Full text of "Drum"
BLACK LITERARY EXPERIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
iy I. Jones, Herman L. Davenport
Mildred N. Davenport
stine Jewell, Kenneth Wright, Doris Willjli
Al Hart, Paul Barrows
Editor s Note: We are at this time extendin
te in the publication of the
THE DRUM, Fall, 1971
Vol. 3, No. 1
Editorial, Circulation and Ad-
vertising Offices located at 111
Mills House, University of Massa-
chusetts, Amherst, Mass. 01002.
Printing: Gazette Printing Co., Inc. Northampton,
Noted Black Women
Great Black Music
The Cockroach on a Bike
To be continued
A I Key
THIS ISSUE OF THE DRUM
IS DEDICATED TO
Due to the recent events taking place in the
country's houses of correction, reformatories
and prisons, the DRUM is paying a special
tribute to those Brothers and Sisters (many of
whom are facing death row) concerned with
the uplift of Black and all third world peoples.
Although the overt reality of prisons has
drawn our attention to the unjustness of the
penal system, more importantly, it is the em-
phasis of the DRUM to draw attention to the
prison(s) surrounding each and every one of
us. Consciously or unconsciously, we are all
caught in a web of terror, with one sincere
hope of uniting before it is too late.
In recent years many people in this country have
begun to realize and admit certain truths to them-
selves. This realization and admittance has not ne-
cessarily brought about changes that make growth
possible, but they have brought about changes in the
tactics of the various "interest groups" in this coun-
try. They have changed the politics of those within
the arena and have given new names to the "lions that
devour christians in the coliseum."
What are these truths and who is meditating on
them? These truths are life and we are those meditat-
The bigots are realizing that there is not only a
cultural-racial prejudice, but also a politico-economic
one. The liberal is realizing that he cannot stand back
and say "we love everybody," send his money to his
favorite minority charity or watch his bigot brother
continue his oppression of powerless people without
feeling the same pain that is administered by the op-
pressed as they desperately lash back at the system
seeking any means of survival. The oppressed are
realizing that "minority" no longer steadfastly means
being few in number; instead it means being power-
less; no economic power and no political power.
But these issues are by no means new. What is
happening now has happened throughout history.
Pharaoh had his Israelites. Rome had its Carthage.
England had its India and America ....
Has our Moses come and gone; have we missed our
Hannibal; did we let our Ghandi die; are we six mil-
lion Jews in Nazi Germany saying that they don't
kill good Germans?
Editor's Note: During the past few months the
Emergency Defense Committee for Sister Angela
Davis and other Brothers and Sisters in California
prisons, has been raising funds for their defense. We
strongly urge your support!
Emergency Defense Committee
310 Mills House
University of Massachusetts
Protesting yet we discriminate
Persistence, they retaliate
Condemned in infancy
Existing in fantasy.
Premeditate then persecute:
Resolve you hypocrite.
"~ "^ ■
The dramatic events at Attica have compelled us to
examine fundamental aspects of social justice in the
political matrix of this society. People around the
world have expressed alarm at democracy's response
to a confrontation, which challenged and perhaps
undermined its tenets of justice and equality. There
was no resiliency in the decision-making process to
encourage a continuation of the dialogue or to pre-
vent a polarization of forces. This allowed reaction to
set in and madness to prevail. The anguished cries of
those who were murdered, maimed or brutalized have
been heard throughout the world. Their voices echo
the context of exploitation that thousands (or even
millions) of ordinary people, conscious of their op-
pression, have brought before the bar of humanity.
During the weeks following the massacre at Attica,
people have written extensively on the collapse of the
state and federal apparatus in the decision-making
process. Even the appointment of investigating bod-
ies, which will attempt to legitimize and justify the
actions of the political leadership, will be compelled to
highlight some inconsistencies in the final solution
executed by the state. Speeches have been made about
the dehumanizing aspects of prison life, the indisput-
able clarity of the inmates in their expressions of
unity and collective struggle, and the history of be-
trayal which prisoners have experienced from offi-
cials in the legal and penal institutions, thereby com-
pelling prisoners to question the integrity of nego-
tiators and administrators. These issues have been
debated hard and long, but in the rhetorical frenzy, we
have forgotten to go back precisely to the character
of the demands made by the prisoners at Attica.
This essay will deal explicitly with those demands,
for it is in their very essence, their very nature, that
the challenge to fundamental aspects of our "so-
called" democratic tradition projected an incompatible
situation. The men at Attica genuinely believed that
the society and perhaps Commissioner Russel Oswald
were serious about the question of penal reform, even
though they might have been aggrieved at the murder
of George Jackson at San Quentin. Their Manifesto
of Demands tore at the very fabric of the social struc-
ture and demanded that democratic rights become a
vibrant and living part of the institutional structure
so that there could be a radical transformation of
their dehumanized reality.
In the preamble to the Manifesto the inmates
heightened the facade of the rehabilitative process to
which they have been submitted, by comparing it with
"the ancient stupidity of pouring water on a drown-
ing man in as much as they are treated for their hos-
tilities by their program administrators with the lat-
ter's hostility as medication." The ineffectiveness of
this rehabilitative process is not only dramatized by
the high percentage of recidivism, but by the compel-
ling story of Haywood Patterson in Scottsboro Boys
Trial as he emphasizes the neuroses and demoniac
tendencies of prison authorities, who have become
victims of it in precisely the same sense as the prison-
In the preamble, the men at Attica emphasized that
they have been denied not only due process of the
law and other Constitutional Rights, but more im-
portantly, as they seek to expand intellectually so
that they might be in touch with social movements
and world trends, they are systematically cut off from
the pursuit of knowledge and "remanded to isola-
tion status whenever they insist on their human rights
to the wisdom of awareness." It is at this level that
prison authorities are terrified by the growing politi-
cal consciousness, sensitivity and keen perceptions of
today's Black prisoners, who have come to under-
stand that they are the most abused victims of an un-
righteous social order. The Elliot Barclays, the Herbert
X. Blydens, the Richard Clarkes etc, have become the
architects, builders and broadcasters of a social ethic
that has moved beyond the traditional liberal posture
of penal reformist.
The demands were updated expressions of the ar-
guments presented by Black prisoners in the decade
of the sixties from Malcolm X to George Jackson. The
demands were Constitutional, political, economic,
social and cultural. They indicate a thorough grasp
not only of the context of exploitation, but the ef-
fective conditions for substantive reform in the re-
The Manifesto emphasized the rights of legal re-
presentation at parole board hearings and the at-
tendant procedural safeguards at parole revocation
hearings. It called for improved and adequate medi-
cal attention and public health practices at a time
when the society itself is attempting to come to grips
with a national health crisis and inadequate facilities.
It demanded that economic exploitation be stopped,
but at the same time it recommended that opportuni-
ties for rehabilitation through preparation for entry
into the productive processes of the industrial sector
should be programmatically designed "by allowing
those industries outside who desire to enter for the
purpose of employment placement." They have rec-
ognized that working conditions in prisons did not
develop working incentives parallel to the many jobs in
the outside society, and "a paroled prisoner therefore
faced many contradictions of the job that added to his
difficulty of adjusting." This is a progressive reformist
position, which the penal system should consider seri-
ously, for it will inject a new dymanic in the rehabilita-
tive process. It is certainly interesting that men, whom
the reactionary elements consider to be revolutionary
activists, provide a reformist alternative that will en-
hance social progress.
The Manifesto demanded the Constitutional right
to peaceful dissent, and "an end to political persecu-
tion, racial persecution, and the denial of prisoners'
rights to subscribe to political papers, books or any
other educational and current media chronicles that
are forwarded through the U.S. Mail." These are
fundamental rights, which if abridged will only serve
to undermine the rehabilitative process, for it is only
with the free exchange of ideas in the market-place
that men can grow with maturity to understand the
precepts of social intercourse, and thereby validate
The Manifesto expressed a high level of social
awareness as it demanded an end to the unhealthy
conditions of surroundings "reinforced by the esca-
lating practice of physical brutality perpetrated on
inmates." It called for "one set of rules governing all
prisoners in the state of New York" rather than the
totalitarian system which empowered each warden
with ultimate authority for running the institution
"as he sees fit."
The Manifesto expressed the architect's determina-
tion to challenge the present system of dehumaniza-
tion, brutality and injustice. The men at Attica were
prepared to die for the democratic principles not only
enunciated in their Manifesto, but experienced in
their revolt as they raised their level of consciousness
and dignity to a spiritual plateau where individualism,
fear and cowardice did not prevail, but rather the con-
tours of collective integrity, effective unity of pur-
pose and action, and a clear understanding that death
is a reflection of a noble life. This was buttressed by
their convictions that the human spirit will not yield
to corrosive and destructive forces, but it will en-
scribe the truth of their struggle on the pages of his-
tory with blood, sweat and tears. Elliot Barclay, L.D.,
one of the brothers who was murdered at Attica re-
minded the negotiators that we should take seriously
what has happened at Attica for the inmates' lives
have been the fullest expression of the vital sinews of
a revolutionary tradition.
Acklyn R. Lynch
W.E.B. Department of Afro-American
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
October 24, 1971
"WhatPrison Are You In?"
Springfield is a community not too distant from
Amherst but yet we seldom if ever connect ourselves
with the happenings that transpire there. Only now
have we just begun to involve ourselves with our
One case in point is the recent racial disturbances
in the Springfield High Schools. This seems to have
been precipitated by white outsiders bent on harras-
sing the Black students. This situation is similar to
that of two years ago when a number of schools were
closed because of agitation from without and within
the school system.
Following the initial disturbance there was a com-
munity meeting held at the now defunct Buckingham
Junior High School which is now- used for adult ed-
ucational classes. At this session were students from
the various high schools, parents, community or-
ganizers, the mayor, the superintendent of schools
and other concerned citizens. There was a debate that
was centered around concern of student welfare. At
times the tone became quite volatile, almost to the
point of physical violence.
When it became apparent that in answering the
questions Mayor Friedman was playing a political
game (the elections were coming up soon), students
left the meeting en masse. Later, a mass student dem-
onstration was held for the purpose of showing unity
but because of a fracas involving injury to a white
boy, more cops and social workers appeared on the
scene to quell the students. In the following weeks,
conditions improved but there are still some basic
We can keep our eyes on this community situa-
tion for the problem was not solved but the people
were temporarily assuaged.
For those of us who are from Springfield, we
should become more involved in our community and
to all Brothers and Sisters, for although we may be
in our academic towers, reality is in the communities
from whence we came.
Robert J. Padgett
On the afternoon of September 18, 1971, Sisters
Brenda Hall and Diane Mitchell, upon leaving Mars
Department Store were stopped, accused and arrested
for alleged shoplifting. During the course of the ar-
rest Miss Hall's blouse and jacket were torn off. She
managed temporarily to escape more brutality, but
was soon picked up in a nearby service station and
taken to the police station.
Upon their release a group of concerned friends
and relatives met with them on Green Street to find
out what had happened and what could possibly be
done about it. There also were a few representatives
of the "Pyramid" a black non-violent community or-
ganization present. Before the sister could finish ex-
plaining what had happened, three or four police cars
arrived on the scene. These enforcers of law and order
immediately began to herd the people into a nearby
apartment house as if they were cattle.
One member of the Pyramid, recognizing the offi-
cer in charge, approached him and told him that if he
could get his men out of the area he would control
the situation and see to it that the blacks left the
streets peacefully. As soon as he had done this, he
prepared to leave the area but noticed that the "pigs"
had by now set up roadblocks allowing no one to
enter or leave. He returned to the area where the peo-
ple had been and began talking to a friend when the
"pigs" returned beating every black in sight. They
were, as some black witnesses report, "so carried
away with their administration of 'justice' that they
had beaten and arrested everyone but themselves."
It was told that these merciless beatings and accu-
sations did not stop in the streets but were continued
at the police station. The blacks say that there were
reporters from a Worcester newspaper photograph-
ing the beatings but nothing mentioned by the (white)
To Blacks in Fitchburg, this was another demon-
stration of police brutality, this was another demon-
stration of the powerlessness of an oppressed people,
and this was another demonstration of how mass
media can be used to suppress the truth.
Police reports in Fitchburg probably read that a
"number of blacks were arrested for throwing rocks
and bottles at whites."???
Kenneth E. Wright
There is no time for bargaining now,
!\o time to sit in idle memories.
Hollow negatives frame each thought out —
Lining the faith and understanding.
Compromising circumstances of trust
Has locked out many would-be-invaders.
Enchanted by the emptiness-endless boundaries
(Cause clusvness in freedom
Dreams intertwining with happy
Moments — tears have autographed
Warmth has conquered the silent stillness
Embalmed to persevere any sorroic.
And erected with pride to just have been
Part of it
Dedicated to LMAC
Everlastingly in Peace
Damn, why doesn't the University include more Blacks in its athletic pro-
grams? This question arises more and more daily, as various teams take to the
courts and fields that distinguish their individuality.
Upon asking such a "loaded" question one should take into account that
only a few years ago the question of extended education of the Black populace
arose. Not out of genuine concern for the Black populace of the state, but more
out of fear and compromise. Determining that there was a serious deficiency in
the area of Black higher education, the initiative was taken to institute various
programs for admitting and supporting the "deprived" ones.
Now that we are all up to date on the influx of more Blacks onto and into
this environment, I want to examine just one of the institutions within the insti-
tution that has not changed with the "times." It is necessary to emphasize at
this point— the enormous athletic abihty possessed by Black people.
It was my sincere hope on first entering this particular institution to parti-
cipate in intercollegiate athletics. I was told upon applying for admission to the
football team that I first had to pass certain tests instituted by the fathers of the
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The first was to qualify for
participation by predicting a 1.6 grade point average for my first semester. I was
already defined as inferior by the mere fact of my acceptance through the side
door. My board scores were low, my class rank was even lowe;; the athletic
director at the school I attended was indifferent toward Blacks and the coach
was an Irishman from South Boston (can you dig!). I was being told that before
I could be able to participate in athletics of any type, I would have to meet all the
requirements that were based on the very things denied me during my high
Maybe some cannot see the significance of such an autobiographical sketch
of a Black male entering a white institution. To Black students expecting to en-
joy some of the privileges enjoyed by his white counterparts it isn't an autobio-
graphy but a biography. The experience of exclusion by frustration can be ap-
plied to many of those Brothers on this campus and others like it throughout
the country who have aspired to reach some level of athletic involvement.
If one is familiar with the taxation practices of this institution, you can see
the same taxation without representation perpetuated by the administrators of
the university. Each Brother and Sister pays, whether outright or through schol-
arship, their share of athletic fees, but are grossly misrepresented on the athletic
In closing, I hope this article will provide a base for future reviews on the
Noted Black Women
V t ■\ 'i
We have heard different people speak on issues concerning
Black people but each one has his own ideas. Sonia Sanchez is not
an exception. Here is what went down when we interviewed her at
American International College.
Sonia Sanchez's style is unlike that of another well known
Black poetess, Gwendolyn Brooks, but both deal with Black peo-
ple's life styles.
One of the main issues she discussed was the "importance of
learning." This learning is that type of learning with which we gain
more knowledge of self so that we, as a people, can be more effect-
ive in dealing with life and its many problems. Too often we are
not prepared to adequately deal with life and its many pitfalls. We
are often miseducated in the oppressive school system that seldom
if ever realizes our needs.
Sister Sonia then discusses how this "miseducation" can be
seen by how the Black student projects his image. "We see those
students who rap "right on," "the revolution is now" and one of
the more favorite sayings "thats hip." Instead of the rhetoric being
so strong we should be about action, said Sonia. In spite of all the
talk that is done sometimes by these so-called authorities of Black-
ness, we see that very little if anything is accomplished. On the
other hand when we have students who are workers, one can see
"fruits of their labor." This is one of the strong points that Sonia
advocated, for she feels that "rhetoric without action is like a doc-
tor in an emergency incident without his medical bag. If some of
our brothers and sisters who use various slogans to subvert the
main issues would just think before they get carried away with their
rap, we could become a more action oriented people. But unfortu-
nately we continue to hear those same old phrases over and over
and sometimes we wonder: does that sister or brother really mean
what he is saying or is this just a way of trying to be popular with
If we look at history and the present day situations, we are re-
minded of those rhetoreticians who with cataclysmic slogans
aroused a number of people to action. These leaders blended slo-
gans with action. Then, too, it is important for us to know that
learning takes place not only within our cloistered academic castles
that sometimes make us become completely oblivious to the out-
side world but also in the real world, a world that causes us to act-
ion. Textbooks cannot help us solve some of these problems but
yet we hear this and that type of theory trying to solve the prob-
lem of the community. There are times when those outside of an
academic community can teach us more than any textbook ever
What we should do is as Sonia said "oil your bodies with
learning and knowledge." This is one way in which we can defin-
itely build a stronger Black nation.
GREAT BLACK MUSIC
In case you don't know anything about the recording industry let me lay something on you. There is a
certain sound that the recording industries want to parcel out to the public. This sound is usually intertwined
with the racism, exploitation, lying, stealing, and cheating that goes along with the white supremist domina-
tion over powerless people. And let me say at this point if you think that music has nothing to do with how
people live then I suggest that you check out your history. Music can change your way of life, heighten your
level of consciousness, and allow you to see what the problems are and sometimes offers alternatives to those
problems. The recording industry knows this and is wiUing to allow only those artists to record that they give
the stamp of approval to. Sure, we buy records and some are very good but have you stopped to consider that
there are sounds you haven't heard and why? All of the aforementioned brings me to the point of the record-
ings I wish to review.
It is difficult to say all that you want if you are a black person here in America and even more difficult if
you are a Black artist. It is necessary that the message that the black artist has gets to the people. But if you
don't control the means to get the message to the people then you have to go somewhere else. Many Black mu-
sicians have done this, and Europe is the place they usually end up. It appears that the Europeans in general
are more appreciative of the sounds that black musicians have to offer and the recording company's attitude is
quite different. That is not to say that the black people in this country do not appreciate their black artists.
Black people at this time do not control the means to sustain their artist, so the artist is forced to flee to Europe.
Also the night club and concert mystique is different in Europe. Musicians say that they are treated more
humanely and no one comes to the sets to study the expressions on the faces of the musicians or what kind of
drugs they think the artist is on because his playing is so bad. People simply come because they want to hear
good music and the artist plays so well because a lot of the negative tensions do not exist. Some of the best re-
cordings to come out of Europe in the past year have been on the Actuel label. There are over forty records in
the collection. I think that some of the meanest ones are those by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp,
and Grachan Moncur III. There is also a record called "Les Stances a Sophie," by the Art Ensemble of Chicago
featuring Fontella Bass on vocals put out on the Nessa label. Then there is Archie Shepp and Chicago Beau-
champ on the Fantasy label. This particular jam is called "Black Gypsy." Archie plays and Chicago Beau
screams. (You think they want that in America?) Delmark and ESP Disk used to be two of the labels that gave
creative black musicians a chance to display their talents but very seldom will you see the popular Ameri-
can recording companies doing this. I strongly recommend you check out these new sounds on the Actuel
label. What black musicians are ultimately striving for is complete control over their music all the way down to
the distribution rights which is most important. You can record ever so much but if your music isn't getting
into the hands and minds of the people, all the recording in the world ain't going to help you. We haven't
really supported our Black artist as much as we should have, especially those brothers and sisters playing so-
called jazz, I prefer to call it Great Black Music.
One reason is that it was not played on the radio as frequently as the popular music, and many thought
that you had to be way out in order to understand it. Well, I would say that we are going to have to pull some
sounds out of the universe that have never been heard before, yet can only be understood by those seeking
liberation and we all are going to have to be prepared to receive these new sounds. We have to demand that
Great Black Music be played on the radio stations, we have to support our Black artist by buying their records,
going to their performances, talking to them, contributing to their organizations, and most important we have
to free our minds from being dependent upon American recording companies from dictating the sound that
we should hear.
Bill Hasson 10/71
"The treatment of the Negro by the movies is inaccurate and unfair. Directly and indirectly it estab-
lishes associations and drives deeper into the public mind the stereotype conception of the Negro.
. . . This great agency for the communication of ideas and information therefore functions as a pow-
erful instrument for maintaining the racial subordination of the Negro people." (Dr. Lawrence Reddick
in "The Journal of Negro Education, 1944.)
The treatment of the Black man in Hollywood films, can be paralleled with his treatment in American life,
both have long treated him unfairly. Films tend to interpret the Black man, his mind, his outlook, his way of
life, in a way which is calculated to justify the stereotypes that the American society has created. When slavery
was abolished and after the Black man began to vote, to go to school, and to work, the 'myth' of Black inferior-
ity and later, of his innate brutality was created, because white America feared him; to an extent they still do.
The bulk of Hollywood's earlier films, have tried to reveal those racial characteristics which supposedly indi-
cate Negro inferiority. From "The Birth of a Nation" to "Gone With The Wind," it has been the same sorry
repetition of discrimination.
Cinema audiences regarded the Black man as a clown, an idiot, and a superstitious fool; and their feel-
ings of hate for him were a result of the manner in which he was portrayed on the screen (on stage and radio).
The screen is an extremely powerful means for molding opinions and continually it has used its power to
nurture cuch hate.
Black actors and actresses were depicted as ignorant servants, lazy janitors, stupid maids, shoe-shine
boys, and faithful retainers. The producers were merely carrying out a policy which seemed to them to be a
natural one— the debasement of the Negro in the public mind. None of these film characters were allowed to
show any intelligence.
"The Birth of a Nation," devoted much of its content to Negro villainy. The director, D. W. Griffith, was
a southerner, born in an atmosphere of racial intolerance, and brought up with the usual Southern attitude
toward Negroes. Basing his epic on Thomas Dixon's strongly partisan novel. The Clansman, he created a
production that was technically and artistically far ahead of its time. Griffith was a cinematic genius, the in-
ventor and perfecter of a number of vital film making techniques which are in use in studios today. Neverthe-
less, no matter how great a picture it was, it was a misrepresentation of the Negro race.
After the first showing of this film, "all hell broke loose." Such a storm rose that it continued through
WWI on into the 1920's. It has been said that later Griffith relented somewhat concerning the cruelty of his
portrayal of the Negro and in 1918, in his "Greatest Thing in Life," he inserted a scene where a dying Negro
soldier cried for his mother and a white comrade kissed him as he died. (Thank you Mr. Griffith.)
"Hallelujah," directed by King Vidor, was to be the "ace of the all-Negro talking picture." It was hoped
that a director like Vidor and Black actors like Daniel Haynes and Nina Mae McKinney would make "Halle-
lujah" a really good film. It is a story of a country boy who temporarily falls to the wiles of a bad woman. Dan
Haynes as the boy gave a moving performance, one that was simple yet sincere. But the movie was swamped
by the many scenes of folk songs, spirituals, work songs and blues. Thus furthering another stereotype that
all black people do is sing, dance and eat watermelon. In spite of MGM's promise of a memorable all Negro-
Epic, "Hallelujah" made only a minor contribution to the Black struggle.
Opinions of the film were divided among Blacks. W.E.B. Dubois, a severe critic, felt that it was "beautifully
staged and possessed common-sense." Other Black critics felt that it 'insulted niggerisms.' The white press
seemed to have found the characterizations very amusing. When it was shown here on campus the white col-
lege audience found it so funny, that I walked out of the auditorium.
Since 1940, Hollywood has been forced by liberal and social protest groups to promote the cause of racial
and cultural understanding. So after mishandling the racial theme for many years Hollywood has tried to undo
her wrongs. Between 1940 and 1950 a number of films dealt wholly or in part with Blacks. "Home of the
Brave," one of the better movies of that time, dealt with the Black soldier; "Lost Boundaries" dealt with pass-
ing; mob psychology and violence were the theme for "Intruder in the Dust." All of these films and some
others began the new seriousness and dignity in Black characterizations. At least we knew that Hollywood
would not be able to give us another film like "Birth of a Nation" or "Gone with the Wind."
Boy meets girl is a familiar theme in Hollywood films. But in 1968, Stanley Kramer's film "Guess Who's
Coming to Dinner," pulled a switch, and had the boy Black and the girl white.
John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) a brilliant young physician meets Joey Drayton (Katharine Houghton), a
rich white woman. Within ten days they fall deeply in love and decide to marry. Because Joey's parents are
liberals, she feels that they wouldn't possibly object.
So Joey brings her young man home. Both sets of parents are shocked. Spencer Tracy, in his last per-
formance, plays the part of her liberal father, who finds out that he is only liberal to a point. Katharine Hep-
burn is the highly cultured mother who accepts the situation a little easier than her husband. Even John's
parents disapprove of the marriage. This disproved the stereotype idea that Blacks favor interracial marriages.
Some people asked Stanley Kramer why didn't he make the film more real by making Poitier a postman;
Kramer said, "But never in a million years would this girl marry a postman, black or white. She had to marry
a remarkable fellow." And that she did. Poitier was handsome, charming, intelligent with a carload of degrees.
No, he wasn't an ordinary Black man.
The movie was sugary, it avoided real issues. There were no integrated love scenes, no real hassles. When
Prentice's parents do come to dinner they all talk each other into a happy ending. After all they are so much
With this movie began the phase of the 'Super Negro.' A 'Super Negro' is a doctor, lawyer, great detective,
psychiatrist. He is far removed from common, ordinary Black folks. It is only the 'Super Negro' who is allowed
to be friends with white people. He is the only Black person who is acceptable. Sidney Poitier was the 'Super
Negro' in a number of films; "In the Heat of the Night," he played a Philadelphia detective; in "To Sir with
Love" he played a teacher; and in "The Slender Thread" he was a psychiatrist. Black people denounced these
roles, because they were unreal. They felt Hollywood was trying to make Blacks fit into white society. They
fought the super image. And again sent the film makers back to the drawing boards.
But since then we have had a new wave of Black movies. No, "To Sir with Love," where Sidney Poitier
with all his liberal virtues succeeds in turning a hostile class into a group of lovable students. Such things
were the outgrowth of the delusions of white people. They had this cute picture where Blacks and whites help
each other in the Black struggle. These latest movies acknowledge the true facts that Blacks do not want whites
helping them to do anything.
Last summer United Artists brought us movies such as "The Landlord," a story of a young white owner
of a Black apartment house and his bungling involvement in their lives; "Cotton Comes to Harlem," a comedy
of two Black cops in Harlem trying to get back money that was swindled from the people in a back to Africa
hoax; "Watermelon Man," the story of a bigoted white insurance salesman suddenly turned Black.
This summer we saw Van Pebbles' "Sweet Sweetbacks' Badassss Song and "Shaft" filmed by Gordon
The best thing that has happened is that Blacks are now producing top rate films about themselves.
Hollywood has never known how to present the Black man. But now in the 1970's, we don't need Hollywood,
Van Pebbles didn't go there to film Sweet Bacs— he didn't want white help to do his thing either.
The Cockroach On A Bike
Part I of a three-part epic poem
by Emmanuel Asibong,
Straight from the grave
with a tremendous roar
of false triumph . . .
puffing smokes of steel
from that other hell
that never needs a waking bell.
I have seen them
on grey motorbikes,
rounded and obtuse
these superior species
of lavatory roaches.
Frm Kano's walled city
to Zaria's ancient town,
amongst market women
and notorious beggarmen,
spreading darkness, causing blindness.
Here in this lower world
they feel without feelers
the dark inner heat
that scorches their skin
and settles gritty dust
on their nasal bones.
Observe Mike on his bike
in white shorts
nervously fingering the knot
of his Harvard tie,
it would rain.
Here let us stand,
here let us prepare
our own initiation rites;
for every solitary
Lazarus it seems
surges from a common grave
overgrown with nettles
and wet mosses.
I can see tham all,
I can see each as such
bound from behind
bound from within . . .
on the back of Ruth's bike
save air, heat and sweat
of the devil's own horse.
But every morning,
with arms akimbo
grinning or half-smiling
pretends to acknowledge
of a blind youth
by the level crossing
profers his leprous hands
for a long forgotten coin.
The sun is at its zenith
the vulture's throat is dry.
On the way to Samaru
about a hundred vultures
gawk from the roof tops
silent, keen, but watchful.
looking behind the darkness
in his heart,
knew he had made
a false start.
But what would the
vulture with the roach?
What, the rooster
with the worm?
The vultures are thinking
the vultures are grinning
their featherless necks quivering,
each beak twisted
like a gigantic crooked nail.
Remembering . . .
The vultures are
a simple song
for those who feel the heat
those who can't chew meat.
the vultures are
remembering and dancing
the rhythmic pattern
of the drum's beat.
Drums and skin with
curvature of the spine,
spectacles and sunglasses
beckon with their beaks.
Watch, Listen, think:
sticks and stones
won't break their bones
this, these animals reckon
is a Kenny Lynch
See, the roach on the bike
the animals on the housetops
the vultures have flown
their aged wings
in the direction of the treetops.
Pursue them, pursue them,
they have flown, flown
to the market square.
Here resides the skinny woman,
our flying queen of the north
who at twenty-one
has flown from her distant coast
to purchase a vulture thigh.
Memory drains in the sun
when the harmattan descends
leaving the remnants
of last night's heat.
The queen and her subjects
still bake in filth and foam
opening the market bin
to find only a banana skin.
You don't like them?
sorry . . .?
I said, you don't like vultures . . .
Why, I do.
I think, I do.
I have never liked
back at home, though . . .
I do find
your local vultures
very inspiring and kind.
and here you are
with our vultures
bargaining for a vulture limb.
lozenges coated teeth.
the psychiatric disorder
amongst the Irish
can only be explained
by the sexual aberration
in the criminal
This, for experience's old sake:
queen of the north
slim as a snake
the morning mist falls down, awake
thin as a rake
press your dingy ragged jeans
jump on your bike.
On to work,
strapped to her back
on to work,
on to work
like an African infant
tied to his mother's back . . .
on to work,
always at the bewitching hour of eight.
How long? how long
shall we all
be driving abreast
each wearing a dismal grin
like the roadside mule
reflecting on his mother's sin?
the house officer,
and the rest
that are blessed
the expatriate professors
are these nutty, senile
professors going to die?
the age of
retirement . . .
who dare not
look their country
in the face:
in the young
like overfed cobras.
at the pool . . .
Professors on the run,
turned pederasts . . .
that can never be
in merry old England
but have chosen
this dark part
of this dark continent
as the breeding ground
for many more senile
retired professors . . .
Professors who have
changed their names
their names . . .
Professors, no longer
but simply wondering.
Professors who are
dead because they
are scared of dying,
wicked, lustful, eyeless
with maternity . . .
worse than useless
Interview: Bill Wilkinson, Chairn^an of the Black Studies Program at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
One does not get to visit other schools outside of his area
during the weekdays because of the lack of emphasis placed
on community projects of this nature and the unfortunate
need of attending some of the seemingly irrelevant courses
that Universities always seem to require, of course there are
times when we escape the daily rigmarole to seek new experi-
ences. Here is an example of one of the alternatives to
education which shall be labeled social awareness outside of
Many Black Studies Programs have sprung up across the
country and, as a result, there is a number of programs that
are supposingly meeting the needs of Black Students.
One of our brothers. Bill Wilkinson, who was at the
University of Mass. last year, is now chairman of the Black
Studies Dept. at Dartmouth College. We were granted an
interview with him recently and he gave us an idea, not only
of the hopes and desires of a man who is working for Black
people in a predominantly white Ivy-League school, but also
a look at the problems Black students at Dartmouth must
overcome. We were also given comparative data on Black
Studies at the two schools.
Question: How does your Black Studies Program differ
from the one at the University of Mass.?
Answer: First of all our program at Dartmouth is called the
Black Studies Program as opposed to the University of Mass.
Black Studies Department. Our program is primarily for off
campus research and action. Students who are in the
program work one term in Boston, Mass. with the Black
Urban Studies Center as well as making contact with Black
people in the community. There is also a program which
comes under our research work that requires the student's
involvement at the Institute of the Black World in Atlanta,
Georgia. During the summer, students are sent to West
Africa, namely, Sierre Leone to study at the universities
We are primarily concerned with research and in-
dependent study in urban and rural schools.
Question: Was there any type of Black Studies Department
at Dartmouth prior to your coming here?
Answer: Yes, this the third year that a Black Studies
Program has been in existence. In the past the program has
been run by Blacks. The Black Studies Program was made
up of all Blacks.
Question: How many Black professors do you have at
Dartmouth? This is to include those professors who are
outside of the Black Studies Program.
Answer: There are three Black professors in the Black
Studies Program, one in Psychology, one in Education, an
assistant dean of students, a Drama Department head, a
Music Department head, three Black academic and otherwise
counselors, an Indian who works in the Dean's office, and
one Indian counselor. This is out of a number of two
hundred seventy faculty members.
Question: How autonomous are you as chairman?
Answer: Not very. Since the program is not a department,
the college has not made any real commitment to Black
Studies. Because of the fact that this is a program there is a
continual flux. This year saw a turnover of staff due to
pressure, thereby causing a number of people to leave before
they were told to do so. Of course we have to deal with white
racism, the small number of Black students here (there are
sixty-nine freshmen in a special structured program). They
take special courses as opposed to special sections of regular
courses, subsequently, they cannot complete their freshman
year until their sophomore year. The sophomores cannot
finish their requirements until their junior year, but as a
result, in order to finish Dartmouth on time, students cannot
major in certain key courses, ie., pre-medicine, science, pre-
law or anything that is designed to give pre-professional or
professional skills. There are no special trained Black
instructors to teach these courses. A White man with no
tutorial experience has been hired to head the only skills
program at the school. The white dean who readily admits he
knows nothing of this program was appointed chairman of
the freshman structured year. His appointment was
unknown to the Black faculty and the Black Studies Depart-
ment, Black students and the Black counselors staff until the
last weeks of the last Academic year. Up to that time they had
been asked by the college to find a Black Director with
experience to head up this program. This kind of bad faith is
typical of the way in which Dartmouth College and most
New England institutions deal with their Black staff and
faculty who supposingly are in a position to do something.
As a result of this we have to find out:
1. Where Black students are.
2. Their major field of study.
3. How many are passing and failing.
4. How many are taking Black Study courses.
5. Who could be relating to Black Studies profes-
sors while taking other courses where Black
methodology is relevant.
Question: What is your task this year?
Answer: Our task this year is to give some strong clarity and
stability to what the program could really be. Is there any
place for Black Studies at Dartmouth to be useful in Black
education on this campus and on other campuses similar to
I feel that Darmouth should concentrate on a strong core
program; to continue the research and action program but to
add other off campus programs, to make it so that Black
students can study at Black schools, and to develop models of
what Black people can meaningfully do off campus and
develop models of how they can relate to Black campuses and
indeed Black communities.
Question: How have you been received by the ad-
ministration and Black students here in regards to how you
see Black Studies should be about?
Answer: Many different groups of students matriculate
here and there is no problem relating to the interest of these
students but the problem is that there is so few staff here that
the staff members have to be many things to many people.
The students are quite serious and would like to see more
programs but when they get to Dartmouth we try to re-
educate and remove their mis-education while at the same
time the college is mis-educating and this is why it is so
important to have programs off campus not only in the Black
community but also at Black institutions that are committed
to the education of Black people both in and outside of Black
A Black Studies Program at a white school, whether it be
at University of Massachusetts or Dartmouth has to be
what Chicago poet Amus Moor calls "a Black laboratory for
self definition, self development, and self determination.
IT WAS DECEMBER
it was december
and for christmas we
brought some blues for
and we laughed
as nixon, agnew,
and the pentagon staff
tried to split the country
with forged passports
swearing on the republic
that they were puerto rican.
truth was on its way
and Nikki Giovanni
sat on the right hand of God,
who by then had altered both
color and name,
Washington was renamed Douglass
and the white house was leveled
giving the virgin mary
lessons in Black history.
And in the beginning we all knew
what it mean't to be
Young, GIFTED, and BLACK;
and so did spiro .... and so did spiro.
A. JACKSON LINEBARGER
SMACK SMACK amion the righttrack?
King of kings.
SMACKSMACK amIon therighttrack? j^g^'-
Nodding for days and days!
O Black Jesus
Vomit from the very core of my Black soul
O Black Jesus
I think I done fell off!
Stole my mothers color T. V. and sold my stereo for a dime bag
O Black Jesus
A bullet in my back!
Tried to rip-off the Super's pad
I fell off a long time ago
When I fell out of my mothers womb
never had a chance
WHO KILLED ME?
THE UGLY DUCK
from the caverns of a ghetto wind,
this nigger came to be,
taught to worship white jesus
in a blacli church
and how to turn the other cheek ^
when violence from the white fists ^
came to pass
i could eat with class, pray with grace
and grin like a jackal when encountering
white faces of power and "infinite goodness" ....
and i hated myself,
my broad nose,
"bad" hair (cut close to hide my father's shame
and the niggers who laughed at my ugliness/
and now i find i am beautiful
and that this white jesus
was definitely blA:k
and attacked when he was provoked
i who had nothing, have everything
that in my searching i've found myself again.
A. JACKSON LINEBARGER
Love's Short Journey
Great lengths to each life of
Dreams and little legends.
Paths straight and curved quicken
The pace to which we are destined.
Minds on thoughts and thoughts on
Courtship is drawing to a bridgeless
River and it is our time to become
Two lovers after dark:
And a quick, "I LOVE YOU, BABY" . . .
But the cock crows and the wind blows and in time
they'll find that
REAL LOVE ISN'T THAT EASY
I Gazed at their faces
as they passed by;
I Called to them but they
could not hear because
of the tears;
I Tried to touch them
but they could not feel
because of the grief;
When the cover hid my
lifeless body I knew I
was lost to them forever;
I Tried desperately to touch
their innermost Reality, but it
was blinded by the tears ;
For They could not see
that I was at Last Free.
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
Most of us do not know what it's like to experience the physical reality of a
prison. But in fact all Black people do experience the reality of prison. From the
time of birth, Black people are born into a world which can be described and de-
fined as prisons. Characteristic of the devil, the prisons confining Black folks
come in many shapes and forms. Whether it be the home, the school, the job or
whatever, the scene is the same. You may not see iron bars, but the basic policy
of exploitation, victimization and containment is present. Each and every one of
us needs to do a little soul searching in answering for ourselves whether or not
we are engaged in a revolution and commit ourselves to bringing about the nec-
We are, indeed, in the midst of the greatest revolution this civilization has
ever witnessed. Never has there been such chaos in the social, political, eco-
nomic or racial structures of society. White folks have created a "Franken-
stein's Monster" for the "soul" purpose of colonizing, controlling, and exploit-
ing all people. People have failed to see that this monster has succeeded in con-
trolling not only the colonized, but has also made a puppet out of the colonizers.
It has control over his mind, his heart and his soul. America is the most spirit-
ually decadent society in the world. The state of America is unnatural, inhuman
and will inevitably be destroyed. Everytime I listen to the national anthem, it
turns my stomach:
"home of the brave
Land of the free"
How can anyone with any human decency, stand up with their head held high
and deliberately lie with the blood of Attica still dripping down the flagpole.
That's sick! That's cowardly! No one with any insight can deny that the forces
behind this chaos will reach a revolutionary turning point before the end of the
century. No one can deny the need for a New World Order . . .
"How long will humanity persist in its waywardness? How long will in-
justice continue? How long is chaos and confusion to reign amongst men?
How long will discord agitate the face of society? The winds of despair are,
alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts
the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions
and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appears
to be lamentably defective. "
What then can we use as a guideline for a New World Order? It would be far too
presumptuous for me to outline and imply understanding to such a World
Order, however, I will dwell on the central theme in which a New World Order
must entail. The concept of the Oneness of Mankind is a pivot point by which
all else encircles, i.e., political, economic and social Justice. Malcolm X was not
only a Black Nationalist, but a spiritual giant. In his search for truth he has
stated the following:
"I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the
Oneness of God, then perhaps too, they could accept in reality the One-
ness of Man — and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in
terms of their 'differences' in color.
"Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual in-
sights into what is happening in America between black and white. The
American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities — he is only
reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American
whites. But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from
the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger
generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the
wall and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth — the only
way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must
Malcolm X is only one of the many black spiritual leaders our race has produced.
For that reason we can be proud. But if one should look closely, the solution
to the ongoing ills of Mankind has been dwelling in the air for over a century.
Such a fundamental revolution requiring vast changes in our structure seems
highly unlikely to be solved through mere diplomacy or education. We need only
to look at our history in which nothing short of mental agony along with phy-
sical bloodshed has marked the great changes in human civilization.
I have entitled this article, "To be continued" for reasons I hope have begun
to materialize. We are living in a nation, a society, a world in which no one can
escape. There is no refuge or haven to hide from the even greater calamities. Eld-
ridge Cleaver has put it this way: "if you're not a part of the solution, you must
be a part of the problem." Both problem and solution is an ever-continuing
process! The purpose of man is to contribute to "an ever-advancing civilization"
in an effort to survive. We should realize that colonization, genocide, oppres-
sion or racism does not end with incidents such as Attica, Springfield or Cairo,
not with people such as Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Rap Brown or George Jack-
son. Evolution along with the revolution
continued . . .
Hack FAHlhtr Rvrtv
A CKNO WLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank
Professor Acklyn Lynch of the Afro-American Studies
Department for his contribution to this issue of the
DRUM, and to congratulate him and his wife on the birth
of their son, Jair.
Also we would like to thank for their articles,
A I Key and
Denise Williams and her sister Lynette, a Boston
high school student,
Emajeana S. Cambra,
A. Jackson Linebarger and
We would like to offer special thanks to:
Sonia Sanchez and
Bill Wilkinson for the use of their interviews, to Chet
Davis, Asst. Chairman of Dept. of Afro-American Stud-
ies, for his aid and advice in this issue, and Nat Rut-
stein of the School of Education for his confidence and
And last but not least, special gratitude to Eugene Niles
and Sherwood Thompson for their help in the Photog-