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THE DRUM, Spring, 1973
Vol, 4, No. 3
Editorial, Circulation and Ad-
vertising Offices located at 426 New
Africa House, University of
Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.
Printing: Gazette Printing Co., Inc., Northampton, Mass.
A Dedication to Black Graduates
A Note from the Editor
Where Does Reality End?
Noted Black Women
The Waiting Room
Requiem for a CCEBS Graduate
Too Late— Black Will Rise
Time to Be Utilized
From One War to Another
Unity — A Necessity
Lend a Hand
Cal B. Whitworth
A Note from the Editor ....
Issues and crises have come and gone and nnany of us have had a
great part in determining the resuU of many of these situations in terms
of how they effect our community. These efforts are all important for
without the energies that some of us expend, I don't think it would
have been possible for us to survive. I only wish that many more of us
would contribute to the constant building process that is sustained
solely to make progress a reality here.
A viewpoint from another perspective dictates that I outline our
major purpose for being here in the first place. We are here as students
therefore our primary responsibility is to study. We cannot forsake
that for if we do we will fail and eventually have no community at all.
This Drum issue is concerned with the dual situation that we as
students and as members of a continuously emerging community are
We must keep striving. To those of us who graduate this year my
heartiest congratulations, and to those who don't, keep on pushing.
We will succeed because we must.
For some, the end of this semester will mark first year on
this campus, for a few more the last, and the middle of the
readers keep looking ahead. It's at this time that I think it best
to assess the real accomplishment of a black community that has
grown from about one hundred in 1968 to six hundred in 1973.
An assessment that should reveal politically, economically and
socially the position of the black community here at the
University of Massachusetts. Our position in relation to and
compared to our surrounding communities — Springfield,
Boston, New York, to mention a few.
When the initiators of the Committee for the Collegiate
Education of Black Students brought their first one hundred
"guinea pigs " to this campus, they had no conception of the
difficulties that these students would have to endure. They
thought the only handicap would be insufficient high school
preparation, and so, didn't anticipate the cultural shock that
would serve as the largest stumbling block to these students, the
fact that they would have to deal with white folks who never
saw a "negro " except on TV rioting, to deal with those who
scream "nigger" as you make your way back on the hill, walk
into your assigned room to see a white boy on the next bed
whose eyes light up in fear when you enter (one good thing is
you'd have a single a week later).
Such a student in terms of surviving had two worlds to deal
with. He had the natural world — the task of surviving against
an antagonistic majority and of eking knowledge from an
enemy bent on flunking him out. He had the social world, and
what a trip that was, at least you didn't have to ask where the
party was — you knew, everybody knew, there was only one.
The students of that era had a close affiliation. They had to
harness their forces, and adapt to their unnatural situation so
that their survival could be enhanced plus, they had to create a
social situation to aid in this survival.
Today when we speak about things that happen in the
social situation that are hostile and inimical to the prospect of
survival, we label these with the designation "enemy." The
distinction between the struggle for survival against the physical
environment, and the struggle against the antagonistic forces
and situations in the social realm is a very important distinction
to make because often the struggle in the social realm is really
the only struggle that many people are caught up in. They are
not directly or even indirectly involved in struggling against the
physical environment i.e. the political and economical base of
this institution. It is true that our survival does somewhat
depend upon struggling within the social realm but that is no
longer the primary factor as it was three years ago.
The fight against economical and political organization is
our primary struggle and we must organize our social situation
to cope with that. Some might say that the Third World
Alliance has political organization, and that the cultural center
has economical organization. Oh yea.''
Political barbarism or is it political inexperience is keeping
thinking brothers and sisters from establishing a strong black
student body on campus. It's paranoia and distrust of each other
that makes this hard, even impossible, and the apathetic mass
does nothing in the way of helping to make changes.
Now some, if not most of those early ""pioneers,"' have left
our ranks, unheralded, as if it was commonplace to see black
students graduate from this institution. It is to those unheralded
graduates that we owe our present existence on this campus.
They started a magazine — this magazine, a radio show, they
arose early one morning three years ago and marched to
Whitmore for a real purpose, they took over Amherst College
and Springfield College, and they gave us a cultural center, not
to mention a Black Studies Department.
And what have we done to laud their efforts. Nothing!
This magazine has been the same since it started, still
desperately seeking workers. And who responds.-* Those
interested in three free credits.-* Two years ago you worked for
the magazine because you were black and the magazine
represented you. The Ujamma Drum radio show has even lost
hours since then. And the cultural center.-' The only time most
of us go in there is when time comes for application for more
funds, or that occasional party on Friday or Saturday night.
The progress that was made by our present seniors (class
1973) and last year's graduates (class 1972), was done through
unity. Everybody had a goal; to make this university a
meaningful experience for themselves and others following.
They had a value system which is essential to any movement. A
value system that would make this university a place to live and
to learn and to make it answer the needs left back in their
respective communities. Just imagine what it was like coming
from "The Bury" or Harlem or Springfield to a totally white
institution and you can see why theirs was a unity that was all-
inclusive. We had a value system. One, that began to make this
institution answer to our needs, the things that were important
to us. A predictable, meaningful table value system pointing
toward a single goal. Through a value system we arrive at self-
determination and then proceed to collectively work toward this
goal. The value system selects the goal, we apply ourselves to it,
live by it and practice it and the rest will follow.
Too often our so-called leaders without a black value
system, do exacdy the, same things the professors do. They
make alliances with the institution that enable them to better
themselves both financially and educationally and leave the
apathetic unaware mass with little to go on, except maybe to
plea for more CCEBS money.
For this institution to answer to the needs we left in our
respective communities we need a liberation of our minds that
enables us to think, keeping our brothers and sisters in mind at
all times. A value system that projects outside of this institution
and into our surrounding communities is the most potent shield
that is needed at present.
Let's look at ourselves four years later, we are weak in
crucial areas, scattered and corrupted, disillusioned, conscious
of our needs without the ability to satisfy them and meditating
on what might have been. But it's not all lost, this is check, not
checkmate. 'We have strengths as well as contradictions and
weaknesses, revolutionary as well as reactionary elements.
What is essential here is to distinguish the subjective from the
objective conditions, and the possibilities of our struggle and to
move within this awareness. We need to consolidate and keep
our gains, and engage in a constant reassessment of our internal
and external conditions.
We cannot deny that some of our leaders have indulged in
an overabundance of subjective formulations and often
obscured or erased from view conditions that had to be
confronted and overcome in the pursuit of our goal.
We have submitted to symbols and slogans, believed that
a leather jacket and an El Dorado had some intrinsic value — an
answer to our problems. We have engaged in empty arguments,
self diminishing discussions of personalities and imagined
power. Our leaders have alienated the masses, calling for them
only when needed, and the response comes with little or no
seriousness, or collective resistance.
Freshmen offer no incentive. For most of them, things are
alright, they have no complaints. They just don't seem to care
about getting involved in building a "proper community." They
are content to sit back and let the upper classmen do the work.
Without initiative freshmen, how can the struggle progress.''
Seniors can't do anymore, they've done their share as evidenced
by their existence to now. A freshman on entering this
institution has a much different perspective on the relevancy of
this institution. All they seem to miss is the vain parties that
they can't go to back home.
In a past issue of this magazine Dr. Gloria Joseph wrote,
"the pre-'63 Black students were still very much under the
influence of parent and adult community leaders who espoused
the philosophy of "Do well in school; get your education, and
no doors will be closed to you" . . . CVol. , No. ) It seems to
me that the '73 Black student is also under the same influence.
their whole aim and goal is to get those A's and get the hell out.
They seem to lack sufficient internal strength which will enable
them to wage the battle for a significant and relevant education
and campus life. They intend to graduate and "make it."
Make it? What they will really be doing is going thru four
years of "lilywhite" education which will hand them a degree
and send them out with confused minds only to return to the
outside world thinking they are "doing the do, " and increasing
problems for Black people.
The continuously mcreasing number ot entermg Black
students every year should give increasing strength to the
struggle. That's what the freshmen four years ago thought, they
could hardly wait for more "folks." A senior today will tell you
that "We could hardly wait for the one hundred and fifty more
niggers coming next year, so we could turn this place out." And
they came and they helped and more came and helped, and still
more came but the progress slowed down. It even came to a
A senior will tell you how they heartily welcomed
Michael Thelwell back as the chairman of the W.E.B. DuBois
Black Studies Department. "His return seemed to be a reward
for the suffering that many endured during his seemingly
eternal, but brief absence" ( — Drum Editorial, Philip Petti-
john. Winter 1971, Vol. No. ).
This university will never progress to the point of
answering our needs as long as there are apathetic black students
around. How any Third World person on this campus can
indulge in apathy is inconceivable. It's these apathetic brothers
and sisters that our leaders should reach out to and educate. At
the moment too many are afraid to take on responsibilities, too
afraid to make mistakes, and not enough trust in oneself to trust
A current freshman entering this institution sees everything
that a freshman four years ago didn't. It was with unity and
sincere trust for the other one hundred, that they built what you
see today — . A magazine, a radio program, Black Studies
department, and more than anything else they paved the way
for you to come here and see something that represents us Black
It is to those students who entered this institution in 1968
and 1969 graduates or dropouts that this article pays Tribute. If
you are one of those who still feel that this institution does not
answer your needs don't blame the whites, blame yourself. A
black student on this campus must develop so serious and earnest
an attitude towards making this institution answer his needs
and the needs of his community that there should be very little
room left for fear, vanity or paranoia. Let us start living in true
unity and start dealing before it's too late!
where Does Reality End?
Life turns to ashes as the years slip by.
Rain never stops and the sun always shines.
Hearing nothing and listening to all
Try to walk and the world will fall.
Never caring what the next day will bring
Hopes and plans will soon just linger
Smoke turns to tears, the minute time ends
A fire breaks and then the world pretends
Searching everywhere to get something free
The chase begins, could this really be?
Eyes look out and find nothing real
The clock strikes twelve and the church bells peal.
Suddenly, life is restored to the mind and soul
And the sun rises slowly into the morning blue and gold.
The rays of sun glow like a guilding beam
Discovering the whole situation was a dream.
To the members of the Third World Community at UMass the name Esther Terry can be
equated with many things: dynamic Black woman, boundless energy, respected actress,
distinguished director, and inspiring instructor. She is best known to the University
Community for her work in the Black Reperjjery Theatre. Presently she is involved in teaching
a course on Black Women. This year Esther has been involved in two plays, one at Smith
College entitled "Amen Corner," performed at Smith College, in which she had the starring role,
and the other "Father, Son, Woman" which she directed, was performed at UMass. Sister Terry
has a hectic schedule, however I was fortunate to be able to interview her one afternoon in her
office at the New Africa fiouse for a few minutes. In the next few lines is a brief interview with
an individual who glows with greatness.
Question: How did the Black Repertory Theatre come
Answer: It grew out of my Black Drama Class. The
contemporary plays we were reading could
be seen in New York, but the further back
in time we went, the more trouble there
was in seeing the plays. No one wanted to
produce old plays so my students suggest-
ed we put on the plays ourselves. Then
there was another problem, the students
wanted to continue to be in plays after
they had finished the Black Drama Class,
Solution, form a company, the Black Rep-
Question: What about outside criticisms you've re-
ceived from doing old plays?
Answer: We're not interested in the outside. Inside
is where it's all happening! We have two
main reasons for performing old plays:
experience, and secondly learning about
our people. Each play we do is researched
thoroughly by the whole class. In this
way it becomes more than just a play, it
becomes a learning experience. When we
did the play "Frederick Douglass and
John Brown," the students did all the re-
search to find out if these two men really
knew each other, and checked out ques-
tions like "Why didn't Douglass join in
John Brown's Raid?" So, it was also a
very important history lesson as well as a
play production. It helps the actors to
feel and really become the part they are
I also feel it is of great value to put on
old plays because there's something about
Black folk in every part of history that
helps us understand where we are today.
Personally, my favorite play was "Our
'Lan" because it tells exactly how life was
in the 1930's and how Black life centered
around the church. It was their only
means of hope. In the church. Black folk
had no fear of anything, no racial dis-
crimination, and no poverty. Sunday was
the one day of the week they were com-
pletely happy and free which is evidenced
in many gospel songs.
Question: What criteria is used to decide which
shows are to be performed?
Answer: The students choose from shows we have
read and like, then we decide which plays
to do as a group.
Question: What about your own acting?
Answer: We all work as a group. The students de-
cide which role I play. I don't have to be
a star, I act anywhere I fit in. Sometimes I
do take the lead because the students feel
that I've had the experience to handle the
part. Or other times I'm needed for a fill-
in, like the church scene from "Natural
Question: Who makes up the Black Repertory Thea-
Answer: It's a totally community thing, open to
everyone and most of our actors have had
no experience. We don't ask the critics to
give us a break because we aren't experi-
enced, because by the time we get out
there we're pretty damn good. The success
of our shows comes from the fact that the
Black Repertory Theatre is a community
thing. The total production is put on by
the community. We make all of our cos-
tumes, scenery, and makeup. We have
people helping us from Amherst, North-
ampton, as well as Springfield. Every in-
dividual in our productions is important.
Question: How did your group decide to do "Father,
Answer: Although this is not the type of play
that we want to be doing all the time, we
thought it would be a worthwhile learning
experience. The play was written by a
Nigerian about his people. Our first pro-
ject was to learn all about the Yoruba cul-
ture. It's one thing to say 'yeah man, I'm
an African person and another thing to
really know about Africa. Blacks should
no longer just see Africa as one big place.
We must reach out and see what connects
us to our past. This is what we tried to do
in "Father, Son, Women." We knew all
about Yoruba culture before that curtain
went up. We didn't act like we thought
Nigerians acted; for the entire show we
were Nigerians. In the future I would like
to see more Third World plays done from
Haiti, Jamaica or other places.
In the last few minutes that remained, the conversation switched from the theatre to Esther's class on the
Black Woman that she teaches with Johnetta Cole.
"To me this is one of the most interesting and moving courses offered this semester. Our objective is to
study biographies and autobiographies. We look at the individual woman and her history to find out what
connects us with her. We go beyond the contemporary sisters because we know that History is full of noted
Black women. You know it's really very moving to have a class where Brothers and Sisters are about the serious
business of establishing what it's like to be a woman and Black in the United States."
There are many noted Black women in this area but, to date many have been neglected. Esther Terry was
chosen for this issue because she is one of the most respected Black women in our community.
THE WAITING ROOM
You are a tiny flesh thing — remember? Your world is a slippery and slidey one inside of a water bal-
loon, full of water, warm and easy. You exist — you! A strange new concept. All of a sudden here you
are, feeling something. You feel your body having fun, slipping and sliding around and around. Yes, the
awareness is beginning to seep into your newly made body. Back and forth you slip and slide, just loving
it. What's this? Some stubby soft limb finds Its way to your mouth — your soft tiny mouth feels five tiny
stubs on one bigger stub — you taste your fingers one at a time. The fat one tastes better — your thumb. It
must be part of you, because your mouth can feel It and it can feel your mouth. They both feel each other.
You can feel both of them! They must both be you — what fine innovations to slipping and sliding you
have been provided with. A mouth and a thumb — both of them part of you!
And thinking on this, you drift Into your first embryonic sleep, thumb in mouth.
BIm. Grb, blub, dp. . . . You can feel a soft voice talking to another voice not so soft: that not so soft
voice Is distant, mechanical — sterile almost. But you are under the soft voice. Each time the soft voice
moves, you stop rocking to listen to it in your slippery, sloshly home. You listen. That must be the one
who holds you — you could almost trust that soft voice.
While you are staying still, something causes you to move. You keep sloshing around towards the
bottom of the water balloon, then bouncing up and down, down and up! You can not yet count stairs
though — they are bouncey things which take you into the hospital.
Suddenly you realize something you never knew before — something in front of your head — feels
something. Temptation. Light! Glorious shades of light. That's what those things in your head are for.
But there's nothing in the light — it's just not the same as dark any more — you feel discovery! What else?
What more is going to be so new! You are dying to find new feelings — new things. Such a long while ago
you discovered fun. Then you discovered your thumb and your mouth. Bouncing. And now light. What
later? What more glory could this all bring?
Your thumb finds its way to your mouth, and you rock back and forth as the soft voice moves further
out of the light. Perhaps It is also rocking, the owner of the soft voice — rocking back and forth in some-
thing — in a bigger water balloon?
Suddenly it is all unlight again. Dark. The warm water balloon is getting uncomfortably warm for
you. The soft voice is not so soft — it is what makes you feel like not rocking back and forth. Upset.
But after a long while it is very quiet again. You feel better — almost. . .
Perhaps the owner of the voice is sleeping — but have not felt such a calmness in any of the voice's
sleeping periods before. It is very calm, sedate. . . .
But you can sense some sterile voices in the distance — how can one sleep so sedately while another
All of a sudden you sense a nagging tug — something pulling — drawing you. But you are not ready
to go — your body knows that twelve warm weeks is not enough. You have yet to make preparations! The
tugging gets more and more violent — more dizzying!
It is too much. . . .
Your world has been rent. The sloshy slipping and sliding world has ripped open and the water let out
— it closes in about you like a sucked in plastic bag! Everything becomes harsh and dry as you are
plunged into acrid light. The bag is no longer containing you, you have slipped out — but you burn! The air
feels like lye and you choke and your body vomits for air and you are afraid! A mistake has been made.
Your lungs are too small — you try to breathe, but it hurts and your tiny tight-lidded eyes burn because the
light is too strong. Your entire body is burning from the air as you shriek out a cry of anguish. You have
been betrayed by the soft voice — there is no going back. The eyes that burned from the magnesium light
do not burn any more. All is black. . . .
Your body is twisted and mutilated and burning and annihilated as you spin dizzily into a gasping,
choking black agony. Forever. . . .
You have lived long enough — you are no longer needed. They were afraid nobody would love or care
for you as a child. . . .
13 years old and strung out on drugs,
just one more to sweep up under the rug.
He never stood strong and stout,
one less nigger to worry about.
But me, the needle is not my thing,
can't let them hang me out on a string.
Got to get ahead, and be cool,
let them think that I'm their fool.
And then like a flash I will appear,
then for once, they'll know I'm here!
I want all Black to stand by my side,
cause it's gonna be a hell of a ride.
And when it's done we'll cry out loud.
Yes my man, I'm Black and Proud!
^^^^^ ^C 7\
Requiem for a CCEBS Graduate
He knew, as had other generations of his family, that
things could be better. In an undefinably mysterious way, he
knew that there must be a way out, and that he, he had the
power to get out, if he was only given the chance.
He came, up from the lowlands, following the dotted
white line of the Interstate as if hypnotized by the magic of
speed. As he gazed out of the window of Greyhound, he mar-
veled at the increasing numbers of brick and concrete wonders
Indeed this was a new world, a new beginning; a new
environment, new friends, new values, a new life. This is it,
he thought, what he had dreamed of, what he had wanted for
so very long.
Yes, it would be good, this new world of his. His free-
dom and independence were exhilirating. He felt as he had
never felt before. Now it all was his, a new world, a chance
to forget the sadness of the past, a chance to work in the pre-
sent for the future, a chance to look forward to the future with
hope, as if this new world was of prophecy or divine interven-
In his new home he found others who shared his dreams
and aspirations. They too had witnessed a revival, a revival of
spirit and life, and were very anxious, as he was, to get on with
However, in the early morning of his joy, he awoke to
find the same conditions he had so gladly left behind. He was
saddened to find seclusion and denial forcibly thrust upon him.
No matter how hard he tried, it seemed that inhumanity fol-
And wl.en he saw this, he had bitter memories, memories
that ached hi', heart and tore at his sense of justice.
All of this did not sadden him for too long. The bitter
aftertaste of ihe past had made him all the more determined to
go out and seek his cause, to change the world and to correct
what he saw wrong with it.
In those days, many theories of social advancement were
going around among his people. Depending upon the refer-
ence group used, one, he was told, could succeed by becoming
a professional athlete, or a singer, or a janitor, or a housekeep-
er, or even a pimp. But the most common, and most respecta-
ble, alternative that lay open to him was that of education.
Education, as the American dream would have it, and as
it was told to him, is the key to opportunity, to a good job, to
a good life. With an education, he could do as he pleased, the
sky being the limit. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could stop
him // he had an education, for an education, as everyone
knows, is the passport to the American way of life.
(Continued on page i8)
Requiem for a CCEBS Graduate . . .
(Continued from page i6)
He succumbed, as many did, to this argument of education. With an education, he would win the respect of
his family and community. With an education, he would become a spokesman for all the just, yet neglected causes
of his people. With an education, the world would be his playground and he would change it as he pleased. With
an education, he would use his insight for the betterment of his people.
At the announcement of his intentions to go to college, there was a feeling of pride and jubilation. The first in
his family to attend college, he was told, if it was to be done, this was the way to do it. His life was to be better than
his father's. He would no longer have to listen to others. Yes, he was told, an education is what you want.
And, as if by a miracle, there was a school with a program for him and other minority students who sought
to correct past injustices through education. It was almost as if someone had read his mind and knew what he
He thought it was going to be easier than he had imagined. There were others who had similar ideas. Surely
together they would be able to make it.
And then it began. The realities of the world began to beat his brow. There was work and studying to be
done. There was a test of his patience and enthusiasm. There was a political as well as an academic education to
acquire. There were stereotypes and prejudices to be done away with. There was a pride to be had.
It was a phenomenal task, he found, to be a minority in a white world, to be strong in the face of potential
disaster. It was a phenomenal task to be challenged to the fullest potential. It was a phenomenal task to distinguish
himself, curricularly or extracurricularly. It was a phenomenal task to develop awareness and sensitivity. It was a
phenomenal task to be successful, to acquire the skills and talents he needed to go back and do something
meaningful for his community. It was a phenomenal task to get himself together, socially and academically. It was
a phenomenal task to avoid the potential shallowness of education, to go beyond the generalities of a liberal arts
education to the specificity and expertise of specialization that was needed, if he was to go back and effect change for
Suddenly, it all became frightening. There was too much to learn, too much to do. And he retreated,
retreated with the others to a security, rigged with a detonator of four years, retreated to sharp clothes, hip music,
dynamite parties, retreated to easy courses and easy majors, retreated from the realities of life, a life that would
necessarily continue to be harsh.
In the end, he became a master, and subsequently a servant, of fear, not using his education to facilitate
understanding of minority peoples, but intimidating others to grant his demands, relying upon irrational fear based
upon guilt feelings and ignorance and never once attempting to do away with irrational fear and ignorance.
And now it is over, four years and a degree. It is now too late to go back and begin anew. He has lost all that
was possible. The talents and skills necessary to deal with the problems of minority communities are lacking, and
the traditional white power continues to refuse to relinquish its unjust control of the economics of these communities.
And we are incapable of wrestling it from them.
His idealism has perished. His worth has been abnegated. His shame overwhelms him.
And now he, a senior, has a story to tell, a sad story, of time and of irrevocable intent, a story of short-lived
purpose, a story of unfilled dreams, a story without dedication, a story of history. Just as he cannot go back in time
and start anew with his new-found insights, he cannot live his life again. He can only tell his story and hope that
there are some, a few, who will listen and heed his advice.
His story is meant for those who he feels he might be able to forewarn, to avoid the snares that entrapped
him and never let him go until the white man said so, until it was too late to go back and do the work of his people.
Life-long goals are not achieved in a four year span. It is a lifetime of work. It is a maturity of knowing what
one wants. It is a stubbornness to not take "no " for an answer. It is the perseverance of time and effort. It is a love
of humanity that sustains throughout the struggle. It is a fight for the impossible dream that began yesterday and
bears fruit in further success, today.
It's too late to undo the things you've done,
you've already lost and he has won.
Childish hearts cry over what's gone,
to be a man you must carry on.
You must bear the pain, the hurt, the sorrow,
always remembering that there's tomorrow.
BLACK WILL RISE
Today my people are pushed around,
like loose dirt that lies on the ground.
We get the little jobs like butlers and maids, why?
because we did not get our grades.
It hurts to know that we're behind, yes,
all my people at the end of the line.
Now's the time to make a stand, get Black together
for the good of the land.
Push on and if you need a hand, I'll help you out,
I'm your Brother man.
Karen (Brown) Thompson
Barbara ]. Groomes
SENIORS NOT PICTURED
Ray Blount ,i
Robin Chandler Smith
Wandra Roderick Harmson
Time to Be Utilized''
Time to do
what needs to be done.
Time to understand the people.
Time to create a means to
overcome all the political problems of this
society and the problems of this world.
Time to overcome
the obstacles that will come in our
Time not to be wasted.
Time must be utilized,
to create and to do what must be done,
what has to be done.
Time is here
'7i -meaning now and in
FROM ONE WAR TO ANOTHER
Black people have been battling all their lives. Each generation of Black folk
has survived all kinds of injustices. The Black veteran has had the battles at home
but, in addition has had to contend with fighting for purposes other than his own.
Hamburger Hill, Hill 881, Tonkin Gulf, Da Nang, and countless other battles of
that catastrophe— Vietnam. Brothers not only having to deal with the North
Vietnamese, the "enemy," or as the White world calls them "Gooks," but the
increased threat of racism that has been carefully carried and coveted by their
white counterparts. During this traumatic experience (normally before Rotation to
a new assignment) Black men witness what could be called a brotherhood that was
Utopian in nature. All the brothers had were themselves and contrary to the
popular belief that they were forced into truly loving and staying with each other
and looking out for each other, the brothers did have other alternatives. The
opportunity was there and was chosen. Through this love for one another they
introduced a new dimension to the Vietnam War. Dapping, or so-called soul hand
shaking sometimes for nearly twenty minutes was a powerful thing. Naturally the
Whites tried to analyze this beautifully executed expression of love and unity but
the best they could come up with was an Ancient Tibetan Ritual of some sort.
They didn't understand the ritual or what it was for.
For the brothers who made it back from Nam, some (very few) were able to
find employment, some became members of the Black Liberation Army and are
involved for example, in teaching younger brothers in their communities the art of
defending themselves. Some went back to the corners they came off of because
they couldn't find employment and some went off to the schools making use of
their G.I. Bills.
Those brothers who went from Vietnam to college left one hellified physical
war only to enter a hellified mental war. These individuals had to adjust in 1001
ways to countless situations, in short, to everything that was going on around
them. The difficulties encountered can only be determined individually. These
largely depend on how gregarious the person is, how many associates he has and
most importantly how successful he has been in detaching himself psychologically
from his previous situation.
The University situation is harsh, for example, most students are younger and
much less experienced so that daily occurring problems cannot be understood or
shared with fellow students. Counselors can counsel a lot of people but the
university institution hardly has a program especially geared for Veterans. Its
major concern is helping high schoolers grow up.
These are only a few problems that naturally lead to many, many others.
Solutions are much needed! Where to go for assistance or solutions is a constantly
unanswered question for the Black Veteran. When searching Veterans who are
Black need answers many people at the university want to sit and talk and
unfortunately that is all that happens. This, an agonizing and depressing situation
The War, The Battle, The Fight, goes on! And on! !
UNITY - A NECESSITY
"Africa Lives! Her Black tentacles stretch to the
four corners of the earth. Her aspiring people em-
brace the cultures of all lands, forming a community
of nations. Black people, people of color, are all of
the same; people of dignity, all with a common root
going back to the motherland."
The words of Imamu Amiri Baraka stunned my
mind. What was this concept," Community of Na-
tions?" Is this to say that all people of color, regard-
less of their own distinct cultural roots, assume a
greater commonality? Does this commonality have
more relevance than Spanish to a Puerto Rican or
street talk to an Afro-American? Are we further to
assume that because a man is Black, he is of dignity?
Is this community to have marked similarities,
such as a France or an Afganistan? Is this community
to have those similarities that make a community
background, or is this community to rise to some level
of community consciousness not yet realized in the
scheme of the world. When discussing the com-
munity, do our eminent Black spokesmen take into
account that, even at the tiny Black community of the
University of Massachusetts, the Black populus
would be willing to sacrifice the roots they identify
with for some higher form of consciousness. Who
among us might be able to make that determination.
Which is more important?
I would propose that although Black people pos-
sess a commonality of color, the distinct and smaller
cultural identity often matters more to the people and
for anyone to talk of a cohesion of people as a whole,
without first identifying and appealing to these dis-
tinctions, is unrealistic. At the University of Massa-
chusetts, as with several Black populations within the
collegiate structure, people form smaller groups,
often called "cliques," are natural gravitations of peo-
ple and cannot always be viewed as detrimental to the
formation of a total community. Our Black leaders at
the University often down-grade the Black populus
for lack of togetherness without taking into account
that these students come from different backgrounds
and often, that these elemental roots are not cohesive
in a community sense. If we, as Black folks, are to
organize a community on this campus or any other
for that matter, definition and re-definition are neces-
sary. Efforts should be made to define those groups
which do exist and maybe reinforce them. A re-de-
finition of goals maybe should be implemented so as
to include all these different factions to create some-
thing for everybody.
Here at the University of Massachusetts, there
exist not one Black community but several. They can
be broken down, to a certain extent, according to
where people come from, but more so the pertinent
divisions are where people live and who they associate
with when they get here. Black students come from
many areas around the state and also from several
other states in the union. Some people come from
Boston, some from New Bedford. Some people come
from Chicago and some from Detroit. Black people
come from Springfield and New York city. All are
different areas of the country, with similar but differ-
ent problems and needs. How are these individual
needs to be satisfied by an umbrella philosophy?
How are these individual differences to be satisfied
through a group consciousness? People are only
here for a maximum of four years anyway (with some
going a bit longer). Do these philosophies of com-
munity consciousness seek to eliminate what it has
taken many more years of orientation to create?
On the campus itself, divisions are clear. You
have all Black corridors in several dormitories.
Mackimmie, Grayson and John Adams have organ-
ized the men and Webster has begun to organize the
women. In the place that people relax, such as the
Malcolm X room and the "corner" down at the
Hatch, an eating spot, the same people day in and out
hang there, rarely realizing a new membership. One
might say that New Africa House, where most Black
learning departments and help organizations are lo-
cated and where several Black classes are taught,
would be the common denominator, but indeed, it has
its own peculiar clientele also. Even within the organ-
izational structure, the same people are active all of
the time. Each one of these community facets has its
own distinct identity. These have their own impor-
tant set of priorities and values. The assertion of
these values when large masses of people come to-
gether sometimes causes difficulties and prevents the
gospel of community from taking a firm entrench-
ment. This brings about a dis-unity which in turn
leads to a further manipulation.
But although these cliques cause this disunity,
they do serve a purpose. No one Black person can be
expected to relate to all of the rest of the Black popu-
lus. People are individuals, with, as I have stated,
different needs and articulations. The cliques serve
to satisfy these needs, giving the Brother or Sister the
fulfillment that he or she might need. These cliques
are formed out of Black love for one another, and this
is a quality that is seldom bad in any form. But the
community is important also, so where can equilibri-
um be reached? Maybe it is time for the Black leader-
ship or those that are more qualified to lead, to pay
some attention to these areas that I have just named
for they are important and are not going anywhere.
Just because some man might say that we are a Black
community here at UMass, a person does not lose
sight of the fact that his mother is still in New York
and he loves her very much. I would like to see some-
thing organized that is more representative of the
community as a whole.
To stretch this point further, look at the country.
All the people in it are in different locations, can they
all be construed to be the same and are they treated as
such? The realization of the community cannot be
achieved around all the divisions that do exist and the
divisions that do exist are necessary so that the needs
of the individual are met. Clearly, a new social inven-
tion is in order. One that will transcend the barriers
of the clique formation and still include some facet of
it. Black people can come together, for they formed
the cliques to begin with, but this should not come at
the price of lost individuality. Some things are impor-
tant, one's individual Blackness is one of them. Do
not forsake that which is you and you alone, for it is
then that you will really be lost.
"LEND A HAND"
Togetherness, is when you see a black
mother and child in the gutter.
"Lend a Hand."
Togetherness, is when you see
your black brother getting kicked
by the white man, you
"Lend a Hand."
Togetherness is when you see Black
brothers and sisters struggling for
unity among Black people,
and you, "Lend a Hand. "
All this is togetherness
so why don't you
"Lend a Hand."
A CKNO WLEDGEMENTS
The Staff would like to thank these individuals for
For Art: Carlos Lopes
For Prose: Steven Masse
For Poetry: Robert Smith
Sandra McBride, a group of junior high school
students from Boston.
Robin Crawford, a high school student
Special thanks go to the Drum Staff who have worked
diligently this year to give you the best product
possible, and to Nat Rutstein whose support and
confidence helped in making that goal a reality.
Next year the Drum will be honored by the capable
leadership of two individuals— ^WJh, BARROWS f^^d
EDWARD ROGERS, our new Co-Editors. Let us
extend our congratulations to them but along with that
gesture let us determine to support them in their duties by
more than giving complaints or pats on the back. Let''s
pitch in and work to make Drum a better magazine than
what it is or has been.
I Billy Roberts — Editor