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Full text of "Drum"

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Drum University of Massachusetts, New Africa House 115, Amherst, MA 01003 

Volume 18, Number 1 & II, May 1988 



Lift Every Voice and Sing 



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I. Lifl ev - 'ry voice and sing, 'Tii earth and heav ■ en ring, 
3. Cod of our wea - ry years. Cod of our si - lent lears, 

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Sing a song full of the faith (hat (he dark past has taught us. 
Lest our feet stray from the plac - es, our God, where we met Thee, 




Sing a song, full of the hope that the pres - ent has brought- 
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of Ijie world, we for- get Thee.. 



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Fac - ing the ris - ing sun Of our new day be - gun. 
Shad -owed be-neath Thy hand. May we for ■ ev - er stand, 



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Let us march on. til vie- to - ry is won._ is won. 

True to our God, true to our na - live land._ 



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Let it re-sound, loud as the roll - ing sea._ 

Keep us for - ev - er in the path, we pray 





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Bit-ter the chas-t'ning rod. 



*ord) and niiiiic copyii^ht 192'? Kdwaid H. Marks Mujjc Corporaliun, 
Arr ©copyriphl Rdward B. Marks Miisit Corporation. Used by perm 



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Felt in the days when hope — un 




ry feel — come to the place for which our fa - thers sighed? 

Jinn - , o 




We have come o - ver a way that with tears has been wa - tered. We 



Front & Back Cover Art by Romare Bearden 
Back: "Guitar Executive" 




have come, tread ■ ing our path through the blood of the slaught 

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Where the whitegleam of ourbrighl star is cast, (piano) 




(piano) 






3 3 3 3 

Printed by Excelsior Printing Company 



THE COLUMBIA SCHOLASTIC 
PRESS ASSOCIATION 

awards this 

MEDALIST CERTIFICATE 




Given at Columbia University in the City of New York, 
November 2, 1987 in its Sixty-fourth Annual Contest. 




DIRECTOR 



A Medalist Award is granted to publications selected from the First Place ratings for special qualities evident to the 
judges, characterized as the personality, spirit or creative excellence of the entry. This is for overall achievement. 
Usually, only the top ten percent of entries receive a Medalist Award. [Taken from Magazine Fundamentals: Third 
Edition, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, 1984.1 



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3 Editorial 

by Martha Giiei-Deen 

4 The Fire Next Time — 
James Baldwin 



8 Marcus Garvey: An Unsung Hero 
by Simone Nicholson 

14 Supreme Court Justice Thurgood 
Marshall 
by Pancho Monis and 
Rudolph Miller 

16 Bookworm Raps on Literature: 
Andrea Benton Rushing 
interviewed by Garrick Amos 



18 The Price of the Ticket 
James Baldwin 





23 Blues For Mister Chame — 
James Baldwin 

24 Nelson Stevens on Romare Bearden 

27 Afri-Cobra: Twenty Years Later 
by Kara Banks and 
Desmond Dorsett 

33 We Have Seen His Righteous Witness 
by Michael Thelwell 

35 A Brother's Love 

by Maya Angelou 

36 Jimmy 

byAmiri Baraka 

38 Fashion Through an Angel' s Eyes : 
Angel Estrada 

by Susan Hodgkins 




'drum 






40 Coaching Excellence 
by Mark T. Childs 



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42 Equality: By Any Means Necessary 
by Simone Nicholson 

46 Akhenaten: Unique Among Pharaohs 

by Sara Shapiro 

50 Black To The Future: Spike Lee, 
Filmmaker 
by Martha Grier-Deen 

55 Amnesty International: Better To 
Light A Candle Than Curse 
the Darkness 
by Cathy Mahoney 

5^ Chinua Achebe: Owner of Words 

^t interview by Charles Perry 

6 1 Interview with Kandula Sastry 

by Victor Alexander 

62 Music is Cultural Power: Jane Sapp 

by Mark T. Childs 

67 I Am Because We Are: 
Nelson Stevens 

by Martha Grier-Deen 

70 Dr. Johnnetta Cole: First Lady 
interview by Rio Gabriel 

78 Yusef Lateef 

interview by Nelson Stevens e) 
Barry Brooks 

87 CANE 

by Lori Robinson 

90 Stars That Play With Laughing 
Sam's Dice 
by Rio Gabriel 

92 State Representative Raymond 
Jordan: the Answerman 
interview by Dawn Marshall 

95 Ashanti 

by Terrelle Hodge 



4 



SPECIAL DEDICATION TO THE LATE 
CHARLES ABRAMSON 
' AND THOSE WHO KNEW HIS ARTISTIC"" 
-^ GENIUS ^-^ 







.his issue of DRUM Magazine Is a par- 
ticularly special one for several reasons. 
The fact that this issue Is in print is a 
miracle in itself. Thanks to letters of sup- 
port from our readers, as well as to the per- 
sistent efforts of UMass students and 
DRUM staff, our budget, although cut, was 
guaranteed for two more issues. We hope 
that this issue, and the next 20th anniver- 
sary issue, will be so baad that when the 
time for re-funding comes around again, we 
won't have to go begging. 

This issue is also, unfortunately, in 
dedication to preservers of our culture who 
have passed on in the last year — James 
Baldwin, John Killens, Harold Washington, 
Romare Bearden, Channing Phillips, Peter 
Tosh—people who, during their lifetimes, 
made significant contributions to the strug- 
gle against injustice that Blacks and other 
people of color continue to face. It seemed 
that just as we were getting over the shock 
and sorrow of one loss, we had to endure 
yet another. It is still hard to believe that 
James Baldwin — a man who was literally 
the voice of Black America— is no longer 
alive. But the brilliance of their legacies 
shines on. 

During this period of seemingly endless 
and highly discriminating fatality, the very 
valid questions of "Who's next?" and 
"Who will be left?" were asked. The urgen- 
cy of these questions is increasing as the 
ever-present racism and conservatism in 
this country are no longer cloaked in subtle- 
ty but exposed anew each day through acts 
of legal and illegal violence. In this issue 
of DRUM we pay tribute to those like Mar- 
cus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 
Baldwin, Bearden, and the still-living (God 
Bless him!) Supreme Court Justice 
Thurgood Marshall. We also celebrate 
those who have chosen to continue the 
struggle and who have dedicated their lives 
and work to the passing on of tradition and 
culture— the President of Spelman College, 
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, filmmaker Spike Lee, 
, Professor Andrea Benton Rushing, musi- 



cian Jane Sapp, the artists of Afri-Cobra 
and writer Chinua Achebe. It is from all of 
these people, and many more like them, 
that we draw strength. 

Along with the question, "Who will be 
left?" comes another — "Are those who 
come next prepared?" Although the last 
couple of years have shown that many of 
us are willing to fight against injustice— as 
the article on the recent New Africa House 
takeover illustrates— I think that our 
preparation is lacking, especially given the 
nature of the current struggle. The strug- 
gles of the 60s and 70s — which are, to 
many of us, ahistorical — were relatively 
easier to fight because inequality was more 
identifiable. Today, however, racism is 
much less evident and much more institu- 
tionalized. Many Americans— Black and 
white— believe that because some have 
been given the opportunity for better 
education, employment and housing, all 
can attain these same goals — if one works 
hard enough. But it's not just about oppor- 
tunity. "One of the striking challenges that 
your age has to face is the fact that 
freedom without equality is not enough. 
Freedom didn't cost very much. Equality 
does. Because in freedom, you simply 
have the option to push from out to in and 
from in to out. But with equality it's about 
moving up. It's about equity and parity, as 
opposed to welfare and charity .... You 
are of the equality generation ... at least 
you have the opportunity to be about that." 
[The Rev. Jesse Jackson] 

Many of us grew up not having to ride 
on the back of the bus, or to fight and die 
for the right to vote, so maybe we think that 
acts of injustice today are isolated incidents 
that can be solved on an individual basis, 
but this is one of America's greatest fan- 
tasies. Racism and inequality are inherent 
in the foundation of America— a fact clever- 
ly veiled in the disguise of rhetoric. The 
founding fathers of this country were not 
advocates of "freedom and justice for 
all," — they were murderers and enslavers. 



All men are created equal, indeed. 

Therein, however, does not lie the 
tragedy. The tragedy lies in our belief and 
indisputability of this myth. Our bodies may 
no longer be in bondage, but our minds 
certainly are. The nature of the struggle has 
changed and we have to prepare our- 
selves. The price of liberation is eternal 
vigilance. We have to free ourselves from 
the mind-imprisoning chains which hinder 
us from moving up and continuing the in- 
complete struggle against oppression. It is 
not enough for the individual to go to 
school, get a job and make money. If we 
were to wait for each person of color to at- 
tain equality and security in this country, 
we would be waiting forever because the 
cycle of oppression does not end. We need 
to rock the foundation and expel the myths. 

These chains which bind us are much 
more destructive than those which shack- 
led the bodies of our ancestors, and much 
more incapacitating, because of their 
relative insidiousness. Like fighting an in- 
visible opponent — one keeps swinging in 
hopes of landing an effective blow. But we 
can't afford to fight with our eyes closed. 
New chains are being forged and they will 
continue to be further obscured if we don't 
open our eyes and wake up from this sleep 
which, if continued, will once again make 
life a living nightmare for people of color 
in this country and in this world. 

While the tale of how we suffer, and how 
we are delighted, and how we may triumph 
is never new, it always must be heard. 
There isn 't any other tale to tell, it's the on- 
ly light we've got in all this darl<ness . . . 
And this tale, according to that face, that 
body, those strong hands on those strings, 
has another aspect in every country, and 
a new depth in every generation. [James 
Baldwin] 

—Martha Grier-Deen 



^S^ 






TFie only tfving tvPvite peopCe have tPiat black peopte, neecC, or sFioutcC 
want, is pouter— and no one. FwDtCs power forever. UFvite people- 
cannot, in the generatittj, be tak^n as models of how to Give. 
Rather , the white man is hiwsetf in sore neecC of new staruCarcCs , 
which Witt release him from, his confusion and place him once, 
attain In fruitful contntunion with the depths of his own belncf. 
And X repeat: The price o^ liberation of the white people is the 
liberation of the b[acfe,s— the totat liberation. In the cities, in the 
towns, before the law, and in the mind. Why for exampCe— 
especially knowing the famdy as X do— T shouCd want to marry 
your sister is a great m^ystery to me. But your sister and 1 have 
every right to marry if ive wish to, and no one has the right to stop 
us. If she canru3t raise me to her level, perhaps X can raise her to 
mine. 



JAMES 
THE FIRE 



Cotor is not a hanvan or personal reaCity ; it is a political reaCity . 
But this is a distinction so extremcty hard to make- that the West 
has not been able to make, it yet. A.nd at the center of this dreadful 
storm., this vast confusion, stand the blacik, people of this nation, 
who must now share the fate of a nation that has never accepted 
them, to which they were brought in chains. Well, If this is so, one 
has no choice but to do all In one's power to change that fate, and at 
no matter what risfc— eviction, imprisonnvent, torture, death. Tor 
the sake of one's children. In order to minimize, the bdl that they 
nvust pay, one must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion— 
and the value placed on the color of the skin is atways and 
everywhere and forever a delusion. 



BALDWIN 
NJEXT TIME 



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Tf one is continualU) surviving tfve ivorst tfiat Dije can bring , one 
eventuaU^g ceases to be controUett by a fear o/ what tif e can bring ; 
whatever it brings must be borne,. And, at this Cevet o| experience 
one's bitterness beqins to be palatable, and, hatred, becomes too heavy 
a sack, to carrg .... It tofe^s great spiritual resilience not to hate 
the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of 
perception and cFiarity not to teach, your chiCd to hate. 



The American Negro has th^e threat advantxuje of having never 
believed that collection oj my Uis to which white Americans cting : 
that their ancestors were all JreecCom-toving heroes, that they were 
born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that 
^Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that 
a^mericans have alivays dealt hotiorobty with Mexicans antt 
Indians anct alt other neighbors or inferiors , that American men 
are the. ivorCti's ntost direct and viriCe, that American wonten are 
pure. 



If ive—and now 1 mean the relatively conscious whites ancC the 
relatively conscious bCac^s, who must, tifee Covers, insist on, or 
create, the consciousness of the others— cto not falter in our cCuty 
now, we may be able, hancifut that we are, to end the, racial 
nightmare, anct achieve our country, anct chanye the history o^ the 
world. If tve do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that 
prophecy, re-created from the "Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: 
Rod gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire 
next time! 




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Photo by Adger Cowans 



MARCUS GARVEY: 
THE UNSUNG HERO 



A study of Marcus Garvey is at its best, 
enlightening, and at its worst, frustrating. 
He was perhaps the most underplayed of 
our historical Black leaders and yet he 
should be the most praised, for even if one 
is in disagreement with Garvey's ideas 
and views, he was the foremost inspira- 
tion for the modern Civil Rights Move- 
ment that Black Americans hold in such 
high regard. He inspired Black society and 
the Black world as no leader has since, 
with his freeing hand having reached in- 
to colonialized Africa, as well as the 
America in bondage. Garvey knew no 
boundaries when it came to the enslaved. 
What began as plans only for his Jamaican 
brothers and sisters, inspired by the ac- 
tivities of Booker T. Washington, ended 
with a worldwide movement from which 
white society has yet to recover. 

The name Marcus Garvey, to the few 
who know more than his name, is 
synonymous with the ideas of Black 
power and Black nationalism. He was the 
advocate of a Black nation long before 
Malcolm X. 

Garvey is irreplaceable in the history of 
Blacks in America because he did more 
to raise the consciousness of his people 
than any other leader. Further study of the 
man, and the movement that resulted, ex- 
plains in clear terms the belief after which 
a large majority of Black society modeled 
their thinking. What came to be know to 
the world as "Garveyism" was a force that 
could not be ignored. 

Garvey's experience with racial oppres- 
sion began in early childhood — born in 
the small town of St. Ann's Bay on the 
northern coast of Jamaica on August 17, 
1887, into a society where division by col- 
or dictated the division of class. As a child 
his parents were financially stable and the 
area in which they lived provided him 
with the opportunity to interact with 
white neighbors; hence, he had an early 
education about the injustices of life. He 
was genuinely awakened to the existence 
of racism when the little white girl next 
door with whom he frequently played told 
him that she could no longer speak to or 
play with him because he was a "nigger." 
[Cronon, 8] Garvey expressed his rite of 
passage best when he said, "it was then 
that I found for the first time that there 
was some difference in humanity, and 
that there were different races, each hav- 
ing its own separate and distinct social 
life." 



Unsettled by this first incident, as he 
grew older he continued to be disgusted 
and frustrated by the treatment of Black 
people in the places that he visited, but 
most especially by the treatment they 
received at home. On his visits to Costa 
Rica and to Panama, he saw how unjust- 
ly his Jamaican brothers and sisters in the 
fields and on the canal were dealt with. 
The social caste system which existed in 
Jamaica — where dark-skinned Blacks 
were the lower class, the light-skinned or 
"mulattos" comprised the middle class, 
and the white minority made the upper 
class — would prepare him for his eventual 
trip to the United States. Here he would 
have to combat the same lack of self-pride 
that Jamaican Blacks felt due to color- 
prejudice. However, in the U.S., the 
persecution was primarily on the part of 
white society, even though a strong 
undertone of color-casting existed within 
the Black community itself. Garvey 
essentially grew to despise miscegenation 
of any form. "We are conscious of the fact 
that slavery brought upon us the curse of 
many colors within our race but that is 
no reason why we ourselves should 
perpetuate the evil." [Martin, 29] 

In 1912, Garvey went to London to ex- 
perience the treatment of Blacks outside 
of Jamaica and was introduced to a copy 
of Booker T. Washington's autobiography 
Up From Slavery. From that time forward 
Garvey wondered where the Black leader- 
ship was and resolved to try to provide the 
guidance that was needed. 

Having read Booker T's novel while in 
London, Garvey returned to Jamaica on 
August 1, 1914 with plans to unify his 
people. It was at this time that he formed 
the Universal Negro Improvement and 
Conservation Association and African 
Communities League. [Cronon, 16] This 
eventually was shortened to the Univer- 
sal Negro Improvement Association 
(UNIA) — whose purpose was to imite the 
oppressed Blacks of the world in a collec- 
tive struggle for Black power. The UNIA 
constitution stated that the organization 
would be dedicated to the idea of "univer- 
sal brotherhood and would continually 
work towards the uplifting of the Negro 
peoples of the world." JCronon, 17] 




Marcus Garvey at ysik 



Garvey wanted to establish a trade 
school in Jamaica modeled after 
Washington's Tuskegee Institute. Realiz- 
ing that he had neither the funds nor the 
manpower to fulfill his plans he decided 
to solicit help from the United States. 
Knowing Washington had acquired large 
amoimts of money for Tuskegee he wrote 
to him asking for his backing. Just as his 
plans for arrival in the U.S. were finalized 
his expected host died, but Garvey came 
to the U.S. anyway. When he arrived, he 
discovered that the African- American was 
in such a position of hopelessness after 
World War I that they warranted new 
leadership. Seizing the opportunity 
Garvey stepped in: "Where is the black 



ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE SHOMBURG CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN BLACK CULTURE 




!l invention parade in Harlem. 



man's government? Where is his king and 
his kingdom? Where is his President, his 
covmtry and his ambassador, his army, his 
navy, his men of big affairs? I could not 
find them and then I declared, I Vk^ill help 
to make them." [Cronon, 16] 

After being unable to talk to even 
Washington's aide, Garvey quickly toured 
the United States and assessed the racial 
and political climate. He decided that 
there was a definite need for a New York 
branch of the UNIA. He had come to 
Harlem at a time when Blacks were 
becoming increasingly dissatisfied with 
their position in society. Many had 
migrated from the South to the North in 
search of better economic conditions in 



"the promised land." What they found 
when they arrived was that they were still 
the last hired and first fired. It was into 
this atmosphere of unrest that Marcus 
Garvey stepped. 

Garvey first focused much of his atten- 
tion on the West Indian population of 
Harlem but was soon speaking to the 
masses of Blacks. He spoke about 
freedom, independence and an independ- 
ent nation. He also alluded to the 
possibility of a Black owned and operated 
steamship line to carry freight, mail and 
people back and forth to Africa. 

Garvey had brought the UNIA to New 
York in 1917 and by 1919 he could boast 
that there were thirty chapters with two 
million members. [Vincent, 101] It was 
with this strength that the idea of the 
Black Star Line was made a reality. The 
line met with much approval and was im- 
mensely popular because it gave even the 
poorest Black a chance to own stock. The 
investor could feel as if he was promoting 
the betterment of his race while also mak- 
ing some money. [Cronon, 51| 

Commercially and economically, the 
Black Star Line was a failure. Its first and 
only real or legitimate purchase was of the 
Yarmouth for which an exorbitant sum 
was paid. This purchase, for 165 thousand 
dollars, would set a pattern. During the 
next few years the company repeatedly 
purchased over-priced items which left 
the company with no money to outfit 
ships, and eventually the line went 
bankrupt. [Vincent, 103] The cause of the 
Line's failure was largely due to hounding 
by government agents, coupled with the 
fact that most of the stockholders had in- 
vested because of Garvey's plans for 
emigration back to Africa. 



The Black Star Line was probably most 
effective as a propaganda tool. [Stein, 156] 
Because the idea was so appealing to the 
Black community, Garvey spoke about it 
whenever he could to improve member- 
ship. The flashy parades that accom- 
panied the voyages also brought attention 
and increased enrollment. Although it 
didn't successfully accomplish its de- 
signed purpose, the Black Star Line 
boosted membership of the UNIA, as well 
as the morale of the people. Furthermore, 
those who held stock in the Black Star 
Line really believed they were con- 
tributing to a big business, and the Fac- 
tories Company inspired many Blacks to 
become small business owners. In- 
dependence breeds power and pride. 

Concerned about Black youth, Garvey 
began the Negro Factories Company. 
With its establishment, he believed he 
was assuring them profitable, steady 
employment. [Cronon, 60] Through this 
company, stores and other private 
businesses were opened and many Blacks 
were inspired to begin setting up their 
own businesses. Once again, though 
Garvey may not have made exceptional 
financial gains but he did succeed in help- 
ing the Black man gain a sense of 
self-respect. 

In 1920, Garvey announced that there 
would be a mammoth international con- 
vention, with delegates representing the 
entire Black race who would report on 
conditions in their communities and 
establish a Negro Declaration of Rights 
to be presented to the governments of the 
world. [Cronon, 62] The conference was 
immensely successful and marked the 
highlight of the Garvey Movement. 
Followers came from as far as Africa for 




Black Star Line Stock Certificate: 

The Black Star Line was an international shipping corporation that 
fostered black trade, transported passengers and served as a symbol of 
black enterprise. Begun in 1919, it immediately became the major tool of 
Universal Negro Improvement Association recruiters who sold its stock. 






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the month-long convention. "Cutting 
across national lines and banishing na- 
tional allegiances, the racial doctrines of 
Marcus Garvey were infusing in Negros 
everywhere a strong sense of pride in be- 
ing black." [Cronon, 70] 




ASWMi* MFVr TO 

■tut ATT««Mrr iiMiuh' 
AMBiitriaT* 

tHrTlMS MB HUMMN 



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DEPARTWKNT OF JUSTICE, 

WASHINOTONrO.O. 



Ootober 11, 1919. 



MEUORAHSUU i<OR MR. RIC&BLT. 

I em tranemltting herewith a oonmimloatlon wbloh has qome 
to my attention from the Panama Oanel, Washington offloe, rela- 
tive to the aotlTltles of MARCUS 0AKVB7. Oarrey la a Weet- 
Zn&lan negro and In addition to his aotlvltles In endeavoring 
to eatablleh the Bleolc Star line Steamship Corporation he has 
also 'been parti oolarly aotlve among the radloal elements In 
Dew Zork 01 ty In agitating the negro movement. Unfortunately, 
however, he haa not as yat violated any federal law whereby 
he oould be prooeeded against on the grounds of being an tm- 
deslrabls alien, from the point of view of deportation. It 
ooours to me, however, from the attached ollppiiig that there 
might be some prooeedlng against him for fraud in oonneotlon 
with his Blaok Star Line propaganda and for this reason I am 
transmitting the oomnunloatlon to you for your appropriate 
attention. 

The following is a brief statement of Marous Garvey and 
his aotlTltlea: 

Subjeot a native of the V/eat Indies and one of the most 
prominent negro agitators In IJew York; 

He is a founder of the Universal l^ogro Improvement Asso- 
olatlon and African Communities League; 

He Is the promulgator of the Blaok Star Line and la the 
isaaaglng editor of the Negro World; 

He la an exoeptlonally fine orator, creating muoh excitement 
among the negroes through his steamship proposition; 

In hlB paper the "Begro World" the Soviet Russian Rule Is 
upheld and there Is open advocation of Bolshevism. 



Respectfully, 




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LETTER APPEARS COURTESY OF 
THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 




The Black Star Line, the Negro Fac- 
tories Co., and the conference of 1920 
were the major accomplishments of a 
decade of enlightenment that came with 
Marcus Garvey. All, of course, met with 
opposition from the white community 
and, more often than not, from members 
of the Black community as well. In 1919 
the District Attorney's office in New 
York threatened Garvey twice with 
charges of fraud. [Vincent, 103] The Negro 
press, although complimentary of 
Garvey's newspaper. The Negro World, 
was critical of Garvey himself throughout 
the movement. This was due in part to 
their opposing integrationist-separatist 
ideologies. Garvey also felt that the Black 
press was solely out to better its condi- 
tion and was unconcerned for the welfare 
of the people — ideals which Garvey con- 
sidered venal and ignorant. 

"Unfortimately the Colored or Negro 
Press of today falls into the hands of un- 
principled, unscrupulous and character- 
less individuals whose highest aims are 
to enrich themselves and to find political 
berths for themselves and their friends, or 
rather confederates." [Garvey, 77] 

In 1925, with the help of a disgruntled 
ex-employee of the UNIA, the District At- 
torney arrested Garvey and two col- 
leagues on charges of mail fraud. J. Edgar 
Hoover, who was now head of the new 
General Intelligence Division, had had 
Garvey watched for months in hopes of 
finding him guilty of a deportable offense. 
[Stein, 191] Garvey was sentenced to five 
years of imprisonment, but served only 
three. During Garvey's incarceration. 
Blacks began to realize the injustice and 
viciousness of the whites who sentenced 
him for a crime that was usually 
pimishable by probation. 

At this time the Black press, his lifelong 
adversary, felt that he had been punished 
sufficiently, and began to find some truth 
in Garvey's ideology of Black nationalism. 
[Cronon, 141] Instead of hindering 
Garvey's strength and popularity as a 
leader, the plan of Hoover and the govern- 
ment actually backfired and provided 
Garvey with even more support. 

During his last year in prison in 1927, 
the UNIA was no longer strong enough 
to establish programs on its own, so 
Garvey instructed the leadership to work 
along with other organizations. Prejudices 
within the UNIA, added to outside 
pressures, caused disunity within the 
organization. 



Garvey's influence did not disappear 
after he was deported in 1927. Although 
he could not restore the UNIA to its 
former strength, due to the demise of the 
Black Star Line and the resistance of 
African governments to the emigration 
plan, the dream of the UNIA becoming a 
world power was kept alive by using the 
Jamaican chapter as a base. Letters of in- 
spiration, which were to be printed in The 
Negro World, were cabled to the United 
States. He continued to work with the 
organization until his death in 1940. 

"The legacy of Garvey and his followers 
goes beyond the many programs they in- 
itiated. Garvey and many of his leading 
lieutenants were masters of psychological 
warfare. Garvey tried to restore to the 
black man the masculinity stolen from 
him during the centuries of slavery." [Vin- 
cent, 19] 

Garveyism, like its founder, advocated 
Black power, freedom, unity and a return 
to the motherland to make it a powerful 
Black nation. Garvey's critics said that he 
won his followers by emotion-laden pleas 
that had no realism behind them, 
however, this was not the case. [Vincent, 
28] Garvey was an opportimist who loved 
his people. He came to them at a time 
when leadership and guidance was lack- 
ing, when the injustices they were suffer- 
ing encouraged the militancy in them to 
speak out. The "New Negro" wanted to 
fight for what he believed should rightful- 
ly be his. But, the "New Negro" still suf- 
fered the same self-esteem problems that 
the "Old Negro" had. Marcus Garvey's 
restoration of a sense of Black pride in his 
people earned him the distinction of 
leader. "Garvey's vision for his race's 
redemption was of a new world of black 
men, not peons, serfs, dogs and slaves, but 
a nation of sturdy men making their im- 
pression upon civilization and causing a 
new light to dawn upon the human race." 
[Cronon, 16] 

Garveyism, in its quest for a strong 
Black nation, has led many to believe that 
he advocated a total emigration to the 
motherland. On the contrary, Garvey 
wanted his people to work and establish 
themselves in the United States while a 
small number traveled to Africa to help 
the continent regain her freedom; from 
that he expected Blacks everywhere to 
gain prestige and strength. [Martin, 45] 

Marcus Garvey was only directly in- 
volved with American society for a 
decade, but his presence can still be felt. 
The existence of the red, black and green 
flags that represent Black nationalism, 
and the current stances of emigration 
back to Africa are testament to the sur- 
vival of Garvey's message. 

Garvey was popular and respected 
because, although largely self-educated, 
he was a great orator and expressed the 
thoughts of the Black community that 



might otherwise have been kept a secret. 
[Cronon, 4] Although his methods may 
not have been traditional in the context 
of what many see as the proper methods 
of leading a people, all his concepts of uni- 
ty and brotherhood were based upon the 
realities of living in a segregationist socie- 
ty. He sought to uplift the people and in- 
still in them the pride of being Black, in- 
dependent and therefore separate from 
white society. 

It has often been deduced by critics and 
the uninformed that Garveyism was 
largely unsuccessful because although he 
had grasped the ears of the nation, much 
of what he said was in opposition to the 
true desires of the Black person. 

The African- American had just recent- 
ly come out of a position of slavery and 
was seeking to establish rights in a place 
where formerly they had had none. Blacks 
wanted to be successful in the society in 
which they lived and didn't want to run 
from it. 

"The inherent weaknesses of 
Garveyism itself also acted to limit his 
ultimate influence. Garvey sought to raise 
high the wall of racial nationalism at a 
time when most thoughtful men were 
seeking to tear down these barriers .... 
Garveyism failed largely because it was 
unable to come up with suitable alter- 
natives to the unsatisfactory conditions 
of American life as they affect the Negro. 
Escape, either emotional or physical was 
neither realistic, lasting or desired." 
[Cronon, 221, 224] 



Perhaps if Garvey were a leader of to- 
day he would find an attitude on the part 
of Black Americans more conducive to his 
desires, although it is difficult to deter- 
mine what the current attitude would be 
if Garvey had never existed. 

Whatever Garvey's contributions 
would have been in the 1990s, the man 
must be given credit for reestablishing 
what is the key to any successful move- 
ment of a people then or now: Black Pride. 

"When you tell this Black man in 
America who he is, where he came from, 
what he had when he was there, he'll look 
around and ask himself, 'Well what hap- 
pened to it, who took it away from us and 
how did they do it?' Why, brothers, you'll 
have some action just like that . . . that 
knowledge in itself will usher in your ac- 
tion program." — Malcolm X 

Simone Nicholson is a sophomore 
Journalism major. 




Marcus Garvey at 1921 convention parade In Harlem. 



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Native Land...Africa 

by Dawn Marshall 

Why? Why? 

Thousands and thousands 

miles apart 

Our Native Land... 

Africa, the second largest continent. 

Our traditional customs are taken 

away from us 
Our colorful dashikis and turbans 
Why? Why? 
Our Native Land... 
Africa, the most colorful country. 



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Our music, beating heavenly on the 

bamboo drums. 
Watching our Brothers and Sisters 

dancing lively with rhythm ^ 

Our Native Land... 
Africa, the origin of soul and Black Music. 

Blood-in-Blood families, together 

Chief of tribes, in many villages 

Mud and Huts, our shelter , 

People of color, our people, Africans. 

Why? Why? 

Did the white men take our place away from us? 

Why? Why? 

Were they so cruel? 

Why? Why? 

Are we Brothers and Sisters, thousands and thousands 

miles apart. 

Our Native Land... 

Africa, oh so far away. 






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Supreme Court Justice 
Thurgood Marshall 



Thurgood Marshall was born in 
Baltimore, Maryland, on July 2, 
1908, the younger of two sons bom 
to William Caniield and Norma A. 
Marshall. 

The Marshalls taught their children to 
be proud of their ancestry, which they 
traced to a Congolese slave who was 
known as a troublemaker. According to 
Marshall, the fellow made his objections 
to slavery so well known that his master 
had to release him from bondage. 

Marshall's parents were intelligent and 
strongly opposed to segregation. Mar- 
shall's father was a dining-room steward 
and his mother was an elementary school 
teacher. 

Young Thurgood, on the urging of his 
mother, made an attempt to study den- 
tistry during his first couple of years at 
college; however, the dentistry field failed 
to hold his interest. It was his father who 
eventually turned his interest toward the 
legal profession. He was taught by his 
father to always challenge and prove 
theories because, in his father's view, 
"nothing should be taken for granted." 

Thurgood, as a young boy, was forced 
to endure what all other Blacks were en- 
during: racism and bigotry. 

Thurgood's father was convinced that 
shiftlessness was a direct cause of crime 
and poverty and that recklessness could 
be acquired at any time. As a result of this 
belief, Thurgood was sent to the school 
where his mother taught so she could 
maintain surveillance over him. After 
elementary and high school, Thurgood ap- 
plied and was accepted to Lincoln Univer- 
sity. He would always find the time to 
read books by and for Blacks. He read 
works such as The Negro in American 
History, by Mortimer J. Adler, The 
American Negro by f . MelvUle Herskovits 
and the works of W.E.B. Du Bois. In his 
senior year at Lincoln, he was an excellent 
debater in the Forensic Society, and in 
June of 1930 he received his A.B. degree 
with honors in the humanities. 

It was during his sophomore year that 
he met and married his first wife, Vivian 
Burney. They were married for twenty- 
five years — until Vivian's death due to 
cancer in February, 1955. She was a 
source of great inspiration to Thurgood. 
During his marriage, Thurgood worked to 



finance himself, his wife, and his 
education. 

During the 20s, Thurgood was par- 
ticularly impressed by Blacks such as Paul 
Robeson and Florence Mills, the musical- 
comedy star. By this time, he had already 
begun to find his own identity and to 
slowly mature. 

In 1930 he applied and was accepted to 
Howard University. He had applied 
earlier to the University of Maryland and 
was refused entry because he was Black. 
During his first year at Howard, Marshall 
came into contact with Dr. Charles 
Hamilton Houston, Vice-Dean of the Law 
School, who was to become Marshall's 
mentor. Houston taught Marshall the 
strategy of using existing laws to defeat 
racial discrimination. It was also Houston 
who represented the NAACP in several 
of its cases. Marshall did so well under 
Houston's tutelage that he led his class 
in all three years and graduated as valedic- 
torian in 1933. 

After graduating, Marshall and his sec- 
ond wife, Cecilia Suyat, moved back to 
Baltimore. His early years in Baltimore 
were hard and discouraging. His clients, 
whenever he had any, were poor — usually 
victims of dispossession, eviction and 
police brutality. He handled many of 
these cases, knowing that the chance of 
compensation would be small. Soon he 
became known in his community as "the 
little man's lawyer." 

In 1934, Marshall began his long 
association with the NAACP when he 
volunteered his services to the local 
branch in Baltimore. Thurgood won his 
first NAACP case in 1935. He convinced 
the Maryland Court of Appeals to order 
the University of Maryland Law School 
(incidentally the same Law School that 
had refused to admit him five years 
earlier) to admit its first Black applicant. 

In 1936, Charles Houston, who worked 
for the national office of the NAACP, con- 
vinced the organization to appoint Mar- 
shall as an Assistant Special Counsel. 
Three year later, the NAACP Legal 
Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. was 
created. The purposes of the fund were 
listed in the charter: to render free legal 
aid to Blacks who suffer legal injustice 
because of their race or color and who can- 
not afford to employ legal assistance — 



among other things — vital to the well be- 
ing of Blacks, such as education. 

In 1940, the position of Director- 
Counsel was created and Marshall was 
selected for the job. Marshall served in 
this position for twenty-one years. The 
majority of civil rights cases were han- 
dled by the Fund during this period, and 
the Director-Counsel was to a large degree 
responsible for its successes and failures. 

According to the United States Reports, 
the official publication of Supreme Court 
decisions, Marshall argued thirty-two 
cases and assisted in preparing the briefs 
for eleven others brought before the 
Supreme Court. Of the cases he argued, 
four were lost, one was dismissed for lack 
of a substantial federal question, and 
twenty-seven were substantive victories. 
Marshall argued six of these cases without 
the support of his staff. He argued his first 
case before the Supreme Court in 1942 
and won. 

Marshall gained worldwide notoriety in 
May of 1954 when the Supreme Court 
relied solely on his sociological argument 
in Brown vs. Board of Education. The 
argument Marshall presented to the 
Court in 1952, in part, was that "legally 
enforced racial segregation in public 
schools denied benefits required by the 
'equal protection of the law' clause of the 
14th Amendment. Along with his very 
supportive staff, Marshall had broken 
down the walls of segregation which were 
supported by the case of Plessy vs. 
Ferguson. 

On January 10, I96I, John F. Kennedy 
was elected to the presidency. During his 
campaign Kennedy made both public and 
private statements that he was in favor of 
equal rights for Blacks. After he was 
elected President, Kermedy, at the urging 
of his brother Robert, appointed Marshall 
to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 
New York. 

Seven years after he was appointed to 
the Second Circuit Court (on October 2, 
1967), Thurgood Marshall gained fame 
when he was appointed by President Lyn- 
don B. Johnson to serve as an Associate 
Justice on the Supreme Court of the 
United States. He is the first and only 
Black ever to sit on the highest court of 
this nation. 

Ever since his 1967 appointment. 



14 



Justice Marshall has been a faithful leader 
in the fight for liberalism. For example, 
in the case of Apodaca vs. Oregon in 1972, 
when the majority held that unanimous 
verdicts were not required in state trials, 
Marshall became angry and wrote, "To- 
day the court cuts the heart out of the two 
most important and inseparable 
safeguards the Bill of Rights offers a 
criminal defendant; the right to submit 
his case to a jury, and the right to proof 
beyond a reasonable doubt .... The 
skeleton of these safeguards remains, but 
the Court strips them of life and of mean- 
ing . . ." Marshall went on to state, "The 
Court asserts that when a jury votes nine 
to three for conviction, the doubts of the 
three do not impeach the verdict of the 
nine .... But we know what has hapened, 
the prosecutor has tried and failed to per- 
suade those jurors of the defendant's 
guilt." Therefore, in this case, the prose- 
cutor did not prove beyond a reasonable 
doubt. 

As we celebrate the Bicentennial of the 
Constitution, Justice Marshall is once 
again at the forefront of the news. In a 
forum before patent lawyers in Hawaii, 
Justice Marshall blasted the framers of the 
Constitution for approving a Constitution 
that "was defective from the start, requir- 
ing several amendments, a civil war and 
momentous social transformation" before 
all human rights were recognized. Mar- 
shall then stated that the framers "trad- 
ed moral principles for self-interest" in 
drafting the constitution. After Justice 
Marshall's statements were aired, the con- 
servative Washington Legal Foundation 
invited the Honorable Justice to resign 
because his remarks "reflect a deep-seated 
bitterness and dislike that impairs his 
capacity." 

Although the 80-year old Justice is 
criticized by the majority of the conserv- 
tives in Washington, he is praised by 
liberals such as Derrick Bell of Harvard 
Law School who said: "We need less pomp 
and more candor about why the Constitu- 
tion was written the way it was and what 
still needs to be done to insure individual 
rights." 

Throughout his tenure on the bench. 
Justice Marshall has been an unwavering 
voice for the poor and oppressed 
throughout this nation. His eternal 
vigilance brings African- Americans a bit 
closer to equality in this nation. 

Sources 

Private Piessme on Public Lawhy Randall W. 

Bland. 

The Lonesome Road by Saunders Redding. 

fet Magazine (October 2, 1967| 

Negro History Bulletin (October 1967) 

Newsweek (October 16, 1967) 

New York Times (June 18, 1967) 

US News and World Report (May 18, 1987) 

Time (July 6, 1987) 

Pancho Morris and Rudolph Miller are both 
graduating Legal Studies majors from Jamaica, 
and will be attending law school in the fall of 
1988. 



Racism 

by Mark T. Childs 

Still, 

racism 

rampant 

blatant, subtle 

in churches 

schools 

neighborhoods 

from infancy. 

Behind, beside 

among, ahead 

of us always. 

why 

when it hurts 

cuts 

bruises 

debilitates 

destroys 

human beauty. 

How can 

we keep fighting 

to cure disease 

and prolong life 

when we can 

not 

soothe 

the deep 

festering wounds 

of bigotry. 

I don't know 

Fear and ignorance 
seek a 

colored scapegoat 
before 

acknowledging 
we're all there is 
brother and sister, 
racism kills. 



15 



BOOKWORM RAPS ON LITERATURE 

Andrea Benton Rushing 



Andzea Benton Rushing is a New 
York City-born professor of Black 
Studies at Amherst College who has 
taught in Nigeria, traveled to several 
Caribbean countries, published ar- 
ticles on African and African- 
American literature, and co-edited 
Women in Africa and the African 
Diaspora with Rosalyn Terborg-Penn 
and Sharon Harley. Feminist Studies 
will publish her short story 'Hair 
Raising' this summer. 

1 got interested in literatiire while I was 
a college student. Then I read the greats 
in British literature: T.S. Eliot, Gerard 
Manley Hopkins, and John Donne. 

I've been interested in literature for as 
long as I can remember. (I could hardly 
wait to get an adult library card and once 
I did, I read all around the Tompkins 
Square branch of the New York Public 
Library — except for books on dogs, horses, 
and nurses.) When I was in college I 
started reading poetry seriously. Though 
it wasn't about my day-to-day life, it 
fascinated me. I liked to decipher difficult 
poems, look up words I didn't know, puz- 
zle out ideas I hadn't though about. Dur- 
ing the 1960s I was an activist in the Civil 
Rights Movement. Working as a com- 
munity organizer in Boston, I read a lot 
and my reading was still Eurocentric. 
Great white authors; mostly men. 

The Black Arts Movement opened my 
eyes to the wonders of African- American 
literature, and I started reading it in the 
same thorough but unsystematic way in 
which I'd read through the public 
library — James Baldwin, Langston 
Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks. The "new" 
Black poets really interested me: Sonia 
Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Carolyn 
Rodgers, Etheridge Knight, Mari Evans. 
Their way of writing about things I knew 
from personal experience, incorporating 
the music that is the pervasive art form 
in African-American culture, and seeing 
art as doing something to raise our peo- 
ple's consciousness to our problems and 
possible solutions made me want to soak 
up every copy of Black World, read every 
slim volume of poetry Broadside put out, 
send quotations from poems to my fami- 
ly and friends. The first course I ever 
taught was at Harvard and it was an in- 
troduction to African-American poetry. 
Later I branched out and taught courses 



on autobiography and other genres, but 
poetry was where I started and poetry is 
still the genre that I love most. 

I can no longer remember how I started 
reading things by African-American 
women. A group of friends used to meet 
at my house when I lived in Boston. All 
of us were interested in literature and 
either taught in Black Studies depart- 
ments where we were the only women or 
in Women's Studies programs where we 
were the only people of African descent. 
That group is where I first heard about 
Toni Morrison's classic Sula. (I'm so glad 
she's gotten the Pulitzer Prize!) We talked 
about Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Cade 
Bambara, and Alice Walker, too. At the 
same time I was getting interested in 
literature from other parts of the Black 
world. My travels to the West Indies made 
me listen to poets like Derek Walcott and 
Edmund Kamau Braithwaite. In addition, 
I read African authors like Wole Soyinka, 
who won the Nobel Prize for literature 
last year. (My pan-African literary in- 
terests played catch-up with my pan- 
African politics . . .) 

By the time I came to the Valley (1975) 
I had already written about images of 
Black women in African- American poetry 
and was getting increasingly interested in 
the ways in which women are depicted in 
literature by men and by women. 

In 1983-84 I had the extraordinary ex- 
perience of being a Fulbright fellow in 
Nigeria. Although I had taught African 
literature for many years, living in the 
Motherland opened my eyes about so 
many things. It is not just that I got to be 
part of some of the experiences authors 
like Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa, Ar- 
mah, Ngugi and Wole Soyinka, etc. had 
helped me imagine, I also got to teach 
African students and see how differently 
they read things (like Native Son] from 
the way students I had taught in the U.S. 
And I learned immeasurably from my col- 
leagues in the department of literature in 
English at the University of Ife. It's not 
so much that they gave different answers 
to literary questions than I did as that 
they asked different questions and in- 
troduced me to new authors. 

Teaching has its rewards. You get to in- 
troduce generations of students to books 
which help them see themselves in a new 
way, help them imagine things they 
would otherwise consider impossible. I 
also taught them how to express their 



ideas in writing. I love to see students 
who have no confidence in their ability 
to write learn how to say what they 
want — clearly and comfortably. 

In some ways I'm a bookworm. I could 
just burrow in my study and catch up on 
all the reading that's gone by me in recent 
years — we've had bumper crops of great 
Black creative and critical writing. August 
Wilson's plays ("Fences" is the prize- 
winning one, but I think "Joe Turner's 
Come and Gone" has the widest range 
and deepest resonance); Mary Helen 
Washington's Invented Lives which 
studies Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy 
West, and Ann Petry; Bernard Bell's 
magisterial analysis of the African- 
American novel; Gloria Naylor's Mama 
Day; and Toni Morrison's Beloved. I see 
the challenge of writing about what I've 
learned and discerned in literature acting 
as a sort of translator between cultures of 
Africa and the New World, academic life 
and the people I meet in church, at the 
hairdressers, and at family reunions. 

But I also want to write more fiction. 
That's what I hope my coming sabbatical 
will allow me to do — immerse myself in 
worlds that I make up and make them 
come alive on paper in ways that will 
speak to people's souls the way powerful 
books have spoken to me. 

I think it's important to start our 
children off reading at an early age. Let 
them see us reading and make sure that 
they have books all around them, books 
about people who look, feel and think like 
them. The authors that come immediate- 
ly to mind are: Lucille Clifton, Virginia 
Hamilton, Jack Ezra Keats, Walter Dean 
Myers, Eloise Greenfield, and Jan Carew. 
If I were trying to get someone who was 
shy about reading into literature, I'd prob- 
ably start by having the person read a real- 
ly good short story. Another way to begin 
is to have people see literature come alive 
the way it does when a play is performed 
or a gifted poet reads her work aloud mak- 
ing you laugh in recognition and shiver 
in amazement. 

Ms. Rushing was interviewed by Gaiiick 
Amos who is a UMass student and 
member of the football team. 



16 




JAMES 
BALDWIN 

1924-1987 



Photo by Stephen Long 



17 




My soul looks back and wonders how I 
got over — indeed: but I find it unex- 
pectedly difficult to remember, in detail, 
how I got started. I will never, for exam- 
ple, forget Saul Levitas, the editor of The 
New Leader, who gave me my first book 
review assignment sometime in 1946, nor 
Mary Greene, a wonderful woman, who 
was his man Friday: but I do not 
remember exactly how I met them. 

I do remember how my life in Green- 
wich Village began — which is, essential- 
ly, how my career began — for it began 
when I was fifteen. 

One day, a DeWitt Clinton H.S. run- 
ning buddy, Emile Capouya, played 
hookey without me and went down to 
Greenwich Village and made the 
acquaintance of Beauford Delaney. The 
next day, he told me about this wonder- 
ful man he had met, a black — then, 
Negro, or Colored — painter and said that 
I must meet him: and he gave me 
Beauford Delaney's address. 

I had a Dickensian job, after school, in 
a sweat shop on Canal Street, and was get- 
ting on so badly at home that I dreaded 
going home: and, so, sometime later, I 
went to 181 Greene Street, where 
Beauford lived then, and introduced 
myself. 



I was terrified, once I had climbed those 
stairs and knocked on that door. A short, 
round brown man came to the door and 
looked at me. He had the most extraor- 
dinary eyes I'd ever seen. When he had 
completed his instant X-ray of my brain, 
lungs, liver, heart, bowels, and spinal col- 
umn (while I had said, usefully, "Emile 
sent me") he smiled and said, "Come in," 
and opened the door. 

He opened the door all right. 

Lord, I was to hear Beauford sing, later, 
and for many years, open the unusual 
door. My running buddy had sent me to 
the right one, and not a moment too soon. 

I walked through that door into 
Beauford's colors — on the easel, on the 
palette, against the wall — sometimes 
turned to the wall — and sometimes (in 
limbo?) covered by white sheets. It was 
a small studio (but it didn't seem small) 
with a black pot-bellied stove somewhere 
near the two windows. I remember two 



windows, there may have been only one: 
there was a fire escape which Beauford, 
simply by his presence, had transformed, 
transmuted into the most exclusive ter- 
race in Manhattan or Bombay. 

I walked into music. I had grown up 
with music, but, now, on Beauford's small 
black record player, I began to hear what 
I had never dared or been able to hear. 
Beauford never gave me any lectures. But, 



18 




in his studio and because of his presence, 
I really began to hear Ella Fitzgerald, Ma 
Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, 
Ethel Waters, Paul Robeson, Lena Home, 
Fats Waller. He could inform me about 
Duke Ellington and W.C. Handy, and Josh 
White, introduce me to Frankie Newton 
and tell tall tales about Ethel Waters. And 
these people were not meant to be looked 
on by me as celebrities, but as a part of 
Beauford's life and as part of my 
inheritance. 

I may have been with Beauford, for ex- 
ample, the first time I saw Paul Robeson, 
in concert, and in Othello: but I knew that 
he bought tickets for us — really, for me 
— to see and hear Miss Marian Anderson, 
at Carnegie Hall. 

Because of her color, Miss Anderson 
was not allowed to sing at The Met, nor, 
as far as The Daughters of The American 
Revolution were concerned, anywhere in 
Washington where white people might 



risk hearing her. Eleanor Roosevelt was 
appalled by this species of patriotism and 
arranged for Marian Anderson to sing on 
the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This 
was a quite marvellous and passionate 
event in those years, triggered by the in- 
dignation of one woman who had, clear- 
ly, it seemed to me, married beneath her. 

By this time, I was working for the Ar- 
my — or the Yankee dollar! — in New 
Jersey. I hitchhiked, in sub-zero weather, 
out of what I will always remember as one 
of the lowest and most obscene circles of 
Hell, into Manhattan: where both 
Beauford and Miss Anderson were on 
hand to inform me that I had no right to 
permit myself to be defined by so pitiful 
a people. Not only was I not born to be 
a slave: I was not born to hope to become 
the equal of the slave-master. They had, 
the masters, incontestably, the rope — in 
time, with enough, they would hang 
themselves with it. They were not to hang 
me: I was to see to that. If Beauford and 
Miss Anderson were a part of my in- 
heritance, I was a part of their hope. 

I still remember Miss Anderson^ at the 
end of that concert, in a kind of smoky 
yellow gown, her skin copper and tan, 
roses in the air about her, roses at her feet. 
Beauford painted it, an enormous paint- 



ing, he fixed it in time, for me, forever, 
and he painted it, he said, for me. 

Beauford was the first walking, living 
proof, for me, that a black man could be 
an artist. In a warmer time, a less 
blasphemous place, he would have been 
recognized as my Master and I as his 
Pupil. He became, for me, an example of 
courage and integrity, humility and pas- 
sion. An absolute integrity: I saw him 
shaken many times and I lived to see him 
broken but I never saw him bow. 

His example operated as an enormous 
protection: for the Village, then, and not 
only for a boy like me, was an alabaster 
maze perched above a boiling sea. To lose 
oneself in the maze was to fall into the 
sea. One saw it around one all the time: 
a famous poet of the twenties and thirties 
grotesquely, shamelessly, cadging drinks, 
another reUc living in isolation on opium 
and champagne, someone your own age 
suddenly stnmg out or going imder a sub- 
way train, people you ate with and drank 
with suddenly going home and blowing 
their brains out or turning on the gas or 
leaping out of the window. And, racially, 
the Village was vicious, partly because of 
the natives, largely because of the 
tourists, and absolutely because of the 
cops. 

Very largely, then, because of Beauford 
and Connie Williams, a beautiful black 
lady from Trinidad who ran the restaurant 
in which I was a waiter, and the jazz musi- 
cians I loved and who referred to me, with 
a kind of exasperated affection, as "the 
kid," I was never entirely at the mercy of 
an environment at once hostile and seduc- 
tive. They knew about dope, for example 
— I didn't: but the pusher and his product 
were kept far away from me. I needed love 
so badly that I could as easily have been 
hit with a needle as persuaded to share a 
joint of marijuana. And, in fact, Beauford 
and the others let me smoke with them 
from time to time. (But there were peo- 
ple they warned me not to smoke with.) 

The only real danger with marijuana is 
that it can lead to rougher stuff, but this 
has to do with the person, not the weed. 
In my own case, it could hardly have 
become a problem, since I simply could 
not write if I were "high." Or, rather, I 
could, sometimes all night long, the 
greatest pages the world had ever seen, 
pages I tore up the moment I was able to 
read them. 

Yet, I learned something about myself 
from these irredeemable horrors: 
something which I might not have 
learned had I not been forced to know that 
I was valued. I repeat that Beauford never 
gave me any lectures, but he didn't have 
to — he expected me to accept and respect 
the value placed upon me. Without this, 
I might very easily have become the junky 
which so many among those I knew were 
becoming then, or the Bellevue or Tombs 
inmate (instead of the visitor) or the Hud- 
son River corpse which a black man I 
loved with all my heart was shortly to 
become. 



19 



shortly: I was to meet Eugene some- 
time between 1943 and 1944 and "run" 
or "hang" with him until he hurled 
himself off the George Washington 
Bridge, in the winter of 1946. We were 
never lovers: for what it's worth, I think 
I wish we had been. 

When he was dead, 1 remembered that 
he had, once, obliquely, suggested this 
possibility. He had run down a list of his 
girl friends: those he liked, those he real- 
ly liked, one or two with whom he might 
really be in love, and, then, he said, "I 
wondered if I might be in love with you." 

I wish I had heard him more clearly: an 
oblique confession is always a plea. But 
I was to hurt a great many people by be- 
ing unable to imagine that anyone could 
possibly be in love with an ugly boy like 
me. To be valued is one thing, the recogni- 
tion of this assessment demanding, essen- 
tially, an act of the will. But love is 
another matter: it is scarcely worth ob- 
serving what a mockery love makes of the 
will. Leaving all that alone, however: 
when he was dead, I realized that I would 
have done anything whatever to have 
been able to hold him in this world. 

Through him, anyway, my political life, 
insofar as I can claim, formally, to have 
had one, began. He was a Socialist — a 
member of the Young People's Socialist 
League (YPSL) and urged me to join, and 
I did. I, then, outdistanced him by becom- 
ing a Trotskyite — so that I was in the in- 
teresting position (at the age of nineteen) 
of being an anti-Stalinist when America 
and Russia were allies. 

My life on the Left is of absolutely no 
interest. It did not last long. It was useful 
in that I learned that it may be impossi- 
ble to indoctrinate me,- also, revolu- 
tionaries tend to be sentimental and I 
hope that I am not. This was to lead to 
very serious differences between myself 
and Eugene, and others: but it was during 
this period that I met the people who were 
to take me to Saul Levitas, of The New 
Leader, Randall Jarrell, of The Nation, 
Elliott Cohen and Robert Warshow, of 
Commentary, and Philip Rahv, of Par- 
tisan Review. 

These men are all dead, now, and they 
were all very important to my life. It is 
not too much to say that they helped to 
save my life. (As Bill Cole, at Knopf, was 
later to do when the editor assigned Go 
Tell It On The Mountain had me on the 
ropes.) And their role in my life says 
something arresting concerning the 
American dilemma, or, more precisely, 
perhaps, the American torment. 

I had been to two black newspapers 
before I met these people and had simply 
been laughed out of the office: I was a 
shoeshine boy who had never been to col- 
lege. I don't blame these people, God 
knows that I was an vmlikely cub reporter: 
yet, I still remember how deeply I was 
hurt. 



On the other hand, around this time, or 
a little later, I landed a job as messenger 
for New York's liberal newspaper, PM. It 
is perhaps worth pointing out that PM had 
a man of about my complexion (dark) in 
the tower, under whom I worked, a coal 
black Negro in the cellar, whom nobody 
ever saw, and a very fair Negro on the 
city desk, in the window. My career at PM 
was very nearly as devastating as my 
career as a civilian employee of the US 
Army, except that PM never (as far as I 
know) placed me on a blacklist. If the 
black newspapers had considered me ab- 
solutely beyond redemption, PM was 
determined to save me: I cannot tell 
which attitude caused me the more bit- 
ter anguish. 

Therefore, though it may have cost Saul 
Levitas nothing to hurl a book at a black 
boy to see if he could read it and be ar- 
ticulate concerning what he had read, I 
took it as a vote of confidence and swore 
that I would give him my very best shot. 
And I loved him — the old man, as I 
sometimes called him (to his face) and I 
think — I know — that he was proud of 
me, and that he loved me, too. 

It was a very great apprenticeship. Saul 
required a book review a week, which 
meant that I had to read and write all the 
time. He paid me ten or twenty dollars a 
shot: Mary Greene would sometimes 
coerce him into giving me a bonus. Then 
he would stare at her, as though he could 
not believe that she, his helper, could be 
capable of such base treachery and look 
at me more tragically than Julius Caesar 
looked at Brutus and sigh — and give me 
another five or ten dollars. 

As for the books I reviewed — well, no 
one, I suppose, will ever read them again. 
It was after the war, and the Americans 
were on one of their monotonous con- 
science "trips": be kind to niggers, for 
Christ's sake, be kind to Jews! A high, or 
turning point of some kind was reached 
when I reviewed Ross Lockridge's sunlit 
and fabulously successful Raintree Coun- 
ty. The review was turned in and the 
author committed suicide before the 
review was printed. I was very dis- 
agreeably shaken by this, and Saul asked 
me to write a postscript — which I did. 
That same week I met the late Dwight 
MacDonald, whom I admired very much 
because of his magazine, Politics, who 
looked at me with wonder and said that 
I was "very smart." This pleased me, cer- 
tainly, but it frightened me more. 

But no black editor could or would have 
been able to give me my head, as Saul did 
then: partly because he would not have 
had the power, partly because he could 
not have afforded — or needed — Saul's 
politics, and partly because part of the 
price of the black ticket is involved — 
fatally — with the dream of becoming 
white. 

This is not possible, partly because 
white people are not white: part of the 



price of the white ticket is to delude 
themselves into believing that they are. 
The political position of my old man, for 
example, whether or not he knew it, was 
dictated by his (in his case) very honorable 
necessity not to break faith with the Old 
World. One may add, in passing, that the 
Old World, or Europe, has become 
nothing less than an American supersti- 
tion, which accounts, if anything can, for 
an American vision of Russia so Talmudic 
and self-serving that it has absolutely 
nothing to do with any reality occurring 
under the sun. 

But the black American must find a 
way to keep faith with, and to excavate, 
a leality much older than Europe. Europe 
has never been, and cannot be, a useful or 
valid touchstone for the American ex- 
perience because America is not, and 
never can be, white. 

My father died before Eugene died. 
When my father died, Beauford helped me 
to bury him and I then moved from 
Harlem to the Village. 

This was in 1943. We were fighting the 
Second World War. 

We: who was this we I 

For this war was being fought, as far as 
I could tell, to bring freedom to everyone 
with the exception of Hagar's children 
and the "yellow-bellied Japs." 

This was not a matter, merely, of my 
postadolescent discernment. It had been 
made absolutely clear to me by the eight- 
een months or so that I had been work- 
ing for the Army, in New Jersey, by the 
anti-Japanese posters to be foimd, then, all 
over New York, and by the internment of 
the Japanese. 

At the same time, one was expected to 
be "patriotic" and pledge allegiance to a 
flag which had pledged no allegiance to 
you: it risked becoming your shroud if 
you didn't know how to keep your 
distance and stay in your "place." 

And all of this was to come back to me 
much later, when Cassius Clay, a.k.a. 
Muhammad Ali, refused to serve in Viet- 
nam because he was a Muslim — in other 
words, for religious reasons — and was 
stripped of his title, while placards all over 
New York trumpeted. Be true to your 
faith! 

I have never been able to convey the 
confusion and horror and heartbreak and 
contempt which every black person I then 
knew felt. Oh, we dissembled and smiled 
as we groaned and cursed and did our du- 
ty. (And we did our duty.) The romance 
of treason never occurred to us for the 
brutally simple reason that you can't 
betray a country you don't have. (Think 
about it.) Treason draws its energy from 
the conscious, deliberate betrayal of a 
trust — as we were not trusted, we could 
not betray. And we did not wish to be 
traitors. We wished to be citizens. 

We: the black people of this country, 
then, with particular emphasis on those 
serving in the Armed Forces. The way 



20 



blacks were treated in, and by, an 
American Army spreading freedom 
around the globe was the reason for the 
heartbreak and contempt. Daddy's 
youngest son, by his first marriage, came 
home, on furlough, to help with the 
funeral. When these young men came 
home, in uniform, they started talking: 
and one sometimes trembled, for their 
sanity and for one's own. One trembled, 
too, at another depth, another in- 
coherence, when one wondered — as one 
could not fail to wonder — what nation 
they represented. My brother, describing 
his life in uniform, did not seem to be 
representing the America his uniform was 
meant to represent — : he had never seen 
the America his uniform was meant to 
represent. Had anyone? Did he know, had 
he met, anyone who had? Did anyone live 
there? fudging from the great gulf fixed 
between their conduct and their prin- 
ciples, it seemed unlikely. 

Was it worth his lifel 

For he, certainly, on the other hand, 
represented something much larger than 
himself and something in him knew it: 
otherwise, he would have been broken 
like a match-stick and lost or have sur- 
rendered the power of speech. A nation 
within a nation: this thought wavered in 
my mind, I think, all those years ago, but 
I did not know what to make of it, it 
frightened me. 

We; my family, the living and the dead, 
and the children coming along behind us. 
This was a complex matter, for I was not 
living with my family in Harlem, after all, 
but "dovwi-town," in the "white world," 
in alien and mainly hostile territory. On 
the other hand, for me, then, Harlem was 
almost as alien and in a yet more in- 
timidating way and risked being equally 
hostile, although for very different 
reasons. This truth cost me something in 
guilt and confusion, but it was the truth. 
It had something to do with my being the 
son of an evangelist and having been a 
child evangelist, but this is not all there 
was to it — that is, guilt is not all there 
was to it. 

The fact that this particular child had 
been born when and where he was born 
had dictated certain expectations. The 
child does not really know what these ex- 
pectations are — does not know how real 
they are — until he begins to fail, 
challenge, or defeat them. When it was 
clear, for example, that the pulpit, where 
I had made so promising a beginning, 
would not be my career, it was hoped that 
I would go on to college. This was never 
a very realistic hope and — perhaps 
because I knew this — I don't seem to 
have felt very strongly about it. In any 
case, this hope was dashed by the death 
of my father. 

Once I had left the pulpit, I had aban- 
doned or betrayed my role in the com- 
munity — indeed, my departure from the 
pulpit and my leaving home were almost 




simultaneous. (I had abandoned the 
ministry in order not to betray myself by 
betraying the ministry.) 

Once it became clear that I was not go- 
ing to go to college, I became a kind of 
two-headed monstrosity of a problem. 
Without a college education, I could, 
clearly, never hope to become a writer: 
would never acquire the skills which 
would enable me to conquer what was 
thought of as an all-white world. This 
meant that I would become a half- 
educated handyman, a vociferous, bitter 
ruin, spouting Shakespeare in the bars on 
Saturday night and sleeping if off on 
Sunday. 

I could see this, too. I saw it all around 
me. There are few things more dreadful 
than dealing with a man who knows that 
he is going under, in his ovwi eyes, and in 
the eyes of others. Nothing can help that 
man. What is left of that man flees from 
what is left of human attention. 

I fled. I didn't want my Mama, or the 
kids, to see me like that. 

And if all this seems, now, ridiculous 
and theatrical apprehension on the part 
of a nineteen-year-old boy, I can say only 
that it didn't seem remotely ridiculous 
then. A black person in this democracy 
is certain to endure the unspeakable and 
the unimaginable in nineteen years. It is 
far from an exaggeration to state that 
many, and by the deliberate will and ac- 
tion of the Republic, are ruined by that 
time. 

White Americans cannot, in the 
generality, hear this, anymore than their 
European ancestors, and contemporaries, 
could, or can. If I say that my best friend, 
black, Eugene, who took his life at the age 
of twenty-four, had been, until that mo- 
ment, a survivor, I will be told that he had 
"personal" problems. Indeed he did, and 
one of them was trying to find a job, or 
a place to live, in New York. If I point out 
that there is certainly a connection be- 
tween his death (when I was twenty-two) 
and my departure for Paris (when / was 



Photo by Roy Lewis 



twenty-four) I will be condemned as 
theatrical. 

But I am really saying something very 
simple. The will of the people, or the 
State, is revealed by the State's institu- 
tions. There was not, then, nor is there, 
now, a single American institution which 
is not a racist institution. And racist in- 
stitutions — the unions, for one example, 
the Church, for another, and the Army — 
or the military — for yet another, are 
meant to keep the nigger in his place. Yes: 
we have lived through avalanches of 
tokens and concessions but white power 
remains white. And what it appears to 
surrender with one hand it obsessively 
clutches in the other. 

I know that this is considered to be 
heresy. Spare me, for Christ's and His 
Father's sake, any further examples of 
American white progress. When one ex- 
amines the use of this word in this most 
particular context, it translates as mean- 
ing that those people who have opted for 
being white congratulate themselves on 
their generous ability to return to the 
slave that freedom which they never had 
any right to endanger, much less take 
away. For this dubious effort, and still 
more dubious achievement, they con- 
gratulate themselves and expect to be con- 
gratulated — : in the coin, furthermore, 
of black gratitude, gratitude not only that 
my biirden is — (slowly, but it takes time) 
being made lighter but my joy that white 
people are improving. 

My black burden has not, however, 
been made lighter in the sixty years since 
my birth or the nearly forty years since 
the first essay in this collection was 
published and my joy, therefore, as con- 
cerns the immense strides made by white 
people is, to say the least, restrained. 

Leaving aside my friends, the people I 
love, who carmot, usefully, be described 
as either black or white, they are, like life 
itself, thank God, many many colors, I do 
not feel, alas, that my country has any 
reason for self-congratulation. 



21 



If I were still in the pulpit which some 
people (and they may be right) claim I 
never left, I would counsel my coun- 
trymen to the self-confrontation of prayer, 
the cleansing breaking of the heart which 
precedes atonement. This is, of course, 
impossible. Multitudes are capable of 
many things, but atonement is not one of 
them. 

A multitude is, I suppose, by definition, 
an anonymous group of people bound or 
driven together by fears (I wrote "tears") 
and hopes and needs which no individual 
member could face or articulate alone. 

On the one hand, for example, mass 
conversions are notoriously transitory: 
within days, the reformed — "saved" — 
whore, whoremonger, thief, drunkard, 
have ventilated their fears and dried their 
tears and returned to their former ways. 
Nor do the quite spectacularly repentant 
"born again" of the present hour give up 
this world to follow Jesus. No, they take 
Jesus with them into the marketplace 
where He is used as proof of their acumen 
and as their Real Estate Broker, now, and, 
as it were, forever. 

But it does not demand a mass conver- 
sion to persuade a mob to lynch a nigger 
or stone a Jew or mutilate a sexual heretic. 
It demands no conversion at all: in the 
very same way that the act demands no 
courage at all. That not one member of 
the mob could or would accomplish the 
deed alone is not merely, I think, due to 
physical cowardice but to cowardice of 
another order. To destroy a nigger, a kike, 
a dyke, or a faggot, by one's own act alone 
is to have committed a communion and, 
above all, to have made a public confes- 
sion more personal, more total, and more 
devastating than any act of love: whereas 
the orgasm of the mob is drenched in the 
blood of the lamb. 

A mob is not autonomous: it executes 
the real will of the people who rule the 
State. The slaughter in Birmingham, 
Alabama, for example, was not, merely, 
the action of a mob. That blood is on the 
hands of the state of Alabama: which sent 
those mobs into the streets to execute the 
will of the State. And, though I know that 
it has now become inconvenient and im- 
polite to speak of the American Jew in the 
same breath with which one speaks of the 
American black (I hate to say I told you 
so, sings the right righteous Reverend Ray 
Charles, but: I told you so), I yet contend 
that the mobs in the streets of Hitler's 
Germany were in those streets not only 
by the will of the German State, but by 
the will of the western world, including 
those architects of human freedom, the 
British, and the presumed guardian of 
Christian and human morality, the Pope. 
The American Jew, if I may say so — and 
I say so with love, whether or not you 
believe me — makes the error of believ- 
ing that his Holocaust ends in the New 
World, where mine begins. My diaspora 
continues, the end is not in sight, and I 



certainly cannot depend on the morality 
of this panic-striken consumer society to 
bring me out of — : Egypt. 

A mob cannot afford to doubt: that the 
Jews killed Christ or that niggers want to 
rape their sisters or that anyone who fails 
to make it in the land of the free and the 
home of the brave deserves to be wretch- 
ed. But these ideas do not come from the 
mob. They come from the state, which 
creates and manipulates the mob. The 
idea of black persons as property, for ex- 
ample, does not come from the mob. It is 
not a spontaneous idea. It does not come 
from the people, who knew better, who 
thought nothing of intermarriage until 
they were penalized for it: this idea comes 
from the architects of the American State. 
These architects decided that the concept 
of Property was more important — more 
real — than the possibilities of the human 
being. 

In the church I come from — which is 
not at all the same church to which white 
Americans belong — we were coimselled, 
from time to time, to do our first works 
over. Though the church I come from and 
the church to which most white 
Americans belong are both Christian 
churches, their relationship — due to 
those pragmatic decisions concerning 
Property made by a Christian State 
sometime ago — cannot be said to in- 
volve, or suggest, the fellowship of Chris- 
tians. We do not, therefore, share the 
same hope or speak the same language. 

To do your first works over means to 
reexamine everything. Go back to where 
you started, or as far back as you can, ex- 
amine all of it, travel your road again and 
tell the truth about it. Sing or shout or 
testify or keep it to yourself: but know 
whence you came. 

This is precisely what the generality of 
white Americans caimot afford to do. 
They do not know how to do it — : as I 
must suppose. They come through Ellis 
Island, where Giorgio becomes foe, Pap- 
pavasiliu becomes Palmer, Evangelos 
becomes Evans, Goldsmith becomes 
Smith or Gold, and Avakian becomes 
King. So, with a painless change of name, 
and in the twinkling of an eye, one 
becomes a white American. 

Later, in the midnight hour, the miss- 
ing identity aches. One can neither assess 
nor overcome the storm of the middle 
passage. One is mysteriously shipwrecked 
forever, in the Great New World. 

The slave is in another condition, as are 
his heirs: I told Jesus it would be all right/ 
If He changed my name. 

If He changed my name. 

The Irish middle passage, for but one 
example, was as foul as my own, and as 
dishonorable on the part of those respon- 
sible for it. But the Irish became white 
when they got here and began rising in the 
world, whereas I became black and began 
sinking. The Irish, therefore and 



thereafter — again, for but one example 
— had absolutely no choice but to make 
certain that I could not menace their safe- 
ty or status or identity: and, if I came too 
close, they could, with the consent of the 
governed, kill me. Which means that we 
can be friendly with each other anywhere 
in the world, except Boston. 

What a monumental achievement on 
the part of those heroes who conquered 
the North American wilderness! 

The price the white American paid for 
his ticket was to become white — : and, 
in the main, nothing more than that, or, 
as he was to insist, nothing less. This in- 
credibly limited not to say dimwitted am- 
bition has choked many a human being 
to death here: and this, I contend, is 
because the white American has never ac- 
cepted the real reasons for his journey. I 
know very well that my ancestors had no 
desire to come to this place: but neither 
did the ancestors of the people who 
became white and who require of my cap- 
tivity a song. They require of me a song 
less to celebrate my captivity than to 
justify their own. 

[from Price of tfie Ticket: Collected Non-Fiction 
1976-65, NY: St. Martin's 1985]. 



A Baldwin 
bibliography 



Go Tell It on the Mountain, novel, 1953 
Notes of a Native Son, essays, 1 955 
The Amen Corner, play, 1955 
Giovanni's Room, novel, 1956 
Nobody Knows My Name, essays, 1961 
Another Country, novel, 1962 
The Fire Next Time, essays, 1963 
Blues for Mr. Charlie, play, 1 964 
Nothing Personal, with Richard 

Avedon, essays, 1964 
Going to Meet the Man, short stories, 

1965 
Tell Me How Long the Train's Been 

Gone, novel, 1968 
A Rap on Race, a transcript of a 

conversation with Margaret Mead, 

1971 
The Woman at the Well, play, 1972 
No Name in the Streets, essay, 1972 
One Day, When I Was Lost: A Scenario, 

film script, 1972 
If Beale Street Could Talk, novel, 

1974 
Little Man, Little Man, novel, 1976 
The Devil Finds Worl(, essays, 1 976 
Just Above My Head, novel, 1979 
Selected Poems: Jimmy's Blues, 1983 
The Price of the Ticket: Collected 

Non-Fiction, 1946-1965, 1985 
Evidence of Things Not Seen, essay, 

1986 
Harlem Quartet, novel, 1987 



22 



BLUES FOR MR. CHARLIE 



My heart is heavier 
tonight than it has 
ever been before. I 
raise my voice to 
you tonight out of a 
sorrow and a wonder 
I have never felt 
before. Not only I, 
my Lord, am in this 
case. Everyone under 
the sound of my 
voice, and many 
more souls than that, 
feel as I feel, and 
tremble as I tremble, 
and bleed as I bleed. 
It is not that the 
days are dark — we 
have known dark 
days. It is not only 
that the blood runs 
down and no man 
helps US; it is not on- 
ly that our children 
are destroyed before 
our eyes. It is not on- 
ly that our lives, 
from day to day and 
every hour of each 
day, are menaced by 
the people among 
whom you have set 
us down. We have 
borne all these 
things, my Lord, and 
we have done what 
the prophets of old 
could not do, we 



have sung the Lord's 
song in a strange 
land. In a strange 
land! What was the 
sin committed by 
our forefathers in the 
time that has van- 
ished on the other 
side of the flood, 
which has had to be 
expiated by chains, 
by the lash, by 
hunger and thirst, by 
slaughter, by fire, by 
the rope, by the 
knife, and for so 
many generations, on 
these wild shores, in 
this strange land I 
Our offense must 
have been mighty, 
our crime im- 
measurable. But it is 
not the past which 
makes our hearts so 
heavy. It is the pres- 
ent. Lord, where is 
our hopel Who, or 
what, shall touch the 
hearts of this 
headlong and un- 
thinking people and 
turn them back from 
destruction^ When 
will they hear the 
words of Johnl I will 
not abandon the 
land — this strange 
land, which is my 
home. But can I ask 



the children forever 
to sustain the cruelty 
inflicted on theml I 
have set my face 
against the darkness, 
I will not let it con- 
quer me, even 
though it will, I 
know, one day, 
destroy this body. 
But, my Lord, what 
of the children^ 
What shall I tell the 
children^ I must be 
with you. Lord, like 
Jacob, and wrestle 
with you until the 
light appears — 7 
will not let you go 
until you give me a 
sign! A sign that in 
the terrible Sahara of 
our time a fountain 
may spring, the foun- 
tain of a true morali- 
ty, and bring us 
closer, oh, my Lord, 
to that peace on 
earth desired by so 
few throughout so 
many ages. Let not 
our suffering endure 
forever. Teach us to 
trust the great gift of 
life and learn to love 
one another and dare 
to walk the earth 
like men. Amen. 



[from Blues for Mister Charles, NY: Dell Publishing, 
1964]. 



23 




JAZZ 1930's GRAND TERRACE BALLROOM 



R. BEARDEN 



ROMARE Bearden (1912-1988) 



Another giant gone. Romare Bearden, father/brother 
whose vision changed the way artists had to see things, 
had to create things. The news of his passing should not 
have been like a lightening bolt because I had warnings. 
They said he was in the hospital, but I'm still numb and 
furious about how death has come, once again, and had 
the audacity to reach out its bony arms and claim one 
of the generals in our cultural army. And his death 
reminds me of others: John Killens, novelist supreme; 
Larry Neal, poet/scholar/genius; John Kendrick, my 
painting student whose art was on the dangerous cut- 
ting edge. 

In Boston in the mid-70s, long after I'd first seen his 
bold and careful collages, I heard Bearden, Baptist 
preacher, talk about how we visual artists needed longer 
to perfect our craft than the musicians and dancers we 
so often envy. Patience and diligence. Hard advice for 
the angry among us. Later, when I saw the Brooklyn 
Museum's Bearden retrospective, it was clear, despite 
his fame and acclaim, that Bearden had kept on grow- 
ing. His work seemed lighter, more spiritual. From his 
Afro-centric North Carolina core he'd perfected a 

24 



vocabulary that both re-created our worlds and showed 
its rhythms, colors, and textures to those outside it. His 
art is like the musicians'— precise, perfected, tempting 
those of us who are left in its shadow to try to fill the 
possibilities. His dazzling achievements have made us 
bold enough to dare. Bearden 's legacy is too rich for 
us to exhaust, deep enough for dozens of us to mine, 
wide enough to make us too wise to try to leap-frog over 
it. No time for tears. Death may have snatched Romare 
Bearden, but I think the Creator has a master plan which 
forces us to be strong and inventive. The work is there. 
Bearden calls us to keep our hands on the plow, our eyes 
on the victory. 

His life, his force, will be lost, but he leaves a legacy 
of visual thought that is long and deep, wide and rich. 
His most recent creations for me are light years ahead 
of his and my time, which only means that those of us 
who've committed ourselves have been dragged into 
this arena and we have to then fight that much harder. 
But with the legacy of Bearden 's vision, I have to smile 
knowing that victory is ours. 

Nelson Stevens 



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MEMORIES 



R. BEARDEN 




25 




ROMARE BEARDEN 



Photo by Adger Cowans 




R. BEARDEN 



26 



FRICOBRK 
FRICOBRK 



AFRICOBRA/FARAFINDUGU 
CELEBRATIONS AND SURVIVALS 



One of the most enduring and significant manifestations of the Black 
Arts Movement of the sixties was the creation of Africobra/Farafindugu 
with its compelling ideology. This artistic ideology springs from the ethos 
of African American and Pan-African spiritual and political culture. This 
aesthetic ideology seeks to impose a new visual reality on the world; and in 
the process move the audience to a more profound realization of its inner 
possibilities. 

Art/image making, is fundamentally the working out of the mysteries 
that undergrid human experience. The icon, or image, represents the 
symbolic identity of both the artist and the audience to which the work is 
addressed. In the case of the wonderous and awesome images of 
Africobra/Farafindugu, we are speaking of images that when juxaposed 
together represent the visual narrative of a Nation asserting its artistic 
consciousness. 

Here we enter a world where the connection between music and color 
become vividly manifested. Further, we must note these artists are 
attempting to stretch and extend their use of colors across the full range of 



the spectrum-much like Coltrane attempting to squeeze a multiplicity of 
tonal patterns and textures out of every note played on the saxophone. 

In both contexts (image making and sound making), colors and notes 
are essentially units of energy. The aesthetic ground for this approach to 
making art seems to be rooted in the rhythmic values of African aesthetics, 
what Leopold Senghor called the "vibratory shock." 

These artists, many of them trained in the techniques and procedures of 
Western art, have turned these very same technical procedures towards 
the elucidation and expression of a unique and varied African American 
attitude towards the business of making images. They present to us an 
iconography bestowed on them by the pressing and always exciting 
culture of the African American, in this sense, we could call them the 
"visual griots" of the African American community. 

The Africobra/Farafindugu was formed in Chicago in 1968, "the year of 
consciousness." The movement announced itself as the African 
Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (Africobra). In this aesthetic 
vocabulary, the term "bad" means bold; "bad" means aesthetic integrity, 
artistic and social commitment. It further means an intention to project 
strong and engaging imagery; imagery that illumines the beauty and glory 
of the African experience in the West. 

Larry Neal 1979 



/1FRICOBRK 
^FRICOBRK 



ass 



\m 




28 




19 





Photo by Adger Cowans 



/IrKlC^OBkK : From left to right, Napolean Jones-Henderson, Adger Cowans, Wadsworth Jarrell, 
Michael Harris, Nelson Stevens, Akili Ron Anderson, Jeff Donaldson, Frank Smith, Murry DePillars, James 
Phillips. 



30 




HERITAGE 



FRANK SMITH: /1FRICOBRK 



AFRI-COBRA: 
Twenty Years Later 



Afri-Cobra is a group of Black artists 
who are devoted to the idea that Black art 
has innate creative components vi^hich are 
characteristic of and due to the ethnic 
group. The artists, in developing Afri- 
Cobra, felt that they shared a common 
philosophy and a common system of 
aesthetic principles. Also, they "wanted 
to create a greater role as Black artists 
who were not for self but for our kind. " 
— Barbara Jones Hugo '69 

And so, in 1968, Afri-Cobra was born. 
Afri-Cobra's art is not simply for art's 
sake, but rather it is specific and func- 
tional. Their goal is to express statements 
on their existence as Black people. The art 
is to communicate clearly to the viewers 
their visual statements, which are Black, 
positive, and purposeful. 

There are specific guidelines regarding 
the visual statements to be used in the 
work of Afri-Cobra artists: visual state- 
ment must be humanistic with the figure 
frontal and direct, conveying strength. 



pride, and straightforwardness; visual 
statement must identify problems and of- 
fer solutions; subject matter must be com- 
pletely understood by the viewer (letter- 
ing may be used to clarify this visual 
statement); and visual statement must be 
educative of the past, present and future. 

The art of Afri-Cobra — which began 
simply as COBRA, Coalition of Black 
Revolutionary Artists — is based on the 
elements of festive, 'Kool-aid' colors and 
Black positive statements stressing a 
direction in the image with lettering, lost 
and found line, and shape. 

COBRA members, in the earlier years, 
met every two weeks to analyze and cri- 
tique the progress of each member. This 
gave each artist the opportunity to work 
both independently and collectively with 
his or her peers — to teach and to learn. 

Afri-Cobra's first exhibit, entitled "Ten 
in Search of a Nation," was held at The 
Studio Museum in Harlem in 1970. The 
ten artists exhibiting were Nelson 



Stevens, Carolyn Lawrence, Wadsworth 
Jarrell, Sherman Beck, Napolean Hender- 
son, Gerald Williams, Jeff Donaldson, Jae 
Jarrell, Omar Lama, and Barbara J. Jones. 
This show was the first of its kind in that 
the original work was not for sale. The 
purpose of the exhibit was not for the art- 
ists' individual gain, but rather it was a 
unified effort to educate and inform the 
public of Afri-Cobra's message. 

Silk-screened prints of the work ex- 
hibited were produced and sold to the 
public at an affordable cost. This made the 
art available to a large audience. The 
original idea was for one piece from each 
artist to be made into a print, but the 
group lost some artists during this proc- 
ess. While continuing to produce silk- 
screened prints, Afri-Cobra artists focused 
on the continual fall of Black education, 
and the need for education which was 
based on the story and accomplish- 
ments of Black jjcople. These works com- 
posed the second Afri-Cobra exhibit, 
continued on page 77 

31 




32 



MIXED MEDIA 



AKILI RON ANDERSON: /IFRlCOBRK 



We Have Seen 
His Righteous Witness 



by Michael Thelwell 



One does not encompass in a few words — or a great many 
for that matter — the extraordinary, many-faceted complexity 
of the man, the presence, indeed the phenomenon known to 
the world as James Baldwin. 

"He had in him the elements so mixed ..." 

On the one hand, so infinite a sweetness and gentleness of 
spirit; an openness to, and a capacity for love so deep as to ap- 
pear almost as vulnerability. On the other, a boldness: a quality 
of moral courage; a fearless, passionate, militant, unrepentant 
commitment to struggle and to justice that was heroic. 

On the one hand, the penetrating insight of an intelligence 
so brilliant, sharp and incisive as sometimes to be painful. On 
the other, the warm personal generosity and profound decen- 
cy of the man. The slight, almost fragile physical presence out 
of which shone a greatness of soul, a radiant moral dignity that 
was clearly — in the best sense of that term — regal. An 
aristocracy not of birth, but of spirit. 

"... that nature might stand up and say to all the world, 
this was a man." 

So, where to begin, friends? From which source do we take 
a text this morning? hi the sanctified church out of which he 
came one must — on such an occasion— take a text. Clearly we 
must look to one of the many streams that flowed into his 
art, nourished his vision and informed his genius. A line, then, 
maybe from: a hymn, a battle hymn? "We have seen his 
righteous witness ..." or, Shakespeare, a writer whose 
language equalled his? "Let us sit down on the ground and 
tell sad stories of the death of kings . . . ." The King James 
version? "Let us now praise famous men ..." The affirma- 
tion of the spiritual? "Ain 't no grave can hold my body down 
..." The Blues? "Yo' was a ramblin' man, Daddy, But yo' 
spirit never done lef home. " Or, we could go to the streets. 
A line overheard in a Harlem bar after he had appeared on 
television in confrontation with a former Attorney General 
of the United States: "Whooiee, that little dude be kicking 
ass. Baby! The brother sho' don't take no shit, do hef" 

Any or all of those would serve. 

But, I think, and not merely in deference, to Chinua, to our 
respected senior brother who just spoke, I shall recourse to 
the proverbial wisdom of the Ibo elders, as it were, to the 
source. Our African ancestor said: "If you went to see a mask 
dancing, you cannot stand in one place. " And so it was with 
Jimmy. He indeed was one of the numinous presences, one 
of the great masked, ancestral spirits of our time, covering so 
much ground in his prophetic dance, that one had to constantly 
keep moving in order to see it truly. 

But those same ancestors also said, "Truth is like a goat- 
skin bag, each man carries his own. " Truth and Jimmy were 
friends. Indeed truth was his constant companion, they were 
one and inseparable. And all of us in this room, we who have 
spoken, and you who have listened each carry our own ver- 
sion of this truth. Each different, each personal, each in its ovm 
way true. So what I will do in the time left me is to share with 
you a portion of mine .... 



In the Spring of I960 1 was a freshman at Howard Universi- 
ty and a member of a group of young blacks who had begun, 
in the nation's capital, demonstrations against the racist social 
practice of the society. It was an exciting time. We sensed that 
something profound had definitely begun, but had no idea 
where it would end, or what price would ultimately be exacted. 
We knew that there would be a price and that someone would 
have to pay it, but we were determined to "see what the end 
would be." 

This "militance" was not well received by the administra- 
tion, or if the truth be told, a goodly number of our peers. 
Among many adults there was the feeling that our defiance 
would only make things worse, embarrass the race and 
ultimately and inevitably provoke the angry retribution of 
white America. It was for wiser that you young Negroes, as 
they called us, looked to your education; stay neat, clean, polite 
and respectful; suppress them Southern accents, master "prop- 
er" speech and don't wear you hair in that wild "African" bush. 
In this way white folk might — if we rendered ourselves 
thoroughly inoffensive — gradually come to "accept" us. This 
we heard daily, though some faculty offered quiet encourage- 
ment and a few "radicals" like Sterling Brown did so boldly 
and publicly. 

One day we received an unusual invitation. It was in terms 
so intriguing — and as it proved, prophetic — that I have never 
forgotten the conversation. 

"Mike, does the name James Baldwin mean anything to 
you?" 

"Yeah vaguely . . . isn't he some kind of writer . . . remind 
me?" As you can see, at that time I didn't really know his 
name. 

"Well, my friend, he's an extraordinary writer and, a very 
curious and interesting man. He's a small black man from 
Harlem with this remarkable face — some would say almost 
ugly — but very mobile and expressive with these big, intense 
pop eyes. But once he opens his mouth, I guarantee, you will 
never have heard such intelligence, such brilliance . . . And 
his personal life is always so complicated, always chaotic, skirt- 
ing the edge of crisis. He's giving a talk in Georgetown and 
particularly asked that some of the movement kids be there." 
With an invitation like that how could we not. 

Baldwin was returning from twelve years of French exile 
drawn back as much by the pictures of Little Rock as by two 
manuscripts packed in his luggage. Within a year these 
manuscripts would become the best-selling j4230tAer Country 
and Nobody Knows My Name, an ironic title which would 
soon be rendered utterly false. 

So . . . we, a group of us, made the trek across the city into 
Georgetown, then as now, the preserve of Washington's af- 
fluent and powerful or of pretenders and aspirants to that 
status, which at that time meant exclusively white folk. 

When we entered the meeting had started. The neighborhood 
was unfamiliar and we had some difficulty finding the rather 
imposing house of an affluent former socialist. James Baldwin 

33 



stood in the center of the packed living room. Completely, as 
it were, surroianded by white America. We were late, 
somewhat tense or at least not at all at ease and trying hard 
not to show it. It was, I think for most of us, our first incur- 
sion into the alien territory known as social contact with white 
folk. All eyes turned to the door, and we had another first: the 
radiance of that legendary Baldwin smile. 

He turned and seeing the young blacks (no: we weren't 
blacks yet, still Negroes) the mobile, expressive face erupted 
into a smile of such immediate and spontaneous charisma and 
protectiveness that we were immediately at peace. "Hi," he 
said, "I'm James Baldwin, and I'm so very glad you came." 

The rest of the evening is not so easy to describe. Baldwin 
was about thirty-five, in the flowering of his power. Even his 
gestures and expressions were eloquent and he displayed a 
precision and poetry of language, an elegance of mind such as 
I had never seen before. He was never strident or abrasive, 
gracious, indeed almost gentle with even the most obtuse and 
ill-informed questions, of which there were many. But totally 
clear, uncompromising, evading no question, side-stepping no 
issue and never, never, never defensive or apologetic for the 
race. He made believers of us. 

As we watched, marvelled and cheered we could feel move- 
ment, the very ground shifting beneath us. The fundamental 
terms of racial discourse were permanently being transformed 
and elevated before our eyes. We were receiving confirmation 
of all — which in inchoate and unformed ways — we had been 
feeling in our hearts, now given form and utterance in the 
sparkling, lambent clarity of Baldwinian language. 

"No, no my friends you are mistaken. The question is not 
one of acceptance but of forgiveness. Not whether America 
will accept us, but whether we can find it in our hearts to 
forgive you." 

Our hosts who had felt themselves to be enlightened and 
sympathetic to the Negro problem felt these tremors too. Their 
questions became more and more uncertain, befuddled and 
therefore belligerent, as their most comforting clichXs and 
complacent assumptions were one by one rendered unavailable 
and permanently unserviceable. Of course all of us, indeed the 
nation, have many times since heard those cadences and felt 
the weight of those arguments. But to encounter them, at the 
opening of that fateful decade, for the first time and in the con- 
text I have tried to describe . . . 

Leaving that meeting we strode through the dark city as 
though in twelve-League boots. We had heard his righteous 
witness. It was not merely that white racism held no further 
terror for us, it was that we couldn't wait for that sucker to 
raise its ugly head. We were ready. I think the word of choice 
now is "empowered." That evening, I see now, was for us the 
beginning of a unique relationship, involving not only the few 
fortunate enough to be present, but between fames Baldwin 
and our whole generation of black Americans. 

About a year later when the student challenge had gathered 
force and Baldwin's fame had grown, that relationship was for- 
malized. We invited Baldwin, John O. Killens and Ossie Davis 
onto our campus to discuss the black writer's responsibility. 
Again it was a highly charged evening for the writers and for 
the students. 

In the small hours of morning, as the sun was rising over 
the capitol, in a small student apartment to which we had ad- 
journed the discussion which had raged all night there came 
a moment when Baldwin summarized the meaning of the en- 
counter. Speaking slowly and thoughtfully he said, as I 
remember, "As a black writer, I must in some way, some very 
real way, represent you, my young brothers and sisters. You 
didn't bestow this responsibility ... I didn't choose it. . . But 
there it is. All I can say, is that I will never betray that, . . . 
never betray you. If you — all of you — will promise me that you 
never will accept the reductive definitions of your existence 



that this republic has ready for you ... I promise you I shall 
never betray you." 

He never did, betray us or himself. 

And he could have so easily, because then those two im- 
posters fame and celebrity came pounding and kicking on his 
door. When James Baldwin burst across the cultural ftrmament 
and national consciousness like a new-born comet — the 
rockets red glare — the establishment's literati and media came 
a-courting, seeking to immobilize him in a fulsome embrace. 

"Come on Jimmy. You still can't be angry. You've made it, 
you're big time now." 

fimmy, they never knew who you was. 

Because while their journals, magazines and airwaves prated 
about his "bitter fire", "angry genius", "astounding gifts" and 
"terrible eloquence" they were incapable really, of understand- 
ing their source or meaning, or that these were not com- 
modities, and that Jimmy would and could not permit them 
to be packaged into merchandise. What they did not under- 
stand was that the source of Baldwin's power came from a style 
and a vision both of which were firmly and irrevocably an- 
chored in the soul of black folk. The remorseless clarity of his 
vision lay in a perspective on American reality forged in the 
fiery crucible of the black experience. And the wisdom and 
insight of that bitter and ermobling history was simply not 
negotiable. And further, that magnificent prose, at its finest, 
was a new perfect instrument for its expression. Because the 
nuances and poetry of that style were informed by centuries 
of the rich cultural expression of black America. The best of 
black American cultural idiom: the blues' earthy ironies; the 
spirituals' haunting power; the saucy riffs and defiant rhythms 
of jazz; the awful moral cadences of King James; the gospel's 
ecstatic shout and the preacher's god-intoxicated growl were 
all synthesized into an instrument of remarkable beauty and 
compelling power. 

For the first time, and a brief moment, in the history of this 
sad republic the distilled voice of 300 years of African 
American experience spoke directly to the nation and com- 
pelled its grudging attention. That was his power, his gift and 
his burden. This is why the little romance with the literati 
could not last. It was also why Baldwin's vision, loyalties and 
commitments were not and could not have been for sale, rent 
or lease. Why his gifts — and the responsibility which attend- 
ed them — could not be subsumed or assimilated into some 
smug, complacent consensus of the white literary mainstream. 

Had they been, Jimmy would have died an obscenely wealthy 
man, and spiritually, long before now, praised in all the wrong 
places for all the wrong reasons. He would have, indeed, 
betrayed himself and us. He never did. So the apparatchiks 
of the literary establishment seeing that his witness could not 
be suborned, turned overnight from fulsome admiration and 
importunings to venom. 

I will always remember a most instructive lunch in 1964. 
I, then a senior in college and the author of a grand total of 
three published short stories, was being courted by an agent, 
an editor and a critic. "Mr. Thelwell, you really should write 
a novel," they urged. Then at the end the agent gave a great 
smile of accomplishment. "Good. Then that's settled. I think 
the time is ripe! This country is ready for a new Negro writer. 
That fames Baldwin is finished. Did you see Blues for Mr. 
Charlie? Really!" 

What an unholy marriage of arrogance and ignorance! But 
it was profoundly eye-opening to a young Negro who might 
otherwise have had his head turned. Something else I owe to 
Jimmy. Of course, like Mark Twain, pronouncements of his 
demise were greatly exaggerated and quite premature. 

In recent years it was my honor to travel on occasion with 
Jimmy to various events. Wherever we went people of my 
generation — white and black — would approach him, almost 



34 



with reverence. The blacks would hug him, the whites shake 
his hand. Always it was with an almost fervent sincerity, Mr. 
Baldwin: 

"Your work changed my life . . .when I was in college . . . ."' 
"When we were in jail in South Africa we smuggled your 
book . . . ." 

"When I was growing up in Selma, Alabama . . . . " 
"I cried and trembled the day I read . . . . " 
One night in 1984 in Washington — the tale had come full 
circle — a group of younger blacks, clearly a new generation 
gave a reception for him. I witnessed there an outpouring, spon- 
taneous, heart-felt and joyous, of love and appreciation. I asked 
him, "Jimmy, how does this make you feel?" 
"I feel . . . ," he said simply, "I feel blest." 
So he is dead. He died with his integrity intact, his legacy 
unsullied and with his honorable example as a beacon for our 
guidance and inspiration. I am in no way ashamed to admit 
publicly that I have tried to model my work and conduct as 
a writer and a black man on that example. For our generation 



of black writers — to the extent we see further than might 
otherwise have been the case — it is only because we stand 
huddled on the fragile but formidable shoulders of James Ar- 
thur Baldwin. It was an honor and a privilege to have been his 
friend. 



Editors note: On November 30th, 1987, fames Baldwin, 
novelist, poet, playwright and essayist died at his residence 
in St. Paul de Venae, France. Since 1984, Mr. Baldwin had been 
Five College Professor, then Visiting Professor in the W.E.B. 
Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the Univer- 
sity of Massachusetts at Amherst. On December 16th at the 
University of Massachusetts, the Five College community 
held a service of respect and appreciation. The following is 
a selection from the remarks made by Mr. Baldwin 's friends 
and colleagues. 

[This piece, originally published in The Massachusetts Review, 
is reprinted by permission of author] 



A Brother's Love 

by Maya Angelou 

Speeches will be given, essays written and hefty books will be published on the various lives 
of James Baldwin. Some fantasies will be broadcast and even some truths will be told. Someone 
will speak of the essayist James Baldwin in his role as the biblical prophet Isaiah admonishing 
his country to repent from wickedness and create within itself a clean spirit and a clean heart. 
Others will examine Baldwin the playwright and novelist who burned with a righteous indigna- 
tion over the paucity of kindness, the absence of love and the crippling hypocrisy he saw in 
the streets of the United States and sensed in the hearts of his fellow citizens. 

I will speak of James Baldwin, my friend and brother. 

"A short brown man came to the door and looked at me. He had the most extraordinary eyes 
I'd ever seen. When he completed his instant X-ray of my brain, lungs, liver, heart, bowels, 
and spinal coltunn, he smiled and said, 'Come in,' and opened the door. He opened the door 
all right. Lord! I was to hear Beauford sing later for many years 'Open the Unusual Door.'" 

Thus James Baldwin describes meeting and being met by Beauford Delaney, the provocative 
black American painter who was to enlarge and enrich Baldwin's life. Baldwin's description 
of Delaney fitted Baldwin as well, for he, too, was small and brown and had the most extraor- 
dinary eyes. 

I first met Jim fleetingly in the boites of Paris when he and I and the world were young enough 
to believe ourselves independently salvageable. But we became friends in the late 50's, just as 
the United States was poised to make its quantum leap iato the future, as Martin Luther King, 
Rosa Parks and other Southerners were girding themselves for the second Civil War in 100 
years and while Malcolm X was giving voice to the anger in the streets and in the minds of 
Northern black city folks. 

In that riotous pulse of political fervor, James Baldwin and I met again and liked each other. 
We discussed courage, human rights, God and justice. We talked about black folks and love, 
about white folks and fear. 

Although Jimmy was known as an accomplished playwright, few people knew that he was 
a frustrated actor as well. I had a role in Jean Genet's play "The Blacks," and since Jimmy knew 
Genet personally and the play in the original French, nothing could keep him from advising 
me on my performance. He furnished me with my first limousine ride, set the stage for me 
to write "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," encouraged me to take a course in cinematography 
in Sweden and told me that I was intelligent and very brave. I knew Jim loved me when he 
gave me to Gloria and Paula, Wilmer and David Baldwin and all the rest of his siblings and 
when he took me to Mother Baldwin and said: "Just what you don't need, another daughter, 
but here she is." I knew that he knew black women may find lovers on street corners or even 
in church pews, but brothers are hard to come by and are as necessary as air and as precious 
as love. James Baldwin knew that black women in this desolate world, black women in this 
cruel time which has no soundness in it, have a crying need for brothers. He knew that brother's 
love redeems a sister's pain. His love opened the unusual door for me and I am blessed that 
James Baldwin was my brother. 

Editor's note: This eulogy was delivered at the fames Arthur Baldwin memorial service held at The Cathedral Church 
of St John the Divine in New York City on December 8, 1987. 




35 



JIMMY 

by Amiri Baraka 



F 



irst of all, Jimmy Baldwin was not only a writer, 

an international literary figure, he was man, spirit, 

old and black and terrible as that first 



voice- 



ancestor. 

As man, he came to us from the family, the human 
lives, names we can call David, Gloria, Lover, George, 
Samuel, Barbara, Ruth, Elizabeth, Paula .... and this 
extension, is one intimate identification as he could so 
casually, in that way of his, eyes and self smiling, not 
much larger than that first ancestor, fragile as truth 
always is, big eyes popped out like righteous monitors 
of the soulful. The Africans say that big ol eyes like that 
means someone can make things happen! And he did. 

Between Jimmy's smile and grace, his insistent 
elegance even as he damned you, even as he smote what 
evil was unfortunate, breathing or otherwise, to stum- 
ble his way. He was all the way live, all the way con- 
scious, turned all the way up, receiving and broad- 
casting, sometime so hard, what needed to, would back 
up from those two television tubes poking out of his 
head! 

As man, he was my friend, my older brother he would 
joke, not really joking. As man he was Our friend. Our 
older or younger brother, we listened to him like we 
would somebody in our family — whatever you might 
think of what he might say. We could hear it. He was 
close, as man, as human relative, we could make it some 
cold seasons merely warmed by his handshake, smile 
or eyes. Warmed by his voice, jocular yet instantly cut- 
ting. Kind yet perfectly clear. We could make it 
sometimes, just remembering his arm waved in confir- 
mation or indignation, the rapid fire speech, pushing out 
at the world like urgent messages for those who would 
be real. 

This man traveled the earth like its history and its 
biographer. He reported, criticized, made beautiful, 
analyzed, cojoled, lyricized, attacked, sang, made us 
think, made us better, made us consciously human, or 
perhaps more acidly pre-human. 

He was spirit because he was living. And even past 
this tragic hour when we weep he has gone away, and 
why, and why we keep asking. There's mountains of evU 
creatures who we would willingly bid farewell to — 
Jimmy could have given you some of their names on 
demand — We curse our luck, our oppressors — our age, 
our weakness. Why & Why again? And why can drive 
you mad, or said enough times might even make you 
wise! 

Yet this why in us is him as well. Jimmy was wise 
from asking whys giving us his wise and his whys to 
go with our own, to make them into a larger why and 
a deeper Wise. 



Jimmy's spirit, which will be with us as long as we 
remember ourselves, is the only truth which keeps us 
sane and changes our whys to wiseness. It is his spirit, 
spirit of the little black first ancestor, which we feel 
those of us who really felt it, we know this spirit will 
be with us for 'as long as the sun shines and the water 
flow.' For his is the spirit of life thrilling to its own 
consciousness. 

His spirit is part of our own, it is our feelings' com- 
pletion. Our perceptions' extension. The edge of our ra- 
tionale, the paradigm for our best use of this world. 

When we saw and heard him, he made us feel good. 
He made us feel, for one thing, that we could defend 
ourselves or define ourselves, that we were in the world 
not merely as animate slaves, but as terrifyingly sen- 
sitive measurers of what is good or evil, beautiful or ug- 
ly. This is the power of his spirit. This is the bond which 
created our love for him. This is the fire that terrifies 
our pitiful enemies. That not only are we alive but shat- 
teringly precise in our songs and our scorn. You could 
not possibly think yourself righteous, murderers, when 
you saw or were wrenched by our Jimmy's spirit! He was 
carrying it as us, as we carry him as us. 

Jimmy will be remembered, even as James, for his 
word. Only the completely ignorant can doubt his 
mastery of it. Jimmy Baldwin was the creator of con- 
temporary American speech even before Americans 
could dig that. He created it so we could speak to each 
other at unimaginable intensities of feeling, so we could 
make sense to each other at yet higher and higher 
tempos. 

But that word, arranged as* art, sparkling and gestur- 
ing from the page, was also man and spirit. Nothing was 
more inspiring than hearing that voice, seeing that face, 
and that whip of tongue, that signification that was his 
fingers, reveal and expose, raise and bring down, con- 
demn or extol! 

Let us hold him in our hearts and minds. Let us make 
him part of our invincible black souls, the intelligence 
of our transcendence. Let our black hearts grow big 
world absorbing eyes like his, never closed. Let us one 
day be able to celebrate him like he must be celebrated 
if we are even to be truly self-determining. For Jimmy 
was God's black revolutionary mouth; if there is a God, 
and revolution his righteous natural expression and 
elegant song, the deepest and most fundamental com- 
monplace of being alive. 



Editor's note: This eulogy was delivered at the lames Arthur Baldwin 
memorial service held at The Cathedral Church of St. fohn the Divine 
in New York City on December 8, 1987. 



36 




Photo by Edward Cohen 



1924-1987 



37 



Fashion Through 
an AngePs Eyes 

Angel Estrada 




X^ashion is a never-ending, always- 
changing adventure. Designers are con- 
stantly at work inventing the unique, the 
different, the form of art that maintains 
an aesthetic quality about all individuals. 
The American woman has been the force 
and source of new fashion ideas. She has 
shown this ability time and time again 
from the day she refused to wear the midi 
and caused the bankruptcy of many 
manufacturers and retailers to the day she 
changed the course of history and the 
women's movement by wearing pants. 
Granted she could not do it alone. It was 
the designers who listened and who 
transformed their creativity into 
workable, material forms of art. They 
came out with the house dress to accom- 
modate the house-ridden women of post- 
World War n. And it is today's designers 
who understand the "want-it-all" woman 
of the modern world. She's mentally and 
physically active and healthy. Her ward- 
robe is no longer restricted by age, career, 
or family categorizations, but only the 
boundaries of her individual personality. 
It's the era of the "Forty and Beautiful" 
and the "Fashion Plus." No longer do you 
have to be size 6, 120 lbs. to wear Dan- 



skins or a Bill Blass design. The "forgot- 
ten woman" of size 12 and up can feel 
glamorous. This neglected beauty is now 
accepted and being catered to. 

New York City reflects diversity not 
only in fashion but in the designers it 
generates. The rising stars in the industry 
range in ethnicity from Korean Cathy 
Hardwick and Afro-American Isai Rankin 
to Cuban Isabella Toledo. But of the new 
crop, we see a Spaniard making strides in 
this newest fashion era. 

Inspired by the likes of Yves Saint 
Laurent and the late Charles James, this 
imaginative young talent is establishing 
a promising career for himself. At age 
twenty-nine. Angel Estrada is now work- 
ing on his sixth collection. You can find 
his creations in prestigious Bergdorf 
Goodmans, Saks Fifth Avenue, Linda 
Dresners, and a few other stores in and 
out of the country. Angel has been able 
to concentrate his efforts in designing, 
while his partner, Anneliese Orr main- 
tains the business side of the operation. 

Angel came to the country 25 years ago 
and lived a quiet, average childhood in 
Manhattan, New York. As far back as he 



can remember, he had always been in- 
terested in the arts and spent most of his 
time drawing. After high school he went 
to the Parsons School for the Fine Arts 
majoring in Fashion Illustration. After a 
short time, he left school and free-lanced 
for a few years,- designing clothes for 
specific clients, illustrating, and basical- 
ly doing anything he could get his hands 
on. Introduced by mutual friends. Angel 
then established a working relationship 
with his four-year partner, Anneliese Orr. 
As she remembers, "It was just one of 
those mutual arrangements, one of those 
things that happened... he was ready to put 
out a collection and I was there and able 
to look after the business side...". By 1984, 
he put together his first spring collection. 
The small company they had established 
still remains in a quaint studio on 
Lafayette Street. 

Now, who is this man behind the cloth? 
He's a mysterious, charismatic man with 
a style of his own. Dressing simply and 
casually himself, he has almost always 
been interested in women's clothing. You 
could say that his main source of inspira- 
tion was his sister, Virginia Estrada, for 



38 



whom he designed his first dress. To this 
day they've worked closely together and 
many of the original samples are made for 
her. Virginia exemplifies the modern 
woman of the decade. She is a talented, 
well-known sculptress in New York and 
designs a jewelry collection for her 
brother every season. 

Angel has been able to capture the 
essence of today's American woman with 
his sophisticated yet sensuous style. He 
designs with no particular woman in 
mind, but for women in general, although 
his clients are generally thin. He describes 
his clientele as "Any woman who would 
enjoy wearing my clothing. I have no par- 
ticular image of what a woman should be. 
She can be any one. She can wear heels 
or flats-it doesn't matter." He lets her 
decide. 

Angel starts his creations by first con- 
sidering combinations of fabric and col- 
or. His basic silhouette stays relatively 
the same — slim . Shoulders and legs are 
loved at his house and are often accen- 
tuated in his designs. He describes the ex- 
pression of his clothing as "...sophis- 
ticated in itself. The image around them 
is that they are well made, sexy 
clothing... very forward, but not gaudy or 
overpowering." Angel is still experiment- 
ing with fabric, so he has no favorite. He 
loves all hues and feels they are very im- 
portant to his collections. His collections 
have ranged from extremely colorful, to 
toned, to all black, depending on the 
season and his feel for creativity at the 
time. However, one thing that stays con- 
sistent throughout his collections is the 
quality. He feels "...to put a full garment 
together from fabric to construction to 
quality, to them all, quality is the most 
important thing. A quality garment is 
very special." Angel believes that in order 
to be a successful designer, one must 
work at it and be dedicated. His 
philosophy is to be true to whatever you 
feel about your clothing, to be honest to 
yourself, and not to be worried or con- 
cerned about anyone (competitors) or 
anything else. 

As for the future, we may see shoes, 
lingerie, bathing suits~we may even see 
menswear. He feels if the opportunities 
arise and they are feasible, he will expand. 
But for now, he is happy with the way 
things are going. He is free to design how 
and what he pleases and has no major 
pressures upon him. His only goal at this 
point is to maintain his standing and grow 
slowly. And from the looks of it, his 
positive following from the press, good 
store' rapport, and his confident and com- 
petent assistant, Anneliese, are all leading 
him into a bright and prosperous future. 

Susan M. Hodgkins is a graduating 
Fashion Marketing major. 









The Outside 

by Andre M. Jones 

You see the fire escapes, 

outside the windows with drapes; 

to block the pain— 

from the outside. 

And down by the railroad tracks, 

over the water, 

it's so polluted out there. 

A drunk man walked across it last night— 

and he didn't sink; 

because the trash is so thick, 

and you know it stinks. 

It's not even a river anymore ... 

just a liquid junk yard. 

And on its littered shore, 

abandoned getaway cars, 

with the windows shot out. 

Bullet holes in the doors, on cinder blocks, 

with the tires stripped. 

And rusty, souped up V-8's 

where racers retired their Detroit thoroughbreds- 

but kept their license plates . . . 

and disappeared into the alleyways, 

heading back to places, they call home. 

Just to climb up the fire escapes, 

into the windows, all covered with drapes 

to keep the darkness from shining in. 

To block the pain — 

from the outside. 






,-^- 



' f ,-"»#• 



^•;?5ft^ 



i-'^M. 



r(Vjai.'.^i 




COACHING EXCELLENCE 



It's 5:30 and the afternoon daylight has 
given way to a dark evening sky. Kalen- 
keni Mtalika Banda, the University of 
Massachusetts Women's soccer and track 
team coach, is busy looking through his 
appointment book, opening the mail piled 
on top of his desk and making phone calls. 

Instead of wearing a sweat suit, lanyard 
and rugged turf shoes, Banda is dressed in 
a sharp blue pin-stripe suit, red patterned 
tie and brown leather wing-tipped shoes. 
He has a bright friendly smUe, and a neat- 
ly trimmed beard. As for his office, it 
looks like a giant display case, chock-full 
of awards, wall plaques, trophies, cer- 
tificates, flags, teams photos and 
videotapes. 

Kalekeni Mtalika Banda is not your 
average athletic coach. 

Banda says he first came to the United 
States with his diplomat father in 1967 
and attended Mamaroneck High School 
in New York. He was then sent to the 
University of Massachusetts at Amherst 
by the Malawi Government to study 
sports. As an undergraduate at UMass he 
lettered in both soccer and track while 
earning a B.S. degree in physical educa- 
tion. He graduated in 1975 and returned 



40 



to Africa where he played semi- 
professional soccer and served as 
technical advisor to the executive com- 
mittee of the Amateur Association of 
Malawi. While there, he also gained three 
years of international experience with the 
Malawi Olympic Teams. In 1979, Banda 
returned to UMass as an assistant 
women's soccer and track coach. 

During the seven years Banda has been 
the head coach, UMass women's soccer 
has amassed an impressive 100 wins with 
only 23 losses and 10 ties. His teams have 
participated in four NCAA National Final 
Four Championships. 

Banda himself has received numerous 
coaching honors. He has won the Na- 
tional Soccer Coaches Association of 
America (NSCAA] New England Region 
Coach-of-the-Year award in 1982 and 
1985, as well as the New England 
Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Associa- 
tion (NEWISA) Coach-of-the-Year award 
and the NSCAA Coach-of-the-Year award 
for 1985. In the last 1987 season he was 
named NSCAA's Woman's Coach-of- 
the-Year. 

In addition to soccer. Coach Banda has 
also been successful as the head coach of 



the women's track and field team, 
building a strong contender in the New 
England track scene. 

Banda modestly says that he doesn't 
have a real formula for his success, and 
that his philosophy for winning is really 
quite simple: he doesn't have one. 

"Some coaches are authoritarian, 
soldier-like, some say 'My way or the 
highway,' and some are laissez-faire. As 
for Banda, I'm teaching athletes to be bet- 
ter human beings, sharing all with them 
the options and customs I've been ex- 
posed to." 

He says winning really began for him 
when he was a child in his native village 
of Tonga, in Malawi, Africa. He was 
educated by his family, in particular, the 
elders of his village who stressed self- 
knowledge, respect of authority and 
tolerance for an individual's person and 
culture. His philosophy is really theirs; for 
Kalekeni Banda, this is the real meaning 
of success. 

"Success," he laughs softly, "my 
background has a lot to do with my suc- 
cess — it's unique. It was from my village 
that I learned respect, gained respect, 
because I was taught to respect myself." 
continued on page 60 




CIRCLE FOR ANOTHER: MESSAGE 

FROM THOTH 



JEFF DONALDSON: /1FR1COBRK 



41 



Equality: 

By Any 

Means 
Necessary 



Equality, is it that impossible? Why 
must our people be continuously 
beat for trying to lead a normal 
life? Is evidence of intelligence and a 
desire to excel or to simply live as we 
wish so threatening to the egos of the 
white world that they must continue to 
persecute the Black race? Why is the 
Black person — the beginner of civiliza- 
tion, the creator of culture — continuously 
made to feel small and useless? Why, 
above all, are we made to feel afraid or 
ashamed to be Black? All of these ques- 
tions must be forced in the faces of the 
white community and answered by the 
Black race. We must ask ourselves why, 
so we can be ready with a sharpened mind 
for the bureaucracy that has helped to 
keep us oppressed since the beginning of 
our contact with the European peoples. 
The New Africa House occupation served 
as a sounding board for these questions. 
It was a time when the Black communi- 
ty, often factioned, came together as one. 



It was a Friday afternoon, whose 
temperature and dreary appearance 
echoed the feelings in the hearts and 
countenances of the students as they 
trudged up the stairs of New Africa 
House. Watching television the night 
before, I had listened to the weatherman 
discuss a storm on the horizon. Thinking 
back, I doubt he knew how right he real- 
ly was. The snow was not the only thing 
that was going to fall. The feelings of fear, 
dissatisfaction, and of being gullible in the 
eyes of the administration that had sur- 
faced Thursday night were heightened 
and added to the newly felt desire for 
militancy. As a result, we, the Third 
World Students, were determined to no 
longer be a chip in the wall of the dam, 
but to be the hole that weakened the 
structure until, inevitably, it collapsed 
under the weight of a people united. 

Four p.m., February 12, 1988. What was 
going to happen? What had already hap- 
pened? Everyone could sense the tension 
of the situation, the odor of an impending 
fight like rotten meat on a hot day. 
Details, we needed details. Details and 
facts to help us to understand what need- 
ed to be done. We are all thinking human 
beings. Please don't patronize and rave 
about our ignorance; explain. A student 
must perform as any other leader. Leaders 
must satisfy the people's thirst for 
knowledge or be responsible for rebellion, 
which is not an ugly word if used in the 
appropriate context. However, when the 
need for unity is mandatory, rebellion 
within the ranks is disastrous. 

At first impatience, eagerness, or 
perhaps both, on the faces of those who 
had initiated the "revolt," caused many 
to feel slighted and insignificant, thereby 
causing internal conflict. The realization 
that decisions had been made and 




Chancellor Joseph Duffey entering Nev \ 

demands drawn up heightened the unrest. 
Many of us thought the thirty or forty 
students that had made the initial deci- 
sions, eager to start the flow of progress, 
were assuming power roles. The minds 
and egos of an oppressed people are 
volatile and ready to explode at the least 
indication of being unappreciated. Look- 
ing around the room, the questioning look 
on people's faces was asking, "Why wasn't 
this meeting devised to decide what ac- 
tions should be taken? Why are we stand- 
ing in an occupied building, when we 
have not yet, as a body, decided it should 
be such?" Questioning of the leadership 
and action that had been taken ended 
when the masses realized that the direct 
action that was needed had been taken, 
and now it had to be enforced with 




.ssj!.;^ 



•■fv-'fA'* ^t^^v"' 





fiica House. 



diligence, strength, and hard work. Now 
that we had New Africa House we were 
definitely not going to give it back. The 
real question was, "Why should we have 
to take, much less give back, something 
that was supposedly already ours?" 

For those of us who were at the House 
on a regular basis, the countless meetings, 
if they served no other purpose, caused us 
all to doubt the ability of two hundred 
people to agree; the beads of perspiration 
and the permanent expressions of frustra- 
tion were clearly visible as we sat for a 
third time to discuss exactly what we 
wanted from the administration. Why, 
when we are all working for the same end, 
did it seem so often that we were work- 
ing against one another? I believe strong- 
ly that this seeming disunity was in fact 



Photo by Roy Lewis 



the opposite — it was group desire for ex- 
cellence. We all knew that the wording 
and context of the demands were crucial 
to the success of our mission to procure 
equality. That, coupled with the desire to 
be counted and instrumental in some- 
thing that brought national attention, 
helped us to retain our unity and establish 
the large following needed to command 
a successful revolution. 

The community support for our fight 
was tremendous. People donated food and 
pillows and blankets for those who had 
taken up residence in New Africa House. 
Their concern and support lifted our 
spirits and let us know that we weren't 
alone in our struggle. We eventually 
found out that many of the people who 
protested our allowing only Third World 
students in the building really were not 
supporters. If they had been, they would 
have imderstood our need, as stated to the 
press on numerous occasions, to organize 
ourselves, to understand fully our own 
needs before we could even begin to in- 
clude people outside the situation. This 
was not to say that we did not welcome 
the support given by the white communi- 
ty. However, we had to first understand 
ourselves before we could begin to explain 
ourselves to someone else. Education 
begins with the individual, and in this 
case, a people. We cannot begin to express 
our gratitude to the people who kept us 
fed and to the supporters who held vigils 
and rallies to defeat racism. It must be 
kept in mind at all times that each little 
shove we give to the wall of injustice will 
weal<en it and it will crumble, so that 
eventually, hopefully, one day we as a 
society will not return to its history of 
judging by black and white. 

Whether is was support for the cause 
or simply the excitement of the event, the 



three hundred students — mostly white— 
who surroimded Chancellor Duffey when 
he came to hear and negotiate the 
demands, were expectant. Some were ex- 
pecting and hoping that he would refuse 
us and bring in the law, while others, the 
sympathizers (to coin a phrase) hoped our 
demand would be met and if they weren't 
that we could continue to occupy the 
House. Our story was all across the na- 
tion and we hoped that coupled with the 
plausibility of our demands, the threat of 
nationwide embarrassment would add 
strength to our struggle. Our pride 
swelled and our persistence grew when 
the Reverend Jesse Jackson called to give 
his support and mentioned the possibili- 
ty of a visit. And even an obviously upset 
Gov. Michael Dukakis phoned and asked 
the Chancellor to do his best towards giv- 
ing us what we wanted. The fact that we 
attracted nationwide attention on the day 
of the New Hampshire Primary obvious- 
ly made him feel uncomfortable. 

The negotiations lasted for four hours. 
The students who talked with the 
Chancellor persevered through the hours 
of haggling. Afterwards, the strain showed 
on their faces and in their impatience. We, 
the general body, waited, not always with 
patience, to hear and criticize the 
responses. When all had been formally 
written up and distributed to us, I think 
the satisfaction with the answers sur- 
prised us all. Of course, there were things 
we didn't like and weren't satisfied with. 
But the overall positive response to our 
demands caught many of us off guard. 
Then the big question arose: Do we stay, 
or do we leave? Do we stop fighting in the 
streets and continue it in the boardroom? 
Will staying here longer help our cause or 
hinder it? Tempers flared, emotions ex- 
continued on page 57 




43 




i 



44 




SQUARE ONE 



JEFF DONALDSON: /IFRlCOBRk 



45 



Akhenaten: 
Unique Among Pharaohs 



The eighteenth Dynasty was the 
time of the greatest growth for 
Egypt, after a long period of foreign 
domination by the Asiatic princes known 
as the Hyksos. Characterized by a surge 
of expansion and renewed productivity in 
architecture and the arts, Egypt's civiliza- 
tion rose to new heights. The pharaohs of 
this time stood out as strong leaders; of 
them, Akhenaten, or Amenhotep IV, was 
the most unusual and the most 
revolutionary. 

The beginning of Akhenaten's reign is 
slightly obscure. After his father 
Amenhotep III died, his mother Queen 
Tiye took over briefly. Akhenaten mar- 
ried one of his sisters by the name of 
Tadukhipa, known in Egypt as Nefertit- 
ti, "the beautiful on is come." Shortly 
after marriage, Nefertitti bore her hus- 
band the first of six daughters. 

Everyone assvuned that Amenhotep IV 
would follow in the footsteps of his 
predecessors and shine either at the royal 
court or on the battlefield. However, 
Amenhotep IV's intellectual and religious 
leanings quickly became apparent. Early 
in the sixth year of his reign, he shook off 
the worship of Amen, the dominant god 
of the time, and adopted the worship of 
the Aten, or sun disk. In addition to 
changing his name from Amenhotep 
(meaning "Amen is satisfied") to 
Akhenaten, he denounced the worship of 
all gods other than the Supreme Power, 
symbolized by the Aten, and had Amen's 
name erased from monuments wherever 
possible. 

Egypt had always been a country divid- 
ed. From the earliest of Neolithic times 
this division was evident; the south (Up- 
per Egypt) developed the famous mor- 
tuary cult while the north (Lower Egypt) 
focused on mercantilism and thought lit- 
tle of death. Each area also had its own 
deity. The sun god, in the form of the 
hawk (Horus), was worshipped in the 
north. To them, this bird was the lord of 
the sky, appearing suddenly and vanishing 
like a point of light into the heavens. A 
form of the sun god was also worshipped 
in the south, though as Amen-Ra, god of 
Thebes, "light of the heavens." As Thebes 
rose to power with its kings and became 
one of the wealthiest cities in the world, 
so, too, did Amen-Ra rise in divine status 
until he dominated the Egyptian 
pantheon. 



46 



Into this picture, then, stepped 
Akhenaten, drawing great surprise with 
his fervent worship of the Aten, and not 
Amen-Ra as expected. Not long after 
becoming pharaoh, he built the Aten a 
new temple two miles north of Thebes, 
at Karnak. He included there a series of 
colossal statues that broke violently with 
tradition: instead of depicting a trim, 
athletic figure with traditional garments, 
they showed Akhenaten in unconven- 
tional garb and with an egg-shaped head, 
elongated jaw, scrawny neck, drooping 
shotilders, pot belly, and spindly legs. This 
type of portrayal was an outstanding 
feature of Akhenaten's rule, and il- 
lustrated his motto of "Truth — warts and 
all." 




In the sixth year of his reign, 
Akhenaten transferred the capital from 
under the shadow of Amen's greatest 
temples to a new site 250 miles 
downriver. A city was built on the east 
bank, while the ample plain on the west 
side was used to grow crops to feed the 
new inhabitants. The place was named 
Akhet-aten, "the horizon of Aten;" 
historians call it Amama after the modem 
village nearby. It was at this time that the 
great pharaoh changed his name from 
Amenhotep to Akhenaten, a final emblem 
of his rebellion. 

In his new capitol, Akhenaten was free 
to worship the Aten in his own way, as 
carvings discovered at Amarna 



demonstrate. The Aten is depicted with 
rays that stretch downward towards 
Akhenaten and his family; surrounding 
him are his courtiers who bow humbly. 
Akhenaten prayed to the Aten, and 
everyone else prayed to Akhenaten. There 
was no god save the one god, and the sole 
way to get to him was through 
Akhenaten. What he created was a form 
of monotheism, the first example in the 
history of religion, though it did not have 
a broad enough appeal to last beyond his 
reign. 

Akhenaten demonstrated a tendency 
toward the abstract in his sun-worship. 
Though in other ages the sun was wor- 
shipped in human figure as Ra or as his 
emblem the hawk, Akhenaten's devotion 
to the Aten was more refined and 
philosophical. He revered the radiant 
energy of the sun and its ability to sustain 
all life by its beams. If this were a new 
religion, invented to satisfy our modern 
scientific outlook, we could not find a 
flaw in his view of the energy of the solar 
system. The rays of the sun are the means 
of the sun's action — the source of all life, 
power, and force in the universe. 

Akhenaten's veneration of the Aten is 
evident in his poetry — the most notewor- 
thy of which is the "Hymn to Aten," 
taken from King Sun by Joy Collier [Lon- 
don: Ward Lock Limited, 1970]. It was 
simply an outpouring of ecstatic praise: 



The Splendour of Aten 

Thy dawning is beautiful in the hori- 
zon of heaven 

O living Aten, beginning of life! 

When thou lisest in the eastern hori- 
zon of heaven, 

Thou fillest every land with thy 
beauty; 

For thou art beautiful, great, glittering, 
high above the earth; 

Thy rays, they encompass the lands, 
even all thou hast made. 

Thou art Ra, and thou hast carried 
them all away captive; 

Thou bindest them by thy love. 

Though thou art afar, thy rays are on 
earth; 

Though thou art on high, thy foot 

prints are the day. 






■C^'^-fff^' 




'liiJ^ 



Akhenaten was an intellectual, the sole 
pharaoh in Egypt's history to boast that 
distinction. He had advanced ideas con- 
cerning women — as well he should have, 
for both his mother Tiye and his wife 
Nefertitti provided much of the impetus 
for the change to Atenism. Akenhaten 
was only eighteen at the time of the 
change, yet under Tiye's guidance he 
gained the strength to nationalize his 
views. Nefertitti, too, supported the 
revolution, and in fact her claim to the 
throne legitimized Akhenaten's rule. 
Egypt's matrilineal custom dictated that 
he who became king did so by marrying 
she whose dowry was all of Egypt; Nefer- 
titti's titles indicate that she was indeed 
this heir. She was "the great heiress, 
princess of south and north," and 
"princess of all women, the lady of both 
lands." Akhenaten, unlike his 
predecessors, included Nefertitti and his 



Photos from King Sun by Joy Collier 





children in the royal artwork, signifying 
a deep appreciation and love of his family. 

The art of the Amama period is its most 
prominent surviving aspect. Instead of 
leaving a legacy of gold and treasure, 
Amarna's true wealth was in its art. 
Previous rulers had appeared in their por- 
traits performing solemn or heroic ac- 
tions, always avoiding what was private 
and intimate. Akhenaten, instead of 
showing sacrifices to the gods or enemies 
being conquered, preferred to depict the 
intimacies of his family life: Akhenaten 
kissing one of his baby daughters, Nefer- 
titti with one on her lap while another 
plays with her crown, two sisters caress- 
ing one another. Instead of the previous 
formality and stiffness, in which pharaohs 
were always figures of might and majes- 
ty, Amama art showed people in natural 
poses and groupings, emitting a kind of 
gentleness. 

Akhenaten's devotion to the Aten is 
evident in the sculpture he had commis- 
sioned. In each one he is shown adoring 
or offering gifts to the Aten, which 
radiates above him. Each of the Aten's 
rays ends in a hand which supports the 
king and queen and their crowns. It also 
gives them power and life as symbolized 

continued on page 88 




47 




LADY & PRES 



WADSWORTH JARRELL:/IFRlCOBRK 



48 




MOOD INDIGO 



MICHAEL D. HARRIS: /1FRICOBRK 



49 




BLACK TO THE FUTURE: 
Spike Lee, filmmaker 

This piece is a compilation of information gotten from an interview by the author with Spike Lee on March 
25, 1 988, as well information from an article in Life Magazine * (Special Spring 1 988 issue), a Village Voicei March 
22, 1988 interview by Thulani Davis and Spike's book with Lisa Jones, Uplift the Race: The Construction of School 
Dazet [Simon and Schuster, 1988]. 



I got on the A-train headed for the 
Lafayette Avenue stop in Brooklyn. 
Shit. I hope I don't get lost. Lived 
23 years in New York, why didn't I get 
to know Brooklyn any better? Asked the 
token booth man which way DeKalb was. 
Right, left a few blocks, then right. Or was 
that left? 

"Hey baby, looking for an apart- 
ment?" 

"Why, you got one?" 
"Yeah — I was looking for someone to 
share it with." 

"I don't think my husband'll go for 
that." 
"Bet." 



Works every time. Almost. 
O.K. Here it is — 124. Damn, I'm ear- 
ly. Ring. "Yes, who is it?" 
"It's Martha." 

"What do you want?" What do I 
want^ 
"I'm here to interview Spike," 
Silence. I knew it, he changed his 
mind. 

"Come on up." Whew. 
I walked into the spacious office that 
used to be a fire station and I was greeted 
at the door by a gentleman who I took for 
the accountant since he immediately sat 
down at a desk and started fooling with 



a calculator. Two sisters were sitting at 
their desks and as I looked down the 
length of the office I saw Spike. He was 
sitting on the stairs of a slightly raised 
platform, looking at some papers. 

"Be right with you." 

I sat down on a futon couch that was 
too deep to sit comfortably. Alright, don't 
look like an idiot. I sat at the edge of the 
sofa so that my feet could touch the 
ground and I took out Arrow of God by 
Chinua Achebe. I knew that I'd have to 
go back to whatever it was I was attempt- 
ing to read so I didn't even bother mark- 
ing the page. 

"Hi, how ya doin'?" Spike led me into 



50 



another room so that we coiold have some 
privacy and the interview began. 

Spike has been called "a brave, original 
and prodigious talent," by the New Yoric 
Times — uncompromising on the issues 
and in his beliefs. Raised in a family of 
creative people, constantly being exposed 
to a cultural envirormient. Spike says he 
chose filmmaking as his venue because it 
encompasses many different artistic 
elements — dance, writing, photography, 
acting and dance. When he was as young 
as five and six years old Spike used to visit 
his father, composer and jazz musician 
Bill Lee, at gigs in Greenwich Village. 
Music has always been an important part 
of his films, as can especially be heard on 
his latest film. School Daze. "From the 
start, I knew that I wanted all the idioms 
of Black music in this movie, all idioms. 
We've got spirituals, funk, R&>B, go-go, 
jazz, "t 

One of the many vmique aspects of a 
Spike Lee Joint, besides using his family 
in many of the productions, is his com- 
mitment to employing not only Black ac- 
tors but Black production people as well. 
What a lot of people don't realize is that 
many so-called "Black" shows or movies 
do not have a concentration of people 
behind the scenes. Often, the only thing 
"Black" about a show is the person or peo- 
ple who you actually see — but the writers, 
producers and crew are almost always ex- 
clusively white. 

When interviewed on a news-magazine 
program. West 57th St., Spike was asked 
why he didn't have any white actors in 
his films. "/ don't think that it's an issue. 
I think it's really a stupid question. White 
filmmakers never get asked when they're 
going to have some Black people or other 
minorities in their films. That question 
never comes up. " 

Quality roles for Black actors has 
always been a controversial issue, from 
the days of Amos 'n' Andy to the present. 
The film, Hollywood Shuffle, by Robert 
Townsend which came on the heels of 
She's Gotta Have It, addressed this issue 
of whether or not Black actors should take 
the (few) roles which are available and 
which are, more often than not, demean- 
ing. Spike commented, "I liked his 
[Robert Townsend' s] film a lot. Especial- 
ly when I was auditioning for this film 
[School Daze]. Talent has never been the 
problem. We've always had the talent, 
it's just the opportunity [that's lacking[ 
and for every role we had in this film, 
there were five other people who didn 't 
get the part who could have done it . . . 

We can kick and scream about these 
roles people take but when they're starv- 
ing and gotta pay their rent .... They felt 
that they had to make that choice." 
Although Spike has provided quality roles 
for Black actors, he is but one man. 

Spike feels that one of the problems 



concerning the quantity of positions for 
Black performers is the way the industry 
is set up. "The powers that be don 't seem 
to want more than one black superstar 
at a time. They had Michael Jackson. The 
slid him out and brought in Prince. Had 
Richard Pryor up there. Slid him out and 
brought in Eddie Murphy. Slid him out 
and brought in Bill Cosby. Maybe it's 
because of the fear that they will get too 
powerful."* 

While his first feature film. She's Got- 
ta Have It, generally received critical ac- 
claim. School Daze seems to be riddled 
with controversy, especially from within 
the Black community. Some people 
believe that many of the issues portrayed 
in the film do not really exist. 

Many complaints about the film are 
centered around disapproval of Spike "air- 
ing the dirty laundry" of the African- 
American community. "That's the same 
thought that Bryant Gumble had . . . 
when he attacked me on the Today 
Show. He said the same thing — why air 
dirty laundry; why give away trade 
secrets^ He hadn't even seen the film." 

Some critics are concerned with the 
portrayal of the Black college or univer- 
sity. Historically, most Black colleges 
were created by white philanthropists in 
order to provide education for the sons 
and daughters of former slaves (some of 
whom were also their sons and 
daughters). Given the connection to 
"white" money it is not surprising that 
many of these colleges are by nature 
politically conservative. This is no secret, 
yet still many protested when Spike pro- 
jected this image in the film. At the same 
time, the relationship the production of 
School Daze had with the administration 
and students in the Atlanta University 
Center showed the very existence of an 
air of conservatism. 

While School Daze was half-way 
through the shoot, the colleges of the 
Atlanta University Center decided not to 
let filming continue for several reasons — 
mainly because they thought that School 
Daze would give Blacks and Black col- 
leges a bad name. Rumors were flying that 
there were sex scenes being filmed in the 
trailers and that one of the roles irt the 
film was that of a prostitute. Surprising- 
ly, or maybe not, is that the students sup- 
ported the administration's actions — if 
not actively, then by their overwhelming 
silence and belief of the "propaganda" put 
forth by the administrators. Commenting 
on Atlanta University Center student 
apathy Spike sees it as "the mood today — 
graduate, get a job and make money." 

In his book, Uplift the Race: The Con- 
struction of School Daze, Spike speaks to 
the issue of Black colleges: "I'm all for 
Black colleges. I'm a third generation 
Morehouse man and I hope my sons 
choose Morehouse. But there are certain 



things wrong at Black colleges and I ad- 
dress some of them in School Daze. To 
me, this doesn't mean that I'm putting 
forth a negative portrayal of these institu- 
tions. The AUG presidents were after 
squeaky clean images of Black colleges. 
I refuse to be caught in the "negative im- 
age" trap that's set for Black artists. Yes, 
Black people have been dogged in the 
media from day one. We 're extrasensitive 
and we have every right to be. But we 
overreact when we think that every im- 
age of us has to be 100 percent angelic — 
Christ-like even. " 

The first scene in the movie is an anti- 
apartheid rally being held in front of the 
Administration Building as the president 
of the fictitious Mission College and a 
disapproving chairman of the board watch 
from an upper window. One critic, Dalton 
Narine, in a Village Voice piece, thought 
that with a little less "boogaloo" Lee 
would have been able to resolve this 
South African issue. Lee comments: "/ 
think that that's all we had to do — to 
raise it ... . People want that stuff to be 
resolved in the film; that stuff's not 
resolved in real life— how's it going to be 
resolved in the film^" 

The portrayal of the women characters 
has not exactly won Spike any praise 
either — some critics labeling him a sex- 
ist and misogynist. Several grievances are 
about the amount of time spent on the 
Gamma Rays as compared to the amount 
of time spent on the JigS; the way the 
camera pans up-and-down the bodies of 
the Gamma Rays; how the Jigs don't seem 
to do anything other than lay on the bed 
and talk about guyS; how the women 
seem to merely be extensions of the male 
characters with whom they are involved 
and just a general lack of character 
development of the women. It seems, 
also, that the main conflict of the color 
and class issue rests on the shoulders of 
the female characters — it is between the 
women that most of the conflicts occur; 
even though there is a scene where the 
two main male and female "dark- 
skinned" characters ("Rachel" played by 
Kyme, and "Dap" played by Larry 
Fishburne) confront the possibility that 
one of the reasons "Dap" is dating 
"Rachel" is because she is "one of the 
darker sisters on campus." 

On one hand these issues are very real 
and it does seem as if women are getting 
that same old sexist rap thrown on them. 
However, to a certain extent, the film's 
context of fraternity life could hardly 
allow for much correction — especially in 
the portrayals of the Gamma Rays and 
their relationships with the men. "That's 
the way these guys [in the Gamma Phi 
Gamma fraternity} in School Daze — 
that's the way a lot of these guys in frater- 
nities feel about women. They just pass 
them around. [People[ want to attack me 
continued on page 74 

51 




NAPOLEON JONES-HENDERSON: /IFRlCOBRK 




SO WE TO EXHIBITION FOR SOWETO AT UNITED NATIONS, 1979: /IFRlCOBRK 



52 




WATER SPIRITS 



JAMES PHILLIPS: /IFRICOBRK 



53 




«Eddy (a homelesi 
man) said to me, "J 
know what you kids 
must be thinking 
about us, but we're 
not bums — we're 
alcoholics/' » 



Left, David Daggett 



« These pictures 
were taken in the 
Boston area-, some 
were taken candidly. 
For some, the in- 
dividuals gave me 
their permission. 
They exemplify the 
pain and plight of 
the homeless. » 



«I bought him a 
bottle of the cheapest 
whiskey I could see. 
As I gave him the 
bottle (similar to giv- 
ing a drowning man 
a glass of water), I 
didn't know whether 
to think if I was do- 
ing something good 
or bad. » 



54 



« Walking back to the car, I 
had realized that some of the 
homeless people weren't there 
by choice. They were people 
who had stumbled into a hole, 
a hole that they could not 
climb out of. » 



Photo Essay by David Daggett 



AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: 

Better to Light a Candle 
than Curse the Darkness 




"For years I was held in a tiny 
cell. My only human contact 
was with my torturers ... my 
only company were the 
cockroaches and mice ... on 
Christmas Eve the door to my 
cell opened and the guard 
tossed in a crumpled piece of 
paper. It said, 'Take heart. The 
world knows you are alive. 
We're with you. Regards, 
Monica, Amnesty Interna- 
tional.' That letter saved my 
life." — a released prisoner 
from Paraguay 



Tust think. Right now tliere are 
I thousands of people around the world 
W who are being imprisoned, tortured, 
and killed solely on the basis of their col- 
or, sex, ethnicity and ideology. Wecan't 
always see it because human oppression 
rarely ever receives the attention that it 
should. But it exists, and it's a fact of life 
that many face every day. 

These individuals, who are victims of 
persecution which often lacks legal 
pretense, are termed "prisoners of con- 
science" — stripped of their rights as 
human beings for who they are and what 
they believe. 

When we stop what we're doing and 
consider the atrocities and abominations 
that our fellow humans suffer at the 
hands of tyrannical dictators of oppressive 
goverimients, we can't help but feel 



anger — but we feel helpless as well. What 
can be done ? As citizens of a free society, 
we can protest and editorialize our opin- 
ions among ourselves, but what actual 
good would that do, except for maybe 
venting some steam? You could redress 
your grievances to the governments 
themselves, but what good will one small, 
albeit intelligent, voice accomplish? Not 
much at all. But Amnesty International 
has taken the idea of protest and turned 
it into a possibility, a justifiable response 
that can be shared by many of the same 
voice in unison. 

Twenty-five years ago two Portuguese 
students sat in a tavern and toasted to 
freedom. For this act their government 
sentenced them to seven years' imprison- 
ment. A group of people from many coun- 
tries were outraged by the government's 
response and were moved to action. Thus, 
the beginning of Amnesty hiternational 
was underway. 

Amnesty International was founded in 
1961 under the premise that "govern- 
ments must not deny individuals their 
basic human rights." Amnesty is a non- 
partisan, worldwide network of 
volunteers that works to end human 
rights abuses everywhere. Today, the 
organization has over 500,000 members, 
all committed to initiating effective 
measures against inhumane treatment of 
other world citizens. 

Amnesty works on a principle of impar- 
tiality, that is, independence of all outside 
interests except that of upholding the 
standards of human rights. Specifically, 
the organization refers to the United Na- 
tions Universal Declaration of Human 
Rights to justify their actions: Article 
3-"Everyone has the right to life, liberty, 
and the security of the person/' Article 
5 -"No one shall be subjected to torture 
or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treat- 
ment or punishment;" and Article 9 -"No 
one shall subject to arbitrary arrest, deten- 
tion, or exile." 

When Amnesty's London office is in- 
formed through various sources, such as 
newspapers, hiunanitarian organizations, 
or letters from attorneys and families of 
those in danger, their research depart- 
ment assesses the case to determine if ac- 
tion should be taken. Providing that the 
individuals have neither used nor ad- 
vocated violence in any way. Amnesty 
will assist them in their struggle. 
continued on page 88 

55 



EQUALITY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (cont'd from 43) 



ploded and frustration set in as these ques- 
tions were debated until three in the 
morning. Finally, after much back and 
forth argument, we decided to remain and 
continue the vigilance. However, this 
decision had no time to cool before debate 
ensued about the amount of support we 
would have if we continued. Would the 
Third World community continue to sup- 
port the cause, or would we have to fly 
the flag of surrender? Would we actually 
gain more by staying or lose some of what 
we had? The possibility of jail was not an 
immediate concern, for we had already 
faced a bomb threat without fear. The 
decision was finally made to leave the 
next day. We adjourned that night, 
exhausted. 

Twelve noon, February 17, sunny, cold. 
We stood on the steps of New Africa 
House and sang the Black national an- 
them. Some were disappointed and some 
said we gave up the fight while others 
made it clear that the struggle was just 
beginning. 



As we filtered off, going our separate 
ways, it was impossible not to look back 
on the past five days and say much of it 
hadn't been fun. The meetings were 
necessary, but stressful, and often brought 
normally controlled tempers to a head. 
However, they were sidelined often by the 
spirit and fun of just being together. 
Whether it was watching movies or stud- 
ying, the sense of unity was overwhelm- 
ing. Never had I seen so many people in 
such a stressful situation treat each other 
with such enormous respect. It was as if 
the factionalism within our community 
for five days just never existed. At least, 
for a brief moment, we had acted as one. 

Although there is still much work to be 
done and many details to follow up with 
the administration, the occupation 
showed that there is strength in numbers 
and that a people will not continually 
allow themselves to be oppressed. The 
time had come when we as students of 
color could no longer stand by and allow 
racial harassment go unpunished. We 



have pushed hard to get what should have 
rightfully been ours from the start, and we 
have pushed hard to be able to live in 
peace. If all this pressure has been too 
light, we will push even harder until the 
wall of injustice come tumbling down. 
Perhaps the immortal Malcolm X said it 
best: "The students all over the world are 
the ones who bring about a change, and 
it will, be by any means necessary." 

Author's note: The preceding piece on the oc- 
cupation of New Africa House from February 
12-1 7 is not intended to be a blow by blow ac- 
count. It was written to get a sense of perhaps 
the most important aspect of the occupation: 
people's emotions. It is in the mind that new 
ideas and emotions are harbored and it would 
be incomplete to speak of the occupation as 
simply a mechanical process. It was an event 
that was kept afloat by the feelings and emo- 
tions of an oppressed people. 

Simone Nicholson is a UMass sophomore Jour- 
nalism major. 



ji(l^.."3aB. 



Many a time I sit and wonder why 

This race so, so very hard to run 

Then I say to my soul take courage 

Battle to be won 

Like a ship that's tossed and driven 

Battered by the angry sea yeah! 

Say the tide of time was raging 

Don't let the fury fall on me. No, No, No 

—Bob Marley, "I Know," from Confrontation (Island Records, 1983) 






Professor Chinua Achebe, woild-renowned Nigerian author 
of the novels Things Fall Apart, No Longer At Ease, A Man 
of the People, Arrow of God and, the latest, Anthills of the 
Savannah, is Visiting Professor at the University of 
Massachusetts this year. 

Prof Achebe, the first question I would like to ask is how 
would you define African literature!- 

Well, it's simply literature written by Africans. My definition 
is very simple, perhaps too simple, but it is the one that makes 
the best sense. Surely it cannot be things written about Africa 
because somebody else can write about Africa. [Joseph] Con- 
rad has written about Africa, but I would not call Heart of 
Darkness part of African literature; so I would say it is 
literature written by those people we know as Africans. 

In Transition 18, vol.4 (1965) you wrote an article concern- 
ing English and the African writer. In it you discussed that 
in June of 1962, during an African writers conference, African 
artists failed to define satisfactorily "African Literature. "And 
you further mentioned the harsh words of a Nigerian critic. 
Obi Wall, writing in Transition 10, who said: "Perhaps the 
most important achievement of the conference . . . is that 
African literature as now defined and understood leads 
nowhere." Does one still find such critique of African 
literature, even after its twenty or so years of growth! 

Yes, yes. Well, as a matter of fact, there was a period of silence, 
if you like, on that very issue for years. Obi Wali himself, who 
was a teacher of literature and a poet, stopped writing or say- 
ing anything or doing anything on this matter. And nor did 
anyone else until quite recently when Ngugi wa Thiong'o of 
Kenya had brought the subject back to life, with a vengeance, 
by making it almost the center of dispute. He is questioning 
the validity of anything which is written in European languages 
qualifying as African literature, and is saying, quite clearly, 
that it is not. It could be Afro-Saxon literature or whatever. 
And he concluded this by himself, deciding that he would not 
write in English anymore. So it [such critique] is very much 
alive today. 

Now, I personally think that this is an issue upon which 
Ngugi or anybody else can take position and begin to act it 
out. I myself do not see that it is necessary or, in fact, useful 
to Africa for us to abandon communication in European 
metropolitan languages for practical reasons. The practical 
reasons are that these languages are the languages of Africa 
today, and literature cannot ignore today. Literature cannot 
see into the future. We can be thinking of a future in which 
the situation is altered or modified; in which, perhaps, some 
African languages become internationally spoken and written 
and, perhaps, will ultimately displace the European languages, 
but that's very much in the far future. For the moment 
Africans must stay alive. Africans must commimicate, must 
talk to one another. African countries like Nigeria must con- 
tinue to talk within Nigeria; we wouldn't be able to do this 
without English today. So this is a very complex problem, the 
question of language, and I don't think it will go away. But 
it's going to be solved, I think, over a long period of time. 

In that same article you mentioned that if Europeans are 
bothered by this tremendous upsurge of African literature, of 
literature written by Africans in European languages, then 
that is too bad. You wrote, "The price of a world language 
must be prepared to pay is submission to many different kinds 
of use. " 

Yes. Yes, I said that in '65; and although it was a long time 
ago, I think it is still true. Incidentally, only last week there 
was a program concerning my new novel [Anthills of the 



Chinua 
Owner 




Pholo by Garry Weas' 



Savarmah] on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and 
I noticed a tone of irritation in one of the voices discussing 
the book. The central topic was concerning my use of 'pidgin' 
English, a local variety of English spoken in West Africa, and 
this Englishman seemed to be a little irritated. He had difficul- 
ty with the pidgin sections of this novel, and the man he was 
talking with rather condescendingly explained to him that the 
people about whom I am writing do, in fact, speak pidgin and 
that it would be inappropriate for me to represent them in any 
other way. So, in other words, there are people in Britain who 
are a little unhappy that the English language, which they feel 
they have a kind of proprietary right over, is being used in all 
kinds of ways. This, you see, is what I mean by the voice of 
irritation. I also remember an Australian poet (the Australians 
can be as conservative as the English, you see — they also feel 



I 



58 



Achebe: 
f Words 



that this is their special tongue) who was saying that he feels 
rather envious of little countries, like Denmark, which still 
have control over their language and that when one Dane says 
something, another Dane imderstands what he is saying. By 
implication this Australian is complaining that English has 
gone out of control. And I say, too bad! That's just too bad. 

Professoi [Michaelj Thelwell, in preparation for this interview, 
gave me several articles, most of which discuss your latest 
novel, Anthills of the Savannah. In the African Guardian, 
Sept. 24. 1987, Okey Ndibe writes that 'Anthills is the first 
major study in African literature of the phenomenon of 
military rule. " Would you please discuss this further^ 

Well, the story is set, very squarely, in a military regime in 
Africa; so I am dealing with the leadership, the military leader- 
ship, and the kind of problems created in an African country 
by that sort of regime. I am also dealing with the development 
of tyranny and with a new awareness after the devastation 
which happens. This new awareness is based on the survivors 
learning to make new links with the ordinary roots of the socie- 
ty, with the ordinary people of the country. This, I think, is 
the positive side of this tragedy. At the end of it all there are 
the survivors, the anthills; they are the anthills and the prod- 
uct which I am exploring here. The anthills survive after the 
fire has burned the Savannah. There is this proverb which says 
it is the anthills which survive into the next season so as to 
tell the grass, the new grass, of what happened the year before. 
So this is the meaning of the story,- the people survive the 
tragedy, carry the misery of what happened, so that they can 
instruct the new grass, the new people, and transmute ex- 
perience to the future. 

Last year you declined an invitation to The Second African 
Writers Conference in Stockholm (April of 1 986). Could you 
elaborate upon your reasons for doing so and, therefore, upon 
your opinions of the existence of such a conference^ 

Yes. Well, let me say that I also declined the first one which, 
I think, was held in 1967. Now, my reasons are very clear. I 
am not opposed to conferences on African literature anywhere; 
anybody can set up a conference on African literature and even 
invite Africans to come and talk to them. But I resent the idea 
of African writers being summoned to a European country and 
being told that the purpose of this is for them to view the past 
and the future of their literature. This seems to me to go 
beyond the desire of everybody to find out about African 
literature; this is as if you want to draw the plan for African 
literature of the future, and you are going to Stockholm, under 
the supervision and hospitality of the Swedes, to do it! And 
I find this abhorrent; I find it unacceptable. By 1986 Africans, 
if they want to view their future literature, should do it under 
their own hospices and in their own forum, under their own 
control. And nobody has any right, not even if they dispense 
the Nobel Prize, to summon us somewhere and look over our 
shoulders while we draw our plans. 

Here, in 1974-75 for the Chancellor's Lecture Series, you 
discussed the false image of Africa projected by colonial 
literature such as Conrad's Heart of Darkness. How widely 



spread is this false image of Africa in the west} 

It is very, very wide. You know, I'll tell you that when I gave 
that lecture here, it was a bit of a bombshell. To my amaze- 
ment Conrad's Heart of Darkness probably was one of the most 
widely prescribed books within the English department — I 
don't know what the situation is today — and I caused some 
offense in some quarters of some very conservative professors. 
There was one, in particular, who really was angry and was 
obliged to tell me off. But fortunately there were others, in 
fact more, who said something like, "You know, we never real- 
ly read or understood that book until we heard you." Now 
when a professor of English says, "I never really read Conrad's 
Heart of Darkness until I heard you," you know something 
very, very serious is happening. In other words, it is so natural 
to the West to think of Africa in these terms that they don't 
even know that something false is happening. And this has 
been going on for so long. It is a long period of indoctrination 
in the white world that black is evil. And so [Conrad's image) 
is widespread, but I think it is important that we should begin 
to address ourselves, to confront it, and bring it to an end. 

Colonial literature must, then, present some sort of conflict 
for those Africans who study at European universities where 
they are exposed to such misrepresentations of Africa. 

Well, it is from this conflict that the resolution can come. It 
is, in fact, good when Africans go to universities they confront 
these texts. My own conversion, if I may call it that, happened 
in the university. It wasn't in Europe; it happened to be in the 
first university in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan. But all 
my teachers were English, and they didn't teach me any 
African literature, they taught me works like those of Con- 
rad's. And it was my own development and the development 
of other people of my own generation that began to question 
this literature that we were given and to conceive of a possibili- 
ty of creating an alternative story, which is really the genesis 
of African literature, if you want of put it crudely. We wanted 
an alternative story because the story we were given was not 
satisfactory. And, really, no people can have their story told 
by other people, which gets back to what I was saying about 
going to Sweden to map out the development of African story. 
We are telling the story of Africa, and this story has to be told 
by us in our own environment. 

As you know, fanheinz Jahn 's Muntu, an outline of traditional 
African culture, is widely embraced among Black Americans. 
What are your sentiments toward such an overwhelming ac- 
ceptance of this study of Africa by this German^ 

[A chuckle] Well, I have to be careful here because I knew 
Janheinz Jahn personally, but I had certain disagreements with 
something he had written after a journey through parts of 
Africa. He was the kind of man who wanted to systematize 
things, to put things into pigeon holes — I think this is, perhaps, 
a German kind of tendency. The Germans, I think, like to have 
things neat in their minds, and they want to put things in order 
to give them a set shape — so, when I came to Muntu, I came 
to it with a certain ambivalence. But I think, today, I would 
be inclined to say that there is really no harm in somebody 
who, out of extensive reading and study and out of some 
natural tendency to place things in order, presents us with 
something like Muntu. We should, at least, have an open mind 
and look at it and see what it is he is trying to do, because 
what he's trying to do is to extract, from a multitude of African 
cultures and languages, a system of unity that applies 
everywhere. Now, every one of us knows that there is 
something like unity in Africa; if you travel in Africa, you 
know this. People say to me everywhere I go in Africa that 
the story of Things Fall Apart could be a Kikuyu story or Luo 



59 



or Ndebele. So it is clear that there are certain underlying 
unities in Africa. Muntu may not succeed completely in il- 
lustrating this, but it is an important first step. We should not 
sneer at it. And further, since Black Americans seem to have 
taken to it, there is something in it which we can use. 

Professoi Achebe, I am seeking, now, a link between Black 
American and African artists. Langston Hughes in an essay 
entitled "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, " wrote 
on the perpetuation of Black culture and of the duty of the 
young Black American artist: "But, to my mind, it is the du- 
ty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all 
from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old 
whispering T want to be white, ' hidden in the aspirations of 
his people, to 'Why should I want to be whitel lama Negro— 
and beautiful^'" Would you speak on your ideals as to the duty 
of the younger African artist^ 

Well, having heard that beautiful excerpt from Langston 
Hughes, I really don't want to add to it because I think it speaks 
not just for the black people here but for black people 
everywhere. There is that love, that hidden love of white peo- 
ple, which is often present in our minds while we criticize and 
attack them for what they have done to us. The aspiration to 
be lil<e them or to be under their control is so deep and so of- 
fending to our ultimate goals and interests that I would also 
prescribe words such as Hughes'. What the excerpt is saying 
is integrity. Who am !?....! am not white .... So I am black 
and I belong to this place called Africa .... There are other 
people there .... There are counties there .... There are needs 
and aspirations there .... There is a history, even, there .... 
It is a history which is older, perhaps than any other history 
in the world .... Why don't we pay more attention to that 
rather than what they may be doing and thinking in America 
or doing and thinking in Russia or in China? All this is im- 
portant; we want to know the rest of the world. But we must 



not do it at a cost of ourselves, of discovering ourselves. I think 
that this is a universal duty for people who are oppressed 
because they must discover themselves and be themselves 
before they can shake off the oppressor. You can't shake off 
oppression if you are working on the side of the oppressor; 
you've got to put yourself on the other side, opposed to him, 
in order to relieve yourself. This is what I mean by integrity. 
An artist who is copying somebody else, maybe even another 
artist, is not an artist yet; he is an apprentice. He becomes an 
artist when he discovers his own voice and knows who he is. 
Then we have an artist. 

Professor Achebe was interviewed on October 20, 1987 by Charles 
H. Perry who is a junior English major at the University. 




IN THE BELL OF THE HORN NELSON STEVENS 



COACHING EXCELLENCE (cont'd from 40) 



He pauses, and poised, touching his 
fingers together, he continues. "In Africa, 
when you leave home you represent your 
village. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I 
make my mother and father and my 
village look good." 

This ideology is brought to every event 
or game. "The women who play for me 
have to make decisions representing me." 

"It's not winning that matters, it's the 
time you spend training, working long 
hours, sacrificing. The winners are the 
people who turn bad days into good. It's 
important to work harder, to seek a bet- 
ter way of working. Look at yourself in 
the mirror each day when you arise, and 
if you don't like what you see, then you 
have an obligation to yourself to do 
something about it." 

That desire for excellence had him 
packing up his achievements and moving 
across town to Amherst College, a school 
one twentieth the size of UMass, with 
half the athletic programs. 

"I wasn't looking to move, really. I 
always kept open, you know. I actually in- 
terviewed by chance. I was so busy with 
my work here I almost didn't apply. But, 



friends said, 'Why don't you apply and 
give it a shot?' they kept pressing. The job 
became more and more interesting, so I 
applied." 

And he got that job, along with a salary 
increase and a more sophisticated title. 

"Well, my title will be 'head coach of 
men's and women's cross-coimtry and 
track and field/program coordinator,' 
which is attractive." He laughs at the 
slash in his title, but admits the job will 
allow him more responsibility and 
potential. 

Banda says he is glad to have been 
associated with UMass, but he's proud of 
now being associated with Amherst. "It's 
a privilege to be associated with Amherst, 
it's second to none. It's an association that 
any professional would want. UMass 
strives for excellence, Amherst practices 
it." 

To some UMass students and faculty, 
Banda's leaving for Amherst College 
seems like a sellout, a slap in the face to 
an institution that is constantly trying to 
better its reputation of mediocrity. 

Banda doesn't see it that simply; most 
people in his position would certainly 



have done the same thing. He has worked 
hard at UMass, and is now willing to take 
a promotion, along with new challenges. 
It was time to move on, upward. 

He thinks people are misled if they 
think he is moving down a step in his 
athletic recruitment. "If you have good 
coaching, the athletes will come. 
Amherst has high academic standards. 
You can't down play excellence. NCAA 
doesn't make it or break it." 

Banda says many people ask him if he 
will miss coaching women's soccer. "Yes 
and no. Of course I enjoyed working with 
the women. I have helped to prepare them 
as good human beings, to teach them to 
respect themselves and others. Self- 
respect of body, mind, and soul is the 
most important thing in life. No matter 
what happens — win or lose, you are the 
champion. These women will soon grad- 
uate and take what they have learned to 
start lives for themselves." 

Mark T. Childs will be graduating in May 
with a bachelor's degree in English. 



60 



INTERVIEW WITH KANDULA 
SITA RAMA SASTRY 



Born in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India, Kandula S.R. Sastry completed his high school and college education 
in his home state. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Physics with the highest honors from Andhra Univer- 
sity, Waltair, India, in 1955 and 1956, respectively. Inspired by exciting developments in fundamental physics, he 
came to the United States of America and did his graduate studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, and received 
the doctoral degree in Physics in 1962. He has been an active member of the faculty of Physics and Astronomy, 
University of Massachusetts/Amherst, for the past 25 years. He is author of over 60 papers in his area of research, 
and has taught students ranging from the freshman to the doctoral level. His recent research on the biological ef- 
fects of esoteric atomic and nuclear processes have received w^orldwide acclaim. 




Professor Sastry, what motivated you to 
pursue a career in Physicsi 

Well, when I was a student in high 
school, my teachers brought to my atten- 
tion a lot of exciting things about nature, 
and certainly physics is a very basic 
science of nature, and I got very much at- 
tracted to that. My father was a physicist 
and my brother and uncles were scientists 
and mathematicians. So I was very much 
attracted to this field. [I chose nuclear 
physics because] at the time of my growth 
a lot of exciting events were happening in 
the field, not just nuclear energy. I am cer- 
tainly not thrilled by the atomic 
bomb. ... I abhor it!!! Right from the 
beginning, I did not like it, and there are 
many nuclear physicists who totally op- 
pose it too. But, nevertheless, the funda- 
mental science of nuclear physics was 
very exciting. By nuclear physics I mean: 
how is the atomic nucleus constituted, 



^^\ 




"^^ "? 

C, 




what are the laws that govern the motion 
of protons and neutrons inside the 
nucleus? — that was an unsolved puzzle 
at that time which even now we don't 
understand that well. 

What is your area of research in nuclear 
physics^ 

Well, I have worked on a variety of 
areas. First of all, . . . Yang and Lee. At 
that time, one of the most exciting things 
was a field called Nuclear Beta Decay. 
This is when a nucleus transforms from 
one element to another. That got me ex- 
cited, and I did a lot of research in that 
area. Afterwards, I did research on the 
mechanisms of nuclear reactions, and 
after that I also studied various aspects of 
how to determine the properties of ex- 
cited states of nuclei. By understanding 
this, we get kind of a handle as to how to 
understand the box that we call the 
nucleus. 



More recently I [have been] in- 
vestigating the biological effects of ioniz- 
ing radiation. By that I mean how it 
damages cells and how it damages impor- 
tant DNA in cells. You know there is 
cancer and ionizing radiation may cause 
cancer, [however] it can also be used to 
cure cancer and we have come across a 
very exciting idea of utilizing some very 
fundamental physics as a possible applica- 
tion in the cure of cancer. 

How old were you, and what were some 
of your feelings during the Independence 
of India movement led by Mohandas K. 
Gandhi^ 

Well, certainly, I was a young kid. In the 
year 1942, when Gandhi raised the slogan 
"Quit India," I was seven years old but 
still I could hear that. I remember "Quit 
India" and the various struggles that went 
on at that time. And it certainly inspired 
us a lot, and as I grew older and went to 
middle school and high school, Gandhi 
was of course the towering personality 
which had created an influence on us. 

What are your feelings about Gandhi's 
tactics toward bringing independence to 
India — particularly his non-violent 
techniques i 

Well, I think Gandhi gave us the 
guiding light. Violence is not the way to 
achieve the ends, and the ends do not 
justify the means, and that is what Gan- 
dhi taught us. He felt very unhappy when 
violence erupted as a result of his fasting 
and all. All of this inculcated in many of 
us a spirit of non-violence, a sense of self- 
criticism and self-restraint, but also an 
abiding commitment to our cause. And 
certainly today, I have grown with that 
and I am a pacifist, and I believe in non- 
violence. Of course, the most important 
contribution Gandhi made — not just to 
the Third World, but to the entire world 
— is the idea of fighting for your rights 
in a peaceful and non-violent manner, of 
non-cooperation and civd disobedience — 
especially when you believe that your 
rights are more than what the law [says]. 
Martin Luther King, fr. did the same 
thing, and I admire [him] as well. 

continued on page 75 



61 



PJO"— «5(^f 




S&iifsS 



Her voice sweet with emotion, Jane Sapp sits at her 
piano rocking rhythmically from side to side to the 
blues song she is singing, her hands snapping the 
keys and her feet stomping on the pedals. Recently, while on 
the University of Massachusetts campus, Ms. Sapp talked 
about her life her work and her music. 

Ms. Sapp, a gospel singer and cultural organizer is a native 
of black Augusta, Georgia. She says her involvement with her 
community and music started when she was a child. She ex- 
plains, "My roots are in the south and in the Black communi- 
ty. The Black church shaped what I do. That gave me a special 
kind of grounding." 

Ms. Sapp grew up hearing, learning and singing church songs 
as well as popular rhythm and blues. At age nine while still 
in school she began playing the piano for several church choirs, 
as well as writing her own songs. By the time Jane was 12, 
she was the pianist and director for two gospel choirs. As she 
matured her social and musical interest became more serious. 
"The most profound impact on my world view has been the 
fact that I was born Black in the mid-twentieth century in the 
United States." 

Ms. Sapp's concern and music, however, extend beyond the 
local realities of her black community, into an ecumenical con- 
cern for the oppressed. 

"My life has been shaped by the experience of social and 
political injustice and by the courage, wisdom, struggle and 
humanity of those who are the 'have-nots' of this country, of 
this world. My work [and] my music, are rooted in these ex- 
periences and communities." 



Music is 

Cultural 

Power 

Jane Sapp 



Ms. Sapp has had a long history of working for her people, 
to preserve and to keep their richness of Black culture. Her 
concern with the educational and empowering resource of the 
traditional 'folk' music has sent her throughout the South 
documenting the life of the Black community. She has organ- 
ized several Folk Roots Festivals and Family Union Days, in 
addition to other programs which celebrate the strength and 
vitality of local communities. 

In recent years, Ms. Sapp has participated as both a field 
researcher and board member in the African Diaspora Program 
at the Smithsonian's Institutions Festival of American Folklife. 
While working in Green County, Alabama, she also directed 
the Community based cultural Education Program at Miles 
College, Eugaw, where she organized a major folklife program 
in black belt Alabama and Mississippi. When not making 
musical appearances, Ms. Sapp says she enjoys keeping busy 
at the Highlander Center, located in New Market, Tennessee. 
The Highland Center is a center with a 50-year history of work- 
ing with poor and disenfranchised people throughout the 
South. 

In addition to her accomplishments as a cultural organizer, 
Ms. Sapp has been equally successful in the music world. Con- 
cert appearances have taken Ms. Sapp all over the United 
States. She has performed at the Vancouver Folk Music 
Festival, the Hudson River Revival, the John Henry Memorial 
Festival, Sisterfire, the World's Fair Folldife Center, the Village 
Vanguard and the Cathedral Church of St. John of the Divine. 
She has recently performed in concert with Pete Seeger at 
Carnegie Hall and the People's Church in Chicago. In 1985, 
her album "Take a Look at My People" won a first place In- 
die Award from the National Association of Independent 
Record Distributors. 

Her power as a cultural organizer is only equalled by her 
explosive stage performances. Her songs have a social 
awareness range, from her fiery protest of oppression and ex- 
ploitation, to her compassionate lullaby embracing the blues. 

The performance Ms. Sapp gave at the University of 
Massachusetts, commemorating national Black History 
Month, was a display of her dedication to the music and 
culture of her people. 

With a friendly smile Ms. Sapp addressed an audience of over 
two hundred people. "My roots are in the South and in the 
Black community. The Black community and church are the 
forces that shaped very early on in my life, born and raised 
from the bottom." She then dedicated a song to all those peo- 
ple "at the bottom" called, "Remember Me." 



62 



As Ms. Sapp continued singing and playing the piano she 
invited her listeners to sing along, to help strengthen the 
spiritual bond forming in the crowded theater. The songs in 
her repertoire reflect her political beliefs and hope about the 
future of the world. 

Her song "Welcome Table" is a hopeful song dedicated to 
the students in her workshops. I'm gonna sit at the welcome 
table one of these times. 

Ms. Sapp told the audience about her work with children 
in Selma, Alabama. She said she was impressed by their songs 
which reflected social awareness and pride for not only being 
themselves, but also for being Black. "When you love yourself, 
you don't have to go around doing horrible things," she add- 
ed, before singing joyously. Black is so beautiful, and it is so 
beautiful to be Black. She explained that the children had ex- 
panded the verses to include all colors, all people in the world. 

"'Jesus That's Love,'" she explained, "is like a marching-into- 
battle song. To know that someone is there to help you push 
ahead." It is a gutsy gospel song, fesus that's love. --God's got 
his arms wrapped all around me. You know I've got Jesus 
that's enough. 

In concert Ms. Sapp likes to pay tribute to leaders in the 
struggle to gain freedom form the evUs of racism, such as Har- 
riet Tubman and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Encouraging the 
crowd to clap and sing along with her, she sang a powerful 
rendition of "We Shall Not Be Moved," dedicating it to the 
students who occupied the New Africa House from February 
12-17th, as a response to the racial climate on campus. 



Ms. Sapp talked about the importance of fighting for dreams 
of freedom, making them a reality. She put the great poet 
Langston Hughes poem, "What Happens to a Dream De- 
ferred?" into sweet music. 

"We've got to remember what freedom, peace, justice real- 
ly mean. I ask myself in 1988, what does freedom look like, 
taste like, feel like. What does it mean to be free?" 

As her performance came to a close, Ms. Sapp sang the title 
track form her album "Take a Look At My People." Take a 
look at my people go tell the world a new nation is coming 
with strength and love to give the world a new humanity. 
She said the song was written after working in South Carolina 
and trying to put together a museum on Black culture and 
history in the area. "I was overwhelmed by the history of Black 
people in America and it occurred to me what a beautiful peo- 
ple we are," she said with a smile. 

As the concert ended with a jubilant "This Little Light of 
Mine," Ms. Sapp told the audience, "The time is coming for 
a new South, one not built on hatred and inhumanity." She 
went on to say, "the order is shifting people, the cultural and 
economic face of society is changing . . .search for [the] depth 
and dignity of each other. Seek the truth, cut beneath rhetoric, 
media hype, commercial images. I'm concerned about the lack 
of information about each other, about the history and culture 
that exists in different groups. Education is access to informa- 
tion without a hierarchy." 

Mark Thomas Childs will be graduating in May with a 
bachelor's degree in English. 




BLUESY KISSES WITH TABASCO SAUCE AND JIMMY REED 



BY Charles Curtis Blackwell 



SiriQ TO ME JIMMY 

MAKE THE TABASCO SAUCE ROLL 

AnOTHER ORDER OF MECKBOriES 

WITH GREASE AHD GRAVY 

AFiD OriE MORE JIMMY REED 

THAT'S THE WAY I FEEL 

WHEPi I AM BLUE 

MISSiriG YOU 

ME MOAFiin', AMD JIMMY GROArilN' 

MEMPHIS TO MISSISSIPPI 

MOAFl THE MORriiri' 



PLAY FOR ME BABY, KISS ME MAYBE 

THE TELEPHONE RANG, INTERRUPTED 

MY COnCEriTRATIOri 

THREW MY MOAniriG OFF 

RUBBING WOMAN'S THIGH 

MY HAND ON IT 

AS THE TWO OF US KISS 

SHE MOANED 

AND JIMMY MOANED FOR ME 



63 






<. ,J ■ ■ »>ly>'.v . '."■1 .■■ -v • . ■ fr " ^ \,< ' 

- 'Jtw!}';" - .■ '■■ > . -•^-. '■>"■■ ■: 



ANNIVERSARY 

by Nccncy Morejon 

I had already cut ten roses for Virmia 

when I crossed the bantustdn* 

drowsy 

with the undulating trill 

of the roosters. 

It was our first anniversary. 

I was stopped. 

I was questioned. 

And I showed my pass. 

The white morning light 

was growing and growing 

flooding the marketplace. 

I walked breathlessly 

all the way to the city. 

A merchant runs after a female servant 

offering her a crumpled dollar. 

It was our first anniversary. 

I was stopped. 

I was questioned. 

And I showed my pass. 

Cars were going down. 

Trucks were going up. 

My heart was overflowing 

on to the avenue. '' 




The sun, even stionger, 

like a frozen egg yoke. 

I was stopped. 

I was questioned. 

And I showed my pass. 

I arrived at Vinnia's bantuston 

past six in the afternoon. 

Looking and longing for her 

I searched. 

Vinnia, have you doubted me? 

I left my bantuston early 

but I was stopped. 

I was questionned. 

I showed my pass. 

I ticiveled through a maze to arrive here, 

I told her; lowering my head 

like a Unei who has been chastened. 

Her expression was a mixture 

of affUction and impatience. 

Vinnia, so beautiful in front of her bantustdn 

but my roses had already withered. 

It was our first anniversary. 

Translated by Mirtha N. Quintanales 



Nancy Morejon is a Cuban Nationalist poet. 








OYA'S MEDITATION 



NELSON STEVENS: /1FRICOBRK 



65 






R'^?*. 



'•• Ac 



j^.vr-: 



^ 



^ 







I AM m 
BECAUSE 
WE ARE: 

Nelson Stevens 



Art teaches. It tells us where we have been and where we 
are going — a visual chronicle of a people's history. But what 
is this entity called "art?" Does it hold the same value and 
function for all people? If you know anything about traditional 
African culture you know that art and community are in- 
separable. Art is not a separate entity — "for its own sake" — 
as it is in western culture. There is an organic tie, a reciprocal 
relationship, between the artist and society. The artist creates 
for the society to which he belongs, even if it is a future society. 
It is from this tradition that Nelson Stevens comes and it is 
in this vein that he works. 

Nelson's art is a reflection of elements both physical and 
spiritual which have their grounding in the African-American 
experience. His rhythmical, multi-layered reassemblage of 
form and color can be likened to the quality of syncretism in- 
herent is most aspects of our African- American culture. When 
we were brought over here, we were forced to give up our 
African culture and adopt a wholly different system of 
philosophy. But our captors were not entirely successful in 
destroying all that was African and much of what today is con- 
sidered "American" is really African-Amehcan — religion, 
language, dance and music — a blend of two opposing systems 
into one. 

Consider a comparison between western and African music. 
Traditionally, in western music the elements are arranged in 
a hierarchical structure. For instance, while a western piece 
of music might contain multiple rhythms, these rhythms are 
employed one at a time; as. opposed to African music, which 
has several different rhythms going simultaneously, each one 
given an equitable level of importance. And if you listen to 
rock-n-roll there is no mistaking the influence of African music 
on this genre which so many still regard as an "American" 
phenomenon. 

Music has always been a vital element in Nelson's work — 
both in the process of creation and in the final product. Anyone 
who knows Nelson also knows that the man just love John 
Coltrane. His love of music is communicated through his 
work. He has done paintings of Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Duke 
Ellington, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Louis Armstrong and Bob 
Marley. An admirer once said that if a deaf person were to look 
at one of Nelson's pieces, that person would know what music 
sounded like. 

Two other elemental themes in Nelson's work are: woman 
and creation and heroes/transformers. He speaks about his 
work. It seems that my representational work can be divid- 
ed into three main categories: one being the Creation series, 
having to do with the pelvic bone, dealing with Oya and 
Yemaya and the creation of the world, and the adoration of 
women through that series. The Ogun series — this is all 
Yoiuba — having to do with the god of metal and iron. It's 
about music, musicians and the colors that flow when I want 
to represent the music I deal with. The music . . . sometimes 
gets representational. Duke Ellington's part of that, as well 
as Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong and several devotees of 



the music — that which nourishes us. The music series is really 
about nourishment from Ogun. The third series I call the 
Transformers, those people who have gone before us who have 
made a bigger space for the rest of us. I got a chance down 
at Tuskegee to really explore that one in depth. Starting with 
Cinque, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, 
Frederick Douglass, Dr. [W.E.B.j Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, con- 
tinuing on to deal with [Paul] Robeson, Martin Luther King 
[and] Malcolm X. The Bob Marley series is part of that, as well 
as the Stevie Wonder, as well as the [esse [ackson. It's my 
way of giving tribute to those who have found the power and 
the will to give voice to the rest of us, and inspire. 

Nelson says that he always had an interest in art. The first 
place that I remember living was in a five-story apartment 
building, and we used to draw on the sidewalk outside the 
building. I was too young to go down the street too far, or 
up the street too far. I must have been 5, 6 or 7 . We'd draw 
on the sidewalk with these colored chalks and go up on the 
roof and look down and see what they were like. And the gtls 
would come and erase our stuff and put hopscotch. 

His parents' reactions to his artistic desires when he was 
young were different. My mother wanted me to pursue art to 
the point that she enrolled me in classes at the Brooklyn 
Museum on Saturdays which I would sometimes cut to go 
to Ebbet's Field to see [ackie Robinson. And she encouraged 
me to go to the Museum of Modern Art because [they] had 
lessons; and I took lessons over there. His father exposed him 
to the realities of living an artistic life by taking him to Green- 
wich Village when he had to go there for work. Although the 
conditions he saw for artists were rough. Nelson saw it as an 
interesting way of life. 

At first Nelson went into the advertising industry but 
thought that he was too pure for it, so he decided to go into 
teaching. He taught elementary, junior high and high school 
in Ohio. 

While working at the Cleveland Museum of Art Nelson 
made a conscious decision to be a serious artist. When I started 
dealing with the painters themselves as opposed to interpreta- 
tions of their work, then I could see clearly that there was 
something different than the conversations that were about 
their work. And when I could get to that point I decided to 
really seriously get in and start. 

While in his early 20s he met other Black artists who were 
in the same situation of lacking real studio space in which to 
create — most of them would just roll back the rugs in their 
apartments. They rented a store front together for $100 per 
month ($10 each!) and established the Creative Workshop. / 
picked up all of the techniques of everybody that worked 
there. We had people from the post office: people who taught 

continued on page 85 




IN THE BELL OF THE HORN #7 nelson STEVENS 



67 




CANDANCE 

68 



MURRY DePILLARS 



: /IFRICOBRK 




ASCENDING SPIRIT SERIES 



ADGER W. COWANS: /IFRlCOBRK 



69 




Dr. Johnnetta Cole: 
FIRST LADY 



"Good afternoon, Spelman College. " 
"Hello, extension 201 please." 
"President's Office, may I help youi" 
"Hi. This is Rio Gabriel calling again, 
from DRUM Magazine. Is Dr. Cole 
available?" 

"No, I'm sorry. She just returned from 
Washington and she's in conference. May 
I take a messaged" 

This is how the exchange between the 
appointment secretary and I had been oc- 
curring for five days in a row. 

"No, that's okay. Um, could you ask 

her to call me as soon as possible please?" 

"/ don 't know when that will be. Miss 

Gabriel. Dr. Cole is very busy this week. 

Hold on for one moment. " 

I figured that I would be put off once 
again and that I would never get to talk 
to the newly-appointed President of 
Spelman College. I was just about to give 
up completely when a strong, amiable 
voice returned to the phone. 

"Rioi" 

"Yes ..." ,^ 

"This is Dr. Cole. Unfortunately, I 
won't be able to speak with you at this 
time. " 

My heart sunk. "That's oka—." 



"Can you call me tonight atmyhomei 
I'll be up until one o'clock. That way we 
can spend as much time as you 'd like on 
this interview. " 

Dr. Cole and I spoke for about twenty 
minutes to half an hour. She was very 
direct and to the point — this was not a 
woman to put up with any B.S. She 
thought very carefully about my ques- 
tions before she responded. If I could have 
seen her, I was sure she would have been 
making a lot of hand gestures for em- 
phasis. Here was a woman who was in 
one of the most prestigious positions at 
an equally prestigious institution; and she 
had given me her home phone number 
and spoken to me as though we were old 
friends. 

Her voice is steady and compassionate. 
Perhaps it is due to the experience of 
growing up as a Black woman in the Jim 
Crow South of the 1940s. Perhaps it was 
leaving her home of Jacksonville, Florida 
at age 15 as an early-entrance student to 
Fisk University, that gave way to this 
voice. Nevertheless, I knew I was speak- 
ing to a voice that possessed a great 
amount of knowledge. 

After one year at Fisk, Dr. Cole trans- 
ferred to Overland College where she was 
'turned on' to anthropology — a word she 



says she could scarcely spell. From 
Overland, she went to Northwestern 
University where she completed Master's 
and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology. 

At this point in the conversation I was 
beginning to grasp why this was a voice 
of knowledge. The reasoning was simple. 
This woman was the sum total not only 
of the experience of growing up as a Black 
woman in white America, but also of 
three university degrees and years of field 
work in West Africa. 

"At a very, very exciting and disturb- 
ing period in our history — it was the 
60s — I became very, very involved in the 
Black Studies Movement as what I would 
call the intellectual arm of the Black 
Power Movement." 

As part of this arm. Dr. Cole taught for 
seven years at Washington State Univer- 
sity. At that time she was married with 
two sons. It was from there that she was 
recruited to come to the University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst. After her thir- 
teen years at UMass she went to Hunter 
College, and it was from the Hunter Col- 
lege position that she was selected to the 
presidency of Spelman College in Atlanta. 

Her Years at UMass/Amherst 

"I would not describe my years at 
UMass as years that were [racially] 
tension-free. I went there in 1970 [and] 
stayed for thirteen years. I would describe 
it as, in many ways, very typical of 
predominantly white campuses during 
the 70s. In other ways, I would describe 
UMass as atypically sensitive to some of 
its own problems. And I guess I even have 
a hypothesis that suggests that a certain 
amount of sensitivity to the problem 
simply opens one up to more of the prob- 
lem. But it was a period of very intense 
organizing and activity — even though it 
was the seventies and not the sixties. 

"I was a part, initially, of a very exciting 
department: The W.E.B. Du Bois Depart- 
ment of Afro-American Studies. I felt 
myself very much at the core of what was 
going on in terms of the Black communi- 
ty in Amherst." 

Her Experience at Spelman 

"I some ways, and you'll have to forgive 
the metaphor, it's like the difference be- 
tween night and day. In other ways, there 
are very striking similarities. That is to 
say, there is a certain culture of intellec- 
tual life. And that is not immune to race 



70 



and ethnicity and nationality; but it does 
have a certain core to it. And I think that 
exists at Spelman, no less than at UMass, 
Amherst, no less than at Harvard, no less 
than at Howard. And so there are ways in 
which things [at Spelman] are very similar 
[to UMass]. You talk about libraries; you 
engage in ideas; you have something 
called a faculty; there's a student union 
or a student center. So all of the trappings, 
and in some ways a great deal of the belief 
system, is there. 

"But there are also ways in which 
[Spelman] is so strikingly different. For 
me, at this moment, it means I am in a 
setting where the majority of the people 
look like me; where race and gender are 
not defined in terms of 'the other.' In fact, 
I am in the majority. It is, very often, a 
startling experience. And it is amazing 
how one adjusts to it, and how good it 
feels. 

"It is rather reminiscent for me of be- 
ing a young graduate student, going off to 
Liberia, and for the first time then, from 
1960 to 1962, living in a society that was 
overwhelmingly a society made up of 
Black folks. Here I am now in a setting, 
where it is a school which predominant- 
ly for Black women. There are some 
things that happen in a setting like this. 
And I think what's important is not so 
much how I experience it as a professor, 
but what happens to students. 

"When these young women walk into 
a classroom and do not have to begin by 
proving that they can do math even 
though they are women; or that they can 
tackle and conquer chemistry, even 
though they are Black. . . . They don't 
even have to go through that. They just 
get right to it. The assumption of their 
teachers, and indeed their own assump- 
tions, is that they are more than capable 
of an engagement of whatever there is 
there, intellectually. 

"So I think for young, and not so young 
Black women, Spelman is an extraor- 
dinarily nurturing, affirming experience." 

Racism/Conflicts at Spelman 

"I don't use that word [racism] loosely. 
To me it has a very definitive meaning 
which is not applicable when one talks 
about color conflicts in Black com- 
munities. Yes, there's some of that here. 
I know of no place in America where it 
doesn't exist. It is a function of how we 
got here and how we came to be of dif- 
ferent color. It is not an invention, in an 
interesting way, from the memory of 
Black folk. It is an invention of a system 
of slavery and one of the consequences of 
all of that is that there are associations 
made between color of skin, form of hair, 
and status. 

"But what has shocked me is not what 
one might say is the presence, if you want 
to use the terms of Sprite Lee, of the Wan- 



nabees. What has surprised me is the very 
solid presence on this campus of the total 
range of colors of Black women. 

"There's a myth that say that somehow 
Spelman is a school run by very light- 
skinned, very wealthy women who are 
constantly oppressing the dark-skinned, 
poor ones. That simply has no relevance 
on the campus. Historically, Spelman has 
in fact represented the range of Black 
America. And when one looks at the pic- 
tures, as I like to do, of women in the early 
days of Spelman, one sees a really strong 
presence of African-looking women — if by 
that you mean women of darker pigmen- 
tation. At the same time I am in no way 
suggesting that conflicts are absent; I am 
in no way suggesting that the phenom- 
enon of color-coding is not present in 
some belief-system at Spelman, just as it 
is present all over our country." 



'Iwas very privileged 
to have spent some 
small moments with 
James Baldwin." 



Comments on Spike Lee's movie. 
School Daze 

"I think that this is an important film. 
And I think the importance of it, is in 
many ways, a frightening statement. 
What I mean by that is, it is one of the 
very, very, very, very few films made by 
a Black filmmaker in America in 1988; 
and that is a serious indictment. Because 
it is a film, which sits almost exclusively 
in its own category, it is a film which is 
being subjected to unheard of debates and 
discussions. Jit is, in that sense] very 
reminiscent, to me, of The Color Purple. 

"So the first thing I want to say about 
School Daze is that I think we ought to 
spend a lot more time asking why Spike 
Lee is one of the few Black filmmakers in 
all of America. The point that flows from 
that is that because it is a 'rarity,' the ma- 
jority of us come to the film expecting it 
to be all things to all people. I don't think 
that Spike Lee would even suggest that 
this is a film which indeed reveals the 
total complexity of Black America. It is 
a particular slice of a particular segment 
of a particular weekend as a metaphor, 
perhaps, of a larger reality. The film, it 
seems to me, in many ways is very 
creative. There are parts which I don't par- 
ticularly like, but then, I don't particular- 
ly like these parts in any of the modern 
films. I have difficulty moving in and out 
of a kind of musical comedy and a serious, 
almost tragic mode. Maybe that's because 
I'm fifty-one and not thirty or twenty. But 
I do think that there are issues there that 



are extremely important for us to discuss 
and to understand and they're issues of 
race, of gender, and of class." 

"Were I the filmmaker, it would be a 
different film. Were I the filmmaker, the 
images of women, I am convinced, would 
be very different from the images of 
women that Spike Lee portrays. And so 
at the same time that I have to understand 
that it is his film, that it is his image, I 
think that we are all operating under the 
responsibility to push ourselves to unders- 
tand the other reality; to pose the ques- 
tion from the perspective of, if one is man, 
the perspective of a woman, if one is 
Black, if one is not. It is in that tension 
of the double vision that I think we often 
get some of the most interesting art. 
Otherwise it comes out to me as a very, 
very profoundly male film. 

"It's the film of a very outstanding 
thirty-year-old filmmaker, and I thinlc 
everybody ought to be interested in that 
kind of art. I think it's going to be, for 
many white Americans, difficult to under- 
stand what that film says for them; and 
yet, on another level it seems to me, that 
the film does raise questions which are far 
beyond Black America. I think there are 
questions there of gender and power; and 
one can blink one's eyes and one can pro- 
duce different scenes in one's imaginagion 
and it is not about Black students, men 
and women of Mission College. It is about 
the power of men as excercised over 
women, and they don't have to be Black." 

On the passing of author James Baldwin, 
and painter, Romaie Beaiden 

"I was very privileged to have spent 
some small moments with James 
Baldwin. Small in the sense of the dura- 
tion of these moments, enormous, in the 
sense of the gift that man inevitably gave 
when you were in his presence. I think 
there is a huge void in the lives of all of 
those who want some justice sometimes, 
because Jimmy Baldwin is no longer 
among us calling for it. 

"[To talk of Romare Bearden] is to talk 
again, of one of the cultural forces in the 
lives of millions of Americans — of 
millions of people of the Americas — of 
millions of people in the world. It in- 
evitably poses a question then, who will 
carry it on — which I ought to take the 
privilege of turning around to ask you. 
What are you and the Black students at 
a place like the University of 
Massachusetts at Amherst doing? To ask 
what you are doing, tells me in some way 
what your relationship [is] to a Jimmy 
Baldwin." 

Rio Gabriel is a UMass junior Communica- 
tions and Film major from Toronto, Canada 



71 






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Stained Glass Window 



AKILI RON ANDERSON: /IFRlCOBRK 



72 



MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. 



''Today we are still 
challenged to be 
dissatisfied. Let us be 
dissatisfied until every 
man can have food 
and material 
necessities for his 
body, culture and 
education for his 
mind, freedom and 
human dignity for his 
spirit. Let us be 
dissatisfied until the 
empty stomachs of 
Mississippi are filled 
and the idle industries 
of Appalachia are re- 
vitalized. ... Let us 
be dissatisfied until 
our brothers of the 
Third World, Asia, 
Africa and Latin 
America — will no 
longer be the victims 
of imperialist exploita- 
tion, but will be lifted 
from the long night of 
poverty, illiteracy and 
disease. Let us be 
dissatisfied until this 
pending cosmic elegy 
will be transformed 
into a creative psah 
of peace and 'justice 
will roll down like 
waters from a mighty 
stream.' " 




'As much as I deplore 
violence, there is one 
evil that is worse than 
violence, and that's 
cowardice. ... A man 
who won't die for 
something is not fit to 
live. 

"The ultimate 
measure of a man is 
not where he stands 
in moments of comfort 
and convenience, but 
where he stands at 
times of challenge and 
controversy. 

"If you can't fly, 
run. If you can't run, 
walk. If you can't 
walk, crawl. But by 
all means keep mov- 
ing." 






"Our destiny is bound 
up with the destiny of 
America — we built ii 
for two centuries 
without wages; we 
made cotton king; we 
built our homes and 
homes for our masters 
and suffered injustice 
and humiliation. But 
out of a bottomless 
vitality we continued 
to live and grow. If 
the inexpressible 
cruelties of slavery 
could not extinguish 
our existence, the op- 
position we face now 
will surely fail. We 
feel that we are the 
conscience of America 
— we are its troubled 
soul." 



73 




SPIKE LEE (cont'd from 51) 

as being sexist for portraying that, but I 
don't think I'm sexist." 

The biggest issue concerns the conflict 
which arises between "light-skinned" 
(Wannabees) and "dark-skinned" 
(Jigaboos) Blacks. In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois 
stated that "the problem of the twentieth 
century is the problem of the color line." 
What School Daze attempts is to show 
how this problem has succeeded not on- 
ly in dividing society in general, but also 
in causing division within the Black com- 
munity; and how we have to wake up to 
the "cosmetic and synthetic differences 
that have been put on us and that have 
kept us apart to this very day . . . ."f 

The Wannabees, as Lee terms them, 
wear blue contact lenses and straighten 
and color their hair, while the Jigaboos 
have "natchel" 'dos and don't wear make 
up. There is a song and dance number that 
takes place in "Madame Re-Re's" beauty 
salon which epitomizes the dispute 
through the lyrics of Bill Lee's "Straight 
and Nappy." "Don't you wish you had 
hair like this, then the boys would give 
you a kiss .... You got so much grease 
up there, tell me, dear, is that a weave you 
wear .... My hair is straight you see . . 
. . But your soul's as crooked as can be."t 

It is common knowledge that African- 
Americans come in all shades — even 
white. "You know, this whole class/color 
thing, that came from slavery, when the 



mulatto class developed from the massa 
sneaking into the slave quarters and 
them getting the preferential jobs being 
the house niggers [is] still evident to- 
day, "i Historically speaking, favor was/is 
accorded by larger society to those who 
were/are lighter in complexion, or put 
another way, as close to the "wonderful 
white" as possible. The issue of assimila- 
tion in America is one of political, 
economic, psychological, and cultural sur- 
vival, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this 
criteria for judgment should infiltrate the 
Black community. 

Critics of School Daze lament over the 
fact that they feel that SpU<e "overdoes it" 
with the message, and further claim that 
the problem does not exist within the 
African- American community. As far as 
overdoing it is concemed, SpUte's rapping 
on the issue is just as incessant as our 
years "asleep" are long. The denial of the 
color and assimilation issue is proof 
positive that some of us are still sleeping. 
Seeing the movie with a predominantly 
Black audience throws denial right out of 
the window as you hear the disapproving 
reaction to the "dark-skinned" sisters in 
the film. "People try to tell me that there 
is no dark-skinned/light-skinned thing 
and then you go to audiences and you see 
the way that the men act towards the 
Gamma Rays and then the way they act 
toward the Jigs." Comments such as 



Photo by Adger Cowans 

"Don't kiss that thang!" — referring to 
"Rachel" — are actually made. 

Conflict also arose among the cast 
members. Albeit instigated by Spike's 
separation of the Jigaboos and Wannabees 
to different hotels — the Bees with the 
guys in a fancier hotel than where the Jigs 
and Spike and the crew stayed — the inten- 
sity of the friction could not have oc- 
curred without preconceived attitudes on 
the part of some of the actors. In Uplift 
the Race, there are accounts by several ac- 
tors about the atmosphere of tension in 
the production. There is one account by 
Tisha Campbell ("Jane Toussaint") in 
which she describes her feelings about 
playing the lead Wannabee character. 
"There was one time when I honestly felt 
that I was this character. We were film- 
ing the Greek Show and I knew that I was 
she, and I began to hate the Gamma Rays, 
the Jigs, and hate myself. It was one of the 
Gammas who actually came up with the 
rhyme about the Jigaboos that the Gam- 
ma Rays shouted in the Greek Show . . 
. . To me, both rhymes felt uncalled for. 
I looked over towards them (the Jigs) 
when we had finished chanting. There 
must have been this expression on my 
face of anger mixed with hurt. Tracey 
Robinson (ensemble Jig) called my name, 
not 'Jane' but Tisha. I looked, blinked my 
eyes, and looked again, and she said, 'We 
know you're a Jig, we know you're a Jig.' 



74 



I guess she was trying to get me out of it 
because I was sinking." 

Lack of unity is exactly what Spike is 
speaking about and he is speaking direct- 
ly to the Black audience. "This film was 
made for black people. I'm not going to 
lie and say, well, I hope I get the 
widest — everybody wants as many peo- 
ple as they can to see their works. But my 
number-one concern is that black people 
see this film. And knowing how white 
people always try to be hip, I know 
they're going to come see it too. We had 
a large young white following with She's 
Gotta Have It, and I expect more of the 
same kind of thing with School Daze. But 
I make films primarily for Black people 



Whether or not a consensus is reached 
on the work of Spilce Lee is not really an 
issue. The fact that he has engaged us in 
a dialogue about several issues pertaining 
to the African-American experience 
which can longer be hidden behind kitch- 
en doors, is testament to his genuine con- 
cern for the furthering and survival of 
Black culture in white American society. 

"I'm not saying that I have the answer 
to all the wrongs in the world or want the 
burden on me of being a spokesman for 
black people. I just try to present the stuff 
in my films 

"What I feel is a lack of unity among 
black people today. A lot has to do with 
racism. When you're oppressed you start 
to hate yourself. It's like when they 



brought slaves over from Africa. The 
slave traders knew for sure not to have 
a whole ship of slaves who spoke the 
same language. If that happened, there 
would have been a mutiny, an uprising. 
We need to let people know this lack of 
unity is something that needs to be 
fixed."* 

We don't all have to say the same thing, 
but we should strive to at least speak the 
same language. In the words of the im- 
mortal Bob Marley, "None but ourselves, 
can free our minds." 

Martha Grier-Deen is a junior Afro- 
American Studies major originally from 
New York City. 



SASTRY (cont'd from 61) 



During Gandhi's movement, did you ever 
participate in the marches, rallies and 
other forms of protest! 

Yes, I did. We were all high school 
children at that time, but we still used to 
go and march and wave the flags and wave 
the slogans like "Quit India," "Immediate 
Independence for India," and "Self Rule." 
I was sad that Gandhi was assassinated — 
particularly the way it happened. When 
I was in ninth grade, I believe, that was 
a very sad and unique experience. But I 
did participate as a student in college, as 
well as in political rallies that were aimed 
at bringing redress of injustice to people 
in different ways. As I said, I was kind of 
inspired by Gandhi and I did have a single 
opportunity to see a glimpse of him, and 
that in itself was a memorable experience. 

Are you an American citizen! 

No, I am not. I am what is called a per- 
manent resident. I suppose I should have 
taken American citizenship, nevertheless, 
I never took that step. Philosophically, I 
have some problems with it. At the time 
when I could have taken it, we had these 
problems with the Vietnam War and the 
Nixon- Watergate business, and that kind 
of turned me off in some sense. I worked 
for the community, I identify myself with 
the community and the interest of the 
community where I live. On the other 
hand, I tell myself I am Indian, my ideas 
are Indian, and in fact, for that matter, I 
have an international perspective. I am 
proud of being Indian [and] I am proud of 
being here in a multicultural society. 

What do you think is the biggest problem 
currently facing India} 

The problems of India exist primarily 
because the injustices perceived are real 
amongst various components of India. 
The South versus the North, the Telligus 



versus the Tamils, the SUths versus the 
Punjabis, the Moslems versus the Hindus. 
If we can abate these problems, I thinlc In- 
dia can progress a lot. Some people think 
that India cannot feed its millions, and 
that is not really true. The Green Revolu- 
tion has shown that India can feed its peo- 
ple. I think the real problem is the con- 
flict of interest, and the fights that go on 
from time to time. 

Presently, there is a lot of violence and 
hatred toward Sikhs, Moslems and non- 
Hindus in India. Where do you feel that 
some of this is stemming from! 

Well, human beings are human beings, 
and they often get emotionally upset 
because of certain wrongdoings — inten- 
tionally or unintentionally done — by the 
majority community. These injustices, 
when they are not redressed in an 
equitable manner, build up — you may 
have tranquility and order, but it is like 
a powder keg. Something very trivial can 
ignite it. Once again, I feel that it is 
parochialism, regionalism and so on. I 
think these are some of the problems of 
India, as well as elsewhere in the world; 
I mean, we are imperfect human beings. 

What are your feelings toward the present 
Gandhi regime! 

Well, I wish I could tell you, but I do 
not live there. I think the problems of Ra- 
jiv Gandhi is that his hands are full of 
problems. If he can get the Hindu-Sikh 
problem reasonably settled ... I have great 
respect for the Sikhs. Sikhs are as great 
patriots as anybody else in India. If he can 
resolve that problem, perhaps the coun- 
try can move in more creative directions. 
Apparently, he is a very capable person, 
but individual capability is not the only 
thing. There are millions of people in In- 
dia, and people can be very easily excited. 



often by very trivial things. 

What is your evaluation of Martin Luther 
King, fr. and the Civil Rights Movement! 
I think that [Blacks] really did the thing 
that they should have done. Injustice was 
prevalent and they stood up to that. They 
brought attention to the national con- 
science and that really had a major impact 
on the progress of civil rights in this coun- 
try. I think it is a magnificent contribu- 
tion of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his 
associates. 

Have you had any experiences with op- 
pression in the U.S. and what has been 
the progress in race relations in your 
view! 

I [have] not personally experienced any 
discrimination. On the other hand, I am 
aware of people who did experience such 
problems. I think the U.S. has come a long 
way in one sense and still not quite [far 
enough| in another. I also think that the 
commitment from people toward this 
cause has been declining compared to the 
60s and 70s. 

What is your suggestion for those of us 
who are facing oppression! 

First of all, be yourself. You have to 
have the strength of your convictions, and 
if you don't then you won't be able to 
fight for your beliefs. This must not be 
self-centered, but in a way it is a sense of 
idealism wherein you believe that the 
rights of the other person such as free 
speech, free assembly and so on, are as im- 
portant as your rights. You should be able 
to fight for the rights of others so that 
your rights are maintained — so it is a 
sensitivity and commitment to seeing 
that the other person is of the same 
human kind as you are. When this realiza- 
tion is permeated, I think we will have a 
wonderfully multicultural society. 
continued on page 86 

75 



I AM BECAUSE WE ARE (cont'd from 67) 

school, such as I was doing; people who weie working on 
degrees in art, as well as people who were professional artists 
. . . and I gradually understood the concepts that each one 
of the other nine people had and I guess they picked up mine 
and it was a really great experience. 

Nelson's artistic career coincided with the Black Arts Move- 
ment of the 1960s. This was a time when Black artists strove 
to define their own aesthetic as something very separate from 
the European aesthetic which was always regarded as the 
"norm" for critical analysis, but which did not jibe with the 
experience of African-Americans in its entirety. The late, great 
writer and literary critic, Larry Neal, summed it up best when 
he said, "... [When] we speak of an aesthetic, we mean more 
than the process of malting art, of telling stories, of writing 
poems, of performing plays. We also mean the destruction of 
the white thing . . . the destruction of the white way of look- 
ing at the world. When artists . . . assert that Black art must 
speak to the lives and the psyche of Black People, they are not 
speaking of "protest" art . . . they are speaking of an art that 
addresses itself directly to Black people; an art that speaks to 
us in terms of our feelings and ideas about the world; an art 
that validates the positive aspects of our lifestyle . . . that 
makes us understand our condition and each other in a more 
profound manner; that unites us, exposing us to our painful 
weaknesses and strengths; and finally, an art that posits for 
us the Vision of a Liberated Future." ["Black Art and Black 
Literature," Ebony Magazine, Aug. 1969, 54-56.] The influence 
this emerging ideology had on Nelson was to become quite 
apparent in his work. 

After he left Cleveland, Nelson started graduate study in art 
at Kent State University. / seriously enrolled in school after 
[Martin Luther] King was assassinated in '68 — April 4th — and 
I graduated in '69. All through that process at Kent State, I 
was trying to prove to the professors and the people in the 
Art Department that there was such a thing as Black art. I 
remember researching the Mexican muralists; Cuban painters 
like Ralfredo Lamm; South American painters like Matta, and 
trying to find out alternative views about what art was about. 
That was the same time that I was researching the Wall of 
Respect in Chicago and running into great resistance because 
they felt . . . that there was no prejudiar in art; that . . . prej- 
udice existed but it certainly could not exist within the world 
of art. 1 remember very distinctly having very heated 
arguments with my professors at that time as to what art was 
about, because their major tenet was that art was for the sake 
of art and I was developing a position that said that art was 
for the sake of people — we were diametrically opposed. For- 
tunately I could paint well enough so that I was able to 
graduate, and graduate with honors. Even the school at that 
point saw fit to purchase several pieces of my art and that 
was good .... [While] I was working on my graduate project, 
someone had stolen about half of the paintings from my studio 
that I was supposed to exhibit. This was about one month 
before the exhibit and I had let the faculty members, with 
whom I was at war, know that [even though] that had hap- 
pened, I was still going to have the exhibit. And one night 
three or four of them came down to the graduate studio where 
I was painting and Larry [Neal] was painting on a wall in my 
studiO; he was making v& vt and ju ju signs. His book. Black 
Boogaloo [1968], had just been published and he was reading 
poems. When they came in he just disappeared for a moment, 
or was very quiet. They started asking me all these questions 
about what I thought about African art, American art and 
Black art , and for three hours Larry started talking to them 
about Aristotle, PlatO; about call and response from the 
Greeks [of the Greek choirsf, from the Africans . ... He 
displayed such a wide range of aesthetic, historical, literary 
information that night — to the astonishment of these 
professors— that I think by extension they thought that I knew 

76 



everything he did. I wish I had it on tape, it was the history 
of man and their position in it. It was awesome. I did some 
great painting that night. It was awe-inspiring. And I generally 
think that everybody's got just about the same thing going 
for them. But not that night. 

After graduating from Kent State, Nelson went immediate- 
ly to Chicago and hooked up with Africobra — an African- 
American artistic collective. He had already met one of the 
artists in the group, Jeff Donaldson, and was able to make it 
to the group's second or third meeting. As compared to the 
Creative Workshop in Cleveland, Africobra very definitely had 
a political as well as artistic orientation. Africobra was the 
same kind of communal spirit [as the Creative Workshop] 
with a political ideology, an ideology that dealt with an alter- 
native system — that system being an Afrocentric system as 
opposed to a Eurocentric system. 

One of the main facets of Africobra, which still exists to- 
day, is their use of the Black 'folk' community as inspiration 
in creating work which is reflective of the Black aesthetic. Also 
prevalent in the work of Africobra members is the way in 
which they avoid empty spaces "exemplified in their compact 
and complex compositions with competing design pat- 
terns," — again, relative to African aetheticism. [Beyond 1984: 
Contemporary Perspectives on American Art, eds. Paul W. 
Richelson and S.W. Payne, Trisolini Gallery of Ohio Univer- 
sity, 1985] 

One of Nelson's main areas of creative expression has been 
in murals. Aside from the aforementioned Wall of Respect in 
Chicago, Nelson has worked on over 40 murals. His first was 
painted in Boston in 1973 in conjunction with United Con- 
struction Workers and Dana Chandler, entitled Work to Unify 
African People. 

When he first began teaching at UMass in the early to mid- 
seventies, he organized groups of students to paint several 
murals in the Springfield area, some of which are still in ex- 
istence. They would go to Springfield each day of the week 
in the summer to paint. There were many more Black art ma- 
jors at the time and they would get a stipend and credit for 
their participation Ln the program. [This was when funds were 
still being generated by "liberal" philanthropic organizations 
in order to further Black culture.] 

Nelson thinks that his best work is the mural he painted 
on the occasion of Tuskegee's 100th anniversary, entitled 
Centennial Vision. The piece that I've put the most blood, 
sweat, pain and perspiration into — and a little bit of genius, 
I think— is down at Tuskegee. It's called Centennial Vision 
and it speaks of the first one hundred years of Booker T. 
Washington's concepts about Tuskegee Institute, which is 
now Tuskegee University .... 7 think I got everything in on 
than one that I wanted to get in. If I had to stand behind one 
piece that would be it. 

Included in the mural are such historical figures as: Booker 
T. Washington, Cinque, Sojourner Truth, Mary McCloud 
Bethune, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, George Washington 
Carver, Dr. Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, 
Paul Robeson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Toni Cade Bambara had a few words to say about the mural: 
"The Tuskegee Centennial Mural to celebrate the Institute 
and it's mission, presented artist Nelson with an especial 
challenge— how to collaborate with one hundred years of 
history. 'I AM BECAUSE WE ARE' draws us into the 12x26 
mural. A statement that hallmarks Black practice in art, 
literature, music and dance — private expression derived from 
group mores rendered for public ends, the blend of the collec- 
tive history and the interpreting eye, the melding of the 
worker's craft and the processes of the community that sup- 
ports, sustains, and offers up its lore for transmutation by the 
artist." [Vision— Tuskegee Institute: Nelson Stevens, 1980, p.4] 

continued on page 85 



AFRI-COBRA: (cont'd from 31) 



"Afri-Cobra H," held in the fall of 1971, 
also at The Studio Museum. 

After this exhibit, many of the artists 
moved from Chicago and Afri-Cobra was 
forced to change. Today, the bi-weekly 
meetings are no longer held. The group, 
however, remains in contact tri-annually, 
though communicating across the coun- 
try makes for a much slower development 
pace. 

Afri-Cobra, though having undergone 
many changes since its origination, re- 
mains today one of the most significant, 
enduring, and successful manifestations 
of the Black Arts Movement of the sixties. 

THE ARTISTS 

Robert Farris Thompson, in his book. 
Flash of the Spirit, conducts an "investiga- 
tion of the visual and philosophic streams 
of creativity and imagination that link 
Black persons of the western hemisphere 
. . . and of Europe and Asia to Mother 
Africa." 

Thompson's claim is that many aspects 
of various sub-Saharan cultures, including 
the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Republic 
of Benin, the Bakongo of Zaire, Cabinda, 
and Angola, the Fon and Ewe of the 
Republic of Benin and Togo, the Mande 
of Mali, and the Ejagham of Southeastern 
Nigeria and Southwestern Cameroon, 
have carried over into art and philosophy 
of the people of the New World. 

Afri-Cobra artists agree. When asked if 
they felt personally affected by these 
cultures, the artists responded in various 
ways. 

Frank Smith, painter, answered, "Yes, 
I respond to their pattern and energy. " 

"Black experiences are everyone's ex- 
periences," explained Adger Cowans. 
"The entire world was originally Black. 
Everyone is African. " For this reason, he 
claims, the streams of creativity of the 
Yoruba, Mande, Ejagham, and other 
cultures are in our heritage. Afri-Cobra 
artists feel innately influenced by Mother 
Africa, and the public responds. 

"In my view the history to the west 
begins in Africa, specifically in Egypt," 
said Smith. "The Greeks went to Africa 
to be educated, so how can we talk about 
Greco-Roman being the source of 
anything} That is an intermediate period 
which looks back to Africa. Everything 
from traditional to abstract to symbolic 
art are all within a single culture. Like 
the begirmings of man himself I feel that 
all art goes back to Africa where [civiliza- 
tionj began. " 

"However, " adds Cowans, "life ex- 
perience is the one. Only if you Ve been 
in direct contact [with these cultures] do 
you fully recognize the influence." 

Cowan's statement is echoed by 
Wadsworth Jarrell, painter-photographer. 



"Through my years of experience and 
observation of people, I have found that 
African people are the forerunners, in- 
novators, creators . . . the awesomeness 
of African sculpture and the rhythmic 
patterns used in African weaving have 
been a profound influence on me . . . 
African people are my motivation. " 

When asked whether there was such an 
entity as Black Art, Frank Smith respond- 
ed, "My usual answer to that is what is 
white art, and that brings us back to 
what is art. I would say that real Black 
art will be the visual equivalent of Black 
music and I think that is what those of 
us in Afri-Cobra have been trying to pro- 
duce. It's an image of jazz. As far as defin- 
ing what that image is it is going to be 
largely improvised. I think it will be the 
art of the 20th century. I think that we 
will find a forest of material in African 
art. Most modern art source material is 
in African art and in fazz music. That is 
one of the things that I have been trying 
to do with my work. " 

"I feel that art in general celebrates 
culture," says Akili Ron Anderson. 
"Cultural dynamics bind together people 
of a common ethnic background, race, 
land mass, and aspiration. Art is that 
which speaks of a historical context, a 
sense of destiny, continuum, and a world 
view. It is more than a chronicle of 
history or a matter-of-factness. It has to 
do with the imagination. It has to do 
with what is seen and what is felt about 
that particular culture. It is a dynamic 
that becomes more than real. I won 't say 
surreal because that has to do with a cer- 
tain style, but it is bigger than life. It has 
to do with all those things, and it has a 
spiritual context. It excites people. It 
makes people happy to be who they are. 
It also reflects the need to pull ourselves 
up from oppression. We're as great as any 
other civilization. The body of work 
should celebrate that as a whole. This is 
what all art should do for all cultures. 
African-American art should certainly do 
no less than that. It has done that over 
the years in many different ways." 

Jeff Donaldson was asked to comment 
on European imitation of Black art. "They 
also have that right. They have been so 
close that we share a common heritage. 
They are just not able to do it as well as 
we do. It is also true on the other side of 
the coin." 

Afri-Cobra artists cited a range of in- 
fluences as having had an impact on their 
philosophies and art. Many writers were 
mentioned. Frank Smith included writers 
James Phillips, Bob Stull and Charles 
Searles. Adger Cowans feels influenced by 
the biographies of Louis Armstrong, Bfllie 
Holiday, and others and also by the works 
of J.A. Rodgers. Cowans also names "jazz" 
music as a major influence. His col- 



leagues. Smith and Donaldson, also had 
a word to say about Black music. 

"It is like a language, " says Smith, "a 
lifestyle, it is more than music — it is an 
improvised way of dealing with life. This 
is what we as a people have had to do: 
constantly adapt, adjust and deal with 
our environment by improvisation. It is 
the way we play music, it is also the way 
we produce art. When I approach the im- 
age, I approach it in much the same way. 
I have a central structure in mind 
perhaps, but I work totally improvisa- 
tionally. I don't use preliminary draw- 
ings, no sketches. I don 't have any color 
scheme in mind unless that is what the 
conditions call for. When I'm working for 
myself I just do it. " 

"Yes, I like for my work to achieve the 
same level of intensity associated with 
Black music, " says Donaldson. "Not just 
'jazz, 'butaU Black music. One of the ma- 
jor attractions that jazz has for the visual 
artist is that here is a continuum that one 
can trace directly back to Africa through 
our history in this country. We can 't do 
that with the visual art because we were 
forbidden during our captivity [to create 
it.j We can take cues from the music to 
try and find a direct line to our heritage. " 

Other artists were also cited as influen- 
tial. James Phillips and Jeff Donaldson 
named Romare Bearden, the great 
African- American artist/collagist as one. 
A point which is interesting to note is 
that nearly all of them named other Afri- 
Cobra members as their major influences. 
It is an obvious conclusion that the criti- 
que and analysis sessions held in the ear- 
ly years of Afri-Cobra were most 
beneficial to the artists. 

The artists appeared to be a bit thrown 
by the question, "Is there another artist 
or art form that parallels what you are all 
about?" 

The most common response was yes, 
that many artists have similarities. This 
is so, they responded, because "[We] do 
not make art .... I am not the creator, 
but the instrument of the creator." 
[Napolean Henderson] 

"God, great creator, made everything, " 
agrees Cowans. "The artist is moved by 
the spirit. He is the translator. For this 
reason, you've got to keep your channel 
clean and open to receive his message. " 

Cowans continues, "Many artists 
parallel my work. There is nothing new 
under the sun. Everything has been done 
already." All art is reiteration of visual 
statements that have already been made. 
"However, it is all original for our time. " 

Henderson summarizes, "My work, in 
its essence, is spiritual — meaningful. I am 
the creator's instrument, endowed with 
his knowledge. " 

continued on page 86 



11 



Interviewed by Nelson Stevens and Barry 
Brooks. 

Edited by Skip Meade. 



''. . . what people 
are the taste 
makers^' 



. . . There is a tendency for power struc- 
tures to attempt to establish the ideology 
upon which is based the culture's Art and 
Music. Rembrandt's picture "Night- 
watchman" is said to help establish the 
standard of quality for Western culture's 
art. But when works like the "Night- 
watchman" are pointed to, members of 
the power structure are merely pointing 
to themselves. This is what is happening 
with the music of today. Those people 
who support the symphony orchestras 
like to hear Beethoven, Mozart, etc., so 
that is what the orchestra plays. They are 
reinforcing their own self-image. They are 
establishing the ideas of what is quality, 
what is unique, and what are the ingre- 
dients of real Art. A power structure con- 
trols what people like because those in 
the power structure are the taste makers. 



". . . Hawkins was 
an intellectual 
improvisationist. '' 



... In none of the education I got in the 
institutions and schools of music did we 
ever deal with Coleman Hawkins, Charlie 
Parker, or Louis Armstrong. The classes 
in those institutions dealt with 
Beethoven, Bach, the various periods of 
classical music, etc. If that is the educa- 
tion young people are getting, that is what 
they know about. 

For instance, while I was living in New 
Jersey, a school teacher who lived down 
the street found out that I was a musician. 
She said she would like an African musi- 
cian to address her class. After I helped 
her with that, I asked her if she knew who 
Charlie Parker was. She did not know. 
You see, young people are not being 
educated to the music from their roots. 
They have no intellectual connection to 
the music. Young people are not respon- 
sible for anything that they don't know 
about. 

In an average school a music student 



Y 
U 
S 
E 
F 



may take a class in symphonic tone. In 
the class you examine and go through a 
symphony. Since the symphony is writ- 
ten, it enters your eyes as well as ears. 
Then the class's attention may be directed 
to where in the work a dominant theme 
might be played, then where the subor- 
dinate themes are played. In the class, the 
student's attention is directed to the 
details of each transition. In fact, the 
structure of the transition is examined 
and the development of each section is 
shown. When students come out of that 
class, they are thinking that the composer 
was a great man, which he was for what 
he did. 

However, this is not done for the music 
of Coleman Hawkins. Hawkins superim- 
posed changes on music. He superim- 
posed changes which can be examined 
very closely just as if we were to examine 
a work by Beethoven. But this is not done. 

If classes would examine Hawkins they 
would come to an intellectual under- 
standing of Coleman Hawkins as the 
musician he really was. In "Jazz," 
Hawkins was one of the first intellectual 
improvisationists. 

Music students don't know that and 
this is an example of how teaching has a 
lot to do with what people thinl< or don't 
think. 



ti 



. nurture to 
blossom and de- 
velop. '' 



... I remember years ago when I was 
standing outside of Birdland and John Col- 
trane was playing inside. There was 
another young sax player with me but he 
would not go in and listen to Coltrane. He 
was holding his ground. You understand 
that it goes back to knowing yourself. If 
something is going to destroy you, you 
stay away from it. I listened to Coltrane 
and Griffin. Yea, I listened to anyone 
because when I listen, I listen to hear the 
SPIRIT, not the element of the music. I 
listen to the spirit of the person, not the 
intervolic elements. 

I do not listen to capture technical 
elements for myself. I listen to the spirit, 
the intensity of the music. The spirit and 
the intensity are the 'persona', and, if I 
hear another person coming through the 
music to me because of the persona's in- 
fluence, then it makes me stride to ex- 
press my own. I think God has given us 
all that we need. There is no need to im- 
itate anybody. Each person is .a unique 
part of God's creation. All we need to do 
is nurture our spirit for it to blossom and 
to develop. 



78 




Photo by Nelson Stevens 



. . . When I listen to my symphony, a great 
deal of my life comes back. Only it comes 
back in many different ways. I believe 
that all of the ways it comes back are 
positive because life is a positive force. 
But not all of our experiences in life are 
positive experiences; we learn from our 
experiences. That part of living is hard- 
ship. And after hardship comes ease. That 
is what music is all about: tension and 
release. When you hear something that 
sounds dissonant that could be tension. 
Life itself becomes tense at times. 
However, there would be no challenge in 
life without some tension. 
. . . Even in my symphony you will hear 
a Blues feeling. There are different types 
of Blues. There is sadness and festive like 
Charlie Parker. There is determination 
like "Now is the time!",- explanatory lil<e 
metropolitan Blues. 



L 
A 
T 
E 
E 
F 



''Sometimes I am 
moved to tears. 



77 



. . . After I was introduced to some of the 
classical composers, I thought that I 
would like to write symphonies as well. 
That is one reason I furthered my educa- 



tion in academe. When I finished, I was 
capable of writing a symphony named 
"Tahara." It was a thrill to create a work 
for 80 musicians. It is a thrill to hear the 
sound of your own expression coming 
back at you. 

Of course the greatest experience is 
when the ideas come to you, and you 
write them down. When I hear a sym- 
phony orchestra playing my composition, 
I am listening to the creative thoughts; I 
am reliving their creation. In my thoughts 
I hear the music I heard when I wrote it 
down. 

When I compose, I feel the musical idea 
that must be put on paper. I also have to 
reject those ideas that don't feel right. At 
other times you, as the composer, hear 
many things going at once. "Tahira" was 
conceived for my "Jazz" quartet. The 
symphony's second movement was writ- 
ten for my wife. Sitting and listening to 
this symphonic work sometimes touches 
me. It touches me to be able to transfer 
a deep feeling to paper. It touches me to 
be able to relive ideas that I had at the mo- 
ment when they were captured on paper. 
At those times I am reliving my life 
through hearing my music, and it is then 
that sometimes I am moved to tears. 



SYMPHONY No.1 

r TAHIRA") 

by 
YUSEF A. LATEEF 



MOVEMENT NO. 2 



INSTRUMENTATION 



2 OBOES 
2 CLARINETS in bI" 
2 BASSOONS 
4 HORNS inF 

2 TRUMPETS in b'' 

3 TROMBONES 
TUBA 
CYMBALS 
SNARE DRUM 
BASS DRUM 
TRIANGLE 
CHIMES 
TIMPANI 
VIOLINS 1,2 
VIOLA 

VIOLONCELLO 
CONTRA BASS 



Score in Concert 



i'luien SHiti. 



TE. 



YUSEF 






&fl.l 



Of 



=6 









80 



fMicft stm. X. 



LATEEF 




rhns 



81 



(Mm Sim. TL. 



YUSEF 




82 



<A»)(£rt Sim. or 



LATEEF 




83 



YUSEF 



DISCOGRAPHY 

— Prestige Records 
Albums: 

1. Eastern Sounds 

2. Into Something 

3. The Sounds of Yusef Lateef 

4. Other Sounds 

5. Cry-Tender 

— Savoy Records 
Albums: 

1. Jazz and the Sounds of Nature 

2. Prayer to the East 

3. Jazz Moods 

4. Jazz for Thinkers 

5. The Fabric of Jazz 

6. Stable Mates 

7. The Dreamer 

— Riverside Records & Impulse 

Records 
Albums: 

1. Three Faces of Yusef Lateef 

2. The Centaur and the Phenox 

3. 1984 

4. Psychicemotus 

5. A Flat, G Flat and C 

6. The Golden Flute 

— Verve Records 
Album: 

1. Before Dawn 

— Argo Records 
Album: 

1. Lateef at Cranbrook 

— Atlantic Records 
Albums: 

1. The Complete Yusef Lateef 

2. The Blue Yusef Lateef 

3. Yusef Lateef's Detroit 

4. The Diverse Yusef Lateef 

5. The Gentle Giant 

6. Hush in' Thunder 

7. Part of the Search 

8. Ten Years Hence 

9. Suite Sixteen 

10. The Doctor is In and Out 

— C.T.I. Records 
Albums: 

1. Autophysiopsychic 

2. In a Temple Garden 

— C.N.C.S. Records 
Album: 

1. Hikima 

— Landmark Records 
Album: 

1. Yusef Lateef in Nigeria 

LATEEF 



/ 



ii 



. the musician 
and his Creator. 



f) 



. . . Each of us as an individual has two 
parts. We are two things. On the one 
hand, we are able to experience things. In 
other words, we experience feelings and 
our reactions to things in the outside 
world. But we are more than just housed 
in this protoplasm. Just being a mass of 
protoplasm is not being human. We have 
that other part of ourselves which is our 
thinking. We have to nurture these two 
parts. How do we nurture what we call 
the immaterial self? Basically, the im- 
material self is nurtured by love of God. 
It follows that if you love God, then you 
love God's creations. 

If I have a deep feeling for God, then I 
can become capable of expressing these 
deep feelings with whatever I do. This 
allows me to appreciate someone else 
who is trying to do the same thing. What 
I listen to, when I listen to "Jazz," or a 
vocal musician, is this: I listen to the 
depth of expression of the relationship 
between the musician and his knowledge 
of the Creation, and the Creator. Why did 
John Coltrane write something called 
"Love Supreme"? Playing "Jazz" music is 
more than an intellectual exercise. 

John Coltrane used to say that one 
thing that was hard for him was to know 
when to end. I guess as long as there is 
life there is no ending. That is the way I 
interpret the idea. It was because Coltrane 
found it hard to end that he used to play 
so long. He was reaching for a depth of 
awareness of the spirituality of the Lord. 
Life itself is a phenomenon. Life is an ex- 
pression of Creation. 



I AM BECAUSE WE ARE (cont'd from 76) 

Nelson's commitment to aesthetic integrity is prevalent 
throughout his work. He recognizes the importance of preserv- 
ing African-American culture and is concerned about the cur- 
rent scene as regards to a younger generation of Black artists. 
/ think I'm very fortunate to have gone through the 60s and 
been involved in that period of time. I think it 's a httle harder 
now— I think its more difficult. I don't think that there are 
as many artists in their 30s and 20s as there are perhaps in 
their 40s who have gone through that period of time. I think 
many of the doors that were open then — although we didn't 
believe that they were open and we were trying to open them 
as much as possible — have not stayed open. They haven 't even 
stayed open for the group that I belong to. I look through my 
resumX at the amounts of talks I was giving during a par- 
ticular part of time and those talks aren't requested any longer 
from anyone. It's not that they're not requested from me; 
they're not requested from anyone; [because of] the Reagan 
cuts . . . on the arts groups; the kinds of cuts to the National 
Endowment for the Humanities and Arts. [These groups have] 
all had a great impact on putting people in significant posi- 
tions. I go to conferences and conventions and ... 7 don 't see 
another generation or two behind, coming in and picking up. 
I think the consequences of it are very bad. I'm not heartened 
by it. I think that unless our culture is recorded, promoted 
and written about and understood, it can wither and die — 
kind of like a 'Raisin in the Sun' concept. From that stand- 
point it doesn't hearten me at all. 'What does hearten me is 
to see, at these conferences, two and three people — not the 
same numbers that used to be — ]who are] really bright, real- 
ly intelligent, really committed to expressing their talents. 

Concerning Nelson's own artistic future he'd like his next 
focus to be on creating art to be displayed on billboards. The 
idea that excites me now is taking billboards, which are 
located — according to marketing people— in strategic places, 
and putting pure art on [them]. This can be done. It's not a 
brand new idea, but it's an idea I'm going to start putting my 
energies behind. And I know many artists who would like 
the opportunity to deal with the billboard concept. That's not 
the stumbling block; the stumbling block at this point is get- 
ting advertisers who own the billboards to deal with this con- 
cept . . . and give up the space. 

Nelson's involvement as faculty advisor to DRUM Magazine 
has also been one of his many professional accomplishments. 
He has been advisor since 1977 and if you ask any student who 
has worked on the magazine as to whether or not it could fly 
without Nelson's input you would get a resounding NO! The 
rapport and respect that he has for the students with which 
he works is unique to a professor-student relationship. His 
ability to step out of the picture far enough to let us learn by 
doing is a quality which has earned him respect in return. One 
student, Pancho Morris, who has had Nelson as a professor 
and who has been with DRUM for a couple of years, com- 
ments, "Nelson, through his artistic sensibilities, has given 
me an appreciation for the arts — especially Black art — that I 
never had before. The patience and care that he illustrates both 
within and outside of the classroom makes him the type of 
professor that students treasure and respect." 

I I 

Nelson Stevens' career has spanned over two decades and 
throughout he has maintained an integrity and commitment 
to the preservation of the Black aesthetic which encompasses 
all social and cultural and political aspects of our experience 
in this strange land. I thinic that his good friend Larry Neal 
expressed it best when he wrote about Nelson's quintessen- 
tial Centennial Vision. 

"Here in this self-contained visual universe all of the con- 
trary voices coalesce into a comprehensive artistic vision. As 
rendered here all of the images strongly exude a sense of vitali- 




BIRD FLIGHT 



Nelson Stevens 



ty and purpose. They all seem blessed as their faces appear to 
be illumined by light from some mysterious source. For the 
movement from darkness (ignorance) to light (intelligence) is 
a reoccurring pattern in Afro-American historical 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 in- 
spired by the 'idea Tuskegee,' it finally reaches beyond that 
specific will of a great people who, like the Biblical Joseph, 
managed to prevail in an alien land." 

And when stories about Nelson Stevens, artist, are retold, 
they will be about more than just one man's particular vision. 
They will be about the collective survival of African- American 
culture. 

Martha Grier-Deen is a junior Afro-American Studies major 
originally from New York City. 



85 



Ai'RI-COBRA: (cont'd from 77) 



Barbara Jones Hugo explained the func- 
tional value of the art of Afri-Cobra. "Afri- 
Cobia will not only state our problems 
and solutions," she said, "but also our 
emotions, ouijoys, our love, oui attitude, 
OUT character .... Art can be a liberating 
force .... Afri-Cobra's visual imagery 
should bring us together and uplift us as 
a people." 

Adds Adger Cowans, "I like to think 
that my art raises the spiritual level of 
[the viewer's] visual consciousness 
through the eyes." Both he and Smith 
agree that the gratification is found when 
the viewer appreciates the beauty of their 
work, and consequently "feels better. " 

Hugo voiced the overall consensus of 
the group. "In all of my work I am con- 
cerned with messages to my people 
because they must and will survive to 
create a new world. " 

Another question posed to the artists 
was an inquiry into what they feel Afri- 
Cobra has given them, and vice versa. 



In reference to meeting the artists of 
Afri-Cobra, Cowans said, "/ felt we were 
in concert. We were kindred spirits. Afri- 
Cobra has been beneficial to me, and I 
have been beneficial to it. It has been 
reciprocal. " 

Frank Smith feels that his greatest con- 
tribution to Afri-Cobra has been his at- 
tempts at providing stability. "/ have 
gained a lot of confidence from the group, 
a lot of reinforcement. " 

"Personally, " said James Phillips, "my 
use of color and my . . . style is my 
unique contribution to the group." 

Added Jarrell, "The impact of Afri- 
Cobra with me has been very [powerful] 
in terms of growth towards Black 
aesthetics. Each member has had an in- 
fluence on one another, and it has given 
me the energy to keep creating." 

Akili Ron Anderson sums it up. "Afri- 
Cobra has become a working philosophy. 
It goes beyond supporting. It has become 
an example for other people to follow. It 



is self-perpetuating at this point. Afri- 
Cobra, over its 20-year history, has 
become an institution without walls, 
because it does work. I hope that other 
people will look at Afri-Cobra not 
necessarily as something to emulate, but 
it will become a cell that ]will divide as] 
other people take a small group and do 
the same thing with a group artists of 
their own. It is not a matter of having a 
great big organization. It is having that 
group of people of similar interests, then 
building up from there. That is what I am 
hopeful for — that we could be a part of 
something much bigger. " 

Kara M. Banks is a UMass student and 
Desmond T. Dorsett is a junior COINS 
major from New York City. 



SASTRY (cont'd from 75) 



What is your position on the recent racial 
attack on campus, and how did you 
think the administrators dealt with the 
issued 

First of all, these incidences are perhaps 
indicators of the deeper problem of a lack 
of appropriate education. What many of 
these students need [is] training starting 
from grade one. Education should be in 
such a way that it will open and broaden 
the minds of people. Hopefully this will 
allow them to grow in a multicultural 
society. Certainly, at the University one 
should make an attempt to broaden the 
general education of students. This educa- 
tion should be extended to the faculty, 
staff, police officers, administrators and 
everybody in the community. 

Speaking of the administration itself, 
they are as human as anybody else, and 
they don't have the magic solutions to the 
problems. Oftentimes, they are put on the 
spot and they are expected to react quick- 



ly, and they don't know how to act, and 
in fact in many of these instances that 
have happened, the Administration was 
inept in handling these problems — and 
oftentimes they acted with hindsight 
rather than foresight. 

What do you suggest that we, as a stu- 
dent body, should aim to do to correct 
these situations^ 

As a student body I guess we all have 
to decide that each individual should 
make a commitment to one's self, to a 
code of personal behavior which does not 
give any room for sexism, or racism or 
any prejudice against religious beliefs. 
Once an individual makes a commitment 
then when something [happens], that in- 
dividual should go and say to the of- 
fenders "Look, you are not right." 
Students as a collective body? I don't 
know. I think some of these com- 
mitments must be made at the individual 



level. For example. If two people are sit- 
ting somewhere and they make a racial 
slur or offense against someone, and if I 
proceed to just get up and walk away, I 
have failed in my responsibility. I should 
ask them, "Look, my friend, why are you 
saying that?," and question their injustice, 
to let them know that there are people 
who won't tolerate this kind of behav- 
ior. ... I think we have to learn to re- 
dedicate ourselves to the fight against 
prejudice. This fight against prejudice and 
ignorance and lack of vinderstanding is not 
going to be a quick one to be won. It is 
going to take a considerable amount of 
time. But we can mitigate the problems, 
and slowly improve ourselves, provided 
that everybody makes this commitment 
today and tomorrow and every day. 

Professor Sastry was interviewed by 
Victor Alexander who is a junior 
Biochemistry major. 



Dark Beauty 

by Victor Alexander 

The jungle night was misty and filled with the fragrance of jasmine. 

A voice searched for me in the surrounding darkness. 

1 walked toward the edge of the moonlit forest, and I peered outward. 

There 1 saw her, bathing in the mists of dusk which then transformed 

into jewels of dew onto her shiny ebony skin. 

Each drop shone as a diamond sparkling in brilliance as if from the 

crown of Solomon. 

She felt my presence, and turned; she captivated me with her gaze. 

Her eyes were radiant, they were brighter than the early morning trek of 

Venus through the heavens. — 

She beckoned me, and then she kissed me. 

Her lips were sweet as honey, and her embrace sent burning flames of 

passion which shook and shattered the foundations of my being, and 

the innermost parts of my mind. i 

As 1 touched her hair, 1 felt the strength of the Mile, full flowing, life 

giving and the daughter of a Qreat Civilization. 

She held and caressed me, and doused me with her sweet essence. 

And there she was: MY DARK BEAUTY 



CANE 

by Lori Robinson 



The sun set behind the barn, leav- 
ing the sky ablaze with orange 
and blue hues. It was an inter- 
esting sky because the clouds that appeared 
closest to the sun were deep orange, a little 
farther up they were lighter, rosy, then they 
were light blue. The underside of the upper- 
most clouds reflected the orange of the sun. 
The sky looked bumpy, like crushed ice in 
a multi-colored glass. An older man walked 
into the barn, propped open the door, hung 
his tools and descended into the cavernous 
darkness. He stood black against the fiery 
sky. 

Cane Pittman stood on his porch watching 
his animal brother. "Where's yo' woman lil' 
frien? Is you as lon'ly as me?" He became 
somber as the sky darkened and he heard 
the creak of the barn door. The tiny animal's 
eyes took on the glow of the night and it 
scampered down the other side of the 
building. Cane watched his father emerge 
from the barn. His perspiration-laden plaid 
shirt clung to his broad body. He had been 
working harder since his wife's death. "I 
wunda ifn' he lon'ly as me," the younger 
asked himself. The two men were almost 
identical. History had repeated itself. The 
older man was a prediction of the younger's 
future, almost six feet tall, thick-middled, 
broad-shouldered, square-jawed and white- 
haired. His hair was his most notable feature, 
even though his nose was distinctly 
Blackfoot. The snow-white wool which 
covered his head, contrasted with his ebony 
face. He looked up and met the questioning 
gaze of his son, "You think I'll eva git mar- 
ried. Papa?" 

"In due time son, when de right woman 
come 'long." 

"How I know ifn' she de right one?" 

"You know son, you know." 

The porch was swallowed by the young 
man's presence, he stared into the darkness 
thoughtlessly. Everyone in the town thought 
him to be strange, although they did not 
know why. In fact, many feared him. As a 
child, he played in the woods by himself at 
night, which may have aroused the fears of 
some. The majority of the population was 
older, the children or grandchildren of 
slaves, and they had very strong 
superstitious backgrounds. 

He did not cry when he was born, as a mat- 
ter of fact, he didn't even cry at his baptism. 
"That boy's gonna be a preacha," the minister 
of the church predicted heartily, as his 
stomach rolled with laughter. Cane never 
became one. Nevertheless, as a small child 
he was very much in tune with older peo- 
ple. As a baby he slept when everyone else 
slept and woke up with everyone else. He 
never took naps. His infancy was dedicated 
to observation, his chocolate brown eyes 
followed everything. 



"She shore is pretty, fact she beautiful. Got 
a nice shape too, yeah real nice," he said, as 
his eyes followed the very comely figure of 
a young lady approaching him from the out- 
skirts of town. Her hair was pulled into a 
bun, her nose, straight, "Indian" he thought. 
Her skin was the color of fine brandy, her 
eyes almond-shaped and -sized, he could not 
distinguish their color from the distance but 
he knew they were light brown because he 
saw her every Tuesday at the supply store. 
He knew who she was but never ventured 
to speak to her. "Hi you doin' t'nite, brown 
sugar," he whispered with a Cheshire cat 
grin. 

"She cert'nly can walk, though," he 
mused, "jes look at dem hips, I kin hear dat 
music. Damn, she got some legs. Humph, 
sho'nuf baby, Lord, I hopes I kin jes hoi' on 
an' be still a minute. Gots to gatha ma'self 
up, so's I kin talk to dis lov'ly brown thang," 
he thought with a smile. 

"Good evenin' ma'am." 

"Evenin' suh," she replied in a throaty 
voice, her head bowed. 

"An'how you doin' on dis fine evenin'? " 

"I'm jes fine, thankye." 

'"Scuse me fo' sayin' so ma'am, but you is 
fine arready. What I wants ta know is how 
you is doin?" 

'Well den, I guess I'm doin' good." 

"Humph. 'Scuse me. Ahem." He cleared his 
throat, licked his lips and dried his now 
perspiring palms. "What's yo' name?" 

"Fern," she said, her eyelids lowered, her 
mouth closing to a grin, and her head slightly 
leaning to one side. 

"Fern, I'm Cane an' I like yo' smile." He 
smiled sweetly. 

"I knows who you is Mistuh Cane an' you 
knowed who I is, don' nuthin' go on in dis 
town out'n ev'ybody knowin' 'bout it." 

"Yeah, I knows who you is, but seem sor- 
ta rude me jes rollin' up on ya, t'out no 
kinda innaduction. " 

"Well, I really gotta be goin'. I glad we 
talked . . ." 

"Well, does ya mind ifn i 'company you 
home? Afta all, it is mighty dark an' I jes 
couldn't sleep wunderin' ifn' you wuz safe." 

"I don' think dat sich a good idea. My papa 
don' lak his girls walkin' home wid no man 
dat ain't p'sented hisself. He ol' fashun, dis 
whole town be talkin' 'bout us fo' mornin' 
anyhow. 'Sides, I be safe walkin' by myself, 
I bin doin' it fo' awhile now. Ain't much futha 
fgo." 

""I know but, let me walk wid ya haf way," 
he said as he moved from his post on the 
porch to come to the road to join her. "He 
wood'n know ifn I only goes part way, an' 
dats not d'ceivin' him 'cause I jes happen to 
be goin' dat way my ownsef. 'Sides, I walk 



wid ya part way an' den I'll waks behin' ya 
de rest of de way and ya gets home an' I 
keeps on goin' an' I be able to sleep 'cause 
ya home. Tell you de truf, I wants to know 
'xactly whures you lives, so I kin be shur 
when I comes to tak ya fo' ice cream." 

""Don' ya think ya should waits an' ax my 
papa first?" 

'"Course, 'course I wait. 'Til tommorra 
when I comes by." 

"Okay, Mistuh Cane." 

""Jes call me Cane," he said smiling, as he 
thought to himself, ""Shore feels good walkin' 
an' talkin' to dis girl. One thin fo' so, she ain't 
lak dem others dat let ev'ythin' pass. Dis one 
don' take no stuff, dat's what ev'yone tole me, 
when I axed how come she ain't got no man. 
She pretty nuff to have de whole town afta 
her, negro an' white. She right spry to be 
so small." 

By simply watching her walk, he could feel 
the power of this woman over him. ""Her skin 
look lak de way I feels when I drinks bran- 
dy. It burn but it warm me all over, make 
me tingly-lak," he shuddered. She had en- 
chanted him. "She must know," he thought. 
They walked towards her home in silence. 

The air buzzed with the sounds of mos- 
quitoes, the chirping of crickets and occa- 
sional human noises. The moon, round and 
majestic, illuminated the sky. It was perfectly 
round, and pale, it looked as though a hole 
had been punched into the black blanket that 
covered the sky. Only the light of the moon 
and that which spilled from the windows 
and doors of the houses lit the dirt streets. 
Because the weather was so warm, people 
sat on their porches, talked, played guitars, 
sang, or just rocked idly to pass the time. 
They watched Cane and Fern pass. Although 
they noticed, no one dared to comment. It 
wasn't necessary. It was a beautiful night, 
an unusual night. 

"Dis a mighty pretty night." 

""Yeah, it is." 

""'Taint as pretty as you. Dem stars ain't haf 
as bright as you' smile an' dat moon, dat ol' 
moon don' move nowhures near as graceful 
as you does." 

"Thankye, but you ain't oughta be sayin' 
all dem things." 

"But deys all true and I'll tellya some mo'." 

His ears rang as he walked beside her 

and he reveled in the conflicting warm and 

cold feelings that spread through his body. 

He wanted to hold her hand. 

He thought to himself, "dis the first time 
we talked an' I hooked. She got me actio' fun- 
ny; she gotta know. She don' seem in'rested 
though, an' she ain't the game-playin', hard- 
to-gets type. She remin' me o' de night: 
mysterious." 
"Whure wuz ya comin' from?" 

continued on page 94 

87 



AKHENATEN (cont'd from 47) 



by the ankh, also held in an outstretched 
hand. Akhenaten's belief that every liv- 
ing thing ovkred its existence to the Aten 
is clearly shown. 

Another unusual feature of the Amar- 
na period was the existence of a standard- 
ized system of writing — cuneiform — 
which was used for all official com- 
munications and diplomatic cor- 
respondences. Trade was rampant be- 
tween the upper levels of Egyptian socie- 
ty and their counterparts in other 
kingdoms. It is a tribute to Akhenaten's 
success that the priests and scribes of 
many cultures experienced such produc- 
tive contact. Akhenaten emphasized 
peace and refused to expand Egypt's 
borders through conquest, preferring in- 
stead the sweet bounty of truth and 
diplomacy. Unfortunately, the in- 
novativeness of the Amarna period did 
not last beyond Akhenaten's reign; 
culture and religion reverted to their 
former state once he died. 

Akhenaten distinguished himself 
through his doctrine of monotheism, the 
first of its kind in the world. Under his 
reign, peace was made with the neighbor- 
ing kingdoms, and both trade and art 
flourished. Sadly, most of the products of 



his genius did not persist beyond his 
death; Egypt returned to her former 
religion and the capital was reinstated at 
Thebes. Akhenaten's successor, 
Tutankhaten, was ruled by the clergy and 
nobility and was told to change his name 
to Tutankhamen in deference to Amen- 
Ra. Thus, Egyptian culture came full cir- 
cle and tried to forget "the radical." 

The decline of Atenism can be traced 
to several factors, among them unrest 
within the royal family. If Akhenaten did 
not carry on the military tradition, 
Egypt's more ambitious neighbors did. A 
war in Syria cut off most trade routes with 
the east, reducing prosperity. Standards of 
living fell, and morale was low. The very 
couple who were supposed to symbolize 
the unity and strength of the Aten were 
in a state of flux. Queen Tiye had brought 
two more of her sons to the royal court, 
among them a young boy named 
Smenkhare. "The king was a lover of 
beauty and the delicate and lovely boy, so 
like Nefertitti in looks, must have made 
an impression on Akhenaten ..." [Col- 
lier, 1970] Later, Nefertitti and the king 
had a parting of ways, and Nefertitti left 
Akhenaten. "And the courtiers were 
forced to witness the king's strange 



behavior as, month by month, Akhenat- 
en, magnetized by Smenkhare and gripped 
by a passion that was not religious, 
heaped honor and glory on his co-regent 
and neglected his queen." [Collier, 1970] 
Akhenaten has been described as a 
humanitarian and a lover of truth, beau- 
ty and peace. Though throughout most of 
his reign Egypt prospered, there came a 
time when standards of living declined, 
along with the king's adherence to the 
very principles he endorsed. Akhenaten's 
legacy, however, consists of a rich collec- 
tion of art and poetry, and the foundations 
of the monotheistic religions of the world 
that developed later: Judaism, Christiani- 
ty, and Islam. 

Suggested reading list 

The Pharaohs by Lionel Casson [Chicago: 

Stonehenge Press, Inc. 1981] 

King Sun by Joy Collier [London: Ward Lock 

Limited, 1970] 

Black Folk Here and There by St. Clair Drake 

[Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Afro-American 

Studies, 1987] 

A History of Egypt by W.M. Flinders Petrie 

[London: Methuen and Co., 1904] 

Sara Shapiro is a freshman Anthropology ma- 
jor pursuing a program of cultural studies. 



AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (cont'd from 55) 



Members are alerted of violations oc- 
curring aroimd the world through Amnes- 
ty's regional offices, which are informed 
through the headquarter office. Par- 
ticipants are given case histories which 
contain as much relevant information as 
is attainable, and then write letters, cards, 
and send telegrams to the proper 
authorities, expressing concern on behalf 
of specific prisoners. This relatively sim- 
ple tactic of the letter writing campaign, 
often works wonders, as it did in the case 
of a Dominican Republic trade union 
leader, Julio de Pefia Valdez. 

"When the first two hundred letters 
came, the guards gave me back my 
clothes. Then the next two hundred let- 
ters came and the prison director came to 
see me. When the next pile of letters ar- 
rived, the director got in touch with his 
superior. The letters kept coming and 
coming: three thousand of them. The 
president was informed. The letters still 
kept arriving and the president called the 
prison and told them to let me go. 

"After I was released, the president 
called me to his office for a man-to-man 
talk. He said: 'How is it that a trade union 
leader like you has so many friends all 
over the world?' He showed me an enor- 
mous box full of letters he had received 
and, when we parted, he gave them to me. 
I still have them." ]from Amnesty Inter- 



national: The Human Rights Story by 
Jonathan Power] 

Amnesty members also organize vigils 
at government embassies, gather 
signatures for petitions, and participate in 
commimity awareness projects. Many are 
also involved with campaigns that address 
particular issues, such as the death penal- 
ty and torture. Benefits are also arranged 
to raise funds so that food, clothing, and 
medical supplies may be shipped to vic- 
tims and their families. 



Alberto Alarcon is eight. He 
lives with his father in 
Tungurahua, Navo Province, 
Equador. In May 1987, 
soldiers burst into the Alarcon 
home attacking Alberto and his 
father. They reportedly threw 
the child over a roll of barbed 
wire and beat him. Then the 
soldiers forced the boy's head 
under water until he nearly 
drowned. They were apparent- 
ly looking for a rifle a neighbor 
had stolen. 



Since its inception. Amnesty has taken 
up over 25,000 cases to aid prisoners of 
conscience in coimtries around the world. 
In the United States last year alone, 150 
of the prisoners adopted by local groups 
were released. 

The key to Amnesty's success is 
pressure. Constant, continuous pressure 
enacted through meaningful communica- 
tion. One released prisoner from the 
Republic of Korea spoke before an Amnes- 
ty conference in California and reaffirmed 
the effectiveness of Amnesty's endeavors. 

"All the dictators have fantasies that 
they can suffocate and divide people in 
their own country. Under these cir- 
cumstances we know what they are afraid 
of most is world opinion and criticism of 
their tyranny. Here we can see the effec- 
tive role of the Amnesty International 
movement encouraging the oppressed." 

As an Amnesty International member, 
one must have not only unwavering devo- 
tion to the human rights cause, but also 
perseverance and hope, since most cases 
are not resolved quickly — if at all. As 
Louis Wigdor, former coordinator of the 
Amherst Amnesty chapter put it, 
"There's a real time commitment of con- 
science and heart involved." 

The Amherst group was started in the 
late 1970s, and presently has about 30 
members, of which 15 or so are con- 



sidered active. They attend the monthly 
meetings and write between 5-6 letters 
per month on behalf of an adopted 
prisoner during that time. 

Adopted prisoners add a more personal 
touch to the group's efforts, since that in- 
dividual becomes the responsibility of the 
group. Wigdor say, "Focusing on just one 
person, you tend to identify with that per- 
son. He or she becomes your own case." 

But, he adds, "You have to be in it for 
the long haul," as long periods of time 
may go by without any sort of recognition 
of the group's efforts. "You can become 
very despondent, say, if you don't hear 
anything on a prisoner for 5 years." 

One aim of the Amherst group is to en- 
courage local opinion leaders to get in- 
volved with the letter writing campaign. 
Peter Pouncey, the president of Amherst 
College, once wrote on behalf of a 
prisoner in the People's Republic of 
China — and got a response from the 
government. 

"It was basically just an acknowledge- 
ment that the prisoner was being held, but 
the response was still unprecedented," 
Wigdor said. "But you don't know what 
to expect going into a case, and often 
months go by without any response." 

According to Wigdor, the governments 
that most often solicit replies are the 
Latin American nations. He also noted 
that getting congresspersons to write is 
usually instrumental in receiving govern- 
ment reaction. 

The Amherst group also partakes in the 
Regional Action Network. This allows 
group members to more closely focus on 
cases in their chosen area of the world. 
Amherst concentrates mainly on Centr£ 
America, but also in Turkey and withi 
the Pacific Islands region. 

A more controversial Amherst involve 
ment is the group's participation in can 



On January 19, 1976, Jamal 
Benomar, a young student ac- 
tivist who had been talcing part 
in demonstrations calling for 
democracy in Morocco, sud- 
denly found himself swept into 
the eye of a horrible nightmare: 
"It was around midnight," 
Jamal recalled. "Ten armed 
secret policemen broke into my 
flat. I was blindfolded and 
handcuffed and taken to the 
secret police station. There they 
told me they were going to have 
a party in honor of my arrest. 
They were laughing and drink- 
ing . I was naked surrounded by 
a group pf policemen. They 
started beating me. They tied 
my ankles to a bar and beat the 
soles of my feet. They pushed 
my head into a bucket of excre- 
ment . . ." Moroccan 
authorities kept Jamal in deten- 
tion for eight months before 
transferring him, untried for 
any offense, to a regular prison. 
It would be eight long years 
before Jamal would walk in 
freedom again. 



paigns to abolish the death penalty — for 
which most of their work is done in the 
United States. 

"Amherst has a particular interest in 
that. We write mostly on behalf of United 



States prisoners, which is a different 
twist; usually we're writing to other coun- 
tries," says Wigdor. 

Amnesty International has campus 
groups at many colleges as well, where 
students work to educate their com- 
munities on the preservation of human 
rights and send letters on behalf of in- 
dividual prisoners. Some also invite prom- 
inent human rights advocates to speak on 
their campuses. 

There are also programs that bring 
together colleagues and peers to work for 
fellow professionals who face danger 
abroad. The Health Professionals Net- 
work assists with cases in which serious 
medical concerns are at stake, and invite 
other medical workers to join them in the 
struggle against torture through educa- 
tional programs. The Legal Support Net- 
work encourages participants from the 
legal profession to take part in research 
pertaining to cases, in addition to work- 
ing for imprisoned colleagues. 

Individual participation is also possible 
through campaigns outlined in Amnesty 
International USA's newsletter. Amnes- 
ty Action. 

In 1977, Amnesty International won 
the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts "to 
promote global observance of the United 
Nations Universal Declaration of Human 
Rights." But while there are many people 
who are free today because of Amnesty's 
work, there are many times more who are 
in constant danger, who live under an 
ever-threatening cloud of oppression — 
right at this moment, and every day of 
their lives. For anyone concerned with 
helping their fellow human beings to at- 
tain security and peace of mind. Amnes- 
ty provides them with a rational answer 
to what often appears to be a hopeless 
problem. 

Cathy Mahoney is a Journalism major. 




!^e aSove resentment. 
'Be[fies Jif(ed with pride. 
Shzitexed minds, fuii of thz -past, 
Cast aii you know aside.. 



RISE ABOVE 
RESENTMENT 

by Stuart Rankin 



The art of acceptance.. 
Cultivation of awareness. 
Shadows cast by ignorance 
Oppress the practice of fairness. 



The compromise By a[f. 
Some more than others. 
An evohition in eradication. 
"Wiff we ever a[[ be brothers? 



^m: 






Be foiewained. Used to be an Ex- 
perience meant making you a hit 
older. This one makes you wiser. 
With the assistance of Mitch Mitchell 
on drums and Noel Redding on 
guitar, Jimi Hendrix breaks the world 
into interesting fragments. Then 
reassembles it. You hear with new 
ears after being Experienced. Those 
who 've seen him perform know on- 
ly part of this Experience. They rave 
about a young man who plays guitar 
in more positions than anybody 
before him. His debut album will put 
the heads of Hendrix listeners into 
some novel positions. Be fore- 
warned. * 

Monterey Pop Festival. The year is 
1967. In the crowd of seven thousand, no 
one has ever heard of the man. We stand 
in front of an enormous stage. He comes 
on stage and creates a sensation. The first 
couple of numbers are slow, sending the 
fans into a fury of anticipation. Then the 
band does Rolling Stone. The crowd goes 
berserk. Smoke bombs fill the air and his 
guitar catches fire. The group's set is over. 
Officials try for thirty minutes to quiet 
the crowd down. We must hear more. 
Close your eyes. We're going on a trip to 
the future. Our destination? England, 
1969. 

/ hope you 'le enjoying the journey, I 
am. No throwing cigarette butts out the 
window . . . 

"A bit more volume on this one 
Charlie — it's gonna need it. Let's 'ave a 
welcome for Billy Cox on bass, Mitch 
Mitchell on drums . . . ," the unexcitable 
soft south London mumble sounds as 
though he were talking to himself, "... 
and the man with the guitar, Jimi Hen- 
drix." 

Thousands of fans scream with wild ex- 
citement and anticipation. This Black 
American guitarist is at the height of his 
career. He's outrageous in a 'do borrowed 
from Bob Dylan, ostentatious clothing 
reminiscent of the Victorian era, a sly 
boyish smile and a long slim tongue that 
licks nervously over his lips. Close your 
eyes and look around you. There are 
young girls about to lose their minds. 
Moreover, thousands of white boys aged 
between 15 and 25 have come for outrage, 
rebellion and the best blues/rock guitarist 
they've ever heard. Look up. In the VIP 
section. Thousands of plain faces are 
joined by Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Paul 
McCartney and the like. 

Yeah, thank you very much. It has been 
a long time, hasn't itl That does mean 
peace, not this, (laughter) Peace. OK, give 
us about a minute to tune up all rights 
Give us about a minute to tune up. 

A left-handed Jimi, with his guitar up- 
side down, tunes up with the remaining 



two of this trio. There's a lot of static and 
feedback from the electric instruments. 
Good. Listen. 

It's so good to be hack in England. 
What I'd like to do is start off with a 
theme that everybody knows out there. 
You could join in and start singin'. As a 
matter of fact, it would sound better if 
you 'd stand up for your country, and your 
duty is to start singin '. And if you don 't, 
fuck you. 

The wild man winds up and explodes 
into a screaming passionate moan of 'God 
Save the Queen'. Somewhere amidst all 
the intentional noise, an inoffensive, har- 
monically correct melody comes out of 
the amplifier as Jimi dismembers the 
country's national anthem before their 
very eyes and ears. 

Oblivious to the cheers of appreciation, 
he keeps the momentum alive and with 
a mumble of "what the hell," Jimi bursts 
into the Beatle's Sergeant Pepper's Lone- 
ly Hearts Club Band. He plays it like it's 
never been played before. He really can't 
sing that well. No member of this trio is 
all that attractive. In fact, they all appear 
rather gaudy. So what is it about this 22 
year-old Black man that is driving us crazy 
with excitement? Look around you again. 
The diversity of the crowd can't explain 
it either. Surely 15 year-old acne ridden 
white boys haven't come in the same in- 
terest as the older men and women in 
their early twenties. What about the 
Blacks in the audience? Surely they've 
come to hear Black music — blues, 
soul. . . . What are they doing at a rock 
concert? 

Guitarist and blues singer, Johnny 
Winter said of him, "He had fantastic 
music ability and could create feelings 
nobody else could. His guitar was like an 
extension of his soul. It wasn't even a 
guitar or notes or music. It was him. He 
was just projecting Jimi Hendrix." 

Although the song is finished, the 
energy from "Sgt. Pepper" is still 
pulsating through the crowd. We are up. 
Give us more outrage, wild man. C'mon! 

Hendrix listens to his fans for a minute. 
More tuning. We're soaking wet with ex- 
pectation. We are in heat awaiting our 
climax from the master on stage. 

They call this one the blues and we call 
this one Red House. We're gonna do that 
for a second. Jimi slides down simple 
arpeggios into this soft funky blues jam. 
No! We're not ready to come down. Not 
yet Jimi! The wild one ignores the 
pulsating energy that he's extracting from 
all over this venue. 

It's a beautiful melodic performance — 
powerful and fluent. A raw, gentle intro 
caresses the obedient, tumultuous crowd. 
Jimi sings. There's a Red House over 
yonder baby. That's where my baby 
stays. The sound of Mitch Mitchell's 
drums beat a steady and slow rhythm. 




STARS THAI 
LAUGHING 



Lord there's a Red House over yonder 
baby, that's where my baby stays. Lord 
I ain 't been home to see my fuzzy-headed 
baby. Lord in about ninety-nine and one 
half days. The sympathetic bass of Billy 
Cox subliminally seduces the crowd. Jimi 
sings, tenderly stroking the melody 
without interrupting the rhythm. Wait a 
minute, somethin's wrong. Wait a 
minute, somethin's wrong. Lord, I got a 
bad, bad feelin ' that my baby don 't live 
here no more. Too bad, she ain't say a 
damn thing about leavin'. But I still got 
my guitar. 

Jimi surges forth into a violent blues 
solo as the rhythm steadily increases with 
emotion. The wild one is bringing us up 
again. The guitar is erect as he begins the 
climax with energy, vibrato, feedback and 
sweat. The solo increases in volume, 
speed and energy only to come to an 
abrupt halt. Billy Cox teases us with a 
gentle walking bass line. Jimi commences 
a tender solo without his rhythm section. 
The seduction begins again. We are weak 
with anticipation. Each note makes us 
shudder with excitement. The momen- 
tum picks up, but the tenderness of Jimi's 
guitar remains. The momentum slows 



90 




PLAY WITH 
AM'S DICE 



right down to nothing again. Is it over? 
The crowd cheers hesitantly. 

Jimi drops to his knees and plunges in- 
to a violent, funky blues jam with his 
rhythm section. The beat is definite and 
slow. Jimi's playing is fluid and warm. 
The wild one is nearly on his back now. 
The speed of his solo is incredible. Hold 
on tight. 

If my baby don 't love me no more . . . 
Hey! I know her sister will. Jimi com- 
pletes this performance with loud 
distorted classic blues dissonance. 

Cries of appreciation overwhelm Jimi. 
The crowd is going mad! 

Open your eyes. That was just a taste 
of the Experience. The man reeks of ver- 
satility in his style of playing and the dif- 
ferent roles he assumes in his lyrics. From 
the narrator on Highway Chile to the sex- 
ual teaser in Fire and Foxy Lady. 

His first lyrics were influenced by his 
tastes in science fiction and LSD. One of 
his earliest compositions, Stars That Play 
With Laughing Sam's Dice, could be ab- 
breviated to STP-LSD. 

Although Hendrix's playing style was 



unique. Bob Dylan had a big influence on 
the young musician's career. 

Jimi's uniqueness came from the fact 
that he possessed soul — a quality which 
other rock musicians lacked. Perhaps it 
was the sensitivity of a young man whose 
mother died when he was only a small 
boy. Perhaps it was the strong loving rela- 
tionship Jimi shared with his father, Al 
Hendrix. Perhaps it was the enormous 
jazz exposure Jimi had in the 1940s, grow- 
ing up in Seattle, Washington. Whatever 
the reason, Jimi was different, and 
everybody knew it. 

He had always been interested in 
music. As a child, he would pretend the 
broom was a guitar and play with it. From 
the day his father bought him his first 
guitar, it became another part of his 
anatomy. "While he waited for adulthood, 
he talked to his guitar. Like a new person 
in the household his guitar became alive, 
it made a world of sound. It held all the 
songs, all the melodies, and secrets of the 
universe." (Henderson: 1978) 

Jimi began his musical career with the 
Rocking Kings. When he was only eight- 
een years old. At first he had been shy and 
played rather badly. But his good ear and 
sincerity allowed for Jimi to listen to 
every kind of musical expression and idea. 
He became the best R&B and rock-n-roll 
guitarist in Seattle. 

In 1961, Jimi enlisted in the army with 
the Screaming Eagles paratroopers serv- 
ice. While in the army Jimi experimented 
with his electric guitar. He also began 
sleeping with it. It was no big thing. 

Jimi wanted to make his father proud 
by remaining with the elite Screaming 
Eagles. However, it became evident, dai- 
ly, what he wanted to do in life. 

While Jimi was in the service he was 
befriended by Billy Cox who, like Jimi, 
was awaiting his walking papers from Un- 
cle Sam. Cox was a serious student of 
European classical music, as well as R&B 
and blues. Upon hearing Jimi play. Cox 
recognized a genius that ranged from 
Beethoven to John Lee Hooker. Cox and 
Hendrix immediately began to jam. They 
added a drummer named Gary Ferguson, 
a second guitarist named Johnny Jones 
and called themselves The Casuals. The 
Casuals won a small following for 
themselves in small towns near Fort 
Campbell where they were stationed. 
After they were discharged from the ar- 
my, Jimi and Billy gigged around until 
they reached Nashville, Tennessee. The 
two played together in another group 
called The Imperials. 

After the break-up of The Imperials, 
Jimi played in several bands and backed 
up many musicians including Little 
Richard, the Isley Brothers, Wilson 
Pickett, and B.B. King. After Jimi left Lit- 
tle Richard's band in Los Angeles, he went 
on tour with Chuck Jackson, the 



Supremes, Ike and Tina Turner, Jackie 
Wilson and others. 

In 1963 Jimi settled in Harlem, New 
York while his musical career and reputa- 
tion grew. 

In Greenwich Village, Jimi met many 
celebrities including the Rolling Stones. 
He also met Chas Chandler who took him 
to England in 1966 to make him a star. 

The first bassist in the Jimi Hendrix Ex- 
perience was Noel Redding. When 
Chandler and Hendrix were selecting 
their drummer, they met a cocky, brash 
young man who was too confident of his 
abilities on drums. Typical drummer's at- 
titude. Perfect. His name was Mitch 
Mitchell. 

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was born 
October 12, 1966. 

In their brief four years. The Experience 
toured extensively throughout the United 
States and Europe, in their brief four-year 
career. They reached their height of 
popularity in late 1967 and 1968. There 
was only one switch in personnel. Billy 
Cox later replaced Noel Redding on bass. 

There was much speculation as to the 
cause of Jimi's death on Friday, September 
18, 1970. Some saw his death as an acci- 
dent. Others were sure it was suicide. 
Even the Cause of Death certificate left 
an open verdict due to "insufficient 
evidence of circumstances." Early press 
reports based on the Coroner's inquest 
suggested that he died as a result of a drug 
overdose. What really happened the morn- 
ing of the eighteenth? 

The night before, Jimi had taken nine 
sleeping pills at his girlfriend's flat in Not- 
ting Hill, London. When she discovered 
his body, she assumed he was asleep since 
he was breathing. Later in the evening 
when she couldn't wake him she phoned 
for an ambulance. On the way to the 
hospital, the paramedics sat Jimi up. 
However, as a result of the pills mixed 
with the high level of alcohol in Jimi's 
blood, he suffocated on his own vomit and 
was dead on arrival at St. Mary Abbot's 
Hospital in London. 

Throughout Europe and the United 
States, millions mourned the loss of 
James Marshall Hendrix. 

CODA 

Most black musicians during the mid 
to late 1960s fell into the stereotypically- 
created manifestation of "Black Music." 
They gravitated towards Motown, ballads, 
jazz and the blues. Although much of 
Jimi's music may be labelled as 'blues,' he 
was the first Black rock artist in the sense 
that he invented a unique playing style 
and genre combining soul with electric 
guitar, distortion and feedback. This was 
atypical of soul musicians at the time — 
although Jimi got his share of soul by play- 
ing with several Black artists early in their 

career 

continued on page 94 



91 



STATE REPRESENTATIVE: 



RAYMOND A. JORDAN 




State Representative Raymond A. Jor- 
dan is a very busy person. I discovered 
this during my attempts to interface with 
his schedule to request the interviev\f. He 
is the first Black State Representative to 
be elected outside of Boston or west of 
Boston and has had seven successful 
campaigns and nearly a decade and a half 
of service in his district. Representative 
Jordan 's day does not end when he leaves 
his office in the State House in Boston, 
nor when he arrives in Springfield after 
traveling 90 miles or so. I discovered that 
the six-term public official 'remains on 
the job' most days and evenings when 
home is Springfield. His presence and in- 
put is sought and required at many 
meetings at the community, municipal, 
county, and state level. He and his wife 
Donna are requested to appear at 
numerous functions within the district he 
represents, as well as at political gather- 
ings throughout the city state and nation. 



Through collaboration with Jordan's 
beautiful and charming wife Donna, I 
secured a date, time and an invitation to 
spend a late Sunday afternoon with Jor- 
dan. Mrs. Jordan tactfully arranged my 
visit at a time when her husband was 
most certain to be available. 

Job, Responsibilities and Issues 

My primary job is to represent the 
viewpoint of 35,000 people as an official 
of the General Court of the Com- 
monwealth. As one of 160 State Repre- 
sentatives, it is my responsibility to re- 
spond to constituency requests in terms 
of making the laws, rules and regulations 
that govern the Commonwealth and at 
the same time provide whatever govern- 
mental assistance that is necessary. 

Most people clearly understand the job 
of State Representative. They understand 
that there are people who have received 
employment opportunities because of me 



and my office, and that people get better 
housing due to my efforts. People have 
been helped with social security and have 
gotten into senior citizen homes due to 
my efforts. Some see me as the answer 
man and that my main responsibility is 
to work with people's problems. I guess 
in a nutshell, that is really what it is. I 
work with people's problems, trying to 
help them out, whether it's trying to get 
a son or daughter into a college or univer- 
sity [or] trying to address a problem a 
parent may have with their youngster and 
their school principal. I try to point them 
in the right direction towards a solution, 
to the best of my ability, by calling upon 
my years of experience in many areas. 

Problems involving teenage pregnan- 
cies, low birth weight, high infant mor- 
tality and AIDS — problems that 
specifically impact the minority com- 
munity. Hispanics and Blacks are among 
my primary concerns as well and prob- 
lems involving substance abuse — drugs. 
One of the things I try to do is to com- 
municate the need for awareness. People 
really need to understand fully the im- 
plications of teenage pregnancies, AIDS, 
drug abuse and the pitfalls and dangers of 
young people being involved in those 
situations. We have a serious problem 
because teenage pregnancies are more 
acute in the Black and Hispanic com- 
munity. We have a much higher rate. 
When you look at it closely because of the 
coalition between low income and high 
unemployment rate, you find both have 
a lot to do with teenage pregnancies. 
[With regards to] illiteracy, we as a race 
have to really get a handle on things and 
begin to turn these conditions around. We 
cannot afford to have our ladies tied down 
with babies having babies. And at the 
same time, our young men need an oppor- 
tunity to really become young men — to 
become adults before having these 
children. With babies come respon- 
sibilities and sometimes for a moment's 
pleasure there comes long-term pain. 
Many plans and lifestyles can be ruined 
when young people have babies at four- 
teen, fifteen, sixteen years of age. 

The problems of low birth weight are 
the results of some of the poor health con- 
ditions we have in our commvmity. Babies 
bom underweight are more apt to be sick- 
ly and they are actually starting life at a 
disadvantage, and we cannot afford to 
start our babies out with a disadvantage. 
We need to have healthy babies. That is 
why it is better for yovmgsters to wait, for 
people to wait, until they are grown, to 
get married, (that's right - I'm old fash- 
ioned. I feel people should wait until 
they're married) and are prepared to raise 



92 



a family, take care of children and provide 
for a family. 

As an individual, I am personally not 
in favor of abortions, however, as a politi- 
cian it is my responsibility to promote the 
individual choice of each person. You 
have to look in the mirror each day. It 
depends upon oneself. Again, if a person 
looks into the mirror everyday and 
decides it's the best route for them, that 
alternative ought to be available for them. 
I do not frown on people who get abor- 
tions. I understand abortions are done 
worldwide, as much in the white com- 
munities as in the Black. The only dif- 
ference is that they are more pronounced 
in the Black community. I can remember 
in my time in our community, people 
would disappear and go down South, 
sometimes to have babies. But in the 
white community, they would go away 
for a couple of days to bave an abortion. 
It would not be as pronounced, as obvious. 
So, consequently, I take a long look at peo- 
ple who say they are publicly against abor- 
tions. I say on a personal level, I do not 
favor abortion, but I feel that it is a per- 
son's individual decision as to how they 
handle that situation. But we can not af- 
ford to take care of, that is, contribute to 
higher illiteracy rates as these (babies) are 
often born into families where the 
resources are not there for them to gain 
a rightful and productive position in 
society. 

Politics and Education 

I would advise any young minority per- 
son interested in politics to get involved 
at the grassroots level. And that is when 
a person running for office gets really in- 
volved in that campaign. Go through the 
rigors of licking and stuffing envelopes, 
making telephone calls, looking up 
telephone numbers; finding out what it 
really takes to get elected. Too many 
young people want to start off as the can- 
didate rather than get the experience of 
how to run a political campaign. In most 
political campaigns, the person with the 
most votes wins. And you have to 
demonstrate the ability to pull together 
a campaign organization that's going to 
help you get elected and at the same time 
raise monies. It's imfortunate that money 
plays such and important part in a person 
getting elected to office but you have to 
raise the necessary revenue to be elected, 
and at the same time you must be on top 
of the issues. You have to know what 
you're talking about. This requires a great 
amount of reading, a good amount of 
dedication and discipline in order for you 
to be well versed enough to go out and 
convince people that you can best repre- 
sent their interests. 

It seems that in most cases, politicians 
spend the majority of their time running 
for office, running for re-election. 
However, if [a person] makes that deci- 
sion, I would hope that they would com- 



plete their [college] education and have a 
field to serve as a backup in the event that 
they enter politics. I think a person should 
be a self sustaining member of society and 
always have a craft, trade or profession. 
I wouldn't mind if my daughters became 
involved in a political career as long as 
they had some other vocation as a back- 
up in the event politics did not prove suc- 
cessful. Everyone cannot be a politician. 
I happen to have been very well known 
in the community [before I ran for State 
Representative] because I was one of the 
founders of Harambee Holiday. As a co- 
founder of Harambee, I was in a highly 
visibile role. In addition, I was employed 
by American International College where 
I served as the Director of the Afro- 
American Cultural Center. I had a respon- 
sibility to assist 250 Black students en- 
rolled there. I also served as President of 
the Springfield Urban League. So I had 
high visibility and name recognition prior 
to becoming an elected official, so that 
when people go to the polls and make that 
decision as to who to vote for they 
recognize the name and pull the lever in 
my behalf. 

On Racism 

Everywhere you go, you will encoimter 
racial incidents and signs of racism. 
Racism is a reality of the world. And the 
University of Massachusetts is no excep- 
tion. I do not know if racism is more pro- 
nounced at the University of 
Massachusetts or any other place in this 
society or within the Commonwealth. 
Based upon what I hear from talking to 
various students and some administrators 
it appears to be more pronounced at the 
University of Masschusetts and it is a 
form of subtle racism. What happens is it 
is something that is difficult for the ad- 
ministration to control because it in- 
volves students. But within the ad- 
ministration it is very clear that we must 
look and see whether or not we have 
Black faculty and staff and Blacks in key 
administrative decision positions. That 
has a lot to do with the perceptions of the 
University. At the University of 
Massachusetts, I would say that there is 
a good amount (in numbers) of Blacks in- 
volved within the faculty and staff. But 
as far as decision-making positions are 
concerned, the number of Blacks here 
leaves something to be desired. How 
much money is available for minority 
students (UMass's minority community) ? 
What kinds of dollars are put into efforts 
to recruit more Black faculty and staff for 
the University? And that is something 
that those persons who are doing evalua- 
tions of the University of Massachusetts 
have to take into consideration. 

There are also many incidents that are 
racial within the city of Springfield. The 
kinds of racism that I encounter are [con- 
cerned] with the employment aspects. For 
example, if you look at the city of 



Springfield and look at the developing 
trades, the amount of people that are hired 
by the building trades — painters, masons, 
carpenters, plumbers — all the better pay- 
ing jobs among the building trades in the 
city of Springfield, out of hundreds of 
employers there is just one that is Black. 
That is racism, and that should not be. 

If you look at the decision making posi- 
tions, the department heads at City Hall, 
you'll find it leaves a lot to be desired in 
terms of Blacks with decision making 
powers. In addition, if you did an evalua- 
tion in terms of purchases of services you 
would find that the amount of money paid 
to minority community vendors under 
city contracts is less than 2%. That's also 
a form of racism. So there are situations 
that involve racism here that are no dif- 
ferent than any other city. Is it more pro- 
nounced? I would say it might be a little 
less pronounced than other cities that I 
have been involved with. No where near 
the level of Boston, but still the situation 
leaves something to be desired. 

My district is predominantly white so 
I respond to whoever calls upon me for 
constituency work. My first preference is 
to people who live within the district. 
Even though I am a state representative, 
I am a Black person first, therefore, my 
primary focus is on the Black communi- 
ty because we need more assistance, and 
I make no bones about it. I'm a Black state 
representative in regards to my priorities 
and what begins to happen is I have to 
spend more time addressing the concerns 
of the Black community because there are 
fewer of me (Black elected officials). Out 
of 160 state representatives, there are only 
six that are Black. 

I would like to add that for most peo- 
ple that are interested in entering politics, 
it is important for them to understand 
that you have to start with yourself by get- 
ting yourself in a position to be elected. 
No one wants someone who is not going 
to speak out in their best interests. It's not 
a case of speaking out and expressing your 
own opinion solely but one of reflecting 
the will of their constituency. That's im- 
portant! It's easy for a person who is an 
elected official to be either a politician or 
a statesman. As a politician, you can do 
what's politically expedient and not just 
make a decision that might not be ir- 
responsible. A statesman is a person that 
makes the decision that's not necessari- 
ly expedient What you have to do is 
reflect, evaluate the information you have 
available to you and make a decision on 
it. You then decide whether you are go- 
ing to be a politician or a statesman. I 
prefer being a statesman. People do not 
necessarily understand or sometimes 
agree with the decisions I make, but as an 
elected official, I have to live with that, 
because I will be elected on the decisions 
I malte, whether they are right or wrong. 

Dawn Marshall is a UMass student. 



93 



STARS THAT PLAY (cont'd from 91) 
HENDRIX ON RECORD 

During his career, Hendrix released on- 
ly five albums. They were issued by 
Warner Brothers/Reprise, his official label 
in the U.S. and by Polydor and Track, his 
official labels in Europe and the Untied 
Kingdom. These LP's include: Are You Ex- 
periencedi, Axis:Bold as Love, Electric 
Lady Land, Smash Hits, and Otis Red- 
ding/Jimi Hendiix at Monterey. Band of 
Gypsies was released by Capitol after the 
tapes from the historic Filmore East New 
Year's Eve concert of 1969 were used to 
settle a lawsuit. 

After Hendrix's death, several albums 
appeared under varying circumstances. 
These albums include: The Cry of Love, 
Rainbow Bridge, Hendiix In the West, 
War Heroes, Sound Track Recording from 
the Film fimi Hendrix, and Loose Ends. 
Loose Ends is available in England and in 
Europe. 

Independent producer Alan Douglas 
spun off some albums from a mass of 
some 600 hours of raw, unedited tapes 
that Hendrix had left in his Electric Lady 
Studios and elsewhere. Crash Landing 
and Midnight Lightning were released in 
1975. Other LP's released after Jimi's 
death include: The Essential Jim Hendrix, 
Nine to the Universe, Woodstock, 
Woodstock Two, and the Isle of Wright 
performance (available only in the U.K.) 
In Germany Polydor has released a twelve 
volume set of all official European albums 
called simply fimi Hendrix. 

When I die, just keep playing the records. 

-Jimi Hendrix 

DISCOGRAPHY 

Official Recordings (United Kingdom): 
The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Axis: Bold 
as Love; Electric Lady Land; Band of Gyp- 
sies; Cry of Love; War Heroes; Smash 
Hits; The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 
Backtrack Three; The Jimi Hendrix Ex- 
perience: Backtrack Four; The Jimi Hen- 
drix Experience: Backtrack Ten; Jimi Hen- 
drix at Monterey Pop Festival; Experience: 
Original Sound Track; Woodstock; 
Woodstock Two; At the Isle of Wright; 
Hendrix in the West; Rainbow Bridge: 
Motion Picture Soundtrack. (Polydor), 
Earlier Recordings: Jimi Hendrix and the 
Isley Brothers; Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie 
Youngblood; Jimi Hendrix and Curtis 
Knight. Bootleg LP's: Live Experience 
1967-68; Live In Hawaii, Maui, 1970; Jimi 
Hendrix Live at the Los Angeles Forum; 
Sky High; The Jimi Hendrix Experience 
with Ginger Baker. 

Rio Gabriel is a Communications and 
Film major from Toronto, Canada. 

'Taken from the record jacket of Aie You 
Experienced^ 

94 



CANE (cont'd from 87) 

"Nowhures in p'ticla, jes walkin'," she 
answered, quickening her pace. 

"C'mon now, peoples jes don' walk 
nowhures 'bitually." 

"Ac'tully, I wuz comin' from de jailhouse." 

"De prison! Woman, whut de hell you doin' 
'round dem no 'counts for? Is you sick?" 

"Whut de hell you mean no 'counts? And 
what de hell you mean sick?" 

'"Xactly whut I said. Why you think dey's 
locked up fo? Not 'cause deys wentta church 
ev'y Sunday. Dey ain't no good, ya shouldn' 
be roun' dem. Yo' papa know you be goin 
out dere? Ifn' he don' I make sho' he do 
t'night, soon as we gets home. Uh-huh, dat's 
right." 

"Hoi' it, one dam' minute." She stopped and 
put her hand on her hip. "Whut you mean 
you gonna tell my papa whure I been soon 
as we gets home? Ain't no home to you. Who 
de hell you think you is? Ya ain't none o' my 
dam' man. Shit. Let a negro walk you' behin' 
home an' he think he gots 'xclusive rights on 
ya. Dam." 

"Now hoi' on, don' be cussin' me. Tain't fit- 
tin' fo' no girl to be talkin' lak dat. Anyhow, 
lak I wuz sayin', ain't nuthin' but no 'counts 
be in de jail an' don' nuthin' but no good 
womens be hangin' 'round dere. You gots a 
man out der o' sumthin'? If ya does, what 
de hell you doin wid me walkin' you home?" 

"Firstly, yo' behin' ain't walkin' me home, 
you is only goin' haf de way. Secondly, you 
knows whut I doin' at de prison, de whole 
dam' town knows. Thirdly, I cuss when I 
dam' well feel lak it. Shit. Lastly, whut if I 
do gots a man out dere dat don' nobody 
know 'bout?" 

"Well, I jes stop right here and go de hell 
home." 

"Bye." 

"Jes tryin' to make con'vasation, 'fo you 
goin' jump down my throat. 'Sides, I know 
whure you lives any how and who ya is. . . ." 

"Lak I been sayin' all night, ev'ybody 'round 
here know ev'body else. 'Body ain't gots no 
kinda privacy 'round here." 

"An I know why you wuz at de prison, 
but. . . ." 

"Negro, wuz you listenin' to whut I was 
sayin'? An' you mean to tell me dat ya went 
through all dat pr'tense? I don' under'stan' 
dat. Is you sick?" 

"No, I ain't sick an' it don' matter now 
'cause I goin' home." 

"Bout dam' time. Bye." She rolled her eyes 
and turned her back. Her feet sounded 
heavier on the ground. 

"Dam she cold," he thought. She certain- 
ly was a strong woman, a one of a kind 
original. She was right, everyone knew 
everyone else's business in the town. Her 
trips to the prison served two purposes: to 
see her brother and to earn extra money for 
the family. She cooked the meals for the in- 
mates and the police. It was said that she 



helped to protect her brother by keeping the 
policemen happy with her cooking. They 
were not willing to give up her nice meals, 
by having her brother meet some unfor- 
tunate accident, as more than a few of the 
blacks did. She knew how to protect what 
was hers by any means possible. Almost 
home, she realized that her father would 
wonder what had taken her so long. Al- 
though she knew she couldn't lie and she 
couldn't tell the truth, to stretch the truth 
would suffice. To lie in such a close-knit com- 
munity would get her into more trouble than 
telling the entire truth. 

"That Cane c'tainly wuz strange, but I do 
lak 'im." 

Only the sound of the night creatures filled 
Cane's ears, he was oblivious to the gentle 
human noises that also surrounded him. He 
was oblivious to the curious stares, he was 
oblivious to the human world, only the 
soothing ruckus of the nocturnal creatures 
had his attention. The dark woods invited 
him to come and immerse himself in the 
tranquility that they possessed. A brook 
gurgled gendy nearby, the nestling of leaves, 
the chirping of crickets, the buzz of mos- 
quitoes and his steady breathing were the 
only sounds Cane heard. "Whut she mean 
ifn' she gots a man out dere?," he smiled. The 
moon danced playfully upon the brook, con- 
torting and wrinkling as it floated 
downstream. A breeze moved the otherwise 
still night air. Cane shivered, not from the 
sudden breeze but from thinking about 
Fern. His Fern. "Fern." A smile deepened and 
spread across his glistening face. 




Vincent Smith THE POET GIVING A 
DRAMATIC READING WITH JAZZ 
ENSEMBLE © 1985 James B. Gwynne/ 
Steppingstones Press. 




The history of the Ashanti people is 
said to have started with their greatest 
king, Osei Kohi Tutu, and his long time 
friend Okomfo Anokye. When Osei Tutu 
was young, he was sent to be educated at 
the court of Denkyara. There he had a 
love affair with the sister of the king of 
Denkyara. Because of this, Osei Tutu was 
forced to flee for his life. He sought refuge 
in the land of Akwamu. It was here that 
he met Okomfo Anokye, and the two men 
became close friends. Upon hearing about 
the death of his uncle Obiri Yeboa, Osei 
Tutu returned to Ashanti with Okomfo 
Anokye accompanying him. 

Until this time, the Ashanti kingdom 
had been fragmented into several different 
tribes. Osei Tutu and Okomfo Anokye 
knew that in order to defeat their 
enemies, they had to unite these chiefs in- 
to one nation. Okomfo set about to ac- 
complish this task by declaring that all 
Ashanti tribes descended from a common 
ancestress. This, by tradition, they be- 
lieved. The only problem was to decide 
who would rule the nation. It was at this 
point that Okomfo is said to have per- 
formed his magic and pulled a Golden 
Stool down from the heavens; Okomfo 
Anokye was respected among the Ashanti 
for his magic. The stool landed on the lap 
of Osei Tutu, and none disputed that he 
had been chosen by the ancestors to be the 
ruler of the Ashanti. 

Osei Tutu was a generous ruler who 
listened to every member of the Ashanti 
Council, made up of all the tribal chiefs, 
whom Osei Tutu allowed to retain their 
original chieftain powers. Osei Tutu then 
immediately set about to defeat the 
Doma, the tribal enemy that was respon- 
sible for the death of his uncle. 
Henceforth the Golden Stool was declared 
to contain the soul of the Ashanti people. 
With the hope given them by Okomfo 
Anokye, the Ashanti warriors defeated 
the Doma. 

To this point in time, the Ashanti were 
paying tribute to the Denkyara. Osei Tutu 
sought to end this. The guns and ammuni- 
tion needed for such a war had to pass 
through Denkyara territory. The 
Denkyara allowed passage of weapons for 
some unknown reason into the hands of 
the Ashanti. After many battles, the 



Ashanti were victorious in the war. 
Among the booty extracted from the 
Denkyara was a note by which the Dutch 
agreed to pay rent for a fort they had in 
Elima, a coimtry that had formerly 
belonged to the Denkyara and had now 
passed into Ashanti hands. This brought 
the Ashanti into contact with the politics 
of the coast of West Africa. 

Although the Ashanti had defeated the 
Denkyara, the Akim, one of the 
Denkyara's allies, decided not to accept 
the Ashanti as sovereign. Osei Tutu decid- 
ed to bring the Akim under subjugation 
as soon as possible. While Osei Tutu and 
his army were crossing the Prah River to 
engage in war, the Akim set an ambush 
and killed the king. The Akim warriors 
were lauded for the killing of Osei Tutu, 
but later they were punished because of 
the lack of ethics involved; his body had 
fallen into the river and was never re- 
trieved. Osei Tutu's army retreated to the 
Ashanti capital of Kumasi. Although the 
death of Osei Tutu caused considerable 
panic among the Ashanti, the nation re- 
mained united due to the past efforts of 
Osei Tutu and Okomfo Anokye. Ashanti 
rose to become one of Africa's most 
powerful nations. 

Osei Tut was the father of a tribe that 
became a powerful African state. The 
Ashanti became involved in the affairs of 
the coast of Africa, which usually brought 
them into contact with the Europeans. 
The Europeans usually tried not to in- 
terfere with tribal wars, unless there was 
something beneficial in it for them. The 
Ashanti's expanding power threatened the 
Europeans. 

In the late 1800s, the Fanti, a neighbor- 
ing enemy of the Ashanti, declared war 
on them The Ashanti called upon their 
British allies for support. The Fanti along 
with three thousand British soldiers under 
the command of Lord Wolseley, marched 
against the Ashanti. They reached the 
Ashanti capital of Kumasi and complete- 
ly destroyed it. The Ashanti were brave 
in their fight, but their weapons, in the 
long run, were no match for the British 
carmons. The Europeans had abandoned 
all policy of non-interference. As a result 
of their loss, the Ashanti agreed to pay 
50,000 ounces of gold to the British and 



to keep the road used for access into the 
Ashanti capital open. 

The British retired after their victory 
and the Ashanti gained control once 
again. The Ashanti abandoned all 
agreements made with the British and in- 
deed paid very little of the 50,000 in gold 
to them. In 1896, a new Ashantehene 
ascended to the throne. His name was 
Kwaka Dua III, better known as King 
Prempeh. King Prempeh tried to create 
friendly relations with the British. 
However, when King Prempeh declined 
the British Queen's offer of British protec- 
tion, the British accused the Ashanti of 
not keeping their treaty and declared that 
the Ashantehene surrender himself. This 
King Prempeh did. He had no fear that his 
kingdom would suffer because the Golden 
Stool was safe, and it was obvious that the 
British had superior weapons. The British 
exiled the king and inflicted a heavy fine 
upon the Ashanti. The British had cap- 
tured the Ashantehene and imprisoned 
many members of his family, but this was 
not enough for them. In order to com- 
pletely destroy the spirit of the Ashanti 
people, the British had to attain the 
Golden Stool, which by this time was 
very valuable adorned with many jewels 
and gold. 

Sir Fredrick Hodgeson went to Ashan- 
ti and not only demanded the Golden 
Stool but asked to sit on it. This shocked 
the Ashanti. So great was the insult to 
Ashanti that they prepared to once again 
take up arms against the British. Though 
some of the elders expressed apprehension 
about fighting the British, Yaa Asantewaa, 
the Queen Mother of Ejisu, gave her peo- 
ple the incentive to fight. She inquired of 
them where was their courage and told 
them that if the Ashanti men would not 
fight, the Ashanti women would. Her 
speech inspired the Ashanti men and once 
again, they were at war with the British. 
This war was led by Yaa Asantewaa 
herself, and was later named after her. 
The British fought the war with their 
unrivaled weapons. Yaa Asantewaa was 
captured, and thus ended the war led by 
this brave Queen Mother of Ashanti. 

Terielle Hodge is a sophomore COINS 
major from Albany, New York. 



95 



DRUM STAFF 








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Victor Alexander, Desmond Dorsett — design and layout coordinator, Terrelle Hodge, Rio Gabriel, Mark T. Childs — editor, 
Sara Shapiro — editor. Dawn Marshall, Pancho Morris, Martha Grier-Deen — editor-in-chief and Susan (Sushi) Hodgkins — 
design and layout. 



Camera Shy: 

Ganick Amos, Jennifei Baino, Sonia Boyan, David Daggett, John Daniel, Steven Jones, Elaine Le Bnm, Cathy Mahoney, Rudolph 
Miller, Simone Nicholson, Khsten Pavoa, Stuart Rankin — design and layout, Steve Rickstraw, Evon Walters, Lodmdna Barros, 
Lisette Bethea, Marianne Gabriel, Gregory Nau, Rhodonna Robinson. 



i 



96 



Prayer for Africa 



English by Katherine F. Rohrbough 
Swahili from Ngeihe Njroje 
Original Zulu by Enoch Sontonga 

With dignity 
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Enoch Sontonga 
Arr. by Walter F. Anderson 



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English Bless, O Lord, ourcoun -try, Af - ri 
Swahili Bwa-na, i - ba - ri - ki Af - ri 

Zulu Nko-si, si - kel - el' i Af - ri 



ca, 
ka, 
ka, 



So that she may wak - en 
I - li - i - pa - te 
Mai - u - pa-kam' u - pon ■ 



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from her sleep, 
ku - am - ka. 
do - Iway - o; 



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Fill her horn with plen - ty, guide her feet. 
Ma - om - bi ye tu ya - si - ki - lei. 
Yi - va im - I - tan - da - zo ye - tu. 



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tu 
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faith - ful sons.' 
ba - ri - ki. 
si -kel -el - e. 



Spir - it, de-scend, (Spir-it, Spir-it,) 

U - je Ro-ho, (U -je, U -je,) 

Yih - la Moy-a, ( Yih - la Moy - a, ) 



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Spir - it, de-scend, 
U - je Ro- ho. 
Yih - la Moy - a. 



Spir - it, de-scend, 
U - je Ro -ho, 
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Spir -It di - vine. 
U - tu - ja - ze. 
cwel - e. 



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* "ones" may be substituted for sons. 

From Sing It Again. Copyright © 19S8, World Around Songs. U«d by permlulon. 



THE ORIGIN OF "NKOSI SIELELT AFRIKA " 

Nkos Sikele' i Afrika was composed In 1897 and first publicly sung In 1899. The 
composition has a somcwlial niclanclioly slrain. The black folk around Jolianneshurg 
were, at the time, far from happy. The piece was commonly sung in native ilay schools 
and further popularized by the Ohlange Zulu Choir that visited the Rami giving concerts. 

When the African National Congress flourished, its leaders adopted this piece as a 
closing antliem for their meetings, and this soon became a custom in the other provinces 
in connection with all types of Bantu organizations. Of late the black races of the Union 
and the Protectorates have somehow by tacit assent adopted it as their recognized national 
anthem, sung before royalty and on big public occasions. 



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