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Co-Editors Paul W. Barrows 

Edward J. Rogers 

Fiscal Imogene Lewis 

Rosa J. Emory 

Literary Bemco 

Janis Peters 
Carrolyn Boiling 
Lawrence E. Baugh 
Michael Patterson 
Kenneth Wright 
Joan Johnson 

Art Co-Editors L. Tommy Rocha 

Clyde Santana 

Photography Editor Eugene Niles 

Steven Teixeira 
Jetta C. Eraser 
Greggory Johnson 
Randell Ramos 

Administrative Secretary Doris D. Williams 

David R. Thaxton 

Office Statf 

Charline Abbott 
Deborah McFarland 
Rose Roberts 
Lorraine Harvey 


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. 



3. Dedication 

4. Editorial 

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 

Aishah Rahman 

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 

44. Acknowledgements 

Paul W. Barrows 

Paul W. Barrows 

Carrolyn Boiling 

Lawrence E. Baugh 

Janis Peters 

John H. Bracey, Jr. 

Bernard Nunally 

Dunstan Harris 

Michael Patterson 

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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 
our people. 

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 
"Jim Crow." 

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 
if necessary." 

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 
progressive involvement. 

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." 


Death Song 

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 
forced into. 

Lawrence E. Baugh 

callin' for some brothers I know 

where do you wander now 
beautifully/ black 

how far will your selves 
inner you 

to your 
inner selves? 

will you venture 

to Africa 
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 
fathers' made? 

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 
prince/ warrior 
selves . . . 

Tenajol Cormier 


A reflection 

of what used to be 
an image of past 
of ancients days 
putting us the 
black man 
in the arena of time 
prodding— pushing 
feeding us 
brother by brother 
sister by sister 
to the animals 
the reflections sit back 
watching— smiling— 

sitting on the memories 

of ancestors 
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 

Still prodding-pushing 
feeding us daily to the 

swallowing us whole 
in the big machine 

escaping none 
spitting out one 
absorbing some 
unknowingly strengthening us 
brother by brother 
sister by sister 

Keryl Zuniga 



■■% -•£ 






r ....... -^v 


When the grass is sprinkled 

with floating diamonds and crystal showers 
and the breeze is warm and moist 

with naturalness 
And the sun is the ball of truth 

and the mountains have a definite place 
When all movement, is movement 

I breathe 






rHiHiiirnT'iT)rriniii. .liiftytiijii"^ 


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. 



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 
your veins? 

does it mingle in the kitchen along with chittUns', 
greens and sweat? 

does it taste good over ribs/or mixed with beans 
and rice? 

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???????? 

Tenajol Cormier 


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 
(March, 1907) 

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 
to us. 

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. 

Financial Aid 

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- 
ing arrangements. 


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. 

Open Occupancy 

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, in the land of metal buildings and cold houses 

that had never been homes 
stood I 

smiling into me 
I realized 

And all the metal 


and from around my shoulder, came a silver ball 
of sunlight 

and at that time of introduction 

all i had wanted and never really knew 

so new 
could be intuned with me 

into many sculptured figures 
of beautiful statuesque dancers 
in the sunlight 





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." 

"Yes'em, Granny." 

"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 
fill it. 

"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 
dat, Moses." 

"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?" 

"Aw' rite." 

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, 
ain't ya?" 


"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. 


"Yes'em, Granny?" 

"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 
cringing position. 

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 
personal praise. 

"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 


[Y. .vithereds. 

'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 , 



.omasX- Gonzales 


"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 
physical differences. 

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- 
fenseless people. 

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" 
for White. 

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- 
historical garbage. 

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 
future expectations. 



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 
should miss." 

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. 

Anthony McNeil 


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 
a ghetto? 

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????? 

Tenajol Cormier 


a change in hope, 

phases, phases- 
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 
are caressed, 
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 
no amen 

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 

turned loose, 
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 
mine niggers 

mine niggers 

mine 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 
toll due, 
toll due, 

toll due, 
run the toll— for y'all blew this time, 
for we are free to be the molders— free 
for all ages ... for nation time 
has asked 

to be t-o— b-e. . . 

Clyde Santana 



an un-heard success story— for Miss Ann'' 

Heart un- loved; 

body un-fucked; 

Aryan blond uncle toms. 

Hands un-felt; 
breast un-sueked; 

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 

Poetry; Purificacion 

Tenajol Cormier 
Patti Oneal 
Thomas L. Gonzales 
Anthony McNeil 
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.