Full text of "Drum"
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UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, AMHERST
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Boston Library Consortium IVIember Libraries
Co-Editors Paul W. Barrows
Edward J. Rogers
Fiscal Imogene Lewis
Rosa J. Emory
Lawrence E. Baugh
Art Co-Editors L. Tommy Rocha
Photography Editor Eugene Niles
Jetta C. Eraser
Administrative Secretary Doris D. Williams
David R. Thaxton
THE DRUM, FALL 1973
Vol, 5 No. 1
Editorial, circulation and ad-
vertising offices located at 424 and
426 New Africa House, University
of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.
Printing: Gazette Printing Co., Inc., Northampton, Mass.
6. "The Role of the Black Student in the 60's
8. "The Black G.I. and the Sixties"
15. Noted Black Wonnen ... An Interview with
18. Toward an Analysis of Some Aspects of the
Black Student Movement of the Late 1960's
26. Saved? A Short Story
32. A Meditation on Racism in American Literature
37. Black Music in the Sixties ... An Interview
Paul W. Barrows
Paul W. Barrows
Lawrence E. Baugh
John H. Bracey, Jr.
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As we look back at the decade of the sixties, we see many important developments in
terms of the over all struggles of Third World peoples, in this country and abroad, for equal-
ity and liberation. In Vietnam, the heroic Vietnamese people were successfully defeating the
U.S. Imperialist forces. In Africa, Algeria won its independence from the French. With the de-
velopment of the Organization of African Unity (as well as many other progressive organi-
zations), growing finance and influence supported the growth and development of other
revolutionary struggles in Angola, Guinea, Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique as well as
developments that have more recently come to world-wide attention in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
and Namibia (South Africa).
The sit-ins, boycotts, take-overs, and the revolutionary uprisings in the ghetto's across
the United States gave impetus to these struggles abroad. Through the boycotts led by
Martin Luther King Jr., the freedom rides sponsored by CORE (Congress for Racial Equality),
the Voter registration drives of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), the
political education of Malcolm X, and the development of the Black Panther Party For Self
Defense, Black people rallied and courageously confronted America on the issues of the day.
Black Nationalism was also being implemented through the work of Elijah Muhammad and
the Nation of Islam.
Today, we see many results of these struggles. African countries such as Guinea have
gained their independence, while others successfully continue to widen their number of vic-
tories in their protracted struggles for liberation. In America, public education has, through
"affirmative action" programs began for the first time to "recruit" and "accept" Black and
other Third World students. This is not to say that racism ceases to exist, for it is still an in-
herent element in these institutions, existing in more covert forms.
Putting all of this in its linear progression as it relates to our existence at U. Mass., we
clearly see that our enrollment here is, for the most part, a direct result of those struggles and
confrontations of the sixties. Thus it becomes necessary that we give the long over-due
recognition to our heroes of this by-gone decade! As we give this recognition, it is most im-
portant that we also begin to analyze and access our current status as Third World people in
America and the World; for much remains to be done.
Now that we have come into an "existence" at colleges and universities like U. Mass., we
must begin to analyze what the consequences are as we are cast into these "foreign" situa-
tions. We must understand the true nature of White colleges and universities and how they
were built and functioning through taxes paid by our parents and ourselves, while we were
denied entrance. It becomes extremely vital for our survival and development at U. Mass.,
for us to understand and deal with the symptoms and the results of that infectious, conta-
gious, and sometimes fatal disease, "the neutralization of a soul." Yes, there are so many
of us who are or are in the process of becoming socially, culturally and politically neutralized
through our existence here. The positive attitudes (developed for the most part as a result of
the sixties) that we brought with us from our ghetto communities, is slowly becoming neu-
Through understanding and re-iterating our history, especially as it relates to our pro-
gressive developments in this by-gone era (the sixties), we can strive to bring an end to this
stifling, stagnant and deadly process of neutraUzation; thus giving us inspiration and in-
sight for persuing the survival and strengthening of our people in the seventies. Then and
only then can we as Third World students enrolled in White institutions, hope to open new
doors towards a more meaningful and increasingly rewarding experience for ourselves and
Paul W. Barrows
The Role of the Black Student
During the Sixties
If we closely review this era in history (1960's)
we will see that the student played a direct and potent
role in the upheaval for change in this country.
During the massive Civil Rights movement, Black
youths demanded equal rights and representations
and an end to racial discrimination and police harass-
ment which they, amongst others, were victims of.
This generation consisted of strong-willed, determin-
ed and anxious youths who weren't going to take
"no" for an answer and wanted an immediate end to
It was during the Civil Rights Era that many
schools were forced to desegregate. It was Charlayne
fiunter along with Hamilton Holmes who desegre-
gated the Univ. of Georgia of January 10, 1961. De-
spite the threats, harassments and outward violence,
they continued to fight the enemies and racist as-
saults. Hence, it was Vivian Malone who desegre-
gated the Univ. of Alabama in 1963. On June 11,
of this same year. Gov. Wallace of Alabama carved
out a 1962 campaign promise to prevent integration
of Alabama schools and tried to bar Vivian Malone
and James Hood from registering. In spite of op-
position and personal harassment, she became the
first Black graduate from the Univ. of Alabama. Still,
we can recall the controversy when James H. Mere-
dith desegregated the Univ. of Mississippi in the year
1962. Meredith, as we remember, had been rejected
solely on racial grounds and the United States Court
of Appeals ordered that he be admitted. Upon en-
trance to the university, he underwent a grueling ten-
day ordeal during which there were riots. Two were
killed, many injured and it was necessary for federal
troops to accompany him everywhere.
Much debate aroused when James Farmer, the
pioneer of the "sit-ins," attempted with the help of
others, to desegregate public facilities throughout
the South. But, the sit-in movement was taken to
another level when protests came swiftly against
Woolworth's discriminatory policies and Black stu-
dents in the South, selected Woolworth's lunch
counters as a major testing ground in their fight for
equal rights. Barbara Broxton, a Florida A & M col-
lege student, was released from jail after serving
forty-eight days on a trespassing conviction arising
from her participation in the "sit-in" at a Wool-
worth's store. At a meeting with Woolworth's top
management she had this to day: "I speak for
by Carrolyn Boiling
the Southern students. We will fight because we are
right. I've been in jail, and I'm willing to go back
Many Black students were arrested in the sum-
mer of 1962 when Freedom Riders were stoned,
burned and riots led to martial law. Black students
were active in all facets of the Civil Rights move-
ment. They participated in the March On Wash-
ington, Poor People's Campaign, Urban Rebellions,
voting drives, Selma-Montgomery march, demon-
strations and boycotts in general. Black students were
in the vanguard of the struggle for change.
With conditions unchanged and Whites seeking
more devious ways to opress Blacks, students lost
interest in the Martin Luther King philosophy. The
"call to non-violence" proved to be of no avail. Black
people's perspective involving the Civil Rights
struggle began to change. Many turned to the mili-
tant dogma of Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, H.
Rap Brown and other Black leaders. Rebellious
Blacks, realizing their oppressive conditions, took
White America by surprise when riots, disturbances
and outbreaks of sporadic violence swept this na-
Originally, President Kennedy was the first to
begin studies into the problems of civil rights and
poverty. However, it was under the Johnson admin-
istration that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 1965, and
1968 were passed by Congress. The so-called "War
on Poverty" was staged and the "Great Society
Plan" was supposed to "open the doors for poor
Blacks." Of course this never became a reality.
Blacks didn't benefit from this legislation because it
was never meant to uplift the plight of Blacks. Presi-
dent Johnson used much rhetoric and moved to paci-
fy Black discontentment through his federally fund-
ed programs. Such programs as OEO, VISTA,
CCEBS, OIC, HEAD START, and SEEK (just to
name a few) came into being under Titles one, four,
six and seven during the Johnson administration.
These were the major titles of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. Titles one and four offer federal money for
local (White) school districts to desegregate. Title
six would cut off funds to schools which did not
desegregate; however, they would receive money if
they obeyed the law. Lastly, the Title seven program
would gradually require employers, particularly those
receiving federal contracts, to cease discriminatory
hiring. Obviously, these compensatory programs
are responsible for our very existence here at the Uni-
versity of Massachusetts.
After entering all-White educational institutions,
Black students demanded Black Studies Departments
and engaged in African Liberation support efforts
and relevant education on campus. During this
time many Black student activists were suspended,
scholarships terminated, academic grades withheld
and other forms of repercussions occured when they
began to question contradictions that existed in
society. As a result of student protest, many were
massacred for what they believed in, as we witnessed
at Orangeburg, Jackson State College, Kent State
and Southern University. Now with Nixon cutting
back on federally funded programs and merging
Black colleges with White colleges as one educational
unit, this action disrupts the very foundation for
Today we don't see the spirit of the sixties be-
cause the movement has been co-opted through the
educational institutions. Black students are alienated
from the college community and isolated from their
own community. Now, we see students are operat-
ing as individuals for self-interest and not as Black
people for the interest of a oppressed group. Stu-
dents are concerned with advanced degrees, high
paying positions and rationalizing that this will be
their contribution to the struggle! !
Moreover, the system is even more overt in the
opression of Black people today, through drugs,
films, hunger, poverty, high unemployment and
sterilization. Where is the organized resistance
from Black students protesting these conditions
that Black people are confronted with? Where are
the Vivian Malones, the James Merediths, and the
Hamilton Holmes in the university community here
and elsewhere? Where has the spirit of the sixties
gone? How many students of this university and
institutions elsewhere are willing and sincerely pre-
pared to state as Barbara Broxton did in 1962 for
something that they believed in?
"We will fight because we are right.
I've been in jail and I'm willing to
go back if necessary."
THE BLACK G.I. AND THE SIXTIES
Not a sigh will escape me tonight,
not the weight of a falling leaf.
It falls on my body.
I can feel the trees and grass
bursting into the air.
My breath burst into the air.
My eyes become musty
and my soul fights to flower.
I ask you to sing with me,
while you seek comfort upon my chest.
We will rejoice unlimited
raising the people's cry
. . . who can turn his head away
We are faced at every side
Mama can you hear the baby cry
Oh Lord! Mama we must fight or die
Let us not wait till the fires die
or want more solid things—
or wait for our poets.
Let us now sing of victories
our freedom day comes to us fast.
We will celebrate with the coming
of each friend.
For he has won his battle long before,
he is free from our embattled land
And now new life will spring from us.
Within the framework of the Black revolution of
the 1960's, the Black serviceman has become an
enigma, a product of an asserting Black philosophy
in it's rejection of our systematic society. By being
inside of the complex whose purpose is and has
been the perpetuation and growth of the American
establishment, the Black GI has been an object of
scorn. He has been misunderstood and placed in the
context of "a man in the service" with the emphasis
placed upon service rather than upon man. The sit-
uation is a sad dichotomy, for those Black folks who
structure such a limited microscope for the viewing
of the Black serviceman's relevance and composite,
rebel when they themselves are judged in such a man-
ner. Thus, excluded from the general Black body
politic, the Black GI has chosen a path of identity
which is a mixture of revolution and evolution.
Revolution in that within the military microcosm, a
society more stringent than the civilian world, the
Black serviceman has waged his own unassisted war
upon a segregated, facist institution; a movement
which is just today realizing concrete gains. Evolu-
tion because by being segregated from the larger
Black society, there developed a brotherhood, a
sense of being a part of somebody simply because you
are a Black man.
Black people have fought in every war that the
United States has ever been in. They were at the side
of George Washington in the American war against
the British, inspite of the advice and opinions of his
colonial companions. Blacks fought in the War of
1812. They became premier soldiers in the fight
against Native Americans, forming groups such as
the famed "Buffalo Soldiers" who distinguished
themselves in combat and were awarded decorations
for their bravery. They fought on both sides of the
Confederacy and the Union in the Civil War. Blacks
marched up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt and
served in the Philippines. During World War I,
America's first truly global conflict. Blacks again
proved that they were superior soldiers serving in
segregated platoons and yet accomplishing bravery.
In World War II, Blacks provided a frontal force
against Naxi tyranny. The main underlying ill
throughout all the Blackman's service to his coun-
try is that up to this date, the blackman was forced to
serve in segregated units, often with white leader-
Benjamin O. Davis Sr. represents the first major
breakthrough in terms of Blacks reaching a policy-
making plateau in the service system. By being the
first Blackman reaching the rank of general in the
1950's, he became the symbol that the service sys-
tem was changing. His son followed in his foot-
steps, reaching the rank of lieutenant general, ex-
ceeding the rank of his father. However, it was not
until 1948 that the service system became officially
de-segregated. Although Black troops fought in
the second World War and half-way through the
Korean conflict, as well as in all previous cam-
paigns, it was not until 1948 that they were allowed
to serve side by side with their white counterparts.
Even though segregation ceased to be a legal form of
meniality, the Black GI was subjected to innumerable
hold-overs as the military structure, responding to
change like an un-oiled machine, slowly processed
its new policy. There were changes on the books that
were represented by the new composition of service
units. All other things remained the same. GI hous-
ing still bore "white only" sections and service clubs
were often barred to Blacks and on base, other organ-
izations remained as they had been.
In the realm of rank, the blackman has been left
behind, with the exception of the notable aforemen-
tioned. Throughout the fifties, the Blackman made
a little more progress in the war against racism that
had become the "basic service way of life." Blacks
were never assigned to the choice positions and tech-
nical fields. They became relegated to the lower
status jobs such as stewards, supply men and non-
functioning police. Officer ranks remained closed to
them. Outside the base, the armed forces refused to
help the Black serviceman in his fight against the
racism exercised upon him by landlords, retail stores
and school administrations, particularly in the
South, where most military establishments are lo-
cated. Blackmen were at the bay of two systems: the
oppressive military whose foundations relied upon
the destruction of any identity for the maintenance
of discipline, and an outside, larger civilian society
which was experiencing the beginning of an awak-
The time is moving into the revolution of the Six-
ties. A Black identity is rising. The Vietnam War is
just moving into gear.
The Vietnam War represents the first military oc-
cupation in the history of the United States when
White and Black soldiers have trained and fought
side by side, responsible and answerable to the same
"military errors." The mainland myths of some
"white God given superiority" and of the Blackman's
natural inadequacy began to crumble. Having been
given the opportunity (not readily available in civ-
ilian life) to demonstrate their skills, ability for lead-
ership, and precision performance in combat and
man to man contact, the Black GI learned to survive.
Put in the situation of hfe and death, staying alive
became the main motivation toward military disci-
pline. This, coupled with attitudes developed in their
own communities, made Black soldiers a fighting
machine. Moral impUcations were not the issue, the
issue was survival. Although a case could have been,
no man desired extermination.
At the time of the beginning of the Vietnam War,
the leadership ranks of the military were still in the
hands of white people. Blacks composed 12 percent
of the total service, but less than 1% of the officers
were Black. The Navy was the worst of the lot in its
commitment to "quality integration" with the fewest
number of Black officers. For example, the aircraft
carrier Enterprise, in 1967, with a crew of 3,000 men
and 240 officers, had one Black junior grade lieuten-
ant. One of the reasons for this is that historically,
the Navy has been the most resilient toward desegre-
Although the Black GI became the best fighting
machine in Vietnam, the service refused to recind in
its adherance to racism. In Vietnam, several clashes
erupted between Blacks and their White counter-
parts. Various "turfs" were established and another
war was waged. This time. Blacks were armed and
able to combat power with power and within the
structure of Vietnam, a new order arose. He was a
different Blackman, a man coming from the openings
of a revolution. He was able to command respect
from all White soldiers who knew that there would
come a time when they would be back out in the
jungle, primarily concerned with each individual's
survival. Thus through the Vietnam conflict, the
Blacks began to assert themselves as a people with an
identity and could enforce it. A brotherhood de-
veloped, a communal tie, a society of black men try-
ing to survive. This is not to say that the service
did not have its "Uncle Toms." Throughout the
development of integration in the service, there has
been the maintenance of the distorted philosophy
of an earlier period of looking at oneself. These in-
dividuals, often those that remain in the service be-
cause it's the best form of subsistance they have ever
had, are like rocks to any movement. They live and
die the Negroes they came in as, subservient in atti-
tude, a part of the way things were. However it must
be understood that although these men have become
part of something "foreign," it is primarily a result of
the lack of opportunity in the larger society. In the
words of some of the soldiers, it is the only time in
their lives they have been allowed to participate and
be men. A brotherhood developed because of the
ramifications of the Vietnam War. Brothers came to-
gether for survival purposes. Different modes of
communication were devised. The "dap," a cere-
monious handshake which involved intricate man-
euvers, became a focal point. The handshake varied
according to where you were, but the idea behind it
was the same everywhere. One of unity. Black peo-
ple united against an adversity more complex than
that which the larger Black society was subjected to.
Blacks congregated in the same barracks, bars, and
did similar things. All members of the new order,
mostly the younger "by-products" of the 1960's
revolution, represented the vanguard of a unique
societudial development. Most Black GI's became
brothers tied together by color, common back-
ground, oppression, and handshake. Truly, to un-
derstand this phenomenon, one must have been a
part of it. An emerging Black identity cut off from
existing Black identity; a society, had showed that,
on a smaller numerical scale and under different con-
ditions. Blackness exists.
There were violent revolts also. In the Navy, Blacks
were asserting themselves in gaining control of their
identities. In the Marines, Blacks caused upheavals
at various camps. Who has forgotten the confronta-
tions at Paris Island and Camp Le June. In the Army,
the largest branch of the service. Black people rioted
at Fort Dix and Bragg. In 1969, at Goose Bay Air
Base, an Air Force station in Canada, a Blackman lost
his life over an incident precipitated by racial in-
equality. Congressional investigations were pur-
sued. Inadequacies such as legal systems, promo-
tions, and job classification were attacked. These
struggles still go on today in the service as they do in
other places. Blacks organized themselves into
political entities, wielding force toward the military
to change. Also, within the development of brother-
hood there has been a strong tendency to accept the
faults of other brothers and work together toward
their common good. Old GI unities with young GI,
adding experience to youthful exuberance striving
for constructive change, a tactic for survival.
When the Black GI gets out of the service, as most
do, he is a highly tactical individual, well versed in
meanings of survival, which constitutes a plus for
any movement that is itself trying to survive.
But the sad fact exists, that, although these broth-
ers come from a situation of life and death where a
highly developed sense of discipline is necessary in
order to stay alive, they are rejected by the rest of
their people for serving a country that does not
serve them. How intolerant a Black populus is, regi-
mented into a rhetoric of systematic rejection when
they cannot accept a good worker simply because of
a situation in which the worker had no choice. Who
among us would not have gone if called? Who is
the courageous soul, or man of the resources of a
Muhammed Ali, who can say that I will not serve?
The fact is that such folks of convictions this strong
are the exception rather than the rule. It surfaces as
those brothers who were fortunate enough to beat the
draft system, (whose composition was 18.7% overall
Black), deploring those that could not.
Throughout the sixties, the Black GI was shifted
increasingly toward the periphery of the movement,
and left to devise his own tactics for being Black. The
jubilation is that he succeeded.
Now the context is clear. Black people, left on the
outside of the rest of Black society, scorned by their
people, developed their own means for survival and
their own definitions for Blackness. They incured a
number of problems the answer to which became re-
bellion. A rebellion, like no other, was against a sys-
tem that represented a military state of preparedness.
However, they survived and lived on to reach a new
level of consciousness. New perspectives for estab-
lishing brotherhood evolved. A solidarity became
the new rule, but still a solidarity "outside" of a
"larger solidarity." A question can be raised from
this situation. When will we, as a Black people, learn
to cope with the situations of our fellow Blacks,
through understanding and tolerance? A tolerance
that not only lets us accept the military Brother, but
all those Black people who are not of the fiber desired
by those who seek to place definitions upon the dy-
namics of "Blackisms." Can we as a people see that
Blackness is not a limited concept, which therefore
does not involve a limited spectrum of people. It is
a world wide concept, one that is changing every-
day, taking different shape with every event or prog-
ress or regress. It is a feeling involving love and de-
termination and so many other things.
All Black people, regardless of their own peculiar
"cage" are all burning in the same fire, and ulti-
mately shall perish through the same demise. The
hour is long overdue, that we as Black people, begin
to broaden our perspectives to accept a Brother simp-
ly for being a Brother, instead of narrowly judging
him because of an "unfortunate" situation that he is
Lawrence E. Baugh
callin' for some brothers I know
where do you wander now
how far will your selves
will you venture
at this moment?
tell me, what you see
if you can see at all . . .
the empires that your deathly/distant
distantly because they are dead
will you be content to play
that is since removed?
or shall you return to be robed
in that which awaits
to restore you to your
selves . . .
of what used to be
an image of past
of ancients days
putting us the
in the arena of time
brother by brother
sister by sister
to the animals
the reflections sit back
sitting on the memories
up high-teetering, on.
the brink of destruction
watching history repeat itself
forgetting that though
Rome wasn't built in a
it burned in one night
feeding us daily to the
swallowing us whole
in the big machine
spitting out one
unknowingly strengthening us
brother by brother
sister by sister
r ....... -^v
When the grass is sprinkled
with floating diamonds and crystal showers
and the breeze is warm and moist
And the sun is the ball of truth
and the mountains have a definite place
When all movement, is movement
AN INTERVIEW WITH
SISTER AISHAN RAHMAN
This year there has been new additions to the staff of the New
Africa House Cuhural Center. One main addition is Aishah Rah-
man, the coordinator of the center. Sister Rahman is perhaps
best known for her play Lady Day. She has a tremendous amount
of enthusiasm and energy from which everyone connected with
the Cuhural Center stands to benefit. During the sixties, the was
active in groups such as C O.R.E. On Guard For Freedom, The
Defense Committee for Robert Williams, and Fair Play for Cuba.
These involvements greatly influenced where she is today, in
terms of the Black Struggle. In addition to being a public figure,
Aishah has a very involved private life. Her husband is an ac-
tor with the Negro Ensemble and she has an eighteen month old
daughter named Yoluba Aishan.
Despite her busy schedule, Aishah took some time out to alio-
us to interview her:
Question: How did you come about selecting your name?
Answer: I took the name Aishah in 1962 when I became an orthodox Muslim. I left the Christian Church at the age of sixteen because it wasn't
socially or spiritually relevant to my needs. I went through the atheistic stage that many people go through at that time of life. But I soon realized
that I was basically a spiritual person, so I searched for another alternative. It was around this time that Elijah Muhammed was becoming
prominent. However, I felt that the Suni Muslim more satisfied my needs. Three years later, Malcolm X became a member of the same sect. He
has a very great impact on my life.
Question: How would you describe your political involvement in the 1950's?
Answer: In the late 1950's I was involved in C. O.R.E. My activities included picketing the Five and Dime Stores for equal treatment of Blacks.
As a member of On Guard for Freedom, we picketed the United Nations in 1963 following the death of Patrice Lamumba. Professor Max Roach
was also there. We (On Guard) also picketed a concert at Carnegie Hall which was sponsored by people that had exploitative interests in South
Question: When did you start your career as a writer?
Answer: I have always wanted to write. My first play was produced when I was 10 years old. However I didn't start to write seriously until I
went to Howard University to study law. I was disenchanted with the law program finding that it was evolutionary, not revolutionary. In 1965,
while still at Howai'd, I wrote my first full length play called Voodoo America. This play is about an old Black Southern woman who realizes the
spiritual force of her ancestors' religion and uses it to liberate herself from oppression. From here 1 went back to New York City where I worked
as a medical social worker at Harlem Hospital. There, I saw the effects of the oppression of Black people. Even the best doctors and nurses were
not enough because of lack of facilities and funds. Every Black disease can be directly traced to poverty, psychological and spiritual oppression.
Hypertension, heart trouble and dope addiction are the three main killers of Black people. I also worked in the O.B.S. Gynecology Clinic where I
came in contact with some of the acute problems which Black women face. Very seldom did a woman come in who had a man supporting her
and her children. From these experiences, I wrote the plays Knit Shop and Linus Song. Knit Shop is about women who are sitting in a knit shop
talking. Linus Song is about a twelve year old Southern Black girl who was raped.
Question: Why did you write Lady Day?
Answer: I left Queens College when I was teaching Black Literature to write the play. Billie Holiday is a symbol of all Black women and the forces
they have to fight. Professor Archie Shepp, Paul Carter Harrison and the late Cal Massey were instrumental in the production of the play. We
were proud of our production as a great dramatic and musical achievement. The White critics hated the play because it was a threat to White
theaters and movies, and all the other "vultures " that profit off of Black artists. I did not write one word in the play for White people.
Question: What circumstances were involved in your coming to the University of Massachusetts?
Answer: I didn't make any money on the play and was looking for a job. Through connections, I found out the job position of coordinator for
the Cultural Center was vacant. Since I am into Black Culture, I felt I would be an asset to the Black Community.
Question: What are your goals for the future of the Cultural Center?
Answer: I see the Cultural Center as the beginning of something more than a booking agency. I would like to see it as a "Mecca for Black
Culture." It should be a center for creativity, for there are qualified people to work with here. I also see the Cultural Center as a place for
initiating research into our culture. Black artists, particularly writers, including myself are looking for a new asthetic. They need a place for self-
discovery. Next year I would like to have a writer's conference to be sponsored by the Black Cultural Center at UMass. The last conference was
in 1966 and it is time to have another one, to find out where we have been and where we are going.
Aishah Rahman is truly an asset to the Black Community. She feels that the concept of Culture has to be changed or it will eventually be
phased out. She also stressed strongly the need for funds in order to bring about these changes. Her concluding comments emphasized the use of
culture as a weapon. "It has been used to oppress and exploit Black people for so long. Now we must use OUR culture to OUR advangage." .
There is a profound need to set up a Black artists union to lay the ground work to stop the exploitation of Black talent. As the situation stands
now, Black artists depend on whites to expose their talents. Therefore, they hold the power to decide who succeeds and who is destroyed.
QUESTIONS ON BEING
what is the black experience?
does it engulf your being
or radiate from within?
does it move in shades of red, black and green
on a banner
or wave proudly at half mast?
can it be smoked, snorted or drunk?
can it be measured in doses and forced through
does it mingle in the kitchen along with chittUns',
greens and sweat?
does it taste good over ribs/or mixed with beans
can it be bought
played on my box
fill my room with sounds so sweet so mellow
or blasted through the speakers?
stomped on, danced with?
will it bounce, jump or grind tonite?
can I find it between two sheets holding two
bodies together making motions of love and then
ending them toooosooooon?
does it grow on my head hke a halo . . . framing
my face reaching for the sky?
will it fall straight against the shoulders naturally
or with a httle help from ultra sheen?
will it come to my house
coverin' me when I'm cold?
feeding me when I'm hungry?
will i see it on your face?
in your eyes?
feel it from your tongue?
can it be reflected in the mirror?
will it stare back at me. . .
can I shout it in a high thick up-south brawl of
yoallsniggas and whatshappening's?
will it call me?
should I meet it?
should I meet it in church?
should I wait for it to cradle me in a catholic
or cry for it at a baptist meetin'?
tell ME what is the black experience????????
TOWARD AN ANALYSIS OF SOME ASPECTS OF THE
BLACK STUDENT MOVEMENT OF THE LATE 1960's
by John H. Bracey, Jr.
"It is not a pleasant role to play. It is not always
pleasant to nice ears to hear a man ever coming with
his dark facts and unpleasant conditions. Never-
theless, it is the highest optimism to bring forward
the dark side of any human picture. When a man
does this he says to the world: Things are bad but
it is worthwhile to let the world know that things are
bad in order that they might become better. The real
crushing pessimism takes hold of the world when
people say things are so bad that they are not worth
complaining of because they cannot be made better."
W. E. B. DuBois, Voice Of The Negro
Now that we are well into the 1970's, perhaps it
is time to look back on events of the 1960's. Time to
attempt that lengthy and detailed process of evalu-
ation that must be done if Black people are to gain
the understanding of themselves and their relation-
ship to the larger American society, which is neces-
sary for any further moves toward increased power
and ultimate liberation. The purpose of this article
is to offer an analysis of the author's experiences
while a graduate student in the Black student move-
ment at Northwestern University in the late 1960's.
This analysis, of both my personal experiences and
those of the movement in which I participated, has
to be understood in broader terms if any conclusions
can be drawn.
I had few problems financially. There were only
three Black graduate students in the History Depart-
ment and we all received an adequate amount of aid.
Housing was a general problem for Blacks, but I
was fortunate and, with the aid of two liberal Whites,
found an adequate apartment— large and near the
campus. A more ideal situation, however, would
have called for a larger fellowship and more vigorous
efforts on the part of the university to secure off-
campus housing for Blacks.
The personal atmosphere in which one had to
study was a problem. There were only about five or
six Black graduate students and the school brought in
about 60 or 70 Black undergraduates in 1966, the
largest number ever. I found myself spending 40
hours a week, at a minimum, serving as a father
figure to Black undergraduates because there wasn't
a single Black counselor anywhere in the school.
The only older Black academic figures on campus,
with the exception of one or two professors, were
Black graduate students. One can't tell a freshman
who just had a traumatic experience in class: where
a teacher has told him, "All Black kids must have
rhythm: why don't you write about music?" not to
punch the teacher this time, not to storm out, not
to drop out, but one has to sit there and listen to him,
for hours if necessary, while he talks out his frus-
trations. He has a White academic advisor, but how
can he possibly go to a White academic advisor
and tell him that the problem at the school is White
people? You can't tell your problem to your White
advisor because he is the problem. So, Black graduate
students, myself and all the others, had to spend a
whole lot of time sitting around in the cafeteria, and
sitting around in dormitory rooms, and sitting
around in my apartment and so forth, listening to
the problems of young Black undergraduates. I'm
not saying that I didn't enjoy doing it; I realized it
was necessary. But, at the same time carrying a full
course load, one is in an awful jam timewise, and
one's academic work may reflect the lack of full-
time devotion to one's studies.
The only way to solve this kind of problem is to
have Black authority figures at all levels of all col-
leges throughout the university— to whom Blacks
can go to take their problems to relieve Black gradu-
ate students of this burden. Much Black student un-
rest tended to gravitate around the Black graduate
students because they were the ones everybody look-
ed up to. The undergrads pushed us, because some-
times we didn't always want to give too much of our
time when we were trying to get our own thing to-
gether. This means that you have to have some in-
crease in the hiring of Black personnel throughout
the university; any and all kinds of personnel. For
example, at Northwestern, Black cooks and cafeteria
workers served as authority figures, and we would
sit in the cafeteria talking to these older people, just
to attempt to recreate the feeling present only in a
There is a definite need for Black counselors cap-
able of handling the myriad of personal and social
problems confronted by young Black students. Their
job would include making the vital distinctions be-
tween, and hopefully alleviating, those problems
peculiar to the Black adolescent/young adult, and
the more general ones associated with "coming of
age in America." Black student nurses and pre-med
students could be enrolled in much greater numbers
to serve the functions of providing at least some
minimal Black personnel for university health cen-
ters and increasing the number of trained medical
personnel for the Black community and at large.
Virtually all universities could increase substantially
the number of Black members of their work staffs-
clerical, maintenance, etc. The need of Black faculty
and administrators is now freely acknowledged. The
problem of Black authority figures on predominantly
White campuses, then, can be solved through an in-
tensive program of hiring Blacks at all levels.
Furthermore, Black students as a group have to
have adequate university housing and recreational
facilities. At Northwestern, Black students had to
damn near wreck the place just to get a building in
which to sit down and talk to each other. Prior to
that, everybody assumed we wanted to talk to White
people all the time, which we didn't. We wanted to
get together like every other group does, to tell our
own little jokes and in-crowd stories, etc., and we
needed a place to do that. The administration
wouldn't recognize that until a move based on Black
student power was made. This conflict, and resolu-
tion of conflict, was all part of this personal atmos-
phere in which I as a Black graduate student had to
Such an atmosphere is conducive to education in
the broadest sense, for racial tensions and conflict
are very much a part of American society, and learn-
ing to understand and to deal with them should have,
indeed must have, a large place in the education of
any Black student. However, such an atmosphere is
not at all conducive to the attainment of the formal-
ized goals incorporated in the existing system of
graduate education. Black graduate students, like all
graduate students, need the security and comradeship
that can only come from the existence of a Black cofn-
munity on campus and an adequate social and cul-
tural center and meeting place for that community.
I spent three years as a graduate student at North-
western going in and out of the administration build-
ing, meeting faculty and administrators across con-
ference tables, helping to get students out of jail,
going down to stand in front of this and that,
carrying this and that sign, but I would have pre-
ferred sitting down and writing books and articles,
and functioning as a scholar in the interests of Black
people. I wanted to be a Black historian. It was not
for Black students to work full time offering solu-
tions to the problems of racism at the university, so
some dean or other administrator can sit back and
take the credit.
At any rate we moved to do a lot to help bring
Northwestern into the twentieth century. After al-
most two years of maneuvering and jockeying about
with the administration, we were forced to occupy a
building to gain the leverage necessary (in terms of
publicity and influence, not power. We weren't
that naive) to secure a guarantee that our minimal
demands were met.
The list of those demands that follow, show
their basically reformist nature.
1. Policy statement
Northwestern cannot begin to deal effectively with
racism on this campus until it first realizes and open-
ly acknowledges the extent of racism in American
society. For this reason we reject the statement given
to us in response and demand that a "new" policy
statement be issued and made pubHc from President
J. Roscoe Miller asserting that the racism of American
society which has penetrated all American institu-
tions has also penetrated Northwestern University,
and has thus affected the social and academic life
This statement is to include a declaration that the
University is attempting to provide a multi-racial and
cultural society within the university walls and
that any racist attack and/or abuses shall be consider-
ed in direct opposition to the University's goals and
a danger to the peaceful existence of such a society.
The extent of this danger is such that the perpetra-
tor shall be immediately excluded from this institu-
In order to alter the racist structure of this Uni-
versity, a change has to take place in the judiciary
structures, attitudes, and practices. As of now, the
University Disciplinary Committee is ineffective in
dealing with racism on campus (examples include the
Fiji incidents and the many encounters with Sigma
Chi). We demand that this judiciary be changed and
implemented to bring about swifter and fairer deci-
sions, or that a special judiciary be created to deal
with these special cases.
On acknowledging the racist structure of this coun-
try and this institution. Northwestern is committed
to understand the negative effects of racism on Black
people and other oppressed people. The entire con-
cept of justice has to be re-evaluated for this reason.
Justice for Black people at this time does not mean
equal treatment before a law or rule which is insensi-
tive to our oppressive position in this country. We
contend that justice for Black people means that extra
consideration and efforts are to be made in order to
balance the effects of racism. This means in effect
that the U.D.C. decision to place 3 White students
and 2 Black students on disciplinary warning is not
justice and is thus unacceptable in our eyes.
Our experience in America has not been character-
ized by justice in any way. No White institution can
right our hundreds of years of history and experience
by suddenly treating us the same as White people
(only at those times when it is strategic to do so)
and call it justice and equality. No matter how one
looks at it, idealistically or realistically. Black people
know that we are still getting the short end of the
deal. A new basis for administering justice must be
developed and put into effect and it is with this that
U.D.C, or any new judiciary which intends to deal
with racism, has to concern itself.
The only concrete response from the administra-
tion was the establishment of a special University
Committee on Human Relations. However, we are
not satisfied with that response and demand the right
of the Black student community to approve all ap-
pointments to this committee and to determine at
least 50% of these appointments.
1. That the Administration will accept and issue
a pohcy statement as outUned in this paper.
2. That the Administration restructure the U.D.C.
or create a new judiciary to adequately and justly cope
with racial problems and incidents.
3. That the Administration effect a new judiciary
standard (as outlined) and apply this standard retro-
actively to the U.D.C. decision of April 15.
4. That the Administration allow the Black com-
munity to (a) approve all appointments to the Hu-
man Relations Committee and (b) determine at least
50 percent of those appointments.
5. That each forthcoming freshman class consist
of 10 percent - 12 percent Black students, half of
which are from the inner city school systems.
6. That the Administration will institute a com-
mittee selected by the Black community to aid the Ad-
missions Office, especially in recruitment, and which
will have shared power with the Office of Admis-
sions and Financial Aid in making decisions relevant
7. That the members constituting this committee
be in a salaried position.
8. That F.M.O. will be supphed with (a) a list
of all Black students presently enrolled at North-
western (b) a list including names, addresses, etc.
of all accepted and incoming Black freshmen, (c) a
similar Ust of each forthcoming freshman class.
9. That the process of evaluating financial need
and administering financial aid be restructured in
conjunction with our Admissions and Financial Aid
10. That our scholarships be increased to cover
what is now included in our "required" jobs and that
funds be allocated for those who want or need to at-
tend summer session.
11. That the University provide us with a Black liv-
ing unit or commit themselves to immediately get-
ting rid of the present fraternity and sorority hous-
12. That any hiring of personnel in the position
of counseling the Black community of NU be ap-
proved by that Black community.
13. That a committee of Black students selected
by us work with the Administration in meeting our
needs for a Black Student Union.
14. That we have access to the committee studying
open occupancy and discrimination with review
rights to the matters which they are discussing.
The entire list of demands was agreed to by the
Northwestern Administration and have been in effect
since 1969. The "revolutionary" rhetoric and postur-
ing which accompanied the demands is now part of
every Black students daily behavior so there is little
need to go into detail about that.
What I would like to do now is to turn a critical
eye on the Northwestern incident and to try to draw
some wider conclusions. First some demographic
data will provide some background: "Between 1965-
1970, Blacks 18 to 24 years old enrollment in college
almost doubled, reaching 7 percent of total college
enrollments in 1970."
Negro Students Enrolled in College by Type of
Institution: 1964 to 1968, and 1970
(Numbers in thousands)
Subject 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1970
Total, Negro college enrollment
234 274 282 370 434 522
Enrollment in predominantly Negro
colleges 12S) 125 134 144 156 144
Percentof total . .51.3. . .45.6 47.5 38.9 35.9 27.6
Enrollment in other colleges
(not predominantly Negro)
114 149 148 226 278 378
Percentof total . .48.7. . .54.4 52.5 61.1 64.1 72.4
Data on colleges are for 4 and 2 year institutions and
professional schools, both private and public (including
community colleges). Statistics for 1966 to 1970 include
enrollment figures for nondegree-credit students. Prior to
1966 only degree-credit students are included.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census and U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
The Social and Economic Status of Negroes in the United
States, 1970. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Cen-
sus. (Washington, G.P.O., 1971) p. 83.
The increase in the number of Blacks at North-
western then was a part of a larger picture of pre-
dominantly White schools bringing in large numbers
of Blacks. In keeping with historical precedent, more
Black women then men were admitted. This was cer-
tainly the case among Northwestern undergrads.
In the context of college protests, the Northwest-
ern case was just one of many that took place in
1968 and 1969, focusing on various aspects of
Black recognition. 1
How then are we to view the demands and the re-
sults? At least two, perhaps four alternatives exist.
First, if one views the Black student movement as a
continuation of the Civil Rights movement led pre-
dominantly by the upwardly mobile sons and daugh-
ters of members of the Black working class and civil
service, then the demands are an attempt to achieve
integration by covering it with the rhetoric of Black
nationalism and revolution. In an absolute sense
more integration of the nation's colleges and univer-
sities has taken place since the decline of the Civil
Rights movement then during it. The tables above
are just one source to substantiate this. The de-
mands of the Northwestern Black students, as well
as those at other campuses can be viewed as inte-
iStudent Protests 1969: Summary . . . Urban Research Corpora-
tion, Chicago, 1970. Pages 15, 16-19.
grationist, in the sense that what is being sought and
demanded is inclusion into existing institutions. The
specific demands are designed to insure the viability
and feasibility of the inclusion process. From this
perspective, the protests and rhetoric of Black stu-
dents can be seen as a cover for continuing to persue
the traditional integrationist goals which have been
primarily beneficial to the Black middle class. Being
a "credit to your race" has been replaced by the rhe-
toric that the goals are designed to help "the people"
or "the Brothers and Sisters on the block."
A second way to view the Black student protests of
the late 1960's is as one aspect of the general process
of the transition of Black America from colony to
neo-colony. Bourgeois nationalism in Asia, Africa
and the Carribean has served as the ideology of the
educated elites who have "won" political and admin-
istrative (but not economic or military) control over
their respective countries. Here in Black America,
the opening up of White universities to Black youth
can be seen as part of a general response to the nec-
essity for training a Black comprador class to ad-
minister the ghettos. The further necessity to rid
the ghettos of potential leadership which might spark
future rebellions is also a very real factor. One glance
at the difference in the enrollment figures of Blacks
at White universities from 1966 to 1967 should lend
some credence to this view. Notice that from 1965 to
1966 the enrollment of Blacks actually declines,
but with the rise of Black Power, Newark and De-
troit, the figure leaps from 148,000 (1966) to
226,000 (1967). The second view, then is that the
education of Black students was being subsidized for
reasons entirely separate and apart from the needs of
the particular Black students and of the larger Black
A third view, not incompatible with the second, is
that there was a strong move on the part of many of
the members of this newly trained college group to
accept their position as "leaders" or potential leaders
of the Black community, and to consciously seek al-
liances with liberal corporate interests and the nation-
al government (before "benign neglect") to secure
their own positions. The "cooperation" of the Ford
Foundation in funding Black studies programs and
individual Black graduate students is one aspect of
this process. At Northwestern, the Black students
were offered quite a large sum (in the millions) to
establish a Black studies program and an Urban stud-
ies program. One of the proudest moments of my
life was when the Black student leadership (freshmen
and sophomores) refused the offer and denounced it
for the attempt at co-optation that it was. Later at
Northwestern and at other schools around the coun-
try, such offers were accepted, and you can see the
ruins of those programs around today.
The fourth view and perhaps the most negative, is
that the Northwestern demands reflect a serious mis-
reading of the goals and aspirations of the larger
Black community, and of the social forces active in
determining the very context within which our strug-
gle took place. Too often was rhetoric an excuse for
analysis; too often was action, any action, a substi-
tute for thought. Most damaging was the hidden as-
sumptions that playing on White guilt would last
forever, and that once the struggle to gain access to
the campus was ended, that the Whites whom we had
successfully confronted, would not mount a counter
offensive at some point in the future. The declining
enrollment of Black students, the decreasing amounts
of financial aid; the return to "traditional" i.e. racist
standards of admission; and the open attacks on
Black Studies programs are part of this general pic-
ture of reaction. The failure was, of course, not just
one of Black students at Northwestern, but of Black
students, intellectuals and leaders all across the
country. Even if one does not accept Harold Cruses'
view of the selfish motivations of Black intellectuals,
their intellectual poverty, lack of imagination, and
lack of historical understanding is everywhere ap-
parent. With all the rhetoric gone, the reformist and
welfare mentaUty is readily apparent. Many of the
goals of Black students of the 1960's have been
achieved; meaningful strategies and goals for the
1970's have not yet emerged.
Looking back on my experiences, in the Civil
Rights movement in the early 1960's and as a gradu-
ate student and faculty member on White campuses
in the late 1960's and 1970's, one thing has become
clear. In the area of education, what Carter G. Wood-
son warned against in The Mis-Education of The
Negro in 1933 is still true today:
"The education of the Negroes, then, the
most important thing in the uplift of the
Negroes, is almost entirely in the hands of
those who have enslaved them and now se-
gregate them." (p. 22)
What we as Black students, faculty, whatever, have
got to learn if we are to break away of the stale con-
ceptions, formulas and mindless rhetoric that hamper
us today, is to heed the words of Woodson and pon-
der their implications. We should also heed the
words of Doxey Wilkerson, one of the greatest of
Black educators in this century, when he wrote that:
"Contrary to the frequent hopes and faith
of the Negro masses throughout American
history, and despite the fond conceits of
many professionals and statesmen, it is not
the education of Black men that will achieve
their liberation; it is the liberation of Black
men that will assure their effective educa-
In conclusion, the burden of Black Hberation
should not be placed on White universities. The pro-
cess of getting what can be gotten from White uni-
versities is a tedious, often risky one, but it is the one
in which Black students and faculty should involve
themselves. Let us learn from the 1960's so that we
can best get on with the business of dealing with the
1970's. There is much work to be done. If future
historians say that our efforts have advanced the
cause of Black liberation, so much the better. The
least that should be said is that, win or lose, we pre-
pared ourselves through work and study to take part
in the battle, and that we did that well.
iScience and Society . . . Spring, 1965. Page 146.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Once upon a time, in the land of metal buildings and cold houses
that had never been homes
smiling into me
And all the metal
and from around my shoulder, came a silver ball
and at that time of introduction
all i had wanted and never really knew
could be intuned with me
into many sculptured figures
of beautiful statuesque dancers
in the sunlight
A SHORT STORY
by Bernard Nunally
"I feels tired and I ain't don' dat much mo' thin any other
day." Moses thought a while, lying restlessly under an
ancient shade tree. Settling into a comfortable position, he
began to review what had taken place earlier that day. He
recalled the daily kiss from his mother than awoke him each
morning. Dazed with sleep, he saw the saddened smiling
expression of her face more up and away, becoming almost in-
distinguishable from the darkness of early morning. Even
though her strength had been drained by the previous day's
tasks, she still rose and crossed the single roomed house to
her bed, knelt and kissed her younger son who had slept with
her because of illness. She moved to the center of the room
where she stood with a shorter, thinner, less erect figure of a
woman. The faint light of the morning sun began to show
through the crevices of the house and as if the early light was
a signal the two women quickened their movements. In a few
moments, they were at the door exchanging kisses and
mumbling goodbyes. The sun's rays strengthened giving
clarity to the hazy country world. Moses' mother walked
briskly towards the fields, as his grandmother watched
protectingly from the doorway.
"Awake up Moses! Boy its tim' ta get up! Its mid-day
morning now, an' I don' let ya sleep few mo' hours since yo'
Mama lef, "Granny said as she lightly shook him.
"Yes'em," he yawned.
"I's gonna need some kindlin' an' wahter 'fo breakfast. Git
up Moses, I needs dose things."
"Granny, can I he'p Moses?" Junior asked pleadingly.
"How ya feels dis mornin'. Junior?" she asked. "Ya was
sick yestiday and las' nite."
"I feels bette' now. Granny," Junior replied with a child's
"Aw' rite, go head, but be careful and don't git in Moses'
way 'cause he got chores ta do," she answered busying
herself about the table.
Before Moses was dressed, Junior was standing next to
him waiting anxiously to go. There was a special closeness
between them. Although a little less than two years separated
them in age, Moses was more than an older brother to Junior.
The only other male in the house, Moses was strong,
physically and mentally, he was respected by his elders and
his peers. He was Junior's idol. Ever since his father's
undiscussed death, Moses had assumed his role.
"Git de bucket. Junior, an' I race ya down ta de creek."
"Naw, ya git it, I's gonna beat ya t'day," Junior yelled as
he ran out the door.
"I catch ya," Moses answered picking up the bucket and
rushing to the door.
"Junior! I said be ca'ful! " Granny called out reprovingly
from the now distant doorway.
Junior was yards ahead this morning. Moses had to stride
harder than usual to overtake his younger brother.
Exhausted, they reached the creek's edge and flopped
down into the dewy grass to rest. They joked and played
before settling down to the chores. Junior gathered small
branches while Moses dipped the bucket into the creek to
"I'll tak' de wahter back to Granny, Moses, " Junior said.
"Aw' rite, Moses replied pouring some of the water out.
Seeing this, Junior assuredly said, "I can tak' mo' wahter dan
"Dis wahter bucket is heavy, why don' ya tak' dis an'
come back fo' some mo'."
"But Moses, I can do it. I can! Let me try?"
He filled the bucket to the brim and passed it to Junior.
Struggling, Junior stalked off towards the house spilling
water every step and stopping every few steps to rest. While
gathering kindling for the fire, Moses started singing a few
bars of his favorite Sunday song to make the chores lighter
and to help quicken the passage of time.
We are soldiers
In the army
We got to fight
Although we have to die
We have to hold on
To the blood stained banner
We have to hold it up
Until we die
"Moses! Moses!" Junior called.
"I's over here, what ya want?"
Junior followed his brother's voice to where he was. He sat
the bucket down next to him.
"Granny said she wanted a full bucketo' wahter an' not
just' a ha'f empty one," Junior whispered meekly.
Moses quickly spun around and saw that most of Junior's
pants were soaking wet. He roared with laughter and Junior
slowly began to laugh too. Moses walked over to Junior,
picked up the bucket and gave him a reassuring tug. He
refilled the bucket, loaded Junior and himself with kindling
and headed home.
"How ya'U dis lawd's day mornin'?" Old Miss Queenie
said in her shrill voice.
"Fine. How ya doin' Miss Queenie?" they replied in
Eyeing Moses, she said, "Moses ever' time I sees ya, looks
like ya is gittin' bigger and bigger. You' only bout seben,
"But you's big as dem ten an' eleben year olds. Boy, ya
sure got yo' daddy's blood an' yo' Granny's mind. By de way,
tell yo' Granny an' Mama I says he an' I's gonna be stoppin'
by to chat fo' a spell. And tell yo' Granny I mite be needin'
her ta vision fo' me."
"Ya needs some he'p wit' dat wahter bucket. Miss
"Naw Junior, I got many mo' cotton harvest lef in me.
Thanks ya anyway, honey." Peering at Junior she said, "Boy,
you's too big to be habin' accidents in yo' pants."
She moved on to the creek. The boys continued. The light
morning air was mixed with many aromas and sounds.
Nearing the house they heard Granny's deep contralto voice:
Dis little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
Dis little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
Dis little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
As they approached the house, they saw Granny outside
stirring the simmering grits in the black kettle which dangled
over a flaming kindling fire.
"Bout time ya'U gits back, breakfast almos' ready. Then
changing her tone. Granny commented, "Moses, why ya
sends so little wahter up here? Boy ya knows I needs mo'
wahter dan dat to do my work. "
Moses peered at Junior and futilely replied, "I's sorry
Granny, I don't knows what I was thinkin' 'bout when I sent
up dat wahter."
Granny turned slowly, her head held up proudly, her
useless eyes staring at the clear sky, and grinning slyly said,
"Moses, ya knows better, now it gonna take all mornin' long
fo' Junior's pants ta dry!" She boomed with laughter and the
boys shared her merriment.
Almost as instantly as it began, the laughter ended with
Granny's command to Junior to bring the big serving bowl
for the grits. Junior headed for the house at once. Granny
then directed her speech to Moses:
"Moses, I want ya ta stay out de way o' dat white trash an'
o'er seer, Phillips. Yo' Mama was tellin' me dis mornin', an' I
been hearing talk, too, 'bout putting' ya out in dem fields
b'fo ya is eight summers old. Dat ain't till nex' summer."
Junior returned to the yard. Although not completely
understanding, he knew something was wrong by Granny's
"He's a mean one like all de rest. Ya stay out o' his way, ya
"Yes'em, Granny, I will."
"Here's the bowl. Granny."
"Thanks ya. Junior. Let me dip des here grits so's we can
Granny, followed by her two grandsons, entered the
house and took her seat at the table's head. Junior sat the
bowl on the table and he and his brother situated themselves
in perscribed positions on opposite sides of the table.
Granny bowed her head and started a moaning blessing;
Lawd let thy lovin' light shine in this little house dis
mornin'. We wants ta thank ya fo' dis here food ya
don' gib us. We wants ta thank ya fo' lettin' us see
'nother day. And fo' keepin' yo' mighty protectin'
arm round us an' my chillin'. Fo' ya made girls ta
b'come womens an' boys ta b'come mens. Fo' ya
knows dat when ya in Eg'ptland ya gota have a
mighty burnin' fire inside ya or Old Pharoah 'ill
stop ya steps. In de name o' de fath'r, an' de son, an
de holy g'ost. Amen.
"Amen," Moses and Junior responded.
Believing that her prayers would be answered, she lifted
her head and began to fumble about the table for two small
bowls Moses handed them to her. She spooned grits into
the small bowls giving larger portions to the boys than to
herself. She sat in the only chair of the house while the
boys went to sit on their straw bed. Since her talk with
Moses, a pensive air had engulfed them. They started and
finished their meal in silence.
"Granny, ya don't mind if I goes down an' checks my trap
ta see if I done caugh't somethin' las' nite? I ain't caug't
nothin' in mo' dan a week. I set it up speci'l las' nite an' I
feels kinds lucky t'day," Moses said trying to break the
"Go head boy, I ain't got dat much fo' ya to do t'day."
"Can I go too, Granny?"
" Awrite, Junior, go head."
They gathered their dishes quickly and piled them into the
serving bowl and headed towards the door.
"Here," she said holding out an empty sack, "why don't
ya tak' dis here sack an' pick some berries an' thangs, if ya
sees any? An' maybe dis way ya won't spill nothin' on yo'
pants cause I don't thank dey dry yet from dis mornins'
Barely finishing the sentence, she began chuckling. Junior
ran over and got the sack from his Granny and followed
Moses out the door.
"Now don't ya spill nothin' on yo' self." she repeated.
Now that it was late morning, the day had become rather
hot and humid. They raced to the creek's edge. As they
travelled, one of the snowy fields came into view. They stop-
ped a while and watched some of their friends working in the
field. This was the time of the year when the soil needed
much care and their friends worked even harder than usual.
At the far end of the field, a man abruptly straightened
himself from his shoveling position, as if to cast an in-
tolerable weight from his shoulders. Massaging the small
of his back with his large powerful hands, the young man
vacantly glared at the heavens as though he expected some
long overdue relief. He stared, waited and eventually
lowered his head in disgust. Perfunctorily, he returned to his
Moses and Junior continued their journey alongside the
creek, quickening their strides as they neared the wooded
area where the trap was laid.
"Hey Moses! Hey Junior! Where ya'U headed ta?"
"Goin' ta check my trap, Luke, ya want ta come?"
"Naw, I got some stuff ta do fo' Big Mama. I see ya'U later
on. Hopes ya catches somethin'. See ya . . ."
As Luke went on his way, Moses sighed with relief, "Ya
know, he got a big mouth an' I hopes he don't go tellin' what
I'd doin', Junior. 'Cause if Phillips find out he'a get me and if
we catch somethin' he'a take it er'way and keep it fo' hisself.
Come on, lets go," Moses said.
They finally reached the small thicket. Junior started
picking berries from a patch he found and Moses went to his
trap. He found that the trap had been triggered each morning
for more than a week. Last night he had prepared it specially
so that any jarring of the bait would cause the box to fall
instantly entrapping the prey. Coming closer, he feared that
his trap had failed again, but as he approached and kicked
the box lightly he heard the frightened squeal of his prey.
"We got somethin'. Junior, we done caug't somethin'!"
Junior dropped his sack and ran towards the excited voice,
"What ya git. Mosses! What ya git!"
"I don't know, but de way dat box'a jumpin', its big. Find
me a stick sos I can kill it!"
Junior scurried off looking for an appropriate stick.
While he searched, Moses called informing him that they
had caught a large grey rabbit for supper. Junior found an
old heavy branch and rushed back to Moses.
"Yea Junior, dats fine, now ya hold dis box so we won't let
t'nites supper git er'way."
They worked together. Junior went in back of the box and
held it tightly as Moses lifted the lid and repeatedly plunged
the stick into it. When he was certain the rabbit was dead he
lifted the trap and they proudly viewed their prize.
"Junior, Granny gona cook meat t'nite, ain't she?"
"Yes, she gona cook meat t'nite!" Junior repeated.
"Hey, I's gona hang dis rabbit up an' let it drain, sos ya go
head an' finish pickin' dem berries sos we can go sho'
Granny what we got."
They both rushed themselves to complete their task.
Moses drained the rabbit and Junior filled the sack with
enough berries to last a couple of days.
"I's got nough berries, Moses, ya ready?"
"Awrite Junior, lets go home den."
Leaving the woods, they retraced their path up the grassy
creeks edge, past the field and hurried home.
"Granny! Granny!" Junior called.
"Ya'U back al'ready?"
She stopped stirring the boiling clothes, turned to them
and said, "What ya'U done got? "
"We got a bunch o' berries an' Moses an' me done caug't a
big ole rabbit! "
Slowly she lowered her head and blindly studied her image
of Moses. A lofty smile inched its way across her wrinkled
face saying, "Moses, dats good."
He understood. She turned then to praise the younger boy.
"Junior boy, ya bcomin" a mightly big man der! Ya don a
good job too. Ya"ll go head and take dem thangs inta the
house an' I git ta dem rite after I finish dese here clothes.
As she had instructed, they entered the house, placed the
berries on the table and the rabbit in the empty water bucket.
For a moment they stood and admired their contribution to
their daily substance. They were both pleased with their
"Mornin' Masa PhiUips. How you doin' dis Lawd's day
mornin'?" Granny greeted him compromisingly and loudly
to signal the boys. Understanding her signal, they hurried
about the room hiding their morning success.
"Carrie, where's that grandson of your'n, Moses? "
"He in de house Masa PhiUips, he an' his brother ben
feelin' rite poo' here lat'ly. "
As if ignoring her words, Phillips tersely continued, ""We
got a large crop this year an" I done decided that that boy,
Moses is old enough to work in the fields. Call him out
""He an" his brother been sick."'
"Call him out here, I say!"'
In defiant hesitation Granny caUed to Moses, ""Moses,
Moses I want ya ta come out here."'
Hearing Granny"s defense, Moses malingered from the
""Boy! You better rush your black ass out here. If I have to
make you hurry, you"ll be sorry!"" Phillips barked.
In a bravodish way, Moses entered Phillips" glare.
"Boy, you be in them fields in the morning with your
""But he ben sick, Masa-""
""Shut up, old woman. He"s sick? Hell! That ain"t never
stopped my niggas from working before. Boy, I best see you
out there with your mammy in the morning.
""But . . . Masa PhiUips . . .'"
"Don't you be late, cause if you is I got something waiting
for you and you'll regret it!"
Phillips marched away. Allowing for their distance to
increase, Granny inaudible mumbled something as if to curse
upon her foe. Moses' recalcitrance lost its mask. Entering
the yard. Junior quietly witnessed and absorbed their mood.
"Sometim' ya wonder why, days like dis here gits to come.
Time's I wonder why we is so down an' dey is so up. It tak'
ya back some. Make me wonder if ya gots ta make life a' new
o' wait fo' it ta git better. Moses, I an' you knowed dis day
was a comin'."
"Yes'em, Granny, we knowed."
"Moses, my growin' Moses, I wants you an' Junior go
head on wid ya'lls' frien's whiles ya got time. "
Obeying Granny, Junior walked towards their daily play
area. After taking a few steps, he felt that he was alone.
Looking over his shoulder, he saw Granny and Moses
implanted, intensely staring at each other as if sharing all
"Go on now, b'fore de heabiness o' dis life falls on ya."
Slowly Moses turned and walked away. They were silent
from the house to the play field. The distance seemed
unusually long. The mood lingered as they neared the shouts
and laughter of their aging friends.
"Las'nite, nite b'fore
Twenti fo' robbers at ma do' ..."
"I be de mama, you be de baby an' you be de . . ."
"I got up an' let dem in en hit dem in de head wid a . . ."
"Hey Moses an Junior, come on an' play some tag!"
Knowing that tag was Junior's favorite game, Moses said,
"Go head Junior, an' play."
"Ya comin'? "
"Naw, I gona tak a walk, I be back an' git ya so's we can
go home t'gether."
With childhood enthusiasism. Junior ran out with his
friends to play. Moses watched for a while as his brother
became totally involved in play.
"You it. Junior!" someone shouted.
"You ain't tag me," yelled Junior.
Moses turned and walked away. "Guess I shou'd be tired
from now on . . ." he thought as he stretched out in the shade
and closed his eyes.
Moses woke with a cool breeze kissing his face. It was early
evening now and the summer day was slowly coming to its
end. Unhurriedly, he sat up, stretched, yawned, sat a while
longer and mused about the freedom of animal life and his
coming fate. Remembering that he and Junior were to return
home together, he rose and left the soft protection of the
shady tree. Reaching the play field, he saw only a few
children still there.
"Moses, I ben waitin' fo' ya. You awrite?"
"Yea Junior, come on, let's go home."
"Ya know Moses, eber'body was askin' where you was."
"An' I tol' dem ya was gona have ta work in de fields, an'
eber'body kept sayin' ya was awmost a man!"
The world became silent to Moses. The time, the day, his
being appeared to have lost its essence. His thoughts
surrounded nothing but his supposedly becoming a man.
"How ya'll doin'. Granny asked, sitting in the chair. Junior
responded immediately that he was fine. Seconds passed
before Moses realized they were actually home. He
nebulously answered, he was fine and walked over to their
straw bed and sat beside his brother. Silence engulfed the
room until Junior asked, "Granny, tell us ah story please?"
Granny rearranged the chair to command their full
attention. She pondered for a few moments in search of a
story. She started.
"We come from a place long er'way from here cross a big
sea. Moses an' Junior, our peoples ain't natur'l in dis Ian'.
Mama us'ta say we hads o'r own way er livin' der in o'r Ian'.
We was a proud, rich folk, havin' 'nough food an'nev'r was
nobody's slaves. We was bough't ober here from Eg'pt Ian
at de hands o' dis evil white man.
Der was a many a battl's b'tween o'r people an' dem wite
mens. Mama say dat o'r warri'rs foug't brave. Mama's
daddy, a man call'd Okonkwo, ya'll's big daddy times over.
He was a leader er warri'rs, a warri'r 'mong warri'rs. He was a
proud respected man, er doin' an' not talkin'. When dat las'
battle was ober, many was dead an' we was in chains. Mama
us'ta say, look lik big daddy's spirit went out'a him. Likes he
couldn't see him an' o'r peoples as slaves. Dey chained us,
walked us an' put us on boats an' boug't us over here. Ya'll's
big daddy a'most died on dew way over. Maybe cause he
refus' ta eat de slop dey giv' him, maybe caus' dey giv' him so
many beatin's caus' he had his own mind. Maybe caus' he
hated his new fate. Well dey gots us ober here an' puts us in
bondag' like de children o' Isra'l, cept dey couldn't git mens
like ya'll's big Daddy ta be slaves. Dey whopped an'
whopped an' look like dey brok' de natur'l life in dat man.
Till one day, he said wouldn' worf livin' as slaves an' went
out an' r'newed de battle fo' his freedom. Some mo' mens
joined him an'dey killed an' boug't feared ta many a wite
folk b'fore de was finely outnumber'd an' killed. But ya'll Big
Daddy died a natur'l man.
When Granny finished her story, she was completely
exhausted. Sweat beaded about her worried forehead and
gently rolled down her tired cheeks. Her small frame sagged
as if it needed nourishment. Moses and Junior sat transfixed
by her force and wisdom.
"How ya'll? How ya'll?", a woman's tired voice repeated
from the doorway.
Junior jumped, ran to her and with his arms clasped about
her neck announcing; "Mama, Moses an' me gona be mens.
We is gona be mens. Mama!"
Enbracing her younger son, she was obviously distressed
by his pronouncement. She gazed at Granny and Moses and
intuitively understood what had taken place. In a crying
voice mixed fatigue and pride, she said; "I know baby, I's
afraid ya'll gona be mens."
Pardon me for this intrusion,
But could you help me with my confusion?
Is it that I know so much,
or could it be I know so little?
My mind has grasped all that I've seen
And even accounted for that I dreamed.
So, why then can't I make a decision
Without clouding my mind with different visions?
I have lived with strength and I have lived with fear,
I have lost those of me that have been so dear.
But has this led me to come to know.
Who is my friend, who is my foe?
There are the times when I feel so certain
And can unveil the realities of life's complex curtain.
But knowing what is vs. what should be.
Is it strange that this perplexes me?
What you say, I perceive with clarity.
And no questions arise of your sincerity.
But now that my understanding comes so near.
Why do contradictions make it so unclear?!
Its like knowing the words, but not the song.
Which means most always I will end up wrong.
So projections of truth, I strive to emulate.
But can't even the devil skillfully articulate?
So my thoughts in life have become deluded,
This I'm certain, I have concluded!
I see now that I've been mis-used.
Can you help me, or are you too confused???
Paul W. Barrows
'ill see the duty done^
o. I'illow casks of cursed scum,
the naked bite the gutter crums. ;'
Crowds atop the steei and grit.
The cries of one .vno shook his ^ist. J■^ , ^
These cries bounce,filfeiiafi.Siajetured waits
Licking corners as I
Girded erams of steef ,
"A Meditation on Racism in American Literature"
by Dunstan Harris
Racism, a pervasive force in American so-
ciety, is the doctrine and practice of supe-
riority of one ethnic group over another.
The strangling tentacles of discrimination,
persecution, segregation and domination
are the weapons by which the dominant
force imposes this wretched oppression.
Sociological and psychological thought
have approached the problem of racism as
an intellectual concept, failing to examine
its immediacy and critical nature. Anthro-
pologists, perhaps the most capable to
utilize their historical knowledge, quibble
about hair color, head size and the like,
without truly lending to the crucial matter
any TRUE resolution.
In the United States, racism is predicated
on the basis of skin color, white skin being
allegedly superior; black, brown, yellow
and red skins anything but the best. Al-
though the physical anthroplogists and
geneticists emphasize that all mankind con-
stitutes one species, millions of Americans di-
vide the human species into super-ordinate
and sub-ordinate groups based primarily on
The atrocities of racism, though imposed
on all colored ethnic minorities in this
country, have seen the Black man receive
more than his share of abuses. To truly un-
derstand this phenomenon, the question
must be raised, when did all this begin?
During Roman, Greek and Egyptian rules,
any newly encountered group of people, as
a result of trade, migration and conquest,
was regarded as being greater or less than
If the group was taken captive and en-
slaved, it was considered inferior, not by
racial differences but by their alien cul-
ture and inability to overcome their adver-
saries. This feeling was maintained until
the period of the African Slave Trade. The
captives brought to the Americas were
either captives of African tribal warfare or
docile horticulturalists kidnapped from
their village homes. Unaccustomed to the
new language, climate, working condi-
tions, religion and speaking a different
language from their African Brother, who
may have been from another tribe, the new
Afro-American faced overwhelming diffi-
culties. Awkwardness in adjustment and
his seeming docility gave rise to the Sambo
image which was used by White racists to
suggest intellectual incompetence and the
inferiority of the Black man. Similarly, the
White slaveholder, dismissing the slave's
cultural background and social condition,
considered his chattel naturally inferior,
hence deserving unequal treatment.
The aboriginal American Indian also dis-
played cultural dissimilarities to the Euro-
pean's and was difficult to enslave in doing
menial tasks. The racist American Whites,
on the pretext that the Indians were obsta-
cles to the expansion of civilization, inflict-
ed mass genocide upon these virtually de-
The cessation of Chinese immigration to
this country a century ago and the incar-
ceration of Japanese-Americans during the
last world war are more recent acts of White
American racism. America's recent unwar-
ranted involvement in Indo-China was just
a continuation of White policy toward peo-
ple of a different skin color.
When one views the sentiments of
America's democratic heroes, such as Ben-
jamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and
George Washington, the records clearly
show the early roots of racism. Jefferson,
the author of the rhetorical Declaration of
Independence, remained a slaveholder; and.
while advocating emancipation in his "Notes
on Virginia," rejected the absorption of
Blacks into America's White population and
discussed the "natural Black inferiority."
As is typical of most White pseudo-liberal
reformers, then and now, their irresponsi-
bility and naivete in resolving "Black prob-
lems" are inconsistent with democratic
principles, Franklin chose to view slavery
purely in economic terms, and Washington
tried his very best to ignore the reality of the
Black experience. Perhaps, were it not for
this lax treatment of oppression by the
"Founding Fathers," the American psyche
would have been from from extensions of
It is surprising to consider that while
America's technological and intellectual
genius is unquestionable, race mythology
has become a credulous part of the White
mentality. Black sexual bestiality. Black
religion and over-all inferiority have taken
prominence in the White ethos. Most of
the mythological beginnings can be traced
back to the era of the Plantation Tradition.
The venomous literature of this period is
so voluminous and obvious in its efforts to
subject Blacks to a subhuman position, it is
difficult to separate propaganda from hon-
est literary effort.
Many early observers of slavery chose to
consider the institution as being necessary
for the civilization of the "heathen Afri-
cans." Nevertheless, attacking the ques-
tion from a moral standpoint or not, the
inevitability was the condoning or apology
for slavery. G.P.R. James' "The Old Dom-
inion" and John Kennedy's "Swallow Barn"
are perhaps two of the older works that
suggest the patriarchal figure of Whites
over their Black "children." James took the
position of a sympathizer to the Black
plight but noticed the happiness, mirth and
continuous laughter of the slaves. They
appeared childlike to him and indulged in
thievery and lying, which was done with
such simplicity that these vices appeared to
be innate responses. Kennedy was just as
ridiculous in his observations. He also saw
Blacks as being very flippant by nature and
apologizes for slavery as theoretically and
morally wrong. However, since Blacks
were enslaved, it was up to their White
masters to govern them. Furthermore, sla-
very was unprofitable and the "Great
White Father" was just performing an un-
pleasant but necessary task.
When Ulrich B. Phillips, considered one
of the foremost American historians, gives
the aura of truth to such discrepancies, the
poisonous stereotyping process becomes
clear. It is no great wonder that Blacks are
presently moving away from social interac-
tion with Whites. The patriarchal stigma
still pervades every integrated organization,
whether social, political or economic.
Very seldom do we see Blacks portrayed
as being anything but buffoons in early
American literature. G.P.R. James, in an
effort to be different, created a meeting with
Nat Turner, who astonished him with his
unusual intellectual prowess. But no, Mr.
James had to negate all this by intimating
some supernatural explanation for Nat's
ability, which was only sporadic; besides,
Nat showed the Black patterns of cunning,
superstitition and conceit. Herman Mel-
ville's "Benito Cereno" deals with ingen-
uity shown by a mutinous ship-load of
African slaves who effectively commandeer
their captures, until stupidity and alleged
Black shortcomings caused their appre-
Intra-racial tension is an extended issue
which had hampered Black progression,
thereby making individuals or groups more
susceptible to racist aggression. The ampli-
fication of the house nigger— field nigger
controversy was one of the first tactics
used by Whites to separate Black brothers.
Preferential treatment to house slaves over
field hands saw helplessly naive persons
pitted against each other to gain White
favor. Topically, White Americans favor-
ing alien Blacks over their Afro-American
kin is still presently evident. Inversely,
Edgar Rice Burroughs' distortion of African
life saw millions of Blacks ashamed of their
ancestral homeland and different physical
characteristics. Strange, too, was the job
stratification process used to place Blacks.
Mulattoes, supposedly more clever because
of their White blood, nearly always had
house jobs or the easier tasks. Invariably,
this planned caste division helped con-
vince many that "White was right." To-
day, this warped indoctrination has numer-
ous Blacks totally misguided. Some face
the daily problem of being publicly exposed
since they found it advantageous to "pass"
The Christian religion was perhaps the
first real Western cultural form that was
adopted by Blacks in this country. Al-
though this religion was used at times to
sanction slavery. Blacks held on to the com-
forting solace it offered them. Whites at
that time, mainly pious Calvinists, looked
down on Black preachers and Black church-
es. The contradiction to the moral ethics of
Christianity is so profoundly obvious that
any intelligent observer can only recog-
nize the ongoing processes of racism as
evidenced by the White attitudes.
Marc Connelly's "Green Pastures," her-
alded as a play of "great emotional depth"
by The New York Times, only serves to
show that the national pathological cancer
—racism— knows no bounds. Connelly
simplifies the religious conception, and, in-
stead of achieving his goal, comedy, ends
up doing a satire reflecting his literary in-
competence. His work depicted God and
the rest of the cast as everyday Blacks. The
major error in his characterizations was the
lack of ability to transcend the stereotypic
images, thus denying his audience a chance
to accept anything but his blatant disre-
spect for religion and Blacks. This White
disrespect of religion is evidence further in
present life. The numerous Black church
bombings by "White crusaders," the assass-
ination of Martin Luther King, and segre-
gated White churches are all slurs on the
principles and doctrine of Christianity.
The stigma of deviant sexual behavior
has been one of the racist appendages at-
tached to persons of African descent. From
the exploitation rape of the continent of
Africa by the roguish European oppressors.
Black sensuality was evident. The whole-
sale rape of African slave women has
brought misery to many hearts. Yet, it was
the White man who burned and slaughtered
thousands of Black men who dared to even
cast a manly look at the "ethereal epitome
of creation," the White Woman. Mythol-
ogy has it that the Black male with all his
"innate savergery" is capable of satisfying
the sexual appetite of the frustrated White
female, whose White spouse lacks this abil-
ity. Literature treats this Black sensuality
at the most bestial levels. Faulknerian
treatment deals with the raw reality of sex-
ual perversion, human urges and their ful-
fillments. However, his fatalistic ap-
proaches see a Black Joe Christmas, ac-
cused of the cardinal sins, having deviant
sexual contacts with the old white Joanna
Burden and finally killing her. When appre-
hended and dying, Joe is castrated by Percy
Grimm who says, "Now you'll let White
women alone, even in hell." This is Faulk-
ner's own racism portrayed through his
persona, Percy Grimm.
The answer to resolving racism has taken
suggestion of breeding a brown race through
inter-racial marriage. Lillian Smith's
"Strange Fruit" and Eugene O'Neill's "All
God's Chiluns Got Wings" deal with inter-
racial couples where the Black partners are
depicted as the parties insanely bent on
loving their counterparts, no matter what
the social odds against the relationships.
The adverse balance of affections would
seem to contradict the goals of such a pro-
gram working. Undoubtedly, the failures
of inter-racial compatibility stem from the
inability of Blacks to reject White superior-
ity propaganda and the unwillingness of
Whites to accept Black as equals.
Racism and its motivation are the most
controversial and important aspects of
American society. It has permeated th
hearts, minds and daily Hves of the White
perpetrators. It would be impossible to
pinpoint any one factor that accounts for
this social ill, but we must realize that the
institution of slavery to the Americas was
an important factor. For, as Aristotle said:
It is clear, then, that some men
are by nature free, and others slaves,
and that for these latter slavery is
both expedient and right. ^
As recent a writer as Oscar Handlin sug-
gested that since slavery as an institution
was not shaken off, the exploitation in-
volved in it has to be justified. This senti-
ment would seem the most plausible of any
that has been offered, since facing up to the
history and aggressive ethos are studied and
understood, the stereotypic Black charac-
ter will attract many more abuses in the fu-
In this meditation, most of the reflections
have been based on the libelous distortions
of earlier literary works which have helped
to promote and maintain White racist
oppression. However, the concerned ob-
server would have believed that with the
growing social pressures against racism,
blatant disregard for Black humanity would
have been bridled. This was only an idle
thought; for, in 1966 Mr. William Styron,
author laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner for
his "known facts" about Nat Turner, pub-
lished The Confessions of Nat Turner.
Nat Turner, perhaps the only Black
American leader to possess so much charis-
matic appeal in organizing a revolt, should
be lauded in history as an American fight-
ing oppression. Instead, with the help of
the likes of Styron, Nat's noble degener-
ates into barbarous infamy. Much has
been written and said about Styron's effort,
which can only be viewed as another racist
exploitative attempt for economic gain.
Without dwelling too much on any more
character questioning, it will be attempted
to discount the validity of Styron's pseudo-
As has been pointed out in recent schol-
arly works such as The Southampton Slave
Revolt of 1831, by Henry Tragle, also a
White southerner, Styron's "Confessions"
1. Friedrich Hertz, Race and Civilization, tr A. 5. Levetus & W.
Entz, (New York, 1928) p. 4.
has little or no historical base. The event
was mainly a fictional attempt at destroy-
ing fact. Styron's only explanation, or ex-
cuse, for attempting his book was borne on
a metaphysical urge which came over him
while visiting Southampton. This is defin-
itely not an excuse for such propaganda,
therefore, the motivation for the recreation
of the events is questionable.
Nat is reduced to a servile, religion-struck,
sexual deviant who lacked the final power
of completing a successful revolt. From
the little we do know of Nat's character
from other sources, it is hard to believe
that such a deeply religious person would
place such a premium on rape. Styron por-
trays the minister as a person who goes
through physical convulsion on looking at
a White woman and commits mental-sexual
acts with various White females throughout
the book. However, Nat shows no love for
his own Black women and can be found
every Saturday afternoon masturbating.
Also, his first meaningful sexual act was
with a man. One can only be diametrically
opposed to such shameful opinions and
question Styron's own sexual character.
Religion was belittled by Styron, and it is
strongly surmised that since Nat's acts
were directly related to his religious be-
liefs, the pure White Christianity must have
been misinterpreted by this "maniac":
hence, Styron's treatment.
Nat is so hopelessly religious and sex-
ually "depraved" that in the final hours
before his death, he fantasizes love-making
with the only person he killed in the re-
volt, Margaret, while thinking about his
religion. This particular portion of Styron's
book is continuously paraphrased with a
biblical quotation, "Surely, I come quick-
ly." The quote not only contains religious
implications, but sexual, Styron's two main
areas of distortions.
Styron's racist stereotyphic book not
only destroys a Black hero's character, it
also shows White boldness in interpreting
Black life and may be very significant for
BLACK MUSIC IN THE SIXTIES
by Michael Patterson
During the sixties, Black music reached a very high
commercial peak. The music got more electronic and
geared for action (dancing). Black music became big
However, Black people are not even sharing, let
alone reaping the fruits of their own creativity. Despite
all the money made from Black music, there are fewer
Black owners of the establishments where our music is
recorded and performed, than any other ethnic group.
Archie Shepp said, "Our music should be a source
of wealth for our people. Black music is one of the
fields in which you can make a million dollars
overnight." Rich capitalists sit in plush New York
offices reaping the fruits of our creativity while we, the
creators of the only truly American music, pop our
fingers to the diluted sounds of "sugar-coated"
groups, promoted by these scavengers.
There is no such thing as jazz, soul, gospel, or
blues. The only music produced by Black people is
Black music and Black music is Black people. Every
segment of it reflects our souls, history and culture.
Shepp feels that one of the tricks the White media uses
to dilute the music we hear, is to divide it into several
categories and promote only one so-called music
form, thereby controlling what we hear. He said,
"Most Brothers and Sisters only dig a certain type of
Black music, the type usually "classified" as rhythm
and blues." To stress the importance of studying Black
music he added, "You have to check out and
understand all types of Black music in order to
understand your history."
All Black music is related: Max Roach and James
Brown: John Coltrane and Joe Tex: it's all the same
force. All Black music strives for the same thing, FREE-
DOM, FREEDOM from all types of oppression.
Reggie Workman, one of the giants of Black music
now teaching at University of Mass. was the most
angry of the musicians interviewed for this article. He
said, he feels that white mass media is controlling our
minds and those of our children like puppets. "The
youth coming up don't even know what the music is."
Workman stated, he feels the "Man" dilutes our
music for several reasons. He feels that the rise of the
Beatles and other white rock groups was arranged by
the "man" because he didn't want his children
digging on Black heroes. Another reason is that the
"man" knows that music is directly linked with
consciousness. He pushes the less creative forms to
deny us knowledge of ourselves as a people.
During the sixties, white kids, (beatniks, hippies)
picked up on Black music. Their whole aesthetic grew
out of the Black motiff. Workman, Shepp and Max
Roach mentioned that this situation caused him to feel
apprehensive about the future of our music. He said,
"these youths have a responsibility to take what we
teach them back into their communities. We have to
teach them. Not enough Brothers and Sisters show an
interest in learning these skills."
In addition to the need for more musicians, they
stressed the need for; recording technicians; studio
owners and managers; artists, to design the albums;
writers, to produce liner notes and promoters that are
knowledgeable of Black music in all of its various
Some of the major switches that occured in the
music itself in the sixties were that; the accent shifted
from the performers as a personality to the song itself;
there was also a switch in that groups became more
popular than individual instrumental giants like,
Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.
Many of the very serious Black musicians embraced
more commercial forms for the sake of survival (an
indirect result of the mislabeling and mis-promotion
of "our" music.)
John Coltrane started a whole new school of Black
expression during the sixities. Coltrane described his
music as "raw Black expression and energy." Immamu
Baraka, well known poet, author and political leader
said of Coltrane's music, "Trane is now a scope of
feeling. A more fixed traveler whose wildest
onslaughts are gorgeous artifacts not even deaf people
Black musicians generally agree that the most
important Black musician of the century was Duke
EUington. Shepp said, "He took Black music from folk
music and orchestrated it. There are no Brothers who
play that way now. We came to this country in chains
and we should not forget that. Some Brothers helped
us through and Ellington is one of them."
In looking towards of the future of Black music.
Roach stated, "I hope that the inventiveness and
creativity exemplified by the Black artist will survive
"fadism and gimmickry." He cited Stevie Wonder and
Donny Hathaway as positive examples.
Brothers and Sisters, let's hope that Max Roaches'
wish comes true or better still, help make it come true
by becoming actively involved in our music on all
levels. Check out the possibilities.
Who'll See Me Dive?
Who'll see me dive? Look! Here am I
at the crest, arms flung out like a TV
antenna, like Jesus
and not a God soul on the street.
Who'll see me dive? Twelve on a Saturday
night, and not even a taxi.
Everybody gone discotheque
or bram. Lousy night for my leap.
Better look up instead. But all I
can see is an asphalt sky
trafficked by stars whose sheen could con
me out of my long flight down.
Then look sideways, raking the south
for a hint of sea. But that view's dark
as the wish which propelled me up.
Crazed, hesitant, my eyes pivot
back into self; confused, close down;
then alight on the street again.
No target yet. Only a cat
like Lowell's skunk dredging for scraps.
Perhaps I should put it off—
But how can I with that fucking note
triggered against a change-of-heart.
May as well kill it now, this hfe
aimed like a dash so long at death.
Nevertheless, still would have wished
for more bangarang: people skirt-
ing the base of Sunley like dirt.
fiUng my screwed hurt into hate,
Some rass slung up like a pellet,
spurring the crash, stoning me down
onto them. At last, pure weapon.
Chant for a Young Prince in New York
Who I Never Met
(he died before we could meet)
another black prince died
on the battle ground
sociology and political science students and experts
labeled 'urban center' of particular sets of ethnic
another black prince was shot down in the back
politicians and their business counterparts cried
self-defense for the man (who shot the prince)
for the man textbooks sing praises to.
a man all dressed in blue
a friend to me and u
me and who?
wonder if he was a friend of the prince tooooo. . . .
another black prince died
bullets this time
wonder who and what next
the probability of the possibility
another black prince died
because no one can tell the difference
between 4 feet 10 inches 10 years old
and 6 feet 5 inches 30 years old.
niggas ALL look alike . . . huh?????
a change in hope,
(I HOPE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE)
seeing time as an element
and matter as a human era
of time itself . . .
for eras ago, sun shining,
moon beaming, drums beating
rhythm and motion
one united feeling,
unity of one, one of all
and all are black. . . .
black as deep as the crimson sand,
its' blood by which
the falls of Stanley and livingstone
by the blood of black systems
boiling, heat, slavery, stripped colony—
to build one nation under god
god of all ages . . .
by whom all things were made?
black father who art in heaven
hallowed be our terrorized people
your kingdom comes
ours is done
on earth as it is done in heaven
forgive us this day
as we forget those
who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation
jesus— malcolm x-prince ^
deliver us from white evil
black to created for the masters
not our religious ministers
one beating cruel sun
upon my head— it remains the same
the poor structure, it falls, it falls-
columns of hate lie intwined
between subtle apathetic symmetry
and all is dying . . .
dying, because it has refused
to— love— love for life, it has
taken too many
and nation under god is not indivisible
and lincoln died for the cause?
that he was dying to free the slaves . . .
he would have died anyway
with out the help of history's villain boothe
niggers— he could not see
on his roost . . .
and grant drank liquor cause
the cause he could not see
reconstruction niggers why they not working
they free— free
who said they free
free constitutionally— in white mind slaves .
hate mongers still drive the nail,
constantly in place— its my place— niggers
i reply, o white god— fuck you
you have never freed me,
i was already free in my soul—
i must cross the bridge— for the toll is due
and i . . .
i must pay my toll
run the toll— for y'all blew this time,
for we are free to be the molders— free
for all ages ... for nation time
to be t-o— b-e. . .
an un-heard success story— for Miss Ann''
Heart un- loved;
Aryan blond uncle toms.
priceless white skin— Caucasian
. . . living, touching and seeing that
goddamn whiteness of your WHITENESS
As I hunger for your legs to see,
and fecund mound of femininity,
Which always invites so eagerly,
entices, while it beguiles me.
) depress (
You oink in rapture at my toil,
as I roam across your muddy soil.
you cursed Islam, and this mouth of mine,
when scornfully, I refused to dine.
Though sown by one whiter than me,
I stare upon this mature seed.
Now, in the dawn of my manhood
I rake and I plow (like the damned harvest was mine)
I rake and I plow (like the sharecropper I am)
I rake and I plow,
over imperialist mountains of bitter succulence,
overflowing with the creamy lives of the exploited,
and I loved my servitude, but I can hnger no longer
on this milky way . . .
Then I hurt you, and you pained.
As I bathed in your suffering,
and you bled, and the blood was red!
"the blood, as you bleed like you bled— so beautifully."
Dazed by the redness on your whiteness, I saw the pinkness
of it all,
pink visions of a raw and ruptured hymen (i rake & i plow)
The red, white, and eyes of racist blue .... Ameri-Cunt.
I RAKE AND I PLOW dick un-hard.
John E. Davis '68
The Staff of the DRUM would like to thank:
For their articles; John H. Bracey Jr., Professor W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-Amer-
ican Studies, Amherst Mass. Dunstan Harris, student.
Short Stories; Bernard Nunally, student at University of Massachusetts
Thomas L. Gonzales
John E. Davis
For their art work; Nelson Stevens, center spread and page 36; Clement Roach, pages 5
and 13; Winston Williams, page 17; Carl Lopes, page 25; Clyde Santana, cover and
pages 11 and 43.
And Mel Smith for his help and guidance which greatly contributed to the fruition of this
issue of DRUM.
Also, the DRUM would like to give special recognition to two of its departing, dedicated
staff members; DORIS WILLIAMS and DAVID THAXTON, who have contributed so
much of their time and energy to help make the DRUM what it is today.
Editors Note: The DRUM would like to extend its thanks to MR. JOHN SMITH, and REFLECTIONS
UNLIMITED for producing and allowing us to use, the cover of our last issue, Vol. 4, No. 3.