to figure out 
what he wanted to hear, because I had 
to get to one place to another without 
getting my head broken. I watched his 
eyes, my life was in his hands, where as 
I knew he never saw me because he 
imagined me. He had the club; he had 
the gun; he had the skin. 



I remembered one evening when I 
was about seventeen, eighteen years old, 
I was thrown out of a restaurant be- 
cause I was Black. As I was standing on 
the corner facing a cop with a white 
friend of mine, a high school friend, 
and I was talking about the Constitu- 
tion, my rights, the Declaration of In- 
dependence, so forth. They had no right 
to do this to me, because I am Black. 
Suddenly I looked at the cop's eyes, 
I looked at my friends's eyes, my friend 
was absolutely paralyzed with terror. I 
looked at the cop's eyes, I looked at 
his hands which held the billy club and 
he was about to beat my brains out 
because I was talking about my rights, 
If it hadn't been for my terror, I might 
not be standing here before you now. I 
am a lucky, lucky boy, I am still here. 
I am very lucky but what I am trying 
to say, though, is that my knowing the 
Constitution and my rights meant no- 
thing whatever to him, nor my age. How 
much harm can a seventeen year old 
boy do by having a cup of coffee in an 
all White restaurant? What is the 
trouble, why can't I have a cup of cof- 
fee? Whom am I contaminating? What is 
the danger I represent? I am not carry- 
ing a razor or a gun, and if I were, I 
just wanted a cup of coffee, wanted to 
sit down, or maybe wanted to go to 
the bathroom like any other human 
being. No you can't do it because you're 
Black. DuBois spent all of his life deal- 
ing with that, and perhaps one of the 
reasons that I am here tonight is because 
of DuBois. 

DuBois' "The Coming of John", is 
one of DuBois's stories which until 
today I think is a very important story 
to me and it reveals something to me. 
This kind of Southern artist told me 
something about where my father came 
from, and where I came from, what it 
meant to be a Black person in this 
country. This tragic story so incredible 
and beautifully written, and even until 
today it has helped me. I cannot tell 
you what the voice did for me, but I 
was born in 1924, and in those days the 
ideas of becoming a Black writer was 
incredibly remote, incredibly dangerous, 
it was one of the things my father and I 
thought about. Through so many years 
we realized why he reacted the way he 
did because he knew very well that I 
was flying in the face of a white world's 
definition. Like Sterling Brown, he had 
seen things that I could not imagine, he 



had been to place I did not know at all. 
Sterling Brown is my Godfather, is my 
guide. 

Now it goes back watching the eyes 
of the White man. For many genera- 
tions, the people would think of them- 
selves as white and imagine themselves 
able to describe me, they think they 
know who and what I am. They had 
many, many images of Black people, 
images that aren't worth going through 
again. 

A Black cat, when he's young, is 
really essentially a walking phallis, 
a threat to the public's peace to be 
Black. The Black cat has always been 
cut down and/or cut off because he is 
a menace to the neighborhood, but 
a positive blessing to the public peace 
because he has no sex anymore. My 
mother, when she is young, according to 
the obstacle of this republic, is a loose 
woman, a loose girl. When my mother 
gets older after the menapause becomes 
a saint. Now if you think that I am 
exaggerating, I dare anyone of you to 
go out into the bookstores, into the 
cinemas, onto the television and find an 
image of Black people which is not 
based on the "good" niggers and the 
"bad" niggers and nothing in between 
and the key is always sexual. Whatever 
this terrifying common place makes you 
it comes to this: the republic invented 
the Black person. In this terrifying 
seriousness of definition, they have 
blinded themselves to themselves. What 
America does not see is the looks of 
Black people, the looks of me. What it 
does not see when it looks at the Black 
person who has been here for more than 
four hundred years, is flesh of their 
flesh, bone of their bone. We the Blacks 
didn't ask for intergration, for example, 
we asked for de-segregation which is a 
very different matter. We know very 
well by looking at the colors of our 
skins that we've been intergrated a long 
time ago. People who could not see this 
or cannot see this connection, cannot 
see anything else either, but they do not 
see, when they walk the streets in Bos- 
ton, Detroit or New York. They look 
into my father's face, my mother's 
face, my sister's face, my nephew's 
face, my neice's face, my face, but they 
do not see the world. Why? They do not 
know about El Salvador or Lebanon or 
any other place in the world. They blind 
themselves to our human presence. 
What is so terrifying is that now they 



67 




PAUL GOODNIGHT 



68 



cannot see at all, this makes the country 
one of the most dangers in the world. 

It is clinging to a myth, which they 
claim as history, and to an illusion, 
which they claim as their responsibility, 
which is a very dangerous matter. This 
is what, among other things, that hap- 
pened to my friend Martin. I met Martin 
in 1957, it might be worth a moment 
backtracking. 

In 1957 I was in Paris, in 1956 I 
dreaded to leave for many, many, 
many reasons, but I finally got home in 
1957. Now the early fifties was a very 
peculiar time; people have overlooked 
it. 

I was living in Paris when five re- 
publics fell in a very short space and 
time. There was the beginning of what 
we called the civil rights movement. I 
decided to leave to come back here. I 
was looking at the portrait of Dorothy 
Counts in Charlotte, North Carolina, 
trying to go to school and I thought I 
do not want to sit in Paris any longer 
being civilized about the Nigeria pro- 
blem about the Black problem and, 
furthermore, I made a very important 
discovery: they only thing in which 
Whites are in total agreement; they only 
thing that they don not disagree about 
is me! They all agree that I, at whatever 
price, must be kept in my place. The 
French believed it, the English believed 
it, the Dutch believed it. Furthermore, 
the years when I first went to France, 
The Black presence, one didn't feel it 
in France, Paris or London. There were 
virtually no Black people there. Their 
slaves were in colonies far away, no 
Frenchman, np Englishman at that 
point or Dutchman still less German had 
to ask anybody. "Would you like your 
sister to marry one?" There were none. 
That began to change in 1955. I was in 
London; I watched it when the English 
did not wish to sweep the streets, drive 
buses, do all the dirty work which "nig- 
gers" were bom to do. They brought 
some of their slaves to the main land, I 
was there that day of course, when they 
got to the mainland where they stayed 
because they couldn't go back. The 
British Prime Minister decided they 
were useless, then a gereration was bom 
in London which was never seen. Then 
they had the foreign worker problem, 
meaning how to get the "niggers" back 
to where they were, which can never 



be done. This is what's happening all 
over Europe, all over the Western world. 
It seems simple, after all I came home to 
see what was happening rather than to 
sit in Paris and be civilized about the 
Negro's problem. 

So I went, came home and eventually 
I found a way to get to atlanta. This is 
where I met Martin. He was working on 
a book in a motel, hiding I think. 

Martin was about my height, give or 
take an inch, much heavier, much more 
basketballish or footballish or whatever. 
He was much more athletic. How old 
was I then? In 1957, 1 was about thirty- 
four, I guess Martin was younger about 
thirty. I can't say that we were friends 
at once, but he was very nice to me, I 
talk to him and he talked to me. 

Martin sent me onto Montogomery, 
Alabama, whre I met Ralph David Ab- 
ernathy and where my peculiar 
journey really began. I had never been 
South before. I prepared to go South, I 
would never have gone to the South 
from New York. I don't want to be 
romantic about Martin, we had our dis- 
agreements, more than one. And I will 
not pretend. We were not intimate 
friends, but I will tell you this . . . that 
we trusted each other, I think we learn- 
ed something from each other. I loved 
him very much and my children. I have 
the habit of the older brother and 
Martin was the younger brother. In 
spite of our disagreements, there was 
something heroic in the man, something 
committed, and his vision was clear, and 
he was not a dreamer. I wear a watch 
wrapped around my wrist and it says, 
"I have a dream", now the dream that 
Martin had is a dream portrayed by the 
country. I think until one is willing to 
face that fact one is going to be in 
trouble, the men who wrote the words 
"we hold these truths to be self evident 
that all men are created equal. Among 
these rights, are life, liberty and the pur- 
suit of happiness" did not mean that. It 
applies only to White people, it applies 
only, in fact, to property holders, it 
does not apply to anybody else includ- 
ing, perhaps and above all the poor 
Whites who had no problem until today. 
Until one can face that, until one can 
go back to where it started and look at 
it again and try to recitify what has led 
up to this place. We and the world are 
going to be in trouble. Martin knew this 
or discovered it. Martin was young and 



Malcolm was younger, those kids march- 
ing up and down those roads, kids in 
those chain gangs, those kids White or 
Black were betrayed by their country. 
White and Black, what was I doing 
there? We were acting on the promise 
that this was a free country. We believed 
and still believe that we can make it a 
new, the people in authority, the people 
who claim to run this country, the 
people who claim to know who we jure, 
and where we should be going, and what 
we should do. Like the people who 
wrote those words do not believe in 
that, they believe in something else, 
and what is it they believe in. They are 
demanding, for example, they claim 
they are White, that's a very old record. 
One way or another the question 
will be confronted, is not possible to 
conceive of this country. As being able 
to ask these questions, the importance 
of the Jackson campaign, for example, 
is not that he will win but that he may 
make possible a real awakening in this 
country of a social political process; it 
may bring out all those votes which 
have not been voted for so long. We 
created another presence on the Ameri- 
can social political scene. We may be 
able to change the future, I don't think 
we have a choice about that. Finally, it 
is important to remember what DuBois 
had in mind, and Martin had in mind. 
It was a movement and a union which 
had nothing to do with color, noting 
whatever to do with colro. National 
Association Advancement for Colored 
People was a title designed and it 
worked to bring together all kinds of 
people, all kinds of Americans who had 
some real concerns about this country 
and some real perception in what was 
happening and what it could be, what it 
can become and what we call the civil 
right movemetn wasn't only the last 
slave insurrection, it was also a very im- 
portant popular movement, a popular 
movement which had no color line. 
The government may not know this, we 
have to know that. We are here tonight 
after all to do one thing which is to 
continue and to make real, to magnify, 
to plant in this soil something which we 
haven't heard from our ancesotrs, from 
our history and we're speaking here 
tonight only becuase we are connected 
by W.E.B. DuBois and Martin Luther 
Kind and babv now it's our turn. 

Thank you very much 



69 



Quincy Troupe is a poet, educator 
and editor. Born in St. Louis in 1943, 
he attended Grambling College in 
Louisiana, the University of California 
at Los Angeles, the University of 
Southern California and Ohio Univer- 
sity. He was an original member of the 
Watts Writers' Workshop and is an 
authority on Third World literature. Mr. 
Throupe has edited several literary 
magazines including: Confrontation: A 
Journal of Third World Literature, and 
Watts Poets: A Book of New Poetry 
and Essays, He is currently editor of 



American Rag magazine. In addition to 
being published in numerous antholo- 
gies, he is the author of tvifo books of 
poetry: Embryo (1972) and Snake-back 
Solos which was awarded the National 
Book Award for Poetry in 1978. Quincy 
Troupe is a musical poet; one who has 
skillfully and movingly blended the 
pulse of a people, the oral tradition, 
their foot-stomping, hand-clapping as 
well as "cool" with the written word. A 
resident of New York City, he is Asso- 
ciate Professor of Literature at the Col- 
lege of Staten Island. 



QUINCY 
TROUPE 

by Janice Lowe 



DRUM - Are you a musician? Music 

is integral to your poems. 
Q.T. - I used to play bass. My brother 
was a drummer. I grew up in 
a musical situation. 
DRUM - Why did you leave St. Louis? 
Q.T. - I was an all-state basketball play- 
er. I went to Grambling College 
in Louisiana on scholarship. I 
studied political science, econo- 
mics, and history. After four 
years there, I went into the army 
and played basketball. I travel- 
ed all over Europe and North 
Africa, playing their national 
teams. When I went back to 
St. Louis after getting out of 
the service in '63, I decided not 
to stay in St. Louis because at 
that point, I had been hving in 
Paris in a different atmosphere 
and had met Sartre and some 
other writers and artists of great 
talent. I decided that St. Louis 
couldn't contain what I wanted, 
so I went to Los Angeles in '65 
and became part of the Watts 
Writers' Workshop. 
DRUM - Could you tell me about the 
workshop, who was part of it 
and what you accomplished? 
Q.T. - Jane Crotez, Stanley Crouch, 
Louis Merriweather, Kay Curtis 
Lyle, Ojinke, Johnie Scott . . . 
The workshop was a great 
experience because I had never 
been around writers before. 
DRUM - How did you get involved 

with the workshop? 
Q.T. - I had gone to L.A., having major- 
ed in political science. My 
mother wanted me to be a law- 
yer but I didn't want to be one. 
So, I went back to school anJ 
took business and journalism 
courses at Los Angeles City Col- 
lege. When I was there, Ojinke, 
Eldridge Cleaver, Bunchy Carter, 
Leon Thomas, all these people. 



had a big cultural evening which 
I was covering for a newspaper. 
Ojinke said, "Why don't you 
come down to Watts?" So he 
took me. That's how I got to 
the workshop. 

DRUM - When did you start writing? 

Q.T. - I started writing in Paris. As I 
said, I was a basketball player. 
These people I knew, knew 
Sartre. He suggested I keep a 
dairy and write about the 
French people. 

DRUM - How did you meet Sartre? 

Q.T. - The family of a French girl I 
was dating was friendly with 
Sartre. I went to this party; 
Sartre was there. I didn't 
know who he was because at 
that point, really, I was just a 
basketball player. I thought 
like a basketball player. 

DRUM - What do you mean? Was there, 
at some point, a sudden change 
in the way you percieved things? 

Q.T. - 1 don't mean that basketball play- 
ers aren't intelligent. All I 
thought about was 20 foot jump 
shots, scoring my 25-30 points 
a game, getting 20 assists, play- 



ing the tough "D", and looking 
for the women afterwards. I 
hadn't read Sartre. I- wasn't 
ready for his intellectual probing 
of me. He was interested in me, 
not £is a basketball palyer, but as 
a Black person from America. 
He was a Marxist-Leninist. I was 
getting tired of this little frog- 
like man asking me all these 
questions. I was arrogant. I 
didn't care who he was; I knew 
who I was. I was a good basket- 
ball player. My ego was so big 
at that time, I didn't let anyone 
else in. I thought like a basket- 
ball player; but Sartre changed 
my life. Her persisted in asking 
me questions about the environ- 
ment I had grown up in, telling 
me what I should be doing 
instead of being an athlete. I 
used to get mad with him but 
I listened because I was always 
curious. 

My background was very un- 
usual. My father is the sceond 
greatest catcher of cdl time in 
the Black baseball leagues. I 
lived in Cuba, Puerto Rico, 
Venzuela, and Mexico for the 




70 



first six years of my life. I was 
meeting great people like Satchel 
Paige and Monty Irving. I always 
had a sense of myself as being 
someone important. My father 
became a scout for the St. Louis 
Cardinals. My uncle was a top 
politician in Missouri. I always 
had a sense of myself as being 
somebody in this thing. It added 
to the whole thing about being a 
basketball player; seeing your 
name in the paper all the time, 
you pop's name in the paper all 
along. I could be overbearing 
and obnoxious, but those traits 
helped me get through a lot of 
stuff. When I went to the all- 
white high school in St. Louis, 
when I was smarter than them. 
I thought like a basketball player 
but behind that, there was some- 
thing else that I didn't even 
know was there. All this exper- 
iential stuff came out later when 
I started to write. I started to see 
things differently. Then when I 
hurt my knee and couldn't play 
basketball anymore, this French 
girl siad to me, "Why don't you 
write more?" I could see my 
whole life changing right in front 
of my face. I was very clean and 
conservative and into clothes 
and hair. All of a sudden, I 
could see myself dropping those 
kinds of things. My hair wasn't 
important, whether I combed it 
or not. The only thing that was 
important was that I was clean 
in body and in spirit. I started 
to read more and to write. By 
the time I got to California, I 
was ready for what was there. 
It was the 60's and everything 
was happening. 
DRUM - If you could describe your- 
self as a musical instrument, 
which one would you pick and 
why? 
Q.T. - I think a lot like a saxophonist 
or a guitarist or an electric 
bassist like Stanley Clark. I like 
the way Jimi Hendricks plays 
and, Coltrane and Parker on 
saxophone. They express sound 
in complex layers which is what 
I try to do when I write. They 
hear sounds in clusters; words 
come in clusters for me when 
I'm writing. 



DRUM - Do you consider yourself a 
Black poet or a universal one 
or both? 

Q.T. - I consider myself a poet who is 
a Black person. Anyone who 
talks to me knows what my 
concerns are; I don't have to 
go around talking about how 
I'm a Black poet or a Black 
person. I think our culture 
helps musicians, artists, poets 
express themselves in ways that 
are very different from the 
ways white musicians and artists 
express themselves. In my poe- 
try, I have tried to blend sound 
and form, the oral tradition 
with the page. Although I'm 
very familiar with poetic forms, 
I've decided not to use those 
forms. I'm developing a form. 
I didn't want to write a sonnet 
or a sestina or a villanel. 

DRUM - When you are doing a reading, 
do you find that your most 
effective poetry is that which 
is strongly influenced by the 
African oral tradition? 

Q.T. - I do a lot of readings, maybe 50 
a year, usually in New York, 
the Midwest, the South. I find 
it is according to the audience. 
For instance, I went down to 
the Lincoln Correctional Facil- 
ity. People who go there have 
hardcore criminal backgrounds, 
have made adjustments and are 
on their way out. I went there to 
read with some other artists. 
The prisoners were just sitting 
arond eating. They don't care 
about poetry. They don't know 
any forms. They didn't care that 
I was a college professor and 
well-known -miter. They were 
sitting there and looking at me 
like, "What's he gonna do?" 
So I had to get them. I couldn't 
just lay back and give them this 
comples, intellectual, multi-lay- 
ered, puzzling, obscure poem. I 
had to read something that was 
direct, that comes from within 
their experience, that can co- 
nect with them, that shows that 
I am also just like them. I read 
one, a blues poem, called "River 
Town Packing House Blues" 
which is going to be in my new 
book. It's about this real person 



who was a packing house man. 
He killed cows and pigs by slitt- 
ing their throats - the symbol 
there is murder. It's about this 
man who's very cold, who beats 
peoples' asses in the neighbor- 
hood, who's running loose when 
he gets drunk. I was trying to 
make a comment to them be- 
cause many of them were like 
that. But it's also rhythmic and 
in a blues/work song mode so 
they can get to the rhythm. The 
language is very strong. Then the 
next one I read was a funny 
poem and by that time they had 
forgotten their chicken. They 
were saying, "Who is this guy?" 
I change up according to what 
audience I read to. For a white 
audience, like next week I'm 
going to read out on Long Island 
where there will- be intellectuals 
and so forth, I'll read some very 
obscure, comples, multi-layered 
stuff. 
DRUM - You'll read a few rhythmic 

one's, won't you? 
Q.T. - I might but I don't want to give 
them too much. Plus, they can't 
take the nearby level. Black 
peoples' energy level, for the 
most part, destabilizes white 
people because they just don't 
understand it; it's everywhere. 
Instead of concentrating on it, it 
goes past them. 
DRUM - How long did it take you to 

find your voice? 
Q.T. - My biggest influences as a poet 
were: Jean Toomer, Langston 
Huges, Melvin Tolson, Walt 
Whitman, Eliot, Pable Neruda 
and Caesar Villejo - Latin 
American poets, and Rabearivelo 
of Madagascar, who blew my 
mind. I love Baraka. I struggled, 
imitating those people and then 
I wrote a poem called "Ode to 
John Coltrane". Coltrane died in 
'67; that poem influenced me 
and a lot of people in California. 
I began to look at it for what 
was in it that was me and I be- 
gan to discover certain ways of 
looking at things, certain ways 
of using metaphor, language, 
rhythm - that was based in St. 
Louis. I could see it, the blues 
feeling. I decided I was going to 
take that and turn it into some- 



71 



thing else; take the good things 
out of it, the blues, the oral 
quality and fine tune it. Then I 
wrote a peom in '69 called 
"Poem for Friends", a long 
poem about turmoil, students, 
people getting killed, the loss of 
cohesiveness among Black peo- 
ple in their struggle to be free. I 
used some of the stuff from the 
"Coltrane" poem and fine tune 
it some more. I could see my 
own voice growing. The poem 
"Embryo", an extension of 
"Poem for Friends" uses this 
same voice to express my 
perception of the African 
American experience. And then 
I went to Africa in 1972. I 
taught at the University of 
Ghana and the University of 
Nigeria at Lagos, I stayed over 
there for 18 months. It was a 
profound experience for me be- 
cause I had jsut finished my first 
book which came out in '72. 
What I discovered through the 
Africans at that time was that 
they didn't understand Black 
American poets because the 
Black American poets were 
writing in a language that was 
hip to us but not hip to them. 
They didn't know what we were 
saying because there were no 
metaphors in it that could trans- 
late into their experience. They 
could not see themselves in the 
images that we were talking 
about. I began to realize that 
our images were local. They 
don't apply anywhere else. It 
was a. startling revelation to me. 
They were telling me that the 
people really liked my poetry 
because they could get inside 
the images. 

DRUM - Whom do you write for? 

Q.T. - I write for myself first. I'm sure 
of my own self. I'm sure of my- 
self as a Black person in the sen- 
se that I'm not going to do any- 
thing that is detrimental to 
Black people. When I write for 
myself, I think of myself as be- 
ing intelligent and sensitive 
therefore I write for somebody 
else too. I don't think about 
writing for "Black people" 
but I hope that what I write 
about will be important to 



Blacks and other people. 

DRUM - Do your best poems "happen" 
to you or are they planned 
methodically? 

Q.T. - I don't plan poems, I trust my 
own muse. There are some 
poems that I plan, but not the 
majority. I decided to sit down 
and write some poems for my 
son; I've written about ten. 
When I moved to Harlem, I 
started doing a series on Harlem. 
I've started a new form which I 
call craps, which is a strict form 
with a certain syllabic count, 
line count and number of qua- 
trains, which I want to use in a 
book that will come out soon. 

DRUM - What do you teach? 

Q.T. - I teach literature, Latin Ameri- 
can, American, African Ameri- 
can, African, Caribbean. I teach 
a course called the "Black Ex- 
perience', which is a combina- 
tion of sociology, economics, 
political science, music and lit- 
erature. It tells about the Black 
American experience from 
Africa to the present day and 
how we have evolved as a peo- 
ple. I teach at the College of 
Staten Island; I am an associate 
professor there. I'm director of 
the writing program and a poe- 
try center. I also edit a magizine. 
That's enough intellectual pur- 
suit for me. When I've finished 
dealing with students for the 
day, that's it. I don't want to 
talk to my friends about intellec- 
tual matters, how I write my 
poems. My wife is an executive . 
for the New York Times. I'm a 
confident person, my wife is. So 
when somebody does something 
to me, I'm gonna hit them up- 
side the head right away. These 
people around here learned 
that. Stories were written about 
my wife and myself in the paper, 
with pictures, about us being 
this bourgeouis, intellectual cou- 
ple. They (the people in the 
neighborhood) threatened us. 
We had to stick knives to their 
throats. They leave us alone 
now. To live sometimes in a 
community like this, you have 
to take on certain characteristics 
of the community, the masks, 
the ways of some of the desper- 



ate elements of the community 
in order to survive and make it 
better. The whole pursuit of 
intellectualism is interesting to 
me only when it can be appUed. 
We're living in a society where 
we have so many great Black 
people, genius Black people, 
who are deriied entre by the 
fools who make up things to 
keep you out, which makes you 
feel like committing murder. So, 
you walk around with this mad- 
ness-always on edge. Usually, the 
madness comes out on Black 
people because that's who we 
live around. The explosion, the 
instantaneous murder on the 
comer when somebody steps on 
your foot ~ you pull out a gun 
and shoot because you got a 
gun and you're mad and have 
been mad for 30 years and 
you can't kill a white boy 
because you know you would 
go to jail for it, go to the chair. 
If you kill this brother cause 
he's there, you ain't gonna 
get much time. So the point 
is, writing is medicinal. 

DRUM - Have you ever had any heroes? 

Q.T. - Miles Davis, Pablo Neruda, 
Chinua Achebe, a great African 
novelist ... I admire Joe Rud- 
olph who was a gangster in St. 
Louis. He turned himself into a 
great urban planner, but when 
I was growing up in St. Louis, 
one of the most terrifying nig- 
gers ever put on this earth. He 
would shoot you cold. Joe 
Rudolph now owns his own 
radio station in San Francisco. 
He went to Berkely. He went 
through being a junkie and a 
murderer to going back and re- 
habilitating himself. He is owner 
and chairman of the board of 
one of the biggest Black radio 
stations in San Francisco. I 
admire Sterling Brown; when he 
comes to New York, he stays 
here. I really admire and love 
him. I've spent many great 
hours just sitting and listening 
to him. 

DRUM - What is he like? 

Q.T. - Sterling is a marvelous raconeur. 
He's direct, blunt. If he thinks 
it, he says it. He can also be very 
subtle. He's a genius who is a 



72 



very difficult man at times be- 
cause he's older, he's seen all 
that stuff. He can be very 
cynical but he's a marvelous 
person. He's an inspiration to all 
of us. He's a great reader, a 
great storehouse of knowledge. 
He knew everybody. So, I sit 
down and listen. Every time he 
comes by, I tape him. I have 
about 15 hours of tape -- great 
man. I like Coltrane, Jimi Hen- 
dricks, who I knew briefly. I 
like Paul Robeson. Langston 
Hughes - I admire him tremen- 
dously. He wrote and did all 
these things but he stayed in 
Harlem and did other things. 
He didn't present himself as a 
strictly intellectual person. I des- 
pise that kind of thing. It has 
no place, especially in the Black 
community, this kind of preten- 
tiousness, this role playing that 
Black intellectuals can some- 
times get into. I remember going 
to a place to read in Nebraska. 
The man who called me was a 
Black guy. He kept writing me 
and addressing me as Dr. 
Troupe. I'm not a doctor be- 
cause I don't have a Ph.D. Call 
me Mr. Quincy Troupe or 
Quincy Troupe or Quincy or 
Troupe or Professor Troupe. 
He wanted to make me a doctor. 
So when I came out of the air- 
port, I had on a leather jacket, 
shoulder bag, boots, floppy hat, 
and a scarf. He was waiting for 
some academic. I came walking 
down there, I was the only Black 
on the plane. He walks past me. 
I know it's him so I'm gonna 
play a little game 'cause he's 
being such an idiot. So I walked 
near him and waited for him to 
turn around. He says, "Dr. 
Troupe". I said, "First of all, 
I don't have a doctorate, second 
of all what is this, I'm the only 
Black person on this airplace 
man. So he said, "I'm sorry, I'm 
sorry". He couldn't take it; 
he just couldn't take the energy. 
I had this long conversation one 
night with him. I said, "What 
counts is what I say or do when 
I'm in front of your students giv- 
ing information to them; that's 
when intellectualism counts. 



that's the only time it counts. 
You are into posing and wearing 
masks, these academic masks, 
(the pads on the elbows, the 
pipe, the beard, his hair, the 
whole thing, the tweeds, the lit- 
tle shoes.) You don't do nothin' 
man, you don't contribute no- 
thin'. Contribute something, 
that is academic, that is what an 
intellectual does, contribute." 
You can look like anything. I 
like Julius Irving; Magic Johnson 
because of the way he plays, the 
unselfishness, the way he contri- 
butes to his team. He has a 
champion's attitude. I like 
Ellison; Ishmael Reed, who is a 
unique, complex, innovative, 
individual. I like his approach in 
terms of being involved, in 
influencing things. I like Toni 
Morrison - her novel Sula, 
Charles Johnson, Toni Cade 
Bambara - she's a strong wo- 
man, a visionary, exemplary per- 
son. Maya Angelou is a strong 
person. 

DRUM - It is often said that Black 
people have historically looked 
for that one person to lead them 
somewhere. Do you think this is 
still true? 

Q.T. - One of the things I teach in my 
Black Experience course is that 
we've come from a situation, 
African and otherwise, which for 
the most part has been mono- 
lithic in a sense that we have a 
chief or a king or a minister or 
a leader. We have always been 
into this one Elijah Mohammed, 
Malcom, Martin Luther King, 
DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Booker 
T. Washington. We've never had 
collective leadership. I hope 
we're trying to do it now. I 
beheve in collective leadership. 

DRUM - We were talking earlier about 
the exploitation of Black cul- 
ture, that we brought what is 
meaningful in this country with 
us on the slave ships. Let's 
talk about Films specifically. 
Whenever we are in a position 
to do something, we don't do 
it. For example, Leon Kenedy 
had a chance to make some 
movies but he made three of the 
worst movies imaginable; they 
contained every stereotype in 



the book. We except such mov- 
ies because we're happy to see 
Balck faces on the big screen. If 
we could just get together and 
finance something then surely 
we would be able to have a 
little bit of control. But, if 
you've got one person who is 
in a position to do something 
and he doesn't do anything, 
what are you going to do? 
Q.T. - We don't have communications 
media in order to make any- 
body. We don't make anybody; 
we can but we don't.. Certian 
Black publications don't ever 
make anybody; they only accept 
who has been made and push 
them. But if you look at Music- 
ian magazine, Time, Life, they're 
always making white people, al- 
ways creating stars so that by 
the time he or -she does some- 
thing big, you're ready for them. 
We're into this whole thing of 
accepting who has already been 
made. For example, I grew up 
down the street from Chuck 
Berry. I didn't think nothin' of 
Chuck Berry. White people were 
talking about Chuck Berry; the 
same Chuck Berry who use to go 
and sit on his steps down the 
street from him. The white peo- 
ple ask, "You did?" "What was 
he like?" He was jsut a little 
Black boy running around in the 
streets. We used to think he was 
crazy but he is a genius. I never 
dreamed of how important he 
was. I'm sure that people who 
live around Baraka, Ralph El- 
lison - they don't know how 
important these people are. 
They don't understand how im- 
portant Sterling Brown is. We 
are ' into these one, singular 
images, the chief syndrome. 
Now we're trying to change 
that. I know people in my 
generation are trying to change 
that. 

DRUM - "For Colored Girls" was em- 
brased by the white community 
in part because of the recurrent 
"dogging" of Black men. Could 
you comment on that? 

Q.T. - That's what the white people 
liked about that play. They liked 
the point that the man was not 
a man, was less, threw the 



73 



babies out the window. Tliey 
said, "See, I told you he was 
nothing no way; he's just stu- 
pid. And we ain't the ones 
saying this, it's a Black woman 
saying this." It's perfect for 
them, perfect for whites. I dig 
Ntosake. I told her, "I want 
you to make all the money you 
can but you have to understand 
why they picked you." In terms 
of Black men, there have been 
problems with male/female rela- 
tionships because of the job mar- 
ket and because of the way 
they've been treated in this 
society. For the most part, 
white males control this society, 
Ms. magazine not withstanding. 
The Feminists run around talk- 
ing about how they're liberated 
women. They're just bored 
white women from the suburbs; 
that doesn't have anything to do 
with our problem. They're bored 
because they're out there drink- 
ing 12 martinis and taking care 
of babies. They want to come in 
and work and be flighty and fly 
too. That doesn't have anything 
to do with the problems of the 
brothers in the Black communi- 
ty. Black men, in a sense, have 
been victims of a lot of things. 
I'm not trying to put off the 
women's movement. Violence 
comes out of that whole situa- 
tion of not being productive, be- 
ing powerless, not having any 
jobs, not having enough money 
to support your woman, to send 
your kids to college. That kind 
of thing has created the situation 
that now exitst which began in 
the 60's and 70's, the practice of 
killing two birds with one stone 
by giving females jobs in the job 
market - a woman and a Black 
person. That has created a lot 
of other problems. With the 
woman making more money 
than the men, they (the women) 
go out and become executives. 
A lot of Black men are insecure 
in those situations, so problems 
are created. What I'm saying is 
that it is planned like planned 
parenthood; there's a blueprint 
for the destruction of black men 
and indeed. Black families. It's 
been planned for a long time. 



DRUM - Let's talk about your magazine 

American Rag? 
Q.T. - I started American Rag about 
three or four years ago. The 
Fredrick Douglass Creative Arts 
Center, where I'm the special 
projects director, is something 
I've been involved with for 
about ten years. I run a poetry 
workshop there every Tuesday 
night. I talked to the director 
of the Center about trying to 
start a magazine. He went out 
and got the money but we ran 
into financial problems. The 
artistic thrust of the magazine is 
that it would not just publish 
poems, stories, interviews, etc. 
but that it would also publish 
cartoons, photographs, news- 
worthy items so that it would 
have an impact outside the liter- 
ary circle. You wouldn't beheve 
the kind of impact this magazine 
had. 
DRUM - How many issues did yoj. put 

out? 
Q.T. - We put out three issues. The mag- 
azine had tremendous impact, 
not only here but in other 
places, like Africa. People ask 
me about the magazine all the 
time. I think that my vision was 
"on it" in terms of the focus of 
the magazine. The magazine has 
been read and enjoyed by peo- 
ple in the most obscure places. 
I've received some knocks from 
some Blacks about publishing 
Whites in the magazine but 
America is full of white people 
just like its full of Black people. 
I wanted to have editorial power 
to direct these white people to 
some kind of vision of the fu- 
ture. If you make a magazine 
powerful enough, where you 
have everybody in it, the top 
writers, you can change and in- 
fluence the course of history just 
as Henry Luce did. I think that 
we, as a people, have to begin 
thinking about influencing for- 
eign policy. We should be in- 
fluencing internal policy. We 
should be helping to make for- 
eign policy. 
DRUM - It seems that in my generation, 
too many people are just into 
the movement; we aren't global. 
What are we going to do? 



Q.T. - Most students aren't global. I 
think that your generation is the 
first one that is almost fully 
assimilated into the society. I 
remember a time when we didn't 
have a televison set. We used to 
go across the street to the com- 
munity T.V. where everybody 
would fight over the shows. I 
didn't grow up in a T.V. worid. 
I grew up on the blues. Your 
generation is the first one that 
has been effectively cut off 
from people hke Muddy Waters. 
I see it in my classes. I was 
embarrased about three years 
ago - I asked my Black Studies 
class if they'd heard of Johnny 
Lee Hooker. No Blacks raised 
their hands. A white boy raised 
his hand ten times. None of the 
students had heard of Coltrane 
or anybody, except this one 
white boy. They do not get 
back into things; they're just 
into now; that's why they're 
out there without an anchor. 
They think they're totally 
American. They know they're 
not the same as a white person 
but they try. That's why all 
Black students should take Black 
Experience, Black Literature 
courses. I run into people in 
New York all the time, young 
Black executives. They're stupid. 
They're boring; that's the worst 
thing I can put on somebody. 
So many of them have become 
totally white, divorced from 
their culture. They look down 
their noses at Black "things". 
It's frustrating for people in my 
generation, becuase we sacrificed 
a lot. I got my front teeth 
knocked out by a police man 
with a billy club. We were doing 
this for the future. Now we see 
these people who don't think 
about nothing; they have zips 
for brains. They're smart. They 
can technically do things but 
they have no feeling for the cul- 
ture, for what has gone on in the 
past. I think that young Black 
people have to make a concerted 
effort to find their past. In a 
lot of instances the only place 
for them to learn is in college. 

DRUM - Thank you Mr. Troupe. 



74 




"A Book Review of 

the Social Thought of W.E.B. Dubois" 



DuBois was born five years after 
the Emanicipatlon Proclamation Feb- 
ruary 23, 1968. At the March on 
Washington in August 1963, before 
the audience of 200,000 marchers and 
demonstrators, DuBois's death the day 
before, August 22nd, was announced 
and the crowd hushed. Roy Wilkins 
is reported to have said, "Without that 
old man, we wouldn't be here today." 
DuBois lived for ninety-five productive 
and creative years. Most of those years 
witnessed DuBois in the midst of 
struggle and conflict. The subject of 
the strife consistently involved racism 
and economic oppression and control 
of minority people by business as prac- 
ticed during the first seven decades of 
this centruy. It is well known that Du- 
Bois began collecting his papers at the 
age of fifteen while living in Great 
Barrington, MA. It may also be known 
that at the age of ninety-five years 
and five months, DuBois writes to 



Khrushchev adminishing him on the 
direction his adminstration seemed 
embarked. Chou-en Lai was copied in 
and we are graphically shown by Du- 
Bois that for eighty years he was 
actively involved in compiling a record 
of his struggles against the tyrannies 
of racism and economic exploitation. 

On the centennial celebration of 
DuBois's birthday a program was held 
honoring him in Carnegie Hall, New 
York. Dr. Martin Luther King was the 
keynote speaker. Dr. King's address 
was titled, "Honoring Dr. DuBois." 
This speech was to be the last major 
address made by Dr. King before his 
assassination a month later. In that 
address Dr. King says. 

When white America corrupted 
Negro history they distorted Ameri- 
can history because Negroes are 
too big a part of the building of this 
nation to be written out of it with- 



out destroying scientific history . . . 
Dr. DuBois confronted this power- 
ful structure of historical distortion 
and dismantled it. He virtually, 
before anyone else and more than 
anyone else, demolished the lies 
about Negroes in their most impor- 
tant and creative period of history. 
The truths he revealed are not yet 
the property of all Americans but 
they have been recorded and arm us 
for our contemporary battles. 

The Social Thought of W.E.B. DuBois 
by Joseph P. DeMarco 
Copyright 1983 - 202 pages 
University Press of America 
Lanham, New York, London 

It is clear that the author. Professor 
DeMarco intented his work, "The 
Social Thought of W.E.B. DuBois", to 
present what he takes to be insights 



75 



of the social thought and development 
of that social thought of William 
Edward Burghardt DuBois. The effort 
presented by Professor DeMarco fol- 
lows a major work by Arnold Ramper- 
sad, 'The Art and Imagination of 
W.E.B. DuBois" (1976), and a paper 
presented in Philosophical Forum, 
S/W 1977-78, "DuBois and Fanon on 
Culture", by Bernard Boxill. Addition- 
ally there have been other papers pre- 
sented at various programs across the 
country within the recent years 
addressing the legacy of the social 
thought and philosophy left by 
DuBois. Unfortunately, these papers 
have not been collected under one 
cover. Because of the small number of 
recent works the time is ripe for a 
new work examining DuBois's philo- 
sophy and social thought. It was 
hoped that this work by Professor 
DeMarco would be the work long 
awaited. Alas, it is not. This work by 
Professor DeMarco may be adequate 
for those who have had but a first 
blush with the thought of DuBois. 
However, DeMarco offers the reader 
much theory but with little substance. 
The DeMarco work has an "Intro- 
duction", six chapters, 202 pages, 
523 end-notes and NO index. Of the 
523 end-notes only three are citations 
of statements excerpted from a work 
written after 1971. Those three end- 
notes come from the same source, 
"The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. 
DuBois", by Arnold Rampersad. The 
shame of not including freshly gather- 
ed material compiled during the seven 
year gap (1976-1983) is due to the 
availability of microfilm of the Col- 
lected Papers of W.E.B. DuBois 
opened in 1980 by the University of 
Massachusetts Library Archives/ 
Amherst. In fact, since the 1980 open- 
ing of the DuBois Papers, complement- 
ing material in the form of disserta- 
tions, theses, journal articles, record- 
ings, tapes and video have been locat- 
ed. Consequently, a contemporary dis- 
cussion of the development, change 
and enuciation of the social thought 
of DuBois should make use of the 
150,000 items of correspondence and 
personal papers, as well as the 
auxiliary material in the DuBois Papers 
Collection. And, if it should be the 
case that the material available in the 
Collection is of little assistance, at 
least the mentioning of that newly 



available source could be expected. 
DeMarco is mute on the question 
"What is the latest opinion of 'What is 
the social theory of DuBois?' " 

The most basic question we must 
have answered after having read De- 
Marco's work is "How well has the 
author come to know his subject?" As 
a reviewer I would assume that any 
work presently done about W.E.B. 
DuBois, and which is not the scholarly 
biography called for by Rayford W. 
Logan in his "Introduction" to his 
edited work W.E.B. DuBois: A Profile, 
must reflect the author's grasp of the 
DuBois biography. For all the effort 
and the work which is contained in 
The Social Thought of W.E.B. DuBois, 
it is sad to discover that the author, 
though well intentioned, is uninform- 
ed. DeMarco's basic notion is that 
there is found in DuBois's statements 
and writings a rational social theory. 
DeMarco suggest that DuBois social 
thought is divided into four periods. 
In one period DuBois borders on 
elitist argument, i.e. the attachment 
he had with the notion of the role 
of a "talented tenth". A second 
period is marked when DuBois begins 
to ground his social thought upon an 
economic theory which would have 
him argue for cooperative attitudes 
of cultural and economic descriptions 
for the Negro. A third period is mark- 
ed by DuBois embracing a more 
radical socialist theory which leads 
him to argue for African socialism 
and a pan-communism. DeMarco also 
gives attention to DuBois's early and 
developmental social thought expres- 
sed during the years of his strong 
academe immersion, "the age of 
miracles", 1885-1896. The point is 
that no matter how clearly an author 
attempts to state the case for a given 
expression of "social thought" at a 
given time, if that author does not 
have an accurate sense and reading 
of the time and of the central charac- 
ter, then the author's interpretations 
and assertations not only suffer, they 
become suspect. This is the case with 
Professor DeMarco's work. 

All of this said we come again to 
the central question, "How well does 
DeMarco understand DuBois?" To 
answer this question I turn to page 65 
of DeMarco's work: 

The full turn toward activism 

was pinpointed by duBois to one 



significant event . . . in 195 the 
event occured which led DuBois 
into a leadership role against 
Washington. Washington was in 
Boston delivering a speech, and 
Trotter openly confronted him . . . 
this led to a jail term for Trotter. 
PiS Rampersad points out: "This 
act of humiliation against a man of 
his own class and general sympath- 
ies seems to have shaken him into 
confronting the power of the 
Washington following and the limits 
of his own influence." DuBois con- 
sidered jailing unjustified and view- 
ed it as the catalyst leading him to 
aid in the formation of a political 
movement against Washington. 

What I am to argue is that the date 
given by DeMarco of 1905, given for 
the event of signifigance, is wrong. It 
is not wrong as a typographical error. 
Rather its wrongness highlights the 
type of misunderstanding of DuBois 
evident throughout DeMarco's work. 
The Rampersad passage which De- 
Marco cites is found on page 92 of 
Rampersad's The Art and Imagination 
of W.E.B. DuBois. There Rampersad 
states, ". . . Trotter nevertheless 
plunged into the fray and went to jail 
on the night of July 30, 1903." 
An author who is familiar with Du- 
Bois's biography might then question 
the suggestion of 1905. DeMarco ap- 
parently didn't. Yet the "significant" 
event which DuBois pinpointed sup- 
posedly DeMarco accepts. The concern 
of how well DeMarco knows his sub- 
ject is high lighted when he asserts 
that the movement which was to be 
the result of this significant event; 
the movement DuBois was to help 
lead in its opposition to Washington, 
was the Niagara Movement. The impli- 
cation of DeMarco is that the Niagara 
Movement was a result of actions be- 
gun in 1905 - this is wrong. This impli- 
cation is not even supported by De- 
Marco's own words. If we were to give 
him the benefit of the doubt and allow 
that he knew correctly the date of 
Trotter's arrest, July 30th of some 
year, what sense does it make to then 
assert that DuBois was prepared to call 
and did call a convention and that, 
"Twenty-nine people responded to his 
invitation to meet in July 1905, in 
Canada near Niagara Falls." For a 
scholar who understands DuBois the 



76 



name Niagara Movement is something 
special. In May of 1905 DuBois was 
seeking out locations to host his con- 
ference. In a letter dated May 19, 
1905 DuBois writes to a Mr. Crosby of 
Buffalo, N.Y.: 

"There are about 30 perhaps 40, 
men who may want to meet for a 
quiet conference in or near Buffalo 
about the second week in July." 
REEL 1 frame 708 
The point of seeking a place for a 
quiet conference is stressed in this 
same letter's conclusion when DuBois 
requests, "Please mention this matter 
to no one. . ." The Niagara Movement 
.was not a sudden reaction to an unfor- 
tunate event. A scholar writing about 
DuBois's social thought should have 
appreciation for DuBois's sense of 
time and his routine of planning. 
Clearly DeMarco lacks this apprecia- 
tion about important and relevant 
events and issues which bear directly 
upon his arguments. 

A mistake, such as the one De- 
Marco makes, raises serious questions 
for the mistake begins to seep into 
other discussions. It is important to 
consistently view the beginning of the 
actions which will lead to the creation 
of the Niagara Movement to be 1903. 
It is clear from the correspondence 
which DuBois received after the pub- 
lication of The Souls of Black Folk 
in April 1903, that there were many in 
various parts of the country who were 
looking for a champion to stand op- 
posite Booker T. Washington, and 
those letters urge DuBois to be he. 
DuBois's foresight when gauged from 
the 1903 date, and not from the 1905 
date, is then accurately measured. For 
example, the following is from a June 
27, 1903, letter from the well known 
Black author Charles W. Chesnutt to 
DuBois: 

"... I have not forgotten what you 

say about a national Negro journal 

. What the Negro needs more 

than anything else is a medium 

through which he can present his 

case . . ." REEL 1 frame 589 

The journal which is mentioned here 

will become the journal of the Niagara 

Movement some four years later, 

The Horizon. The point here is that 

DuBois in June 1903, was already 

beginning to marshall sympathetic 

Negro professionals who could be 



counted on to close ranks in opposi- 
tion to Washington and the Tuskegee 
Machine backed by Andrew Carnegie, 
Jacob Schiff, J.G. Phelps Stokes, 
George Foster Peabody, etc. And then 
finally we have a December 28, 1903 
letter to George F. Peabody in which 
DuBois says: 

... I did not know that Mr. Wash- 
ington was in Boston or intending 
to go there as I had just left him at 
Tuskee. I had no correspondence 
with Trotter for six months save 
in regard to a boarding place. 
When I arrived in Boston and heard 
of the meeting I told Mr. Trotter 
and Mr. Forbes in plain terms my 
decided disapproval of the unfor- 
tunate occurance and my convic- 
tion that it would do harm. Al- 
though I was unable at the time to 
defend Mr. Washington's position 
as I once had, I nevertheless took 
occasion to address a meeting of 
men at Mr. Trotter's home and re- 
mind them of the vast difference 
between criticizing Mr. Washinton's 
policy and attacking him personal- 
ly. 
"The Correspondence of WEED", p 68 
vol. 1 

"The Souls of Black Folk is a milepost 
in measuring the development of Du- 
Bois social thought and statement. Yet 
how can a reader trust the interpreta- 
tion of this work if the author fails to 
understand the immediate conse- 
quences of the work in question? 

This same type of "selective 
scholarship" which is evident in De- 
Marco's work in this regard, appears 
throughout the discussion. In Chapter 
Two: Racial Solidarity and the Talent- 
ed Tenth, DeMarco argues that DuBois 
Philosophical background and theore- 
tical support for his concept of race 
was pragmatic. He argues that this 
pragmatic underpinning 

. . . was not systematically de- 
fended, but it is, at key points high- 
ly analogous to the ethical theory 
developed by his mentor at Har- 
vard, Josiah Royce. (The Social 
Thought p. 37) 
WRONG!! 

There is only one name connected to 
the notion of pragmatism which 
DuBois mentioned i.e. William James. 
Even by DeMarco's own reading 
Royce's pragmatic theory may have 
been influenced by DuBois. However, 



to base a chapter of a work such as 
this upon a pragmatic theory and not 
only elevate a professor of DuBois to 
a positon he never held in regard to 
DuBois, but, furthermore, to expunge 
from the record, James (who was 
called by DuBois "mentor" and whose 
personal relationship outlasted Du- 
Bois's years at Harvard and included 
family members such as Henry James) 
is inexcusable. What DuBois said is, 
I determined to go to the best un- 
iversity in the land and if possible 
in the world, to discover Truth, 
which I spelled with a capital. For 
two years I studied under William 
James while he was developing 
Pragmatism; . . . and under Josiah 
Royce and his Hegelian idealism . . . 
The Jamesian Pragmatism as I un- 
derstood it from his lips was not 
based on the "usefulness" of a 
hypothesis but on its workable 
logic if its truth was assumed . . . 
vol 3 pp 394-5 

New York City 
January 10, 1956 
DuBois to Aptheker 
Selected scholarship can be danger- 
ous. Chapter IV of DeMarco's work 
is devoted entirely to "Black Recon- 
struction". Though there is a conclud- 
ing sentence which reads "Black Re- 
construction, while it rejects Marx also 
presents a wide-reaching critique of 
Americancapitalism, " in almost thirty 
pages of discussion he has developed 
four theoretical points which are all 
given with Marx or Lenin as reference: 

1. Throughout Black Reconstruction 
DuBois approached the problem of 
historical interpretation from a 
Marxian perspecitve. 

2. DuBois focused on economic class 
interests, both on the North and in 
the South to demonstrate the pos- 
sibilities of a victorious, unified 
proletariat movement . . . 

3. His position was at odds with 
Marxism at three areas. 

4. The conclusions of Black Recon- 
struction tended to support Du- 
Bois' reliance on a black economic 
co-operative movement. 

Surely there are other interpretations 
of the type of statement DuBois attem- 
pted to make in the social thought 
presented within Black Reconstruc- 
tion. Surely it would be interesting to 
present an alternative discussion which 
brings fresh light to the topic. 



77 



DON KING 



by Leah Loftis 



"Every promoter is a hustler, a beggar, 
really, because he can't disguise the fact 
that he needs other people's money. 
He's his own PR man. Don's more than 
a friend to the Black fighters. King has 
stated that he feels he has been blessed 
with a special magic that insures his 
success, draws people to his side and 
pulls him from the mire of his problems. 
He proclaims, "My magic lies in my 
people ties", "I want young people to 
look at me and say he made it despite 
all the odds and that no matter how bad 
things are for me, I still have a chance 
to make something successful of my- 
self." King has established a relationship 
with the fighter that is unprecedented. 
He has brought the word "loyalty" back 
into being. King says, "It was almost 
extinct in this particular business. My 
most gratifying experience was to have 
fighters like Larry Holmes and Roberto 
Duran who had the opportunity to 
wander and go off, who would have 



been heralded for it, but they didn't 
forget that King struggled with them. 
So I love Larry Holmes and I love 
Roberto Duran, I could easily with- 
draw my allegiance from Roberto 
Duran especially so when he found 
himself in a very tainted preddicament. 
I never did, I remained stead fast and 
loyal." 

Don King's accomplishments go far 
beyond boxing. Named one of the most 
influential Americans by People Maga- 
zine, in 1974, and "the most powerful 
promoter in sports and one of the most 
successful black businessmen in 
America " by Time Magazine, Don King 
is the recipient of numerous awards, 
prizes and honoary degrees. Among 
these, along with former First Lady, 
Betty Ford, and Justice William O. 
Douglas, he received the Urban Justice 
Award in 1976. He was also awarded 
the Heritage Award, has been named 



Man of the Year by the National Black 
Hall of Fame, Minority Businessman of 
the Year by the Greater Washington 
Business Center, and Internaitonal Busi- 
nessman of the Year in Cleveland. He 
has two honorary doctorate degrees and 
has received honorary citizenship and 
citizen awards from several countries as 
well as keys to cities all across the 
United States. He is recognized by many 
national and international organizations 
as a leading contributor and philan- 
thropist to worthy causes. 

The All- Foreman fight inZaireland, 
the Ali-Fraizier "Thrilla in Manilla", 
seen by over one billion viewers world- 
wide, the Norton-Young match, which 
paid the largest purse ever for contend- 
ers up to that time; and the Larry 
Holmes' defeat of Ken Norton to win 
the WBC Heavyweight Championship, 
are some of the big fights that he has 
promoted that made boxing popular 
again and brought it back to promin- 



78 



ence. The entire field of boxing iias 
been changed by King, promoting Light- 
heavyweight, Middleweight, Welter- 
weight, Superwelterweight, Lightweight, 
Featherweight, Superbantaniweight, and 
Superlightweight boxing., Through 
King, the lighweights have achieved 
more stature and more money than ever 
thought possible. 

Don King now runs a successful 
business conglomerate including Don 
King Productions, Inc. (boxing promo- 
tion); Don King Sports and Entertain- 
ment Network (DKSEN); and D. K. 
Chemicals. King is a devoted family 
man. His family includes his wife, Hen- 
rietta, and three grown children, Eric, 
Deborah and Carl. Carl and Debbie are 
in boxing promotion with their father. 
Boxers from all over the world, includ- 
ing current champions, utilize the King 
Training Camp. 

What comes to mind at the mention 
of the name Don King? Does one think 
of a loud voice, tuxedos, wild hair or 
maybe -- his reputation as bieng the 
world's greatest boxing promoter? Well, 
Don King has done it all He is a living 
legend who has promoted more than 
100 Championship fights in 10 years. 

He is the 6' 4" man with the wild 
hair that stands up as if electrifies; it 
has become a symbol of strength and 
wild imagination. If one looks closely 
enough, one can see that his hair, now a 
trademark, is shaped like a crown. 
King is always seen wearing a tuxedo, 
smoking a cigar and talking loudly and 
authoritavely about what he is going to 
do next. 

King came from a middle class family 
in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, Clarence 
King, worked as a laborer who pulled 
plugs form a steel smelter. One dark 
day, December 7, 1941, the plug stuck, 
the smelter blew and as a result, his 
father was killed. The company paid the 
family through a settlement. "In the 
ghetto, we call that tragedy money", 
said King. "My mother, Hattie, took the 
money she got for the flesh of my 
father (there were seven kids) and 
bought a house. I was ten years old", 
said King. 

King's remembers battling with 
roaches in the basement of the tene- 
ment building where he lived as a 
youngster. He would spray the bugs 
furiously with bottles of white poison. 
To his amazement, the roaches kept 



coming. King also spent many days 
running to deliver "squalling chickens" 
to the slaughter house for Hymie's 
Chicken Shack; surviving street life, and 
running numbers in Cleveland. He en- 
joyed boxing and even dabbled at fight- 
ing in high school. He boxed as a 112 
pounder at age 18. King was a fan of 
Paul Simpson, the" boxer, and used to 
carry his bags to the gym whenever he 
fought in Cleveland. At one time, King 
fought in New York and was doing fine 
until he was knocked out after the 
second round of a fight. He never 
fought again. King admired Sugar Ray 
Robinson and Joe Louis. Of Louis, 
King says, "Joe Louis was truly an 
American hero, not just to Blacks but 
to all Americans". 

King thought about pursuing a career 
in law, but that was too remote, a world 
away, white man's stuff. Then he decid- 
ed to work the numbers racket in Cleve- 
land. King stated, "I was the best 
numbers operator the business ever 
had". At age 10, he started selling pea- 
nuts and candy to operators and 
customers in Cleveland's numbers 
places. He learned the business as he 
sold peanuts and by the time he was 
grown, he knew all there was to know 
about running numbers. "Doesn't hurt 
anybody much," King stated. "The 
numbers got some people "nigger rich", 
you know, like bingo in the white 
community. A well-run number game is 
probably as fair as a state lottery by 
being illegal and Black; it is more exotic. 
In each community, number operators 
have to work with each other to stay 
alive, " King says. "You need a 'rhap- 
sody in Black' " King ran his own 
numbers game flamboyantly and soon 
bankrolled other operators. He always 
paid off in public and in full. 

"Sam", the man Don King was con- 
victed of killing, was an ex-convict, 
working as King's lay off man in the 
business. King remembers that when 
"Sam" got out of prison, he bought 
himself some new clothes and teeth but 
turned around and bit him (King). 
"Sam" ran off with some money and 
King would not let him work until he 
made it up to him. King himself placed 
a bet which hit but "Sam" never paid. 
They had words: 

King: You've got to take care of 
this, I've got to keep my reputation. 

Sam: I will take care of it, it's an 
overlook. 



King: You better take care of it if 
you ever want to work with me again. 

Voices rose. King walked out into 
the street and Sam followed him, shout- 
ing. "Sam" jumped King from behind 
and the men began to fight. King 
knocked "Sam" down and kicked him. 
"Sam's" head kicked the curb and 
seven days later, he died. 

According to King, the first charge 
against him was aggravated assault. 

However, King was famous in certain 
quarters of the Cleveland Police De- 
partment. "Numbers Overlord was my 
title of damnation . . . When they found 
out that I was Don King, the charge was 
changed to murder two, second degree 
homicide. The judge reduced it to man- 
slaughter and 1-20 but at the trial, I had 
no chance of getting another reduction 
or going free. I might have if ghetto 
people had judged but -I didn't have a 
jury of my peers. I was tried before a 
jury of middle class whites shortly after 
the riots of the 1960's." He got 20 years 
but was out in four. In 1983, he was 
granted a full pardon by Governor 
James Rhodes. At the time of the sen- 
tence, he did not appeal because he was 
afraid of the legal system. Whiel King 
was in prison, his wife, Henrietta, 
maintained the rolling farm he had 
bought and the family remained solvent. 

The refuge of the prison library saved 
him. He was suddnely an explorer of 
a geography he had never known about. 
King studied incessanlty and memorized 
the works of the world's greatest philo- 
sophers and literary immortals. 

King's world had been Cadillacs, 
money, little slips of paper (numbers) 
and danger. He credits the prison system 
for the change. In prison, he made time 
his servant rather than his master. He 
took a correspondence course from 
Ohio University for four years and 
maintained a 4.0 average. He kept his 
head together by thinking and reading. 
As a younster. King had always liked 
school. So after high school, his older 
brother Carl, let Don to take over his 
numbers route so that Don could earn 
tuition money for Kent State Univer- 
sity. He earned what he needed and was 
accepted into a pre-law program. Un- 
fortunately, he left one of the betting 
slips in the window box and forgot to 
turn it in to the bookie. The number hit 
and he had to use his tuition money to 
pay it off. King asked the bookie for a 



79 



loan and was refused. Consequently, 
he continued his 200 dollars a week 
business and in a year and a half, had 
the bookie and his brother working for 
him. 

His special interest while serving time 
in the Ohio Penetentiary was the libr- 
rary's fiction shelf. Shakespeare, Moliere 
and Voltaire are a few of the authors 
whom King quotes regularly. King 
moved from the ghetto, to the jail cell 
to the height and depth of the fight 
business. Believe it or not, King's hair 
was cut close at one time. However, he 
started letting it grow wild after his 
release from prison. 

Six months after his release from pri- 
son, King organized a promotion for 
Forest City Hospital in Cleveland. Wil- 
son Pickett sang, Lou Rawls told jokes 
and Muhammad Ali fought four dif- 
ferent men in ten rounds of sparring. 
The promotion was a hit. King organ- 
ized the promotion out of a sense of 
mission. King turned from numbers to 
boxing and never looked back. Madison 
Square Garden and Teddy Brenner, the 
matchmaker gave King his start. Madi- 
son Square Garden, its stockholders and 
Brenner thought that boxing was dying 
out but King was out to prove him 
wrong. 

Starting from scratch. King has 
blended the proper business acumen 
(with assistance from his partner at the 
time. Hank Schwartz in 1975) with the 
right amount of "old-time-hustle" and 
"new-time-jive" to become the number 
one boxing promoter in the land. His 
love for boxing has brought the sport 
back to being one of the most popular 
sports around. Along with improving 
the quality of boxing. King has contri- 
buted to the sport by increasing the 
safety standards and making boxing a 
respectable sport. This is the first time 
that a Black man has attained that 
status even though Blacks dominate the 
sport inside the ropes. All other pro- 
moters before Don King stayed in the 
shadow, i.e. promoters such as Bob 
Arum, and the Bolan brothers, shrewd 
men with no personalities. "Nobody 
wanted to be up front before me, " says 
King, "they all want to sit back, collect 
their money, and play dirty tricks on 
each other. Even on the ones who 
worked for them. But I'm out there. If 
you can't see me, you're color blind." 
"My name is on everything", continues 
King, "It's Don King Productions". 



Harold Conrad, who worked with many 
promoters said that once a promoter 
gets a license, he feels that he has the 
right to steal. King is different: he del- 
livers what he promises on time. King 
also has the ability to see and foresee. 

One of the most successful Black 
men in the world today is Donald Ferris 
King, However, one would never know 
that by looking in magazines like 
Black Enterprise or in any other publi- 
cation about successful Blacks. His busi- 
ness education came only through a cor- 
respondence course he took through 
Ohio University while in prison; it was 
a course in economics. While some 
managers and promoters lived richly on 
exotic beaches from the money of prize- 
fighters whom they have tossed aside 
penniless. King made the fighters mil- 
lionares. There were some fighters who 
couldn't get the "time of day" from 
promoters until King gave the nearly 
forgotten fighters like Ernie Shavers and 
Ken Norton a chance to become 
wealthy. Ken's high command is a good 
example of how things work in boxing 
promotion. For instance, one never lets 
a grudge get in the way of making 
money. Mike Malitz and King's rival 
Bob Arum worked with him in 1975. 
Schwartz was King's former boss at 
Video Technique and made King vice- 
president at the time. Some time after. 
King went into business for himself. 
King used Schwartz as a advisor of tech- 
nical equipment. Malitz had the know- 
ledge of when the money is and how to 
collect it; that is why King worked with 
him. He worked with Bob Arum be- 
cause of his legal mind. Now that King 
is successful. Arum is not as popular as 
before. King mentioned in the Sepia 
magazine issue of September 15, 1975, 
that Arum said that King was a more 
talented promoter than he. In the 
same issue. King says that he is hon- 
est and kind and that he holds no 
grudges against anyone, even the people 
who try to beat him. In promoting the 
Ali-Grazier fight. King hired Bob Arum 
to handle the business of dealing with 
theater owners in the closed circuit 
telecast of the fight. After this deal, 
Don King made another deal with Arum 
but Arum fell through on it and that 
is what started the rivalry between 
them. King respects Bob Arum because 
he's a tenacious, ruthless and vicious 
competitor. Plus, King says Arum is not 
to be taken lightly. From a humane 



point of view. King dislikes Arum 
making money off Black fighter by 
taking them to aparthed South Africa 
where Blacks are indiscrimately killed 
and raped and plundered without any 
form of redress. 

King's self -proclaimed "best move" 
in aiming at becoming involved in box- 
ing was when he was with Muhammad 
Ali dealing with Hebert Muhammad, 
All's manager. The King-All team soared 
the promoter to fame in boxing circles 
and to a fortune. Not long after the 
union, the Ali camp thought that King 
was getting a little too much of the 
spotlight so the team was split up. Ali 
ended up going to the white promoter 
Arum. On September 15, 1975, Sports 
Illustrated reported that King was think- 
ing of purchasing a major movie com- 
pany. "I'm too big to be described as a 
fight promoter". King said in Sepia 
Magazine interview, October 1975. "I'm 
also branching out into different things; 
football players want me to work in 
their contracts. More immediate is my 
sudden thrust into big team sports and 
music as a packager and manager of 
careers". Also from the Sprots Illustrat- 
ed of the same issue. King stated that he 
had already signed 85 black pro-football 
players, with more to follow in basket- 
ball and baseball. In 1982 King signed a 
Heisman Trophy winner, a No. 1 draft 
choice, Billy Sims. But Billy Sims went 
to another agent after signing with King. 
King never sued Sims even though he 
had a case because King didn't think it 
was right for him to go into a new busi- 
ness suing players. Overnight, it seems, 
he could become one of the most 
powerful men in all of sports. Don King 
is boxing, the man with the show, the 
man with the fistful of dollars and the 
imagination to match, and "street 
genius". 

King is a decent human being who 
has faults such as being too loud at 
times, but he is a fenerouse and sensitive 
man. Loyalty is almost nonexistent in 
boxing, but King commands is and it is 
given to him because he is strong and 
fair. Don King's words are one of his 
most important natural resources. 
"Don's personality, his way of over- 
whelming people, is an essential part of 
promoting", says Hank Schwartz, who 
gave King his first promoting job in 
1973, putting him on the payroll of 
Schwartz Video Techniques Co. to land 
the Frazier-Foreman fight in Jamaica. 



80 



// 



Dorothy Love Coates 

and the 
Gospel Harmonettes 

WINNERS 



// 



Gospel music, as it is called, is a 
foundation of Black music and has 
often been ignored as new music trends 
creep on the scene. But like the "spirit- 
ual", "gospel" is classic, and classics 
are never destroyed. Albeit some musi- 
cologists attempt to define Black music 
modes in a variety of terms, others 
view these modes (i.e. gospel, spirituals, 
etc.) as being the same. Thus, the gos- 
pel-spiritual-jazz-blues idioms are all 
derivative of one source: the African 
music antecedent. One group in 
particular has maintained identification 
with the characteristics of these idioms; 
that is Dorothy Love Coates and the 
Gospel Harmonettes. 

In the beginning, the group was 
known as the Gospel Harmonettes with 
its start in Birmingham, Alabama 
around 1948. The group's first big hit 
was "You Must Be Born Again" on 
RCA records. Soon, the young and 
energetic Dorothy Love joined the 
group. Dorothy had been the pianist 
in her church since childhood and she 
brought her natural gift and her crea- 



tivity to the Alabama group. 

The original Harmonettes were Mil- 
dred Miller (Howard), Vera Kolb, 
Willie Mae Newberry (Garth), Odessa 
Edwards and Dorothy Love (Coates). 
Evelyn Starks served as the pianist for 
the group and Odessa Edwards was the 
narrator. 

In 1951, the group moved to Special- 
ty Records and recorded such hits as 
"He's Calling Me", "No Hiding Place", 
"99'/2", "Where Shall I Be?", "He's 
Right on Time", "I'm Sealed", "You 
Better Run", "That's Enough", and the 
ever popular, "Get Away Jordan". 

Also in the fities, the goup added the 
talented, Joe Washington as pianist. 
Washington keyboard skills accompan- 
ied the moving renditions of the Har- 
monettes in grand style. The group 
began to make its mark in the 
music industry. 

The Harmonettes moved to Savoy 
Records and continued to record such 
hits as "Come on in this House", "So 
Many Years", and "No Rest for the 
Weary". 



In 1959, Dorothy Love retired from 
the group, however, she returned in 
1961 with new vigor. Dorothy's voice 
was as strong as ever despite rumors 
that she was told by doctors not to sing 
again and that she had lost one of her 
lungs. Dorothy became the narrator 
when Odessa Edwards left the group. 
Qeo Kennedy replaced Vera Kold as 
soprano and Lillian McGriff, Dorothy's 
sister, was also added. 

When the group moved to Nashboro 
Records, the hits began to flow again. 

Johnny Gaines served as pianist and 
Washington returned to record two al- 
bums with the group as the pianist. It 
was the first of these two albums that 
contained one of their greatest hits, 
"I Won't Let Go (of my Faith)", 
Dorothy exemplifies her vitality as she 
glides across the lyrics in spiritual es- 
sence. She sings of the "unshakeable" 
faith maintained through life's turmoils. 
Washington plays the organ as if it is a 
part of him. He makes it answer the 



81 



climaxes staged by Dorothy. Mildred, 
Willie Mae, Cleo and Lillian give strong 
support in the background to keep the 
selection moving. Other highlights in- 
clude, "Heaven, I Heard so Much about 
It", "Everyday Will Be Sunday", "I'm 
on My Way", and Dorothy's arrange- 
ment of "Farther Along". 

Dorothy composed and/or arranged 
all of the selections for this and sub- 
sequent albums and with the expertise 
of producer Shannon Williams, the 
group could do no wrong. Many hits 
followed. 

The subsequent album, "Separation 
Line", is not as rewarding as its pre- 
decessor. Perhaps this is due to the wide 
recognition of "I'm Holding On" and 
"Everyday Will be Sunday". It does 
include good selections like "The 
Chariot", "Shake My Mother's Hand for 
Me", and "Come on and Go with Me". 
Nevertheless, Dorothy proves that she 
can do it again and again with albums 
"Seeds of Truth" and "The Winner", 
"That's Alright with Me" is the high- 
light of the first album and was a big 
hit. Mildred continues to do some of 
the lead singing as she leads "My Soul 
Needs Resting". "If I Had My Way" 
was another moving narrative. 

"The Winner" included the title 
track as well as such old favorites as 
"Canaan", "Love Lifted Me", and top 
hits, "Stop, Take A Little Time to 
Pray" and "They Won't Believe". 

The group began to receive awards 
after a string of albums at Nashboro 
including two greatest hits albums," 
Our Greatest Hits" and "The Best of 
Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel 
Harmonettes". In 1970, they received 
the Golden Mike Award for the Best 
Female Gospel Group from the Nation- 
al Association of Television and Radio 
Announcers and also the Thomas A. 
Dorsey Award. 

In the mid-seventies, Dorothy re- 
turned to Savoy Records, but without 
the other original Harmonettes, Mildred 
Miller Howard and Willie Mae Newberry 
Garth. The billing became Dorothy 
Love Coates and her Singers. In 1977 
she recorded an album, "These Are the 
Days". Dorothy continues to be as 
lively and as energetic as she was in the 
fifties. She instills that old-time singing 
for which she is known in "The Power 
of the Holy Ghost" and "Amen". The 
group also included jazz notations in 
"Heaven". 



The next year she came back with an 
album, "A City Built Four Square" with 
still more personnel changes. The singers 
were Gwen Moore, Debra Nunn, Evelyn 
Thurman, Booker Sedecor and her sister 
Lillian McGriff Caffey. Rev. Charles 
Kemp served as pianist. 

The eighties brought about more 
changes in Dorothy's musical career. 
She became a soloist. She had recorded 
some solos on previous albums, but now 
she does mostly solos and a few duets 
on her recordings. She also moved back 
to Nashboro Records where she had 
been so successful. In addition ot the 
solo albums, she also recorded a live 
concert with the B & M Choir. She per- 
formed her great hit "I Won't Let Go" 
and "You've Been Good to Me." 

Dorothy has provided her audiences 
with her narrations for years. She is 
able to quote the Bible with great ease 
and often employs bibical events in her 
songs. Like the Black preacher, she re- 
creates the events in a vivid manner. 
For example, she retells Sampson's 
betrayal and suffering in "If I Had My 
Way". She tells of Jacob's sickness in 
"He's Right on Time". She gives an ac- 
count of John's being decapitated in 
"99V2". In addition, she also uses life 
experiences to bring her songs to an 
apex. She recaptures an old saint in a 
hot cotton field who is sold away from 
all his loved ones in "The Chariot". She 
even sings of present day heroes like 
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert 
Kennedy in "They Won't Believe" along 
with such old heroes as Lot, Noah, and 
Jeremiah. She invites the world to come 
and have a good time dancing, shouting, 
speaking-in-tounges, and baptizing in. 
the house of the Lord in "Come in this 
House". She warns sinners that there 
will be no place to hide at the end of 
time in "No Hiding Place". She con- 
firms her faith and redemption in "I 
Won't Let Go" and "I'm Sealed". She 
also sings of the future where she and 
the saints will dwell in the bosom of 
God's eternal grace in "Everyday Will 
Be Sunday", "Heaven, I've Heard So 
Much about It", and "Heaven". She in- 
quires about the future in "Where Shall 
I Be?" and "Canaan". Of course, she 
faces the River Jordan (often used as a 
synonym for death in African-American 
songs and sermons) and wants to cross 
over in "Get Away Jordan". Ib short, 
her compositions cover every spectrum 
of spiritual-physical life. 



Dorothy's voice has been described 
as "rough" by some writers and a few 
even note that she is not considered a 
great singer. But this is so untrue to 
many of her listeners. Some writers 
and musicologists fail to realize that the 
voice in African and African-American 
music is not judged by the same stand- 
ards as in Euro-American music. The 
vioce is used for the purpose of the 
song, so a variety of voice types are em- 
ployed in African-American music and 
all types are valued. Dorothy's voice is 
typical of the mode used in many spirit- 
ual songs. She oftens becomes hoarse 
during her performances but this does 
not take away from the song; it embel- 
lishes it and the audiences show their 
appreciation of it. It is a talent shared 
with other Black singers, including 
Harmonette Mildred Miller Howard who 
also owns what many consider a good 
gospel voice. 

Dorothy has composed and/or ar- 
ranged over 300 songs, yet she still has- 
n't received the deserved recognition. 
Others have often had greater success 
with some of her compositions. One 
reason is that her songs don't receive 
much airplay as many Black stations 
have either cut gospel music out of their 
programming all together or have re- 
duced it to a minimum. Unfortunately, 
she is not one of the crossover singers 
like Shirley Caesar, Andrea Crouch of 
the Mighty Clouds of Joy, who have 
managed to get some air play during the 
radio programming usually reserved for 
rhythm and blues. Some stations will 
play gospel songs recorded by rhythm 
and blues artists, like Lionel Ritchie and 
Deniece Williams and others but will not 
play gospel selections by gospel singers. 

Dorothy Love Coates has continued 
to record for over 30 years and can still 
manage to bring a crowd to a foot- 
stomping hand-clapping, soul-lifting 
jubilee just as she did in the eariy fifties. 
To many who enjoy the old-time sing- 
ing as well as modern idioms, her voice 
rings in melodious sensations as it leaps 
from valleys to mountains, telling of the 
many manifestations of faith, belief, 
love, peace, trouble, pain, sorrow, tri- 
bulation, suffering, joy, happiness and 
mercy. The "old saints" of the cotton 
fields as well as the ancestors of the 
African homeland are delighted in their 
gifted child of today. She is determined 
to be a winner at the "finishing line". 



82 



<^^^' 



SALUTE TO 
MARVIN GAYE 






m 




SALUTE TO MARVIN GAVE 



I don't have much work to do 
around the house like some girls. My 
mother does that. And I don't have to 
earn my pocket money by hustling; 
George runs errands for the big boys 
and sells Christmas cards. And anything 
else that's got to be done, my father 
does. All I have to do in life is mind my 
brother Raymond, which is enough. 

Sometimes I slip and say my little 
brother Raymond. But as any fool can 
see he's much bigger and he's older too. 
But a lot of people call him my little 
brother cause he needs looking after 
cause he's not quite right. And a lot of 
smart mouths got lots to say about that 
too, especially when George was mind- 
ing him. But now, if anybody has any- 
thing to say to Raymond, anything to 
say about his big head, they have to 
come by me. And I don't play the 
dozens or believe in standing around 
with somebody in my face doing a lot 
of talking. I much rather just knock 
you down and take my chances even if 
I am a little girl with skinny arms and a 
squeaky voice, which is how I got the 
name Squeaky. And if things get too 
rough, I run. And as anybody can tell 
you, I'm the fastest thing on two feet. 

There is no track meet that I don't 
win the first place medal. I used to win 
the twenty-yard dash when I was a little 
kid in kindergarden. Nowadays, it's 
the fifty-yard dash. And tomorrow I'm 
subject to run the quarter-meter relay 
all by myself and come in first, second, 
and third. The big kids call me Mercury 
cause I'm the swiftest thing in the neigh- 
borhood. Everybody knows that— ex- 
cept two people who know better— my 
father and me. He can beat me to 
Amsterdam Avenue with me having a 
two fire-hydrant-headstart and him run- 
ning with his hands in his pockets and 
whistling. But that's private informa- 
tion. Cause can you imagine some 
thirty-five-year-old man stuffing him- 
self into PAL shorts to race little kids? 
So as far as everyone's concerned, I'm 
the fastest and that goes for Gretchen, 
too, who has put out the tale that she 
is going to vrin the first-place medal 
this year. Ridiculous. In the second 
place, she's got short legs. In the third 
place, she's got freckles. In the first 
place, no one can beat me and that's 
all there is to it. 

I'm standing on the corner admiring 
the weather and about to take a stroll 
down Broadway so I can practice my 



breathing exercises, and I've got Ray- 
mond walking on the inside close to the 
buildings, cause he's subject to fits of 
fantasy and starts thinking he's a circus 
performer and that the curb is a tight- 
rope strung high in the air. And some- 
times after a rain he likes to step down 
off his tightrope right into the gutter 
and slosh around getting his shoes and 
cuffs wet. Then I get hit when I get 
home. Or sometimes if you don't watch 
him he'll dash across traffic to the 
island in the middle of Broadway and 
give the pigeons a fit. Then I have to go 
behind him apologizing to all the old 
people sitting around trying to get some 
sun and getting all upset with the pig- 
eons fluttering around them, scattering 
their newspapers and upsetting the 
waxpaper lunches in their laps. So I 



she won the spelling bee for the mil- 
lionth time, "A good thing you got 
'receive,' Squeaky, cause I would have 
got it wrong. I completely forgot about 
the spelling bee" And she'll clutch the 
lace on her blouse like it was a narrow 
excape. Oh, brother. But of course 
when I pass her house on my early 
morning trots around the block, she is 
practicing the scales on the piano over 
and over and over and over. Then in 
music class she always let herself get 
bumped around so she falls accidentally 
on purpose onto the piano stool and is 
so surprised to find herself sitting there 
that she decides just for fun to try out 
the ole keys. And what do you know- 
Chopin's waltzes just spring out of her 
fingertips and she's the most surprised 
thing in the world. A regular prodigy. I 



AN 
EXCERPT FROM 



by 



TONI CADE BAMBARA 



keep Raymond on the inside of me, and 
he plays like he's driving a stage coach 
which is O.K. by me so long as he, 
doesn't run me over or interrupt my 
breating exercises, which I have to do 
on account of I'm serious about my 
running, and I don't care who knows it. 
Now some people like to act like 
things come easy to them, won't let on 
that they practice. Not me. I'll high- 
prance down 34th Street like a rodeo 
pony to keep my knees strong even if 
it does get my mother uptight so that 
she walks ahead like she's not with me, 
don't know me, is all by herself on a 
shopping trip, and I am somebody 
else's crazy child. Now you take 
Cynthia Procter for instance. She's 
just the opposite. If there's a test to- 
morrow, she'll say something like, "Oh, 
I guess I'll play handball this afternoon 
and watch television like last week when 



could kill people like that. I stay up all 
night studying the words for the spelling 
bee. And you can see me any time of 
day practicing running. I never walk if I 
can trot, and shame on Raymond if he 
can't keep up. But of course he does, 
cause if he hangs back someone's liable 
to walk up to him and get smart, or take 
his allowance from him, or ask him 
where he got that great big pumpkin 
head. People are so stupid sometimes. 

So I'm strolling down Broadway 
breathing out and breathing in on 
counts of seven, which is my lucky 
number, and here comes Gretchen and 
her sidekicks: Mary Louise, who used to 
be a friend of mine when she first 
moved to Harlem from Baltimore and 
got beat up by everybody till It took up 
for her on account of her mother and 
my mother used to sing in the same 



85 



choir when they were young girls, but 
people ain't grateful, so now she hangs 
out with the new girl Gretchen and talks 
about me like a dog; and Rosie, who is 
as fat as I am skinny and has a big 
mouth where Raymond is concerned 
and is too stupid to know that there 
is not a big deal of difference between 
herself and Raymond and that she can 
afford to throw sotnes. So they are 
steady comign up Broadway and I see 
right away that it's going to be one of 
those Dodge City scenes cause the 
street ain't that big and they're close 
to the buildings just as we are. First I 
think I'll pass. But that's chicken and 
I've got a reputation ot consider. So 
then I think I'll just walk straight 
through them or even over them if 
neccessary. But as they get to me, they 
slow down. I'm ready to fight, cause 
like I said I don't feature a whole lot of 
chit-chat, I much prefer to just knock 
you down right fromt he jump and save 
everybody a lotta precious time. 

"You signing up for the May Day 
races?" smiles Mary Louise, only it's 
not a smile at all. A dumb question like 
that doesn't deserve an answer. Besides, 
there's just me and Gretchen standing 
there really, so no use wasting my 
breath talking to shadows. 

"I don't think you're going to win 
this time," says Rosie, trying to signify 
with her hands on her hips all salty, 
completely forgetting that I have 
whupped her behind many times for 
less salt than that. 

"I always win cause I'm the best," I 
say straight at Gretchen who is, as far 
as I'm concerned, the only one talking 
in this ventriloquist-dummy routine. 
Gretchen smiles, but it's not a smile, 
and I'm thinking that girls never really 
smile at each other because they don't 
know how and don't want to know how 
and there's probably no one to teach us 
how, cause grown-up girls don't know 
either. Then they all look at Raymond 
who has just brought his mule team to a 
standstill. And they're about to see 
what trouble they can get into through 
him. 

"What grade you in now, Ray- 
mond?" 

"You got anything to say to my 
brother, you say it to me, Mary Louise 
Williams of Raggedy Town, Baltimore." 

"What are you, his mother?" sasses 
Rosie. 



"That's right. Fatso. And the next 
word out of anybody and I'll be their 
mother too." So they just stand there 
and Gretchen shifts from one leg to the 
other and so do they. Then Gretchen 
puts her hands on her hips and is about 
to say something with her freckle-face 
self but doesn't. Then she walks around 
me looking me up and down but keeps 
walking up Broadway, and her sidekicks 
follow her. So me and Raymond smile 
at each other and he says, "Gidyap" to 
his team and I continue with my breath- 
ing exercises, strolling down Broadway 
toward the ice man on 145th with not 
a care in the world cause I am Miss 
Quicksilver herself. 

I take my time getting to the park on 
May Day because the track meet is the 
last thing on the program. The biggest 
thing on the program is the May Pole 
dancing, which I can do without, thank 
you, even if my mother thinks it's a 
shame I don't take part and act like 
a girl for a change. You'd think my 
mother'd be grateful not to have 
to make me a white organdy dress 
with a big satin sash and buy me new 
white baby-doll shoes that can't be 
taken out of the box till the big day. 
You'd think she'd be glad her daughter 
ain't out there prancing around a May 
Pole getting the new clothes all dirty 
and sweaty and trying to act like a 
fairy or a flower or whatever you're 
supposed to be when you should 
be trying to be yourself, whatever that 
is, which is, as far as I am concerned, 
a poor Black girl who really can't afford 
to buy shoes and a new dress you only 
wear once a lifetime cause it won't 
fit next year. 

I was once a strawberry in a Hansel 
and Gretel pageant when I was in nur- 
sery school and didn't have no better 
sense than to dance on tiptoe with my 
arms in a circle over my head doing 
umbrella steps and being a perfect fool 
just so my mother and father could 
come dressed up and clap. You'd think 
they'd know better than to encourage 
that kind of nonsense. I am not a straw- 
berry. I do not dance on my toes. I run. 

That is what I am all about. So I always 
come late to the May Day program, 
just in time to get my number pinned 
on and lay in the grass till they an- 
nounce the fifty-yard dash. 

I put Raymond in the little swings, 
which is a tight squeeze this year and 



will be impossible next year. Then I 
look around for Mr. Pearson, who pins 
the numbers on. I'm really looking for 
Gretchen if you want to know the 
truth, but she's not around. The park 
is jam-packed. Parents in hats and cor- 
sages and breast-pocket handkerchiefs 
peeking up. Kids in white dresses and 
light-blue suits. The parkees unfolding 
chairs and chasing the rowdy kids from 
Lenox as if they had no right to be 
there. The big guys with their caps on 
backwards, leaning against the fence 
swirling the basketballs on the tips 
of their fingers, waiting for all these 
crazy people to clear out the park so 
they can play. Most of the kids in my 
class are carrying bass drums and 
glockenspiels and flutes. You'd think 
they'd put in a few bongos or something 
for real like that. 

Then here comes Mr. Pearson with 
his clipboard and his cards and pencils 
and whistles and safety pins and fifty 
million other things he's always drop- 
ping all over the place with his clumsy 
self. He sticks out in a crowd because 
he's on stilts. We used to call him Jack 
and the Beanstalk to get him mad. But 
I'm the only one that can outrun him 
and get away, and I'm too grown for 
that silliness now. 

"Well, Squeaky," he says, checking 
my name off the list and handing me 
number seven and two pins. And I'm. 
thinking he's got no right to call me 
Squeaky, if I can't call him Beanstalk. 

"Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker," 
I correct him and tell him to write it 
down on his board. 

"Well, Hazel Elizebeth Deborah 
Parker, going to give some else a break 
this year?" I squint at him real hard to 
see if he is seriously thinking I should 
lose the race on purpose just to give 
someone else a break. "Only six girls 
running this time," he continues, 
shaking his head sadly like it's my fault 
all of New York didn't turn out in 
sneakers. "That new girl should give 
you a run for your money". He looks 
around the park for Gretchen like a 
periscope in a submarine movie. 
"Wouldn't it be a nice gesture if you 
were ... to ahhh . . ." 

I give him such a look he couldn't 
finish putting that idea into words. 
Grownups got a lot of nerve sometimes. 
I pin number seven to myself and stomp 
away, I'm so burnt. And I go straight 
for the track and stretch out on the 



86 



grass while the band winds up with "Oh, 
the Monkey Wrapped His Tail Around 
the Flag Pole," which my teacher calls 
by some other name. The man on the 
loudspeaker is calling everyone over to 
the track and I'm on my back looking 
at the sky, trying to pretend I'm, in the 
country, but I can't, because even grass 
in the city feels hard as sidewalk, and 
there's just no pretending you are any- 
where but on a "concrete jungle" as 
my grandfather says. 

The twenty-yard dash takes all of 
two minutes cause most of the little 
kids don't know no better than to run 
off the track or run the wrong way or 
run smack into the fence and fall down 
and cry. One little kid, though, has got 
the good sense to run straight for the 
white ribbon up ahead so he wins. Then 
the second-graders line up for the 
thirty-yard dash and I don't even 
bother to turn my head to watch cause 
Raphael Perez always wins. He wins 
before he even begins by psyching the 
runners, telling them they're going to 
trip on their shoelaces and fall on their 
faces or lose their shorts or something, 
which he doesn't really have to do since 
he is very fast, almost as fast as I am. 
After that is the forty-yard dash which I 
use to run when I was in first grade. 
Raymond is hollering from the swings 
cause he knows I'm about to do my 
thing cause the man on the loudspeaker 
has just announced the fifty-yard dash, 
although he might just as well be giving 
a recipe for angel food cake cause you 
can hardly make out what he's saying 
from the static. I get up and slip off my 
sweat pants and then I see Gretchen 
standing at the starting line, kicking her 
legs out like a pro. Then- as I get into 
place I see that ole Raymond is on line 
on the other side of the fence, bending 
down with his fingers on the ground just 
like he knew what he was doing. I was 
going to yell at him but then I didn't. It 
burns up your energy to holler. 

Every time, just before I take off in 
a race, I always feel like I'm in a dream, 
the kind of dream you have when 
You're sick with fever and feel all hot 
and weightless. I dream I'm flying over 
a sandy beach in the early morning sun, 
kissing the leaves of the trees as I fly 
by. And there's always the smell of 
apples, just hke in the country when I 
was little and used to think I was a 
choo-choo train, running through the 
fields of com and chugging up the hill 



to the orchard. And all the time I'm 
dreaming this, I get lighter and lighter 
until I'm flying over the beach again, 
getting blown through the sky like a 
feather that weighs nothing at all. But 
once I spread my fingers in the dirt and 
crouch over the Get on Your Mark, the 
dream goes and I am solid again and am 
telling myself. Squeaky you must win, 
you must win, you are the fastest thing 
in the world, you can even beat you 
father up Amsterdam if you really try. 
And then I feel my weight coming back 
just behind my knees then down to my 
feet then into the earth and the pistol 
shot explodes in my blood and I am off 
and weightless again, flying past the 
other runners, my arms pumping up and 
down and the whole world is quiet 
except for the crunch as I zoom over 
the gravel in the track. I glance to my 
left and there is no one. To the right, 
a blurred Gretchen, who's got her chin 
jutting out as if it would win the race 
all by itself. And on the other side of 
the fence is Raymond with his arms 
down to his side and the palms tucked 
up behind him, running in his very own 
style, and it's the first time I ever saw 
that and I almost stop to watch my 
brother Raymond on his first run. But 
the white ribbon is bouncing toward me 
and I tear past it, racing into the dis- 
tance till my feet with a mind of their 
own start digging up footfuls of dirt and 
brake me short. Then all the kids 
standing on the side pile on me, banging 
me on the back and slapping my head 
with their May Day programs, for I have 
won again and everybody on 151st 
Street can walk tail for another year. 

"In first palce . . ." the man on the 
loudspeaker is clear as a bell now. But 
then he pauses and the loudspeaker 
starts to whine. Then static. And I lean 
down to catch my breath and here 
comes Gretchen walking back, for she's 
over shot the finish line too, huffing and 
puffing with her hands on her hips tak- 
ing it slow, breathing in steady time like 
a real pro and I sort of like her a little 
for the first time. "In first place . . ." 
and then three or four voices get all 
mixed up on the loudspeaker and I dig 
my sneaker into the grass and stare at 
Gretchen who's staring back, we both 
wondering just who did win. I can hear 
old Beanstalk arguing with the man on 
the loudspeaker and then a few others 
running their mouths about what the 
stopwatches say. Then I hear Raymond 



yanking at the fence to call me and I 
wave to shush him, but he keeps rattling 
the fence like a gorilla in a cage like in 
them gorilla movies, but then like a 
dancer or something he starts climbing 
up nice and easy but very fast. And it 
occurs to me, watching how smoothly 
he climbs hand over hand and remem- 
bering how he looked running with his 
arms down to his side and with the wind 
pulling his mouth back and his teeth 
showing and all, it occurred to me that 
Raymond would make a very fine 
runner. Doesn't he always keep up with 
me on my trots? And he surely knows 
how to breathe in counts of seven cause 
he's always doing it at the dinner table, 
which drives my brother George up the 
wall. And I'm smiling to beat the band 
cause if I've lost this race, or if me and 
Gretchen tied, or even if I've won, I can 
always retire as a runner and begin a 
whole new career as a coach with Ray- 
mond as my champion. After all, with 
a little more study I can beat Cynthia 
and her phony self at the spelling bee. 
And if I bugged my mother, I could 
get piano lessons and become a star. 
And I have a big rep as the baddest 
thing around. And I've got a roomful 
of ribbons and medals and awards. But 
what has Raymond got to call his own? 
So I stand there with my new plans, 
laughing out loud by this time as Ray- 
mond jumps down from the fence and 
runs over with his teeth showing and his 
arms down to the side, which no one 
before him has quite mastered as a run- 
ning style. And by the time he comes 
over I'm jumping up and down so glad 
to see him— my brother Raymond, a 
great runner in the family tradition. But 
of course everyone thinks I'm jumping 
up and down because the men on the 
loudspeaker have finally gotten them- 
selves together and compared notes 
and are announcing "In first place- 
Miss Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker." 
(Dig that) "In second place— Miss 
Gretchen P. Lewis." And I look over 
at Gretchen wondering what the "P" 
stands for. And I smile. We stand there 
with this big smile of respect between 
us. It's about as real a smile as girls 
can do for each other, considering we 
don't practice real smiling every day, 
you know, cause maybe we too busy 
being flowers or fairies or strawberr- 
ies instead of something honest and 
worthy of respect . . . you know . . . like 
being people. 



87 



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E 



"JESSE JACKSON" 

1. BIOGRAPHY 

2. BUSINESS 

3. CIVIL RIGHTS 

4. DEMOCRATIC 

5. DISABLED people 

6. DISCRIMINATION 

7. EDUCATION 

8. ELDERLY 

9. EMPLOYMENT 

10. EQUAL 

11. "FREE" world 

12. GREENVILLE 

13. JESSE JACKSON 

14. MONDALE 

15. NUCLEAR 

DISARMAMENT 

16. PEACE 

17. POLICY 

18. FOREIGN policy 

19. POLITICS 

20. POOR 

21. PRESIDENT * 

22. operation PUSH 

23. RAINBOW 

CONNECTION 

24. REAGAN 

25. REGISTRATION* 

26. REVEREND 

27. SOUTH CAROLINA 

28. THIRD world 

29. VOTE* 

30. WIN 



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