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Vol. 7 No. 2 

Editorial, circulation and advertising 
offices located at 426 New Africa House, 
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 
Mass. 01002. 1-413-545-0768. 

Address all letters, poems 
contributions to the 
Above address 

Copyright by Drum, 426 New Africa House 

Printing: Gazette Printing Co., Inc., Northampton, Mass. 

Front Cover: 
"The Genius" Maxwell Roach 
Photo taken by : David Strout 

Any material, stories, articles are not necessarily 
the thoughts or ideologies of Drum staff. 


For the past two years, The 
University of Mass, Amherst, 
had the pleasure of being 
graced with the presence of 
Mrs. Shirley Graham DuBois. 
Wife of one of America's most 
noted Black intellectuals Dr. 
W. E. B. DuBois. Mrs. DuBois 
shall always be a part of our 
family and hearts. This issue 
of DRUM is dedicated to her. 

Peace and Love Always 

Special Dedication 

This DRUM issue, "The Struggle and the Music" is spec- 
ially dedicated to Professor Max Roach, artist, composer and 
musician who has been at the forefront of both the struggle and 
the music and has been an uncompromising giant and inter- 
national figure in the struggle for Black Liberation. 

Positive vibrations also to Professor Archie Shepp, without 
whose wisdom, strength and understanding much of what has 
occurred would not have went down. Peace to you Brother Archie. 
To the many, many brothers and sisters who have struggled to 
make our dream a reality, and to those people who have tried to 
stop us, this is one for you. 

To all the beautiful Grassroots people in Philly, Chicago, New 
York, D.C., Boston and wherever we are on the planet. For Afrika 
and for the NEW Afrikan. Prepare thyself, walk in peace and always 
give praises to the Creator. 

Richard Scott Gordon 
Editor— Grassroots 
The People's Newsweekly 

Abdul Malik 

Co-Editor Grassroots 

Padmore Omar 

Debra Johnson 

Ed Cohen 


Carl Yates 


This issue of DRUM was produced in cooperation with Black News Service and 
Grassroots, the People's Newsweekly. Together we Proudly Present 



Every war has its own melody 
Every fight a favorite tune 
Each battle a choice of weapons 
Every struggle a rhythmic cadence. 

No, my struggle, our struggle is no different from any other. 

There are those who die struggling and have caressed the bitters scars of struggle. 

Yet I, we, shall not be turned around of defeat, not halted by traitors, or yield to 

humanly hate and envy. 
I, we, shall continue to struggle 

I, we, will struggle as consistently as notes fall like cascades of water, (knowledge) 

from Shepp's fHome Boys) horn. 
We will be ever quick in our struggle 

stepping to the rump, thump, thump, of Maxwell's Drum, grasping wisdom along 

the way. 
And after, I, we pass on our struggle to someone else, I, we, will have become a conductor, 

composer in our own realm. 

And sit around the throne of the Greats. 

Duke, Lady Day, "Trane," Diana 
And once the final note has sounded and the final thump been made. 
Then I, we, us will sip the sweet nectar of success, while bathing our unforgettable wounds of 


Denise Wallace 

Drum Magazine 


Co-Editors Denise Wallace 

David R. Thaxton 

Literary Editor Tah Asongwed 

Literary Sandy McLean 

Angelo Herbert 
Vickie Taylor 

Art Editor Pam Friday 

Photographers Deryl Marrow 

Keith Peters 
Juan Durruthy 
Sonali Williams 
Sharon Smith 
Tony Johnson 
Kenneth Robinson 

Administrative Secretary Ms. Angle Small 

Office Staff Roslyn Paige 

Patricia Smith 
Brenda Bellizeare 
Latrica Black 
Jeanette Worley 
Pearl Wright 

Distribution Robert Goodman 

Nathenial Murray 
Calvin Collymore 
Elaine Nichols 
Elaine Jacinto 
Melody Carter 
Rick Grant 

Table of Contents 

3. Dedication Staff 

4. Editors Note 

5. Staff 

8. Take Command Akbar Muhammad Ahmad 

9. Editorial Denise Wallace 

10. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win ; Irving Davis 

13. The Struggle and the Culture Rick Scott Gordon 

14. I used to be Proud to say I was Born in Boston Alii Cabral 

15. Student Involvement in New Political Directions Muhammad Ahmad 

18. The Role of the Black Educator Rick Scott Gordon 

20. A Black Perspective of the U. S. Bicentennial 0. C. Bobby Daniels 

25. Black Power and Black Jazz Archie Shepp 

28. Bill Hasson on Music Bill Hasson 

Disco — The New Drug 

30. Africa— Our origin, our destiny Wadada Tzake 

31. Ella Fitzgerald Gail Bryan 

32. The Dog Moon Vernether Lights 

34. Reconstruction: New Energy to a musical tradition 

36. Impressions of Max Roach Rick Scott Gordon 

37. Alpha to Omega D. E. Johnson 

39. Tribute to Duke Ellington Rick Scott Gordon 

41. Semenya McCord 

45. Gethers and Brown Case 

46. Assata Shakur, A Revolutionary Black Women Rosa Blanco 

52. Hope Annie Carpenter 

53. Ghetto flower in Ivy Richard Fewell 

55. Colonists in 1975 Earl Brown 

56. To The New Afrikans Abdul Malik 

56. Rebirth of New Africa House Kwaku Gyata 

57. Black Students and the Bicentennial Muhammad Ahmad 

60. Bullshit, You Know Better Yusef Komunyakag 

60. For America Lloyd Corbin 

61. Our Family Album 

69. Black America and the Bicentennial John Bracey 

Take Command 

"When society 

is in chaos 

and there is confusion all about 


When no one 
knows what to do 
and all seems to be lost 

When all around you 
Have lost their will, 
And your cause seems 
almost defeated 

When others stop pushin' 

and there seems to be 

No burning light 


When others are disillusioned 

and frustrated 

and (yet) the goal is in sight 


When we are about 

to move just a little bit 


and there seems to be 

no solution, 


When others are afraid 
To step forward 
and no one seems ready 

by Akbar Muhammad Ahmad 

When we stand at 
The burning altar 
in the hour of decision 
And men fear 
life and death 

Where do we go from here? 

One often can't answer that question unless they know where they are now. At this point 
in the year, many of the students here at U-Mass will go back to their respective hideouts. 
Away from the maddening screams of white maniacs blaring "Niggers" from the concrete 
projects of Southwest. A lot of us will be removed from the continuous fights against budget 
cuts, financial aid cuts and enrollment cuts. Some will remain completely oblivious to the 
fact that Black Studies programs are being phased out, CCEBS is viewed as obsolete, while 
we party to the funky sounds of Diana Ross' "Love Hangover" and we are left hung from 
a noose constructed out of computerized grades. 

As the semester draws neigh others will seek refuge from the harrassment of the white 
frats and Blue Wall bouncers. Sisters will return to communities where they can walk down 
the streets in peace without a constant paranoia of rape, assault, and abuse lingering on their 

Yes, as the summer approaches, a lot of us will tend to forget U-Mass and spend the sum- 
mer shoo tin' the hoop, walking the streets, giging the gigs and hanging loose. 

Yet, for most of us, when we leave U-Mass what do we go home to? The screams of 
Southwest are now replaced by anguished cries of hungry children. The pain felt by budget 
cuts are now felt by cuts in summer jobs and summer youth programs. The paranoia of walk- 
ing the streets in Amherst, is replaced by a more real fear of being mugged, attacked, kicked 
and beaten with a flag staff while approaching city hall in Boston. 

Or could it be that this campus, this area, Amherst, Mass. is a place of refuge? Refuge 
for Black students wanting to get away from the maddening cries of the city. Is this the Never- 
Never land fantasy that leaves Black students on an apathetic high, that keeps them removed 
from the fact that 2 brothers, Craeman Gethers and Earl Brown, were snatched out of our 
midst, while some of us lulled away on a basketball jones. Could it be that Black students were 
too involved with the political processes and ideologies at home that they came to Amherst 
for a rest. Or could it be that Black students feel that nothing will be changed so their energies 
are best exerted elsewhere, at parties, B-Ball games, and Blue Wall discos. 

Maybe their reasoning is right. Nothing will change. That first in order for U-Mass to 
change the system must change and since you can't change the system you can't change U- 
Mass. So progress is stagnated. 

Yet there is no progress without struggle. And on the campus of the University of Mass. 
(Amherst), the struggle is alive and kicking. And shall continue to kick until changes and 
more changes are reached. The blatant racism that exist on campus shall not stop the struggle 
nor the strugglers. We Shall Win! We will Win and continue to struggle until all in our Family 
struggles are one. And so I say. Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win! 

by Irving Davis 
Director of International Affairs SNCC 

A speech delivered Sunday, March 16, 1969 at the Universalist Church New York City 

I think it is commonly accepted among brothers 
and sisters in the Black liberation struggle today, that 
Frederick Douglass is the "Father of the Protest 
Movement." Even though we have definitely moved 
beyond mere protest, to more revolutionary positions 
today, Douglass' words were and still are relevant. It 
was over 100 years ago on July 4, 1852, that Frederick 
Douglass addressed an audience quite similar to 
many of you I'm sure, and in part said: "What, to the 
American slave is your 4th of July? I answer a day 
that reveals to him more than all other days in the 
year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the 
constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; 
your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your nation- 
al greatness, swelling vanity, your sounds of rejoicing 
are empty and heartless; your denunciation of ty- 
rants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of 
liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers 
and hymns, your sermons and thanks givings, with 
all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, 
mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypo- 
crisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would 
disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation 
on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and 
bloody than are the people of the United States, at 
this very hour. 

Go where you may, search where you will, 
roam through all the monarchies and despotisms 
of the old world, travel through South America, 
search out every abuse, and when you have found 
the last, lay your facts by the side of every day prac- 
tices of this nation, and you will say with me, that 
for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy 
American reigns without a rival. 

Americans! Your republican politics, not less 
than your republican religion, are flagrantly incon- 
sistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your supe- 
rior civilization and your pure Christianity, while the 
whole political power of the nation (as embodied in 
the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to 

support and perpetuate the enslavement of 3 millions 
of your country men. You hurl your anathemas at 
the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria 
and pride yourselves on your Democratic institu- 
tions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere 
tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and 
Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of op- 
pression from abroad; honor them with banquets, 
greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, 
salute them, protect them and pour out your own 
money to them like water, but the fugitives from 
your own land you advertise, hurt, arrest, shoot and 
kill. You glory in your refinement and your univer- 
sal education; yet maintain a system as barbarous 
and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation 
—a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and 
perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over failed 
Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the 
themes of your poets statemen and orators, till your 
gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to indicate her 
course against the oppressor; but, in regard to the 
ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you 
would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail 
him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make 
these wrongs the subject of public discourse! You 
a^e all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or 
Ireland; but are as cold as an iceburg at the thought 
of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse 
eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a 
system which, in its very essence, cats a stigma upon 
labor: You can bare your bosom to the storm of 
British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea, 
and yet wring the last hard earned dime from the 
grasp of the Black laborers of your country. You pro- 
fess to beieve 'that of one blood, God made all na- 
tions of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,' and 
hath commanded all men, everywhere, to love one 
another; yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your 
hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your 
own. You declare before the world and are under- 


stood by the world to declare that you 'hold these 
truths to be self-evident, that all men are created 
equal; and are endowed by their creator with certain 
inalienable rights; and that among these are, life, 
liberty and the pursuit of happiness;' and yet you 
hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your 
own Thomas Jefferson, 'is worse than ages of that 
which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose . . !" 

Now with the exception of a few words, it is as if 
that speech was written yesterday for nothing has 
really changed for Black people. And if I were asked 
to give a title to Douglass' speech I would probably 
call it: "An Indictment against America." Yet for the 
most part, indictments against America are simply a 
waste of time and effort. For not only do these words 
fall upon deaf ears, but in many instances, upon hos- 
tile ears as well. An excellent example of this was the 
recent release of the Kerner Commission Report 
which declared that America is rampant with white 
racism and the reactions of Congress to that indict- 
ment was the cries for more law and order against 
Black people. This was the solution offered by the 
government, to cure white folks racism. Thus, it 
became clear to some Black people that to simply pro- 
test to the very people who were committing genocide 
against them, was futile. It also became clear that 
protest as a tactic was out dated and had to be re- 
placed. It did not take long to discover that the ulti- 
mate solution to the problem lie in Revolution, for 
it is a historical fact that when a people have ex- 
hausted all other possible avenues for redress of 
grievance, the ultimate choice is to rebel. Someone 
once wrote that there is a place reserved in hell, for 
those who in the time of crisis, remain neutral. Black 
people in America have been in a state of crisis ever 
since we were brought here, and for the most part, 
whites have either contributed to that crisis or re- 
mained neutral. That is a fact. In fact, the very fact 
that they have remained neutral is a contributing 
factor to that crisis. For those who become the reci- 
pients of the values obtained from another's oppres- 
sion are as equally guilty as those who commit the 
acts of oppression. We recognize this for what it is, 
and we also recognize our role in this dilemma: Our 
backs are up against the wall, we have a responsibili- 
ty to make the Revolution. I used to say Black people 
must band together because we truly understand this 
vival. I no longer think that is true today. I think we 
must band together becuase we truly understand this 
system which is operating to destroy humanity. And 
since our patriotism is toward humanity, we have an 
uncomproinising duty to work toward an end to that 
destruction. Our credo must be: "Every Blackman's 
death takes from me, because I am a part of Black 
Mankind!" And this is not racism either. You see, 
John Donne the Englishmen, taught that "each 
man's death diminishes me, for I am part of man- 
kind" in his famous oration: "For Whom the Bell 
Tolls" And Black people believed that; as a result 

Black people wept for Kennedy and Roosevelt and 
probably wept for old Abe Lincoln and George 
Washington too. And I mean wept out of sincere 
sympathy and sadness. Some white folks finally, in 
1968, wept for a Black man: Dr. Martin Luther King, 
Jr. Yet the only reason they wept was because they 
thought the end of the world was near, because the 
black communities of 118 cities across the country 
were erupting in response to this cowardly act. I have 
no choice but to believe this since this nation would 
not even declare a national holiday in Dr. King's 

And, more important, whites did not stop all 
activities and insist upon it. 

We of Revolutionary ranks, paid to Malcolm on 
his day and celebrated Huey P. Newton's birthday, 
for these men are what we stand for. As are Patrice 
Lumumba, Ben Barka, Che Guevara and men like 
them. Yes, and we paid our respects to Dr. King as 

This is necessary since his death signalled the 
last phase of an era. An era of nonviolence as a tactic, 
or philosophy. And it marked the beginning of a new 
era, a era which says that every Black man's death 
takes from me, for now we clearly understand that 
if we are not for ourselves, then who will be for us??? 
And more than that, because our patriotism is toward 
humanity, which far exceeds the borders of any fron- 
tiers of land, that "us" includes the entire Third 
World of Africa, Asia and Latin America. That is 
why you see a rising tide toward Internationalizing 
our struggle, among Black people in America. To- 
day, we are clearly beginning to understand that they, 
like us, are indeed the: "Wretched of the Earth". 
That the same people who exploit and oppress them, 
are the same ones who exploit and oppress us. That 
we have common enemies: The military-industrial 
complex. And that just as the people of the Third 
World dare to struggle against their oppressors, so 
must we; for we are the eye of the octopus that as 
recent as since the times of Frederick Douglass, has 
stretched its tentacles across 3/4 of the earth. And 
that to talk about peace without first talking about 
power is pure foolishness! 

Frederick Douglass taught us about power when 
he said: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. 
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depre- 
cate agitation are men who want crops without plow- 
ing up the ground. They want the rain without 
thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without 
the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may 
be a physical one, or it may be both moral and physi- 
cal, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing 
without a demand. It never did and it never will . . 
"Douglass transmitted two major points to us in that 
powerful message: Power and Struggle. And he clari- 
fied what he meant by struggle when he wrote: "Men 
may not get all they pay for in this world, but they 
must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free 


from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, 
we must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, 
and if need be, by our lives and the lives of others." 
We see before us today, a Cultural Renaissance 
occuring among Black people in America. A cultural 
Renaissance that has spearheaded the dress rehear- 
sals of the Revolution that is yet to come. "Black 
Pride," "Black is beautiful," and other Revolution- 
ary idealogies are breaking the mental chains of cap- 
tivity that have been placed upon us ever since the 
physical chains were removed. And the battle-cry of 
Black Power has not only restored a new sense of 
direction for us, but has touched the revolutionary 
spirit of oppressed people all over the world, as well. 

And it IS absolutely correct to say that our strug- 
gle will be both moral and physical. It will be physical 
because this country was founded on violence, is 
maintained on violence and perpetuated by violence. 
In fact, in the words of that most courageous brother, 
H. Rap Brown: "Violence is an American as cherry 
pie!" We Blacks have accepted this as a fact of life; 
and it is because we have accepted this as a fact of 
life and are no longer deceived by those who tell us 
that we can do the impossible and liberate ourselves 
any other way, that has upset whites so greatly. No- 
where is history, is there any record of a people who 
have freed themselves from the yoke of their oppres- 
sors, peacefully. Nowhere!! Ghandi tried it and was 
assassinated. Dr. King tried it, and was shot down in 
the street like an animal. But on the other side of the 
coin, America itself won its freedom from the British, 
not through peaceful coexistence, but with cannon 
fodder. Yet this is a part of history that white Ameri- 
ca would have us ignore, even though it is flaunted in 
our faces daily, on the TV and movies' screens. And 
in earlier phases of our struggle, I used to think that 
whites feared the physical aspects because of the loss 
of their lives, but today I know that this is not the 
case. A human life means nothing in America, be it 
Black or white. If it did, then this country would not 
ever go to war against any nation and it would be 
dropping tractors in Vietnam today, instead of 
bombs. But the truth of the matter is that it is more 
profitable to drop bombs; and profits is the basis of 
this entire system. And the more people that are ex- 

ploited, the greater the profit. That is the true defini- 
tion of capitalism: profits through exploitation. And 
this capitalist system finds itself happiest, when it is 
exploiting people of color, for its major ally is racism. 

That is why America will attack without hesitation, 
Japan, Korea, Cuba, Santa Domingo and Vietnam. 
How is it that the United States will go to war against 
so-called "Communist Aggression" in Vietnam and 
Korea yet when Russia invaded Czechoslovakia the 
best it could do was send Goldberg into the halls of 
the UN to raise his big, loud-mouth, in protest? Why, 
because it was white Russians and not Red colored 
Chinese, who were the aggressors! Thus, the physical 
part of the struggle for us is a fact. It is a fact because 
yesterday we loved life so dearly, that we allowed 
others to commit the most atrocious crimes conceiv- 
able unto us, in order to exist; today, we are learning 
not to fear death in order that our posterity might 
live and we are learning that lesson well! 

Yet, it is the moral struggle that the "exploiters 
of the earth" here in America, fear most today. And 
justifiably so, since that struggle is engaged in a rejec- 
tion of the systems here, which they have perpe- 
tuated for centuries. Others have died protecting 
these evil and corrupt systems unknowingly to some 
degree and have never had an opportunity to share 
in them; but today this is no longer the case. Those 
of us who are aware and sincere are dedicating our 
lives toward an end to this destruction of humanity 
and are concerned about a new set of values with 
more humanistic traits and more creative life styles. 
There is no place for racism, capitalism and Imperial- 
ism in this concept of a new man and new society, 
thus, those who are now in control are in trouble. 

Someone once said, "There is nothing more 
powerful, than a people whose time has come." 
Today 3/4 of the earth is rising up in revolution 
against those who seek to exploit and destroy them. 
Black people here in America are a part of that rising 
Revolutionary Force. Our time has come. Destiny 
whispers firmly in our ear: "Your time has come." 
And no matter who is eliminated among us in the 
process, our time has come. And destiny whispers 
one final, heroic note to us: 

^ate to^ Stftuf^, 

^cuie to^ Ti^wf 


The Struggle and the Culture 

Richard Scott Gordon— Editor of Grassroots— The People's News Weekly. 

Much has happened here at the University of 
Massachusetts at Amherst since the fall semester 
1975. From South Africa to South Amherst, from 
Massachusetts to Mississippi, we realize that the 
connections are the same. In South Africa, Black 
people are oppressed and exploited; I.D. systems 
used to enslave Black people. Here in Amherst Mass. 
in 1976, we have two innocent students in prison, 
their college I.D.'s used to oppress and detain, re- 
moving them from the mainstream of society. 

Massachusetts is not unlike Mississippi during 
our struggle for national liberation during the 1960's. 
In Mississippi, Black people have encountered beat- 
ings, lynchings, and mob violence. No honest human 
being at the University of Massachusetts could deny 
the fact that brothers Craemen Gethers and Robert 
Earl Brown have been "legally" lynched by an "or- 
ganized" mob of whites legally termed "jury". Here 
at the UMass Amherst campus, the Black community 
has had to constantly fight racial attacks. Attacks 
have been consistent on all levels, from physical con- 
frontations all the way up to the Whitmore Adminis- 
tration building, where institutional racism appears 
to be at it's very best. 

On September 13, 1975, a pregnant Black student 
was attacked by five white males, attempting to pre- 
vent the birth of her child. Nine Blacks, including five 
sisters, ended up fighting for their lives after being 
attacked by at least twenty whites at UMass' Bluewall 
bar on October 6, 1975. Two white students destroyed 
Third World election ballots and got away without 
retribution while four other white students are slapped 
on the wrist for the malicious break-in and destruc- 
tion of facilities at our Malcolm X center. Meanwhile, 
Craemen and Earl are unjustly incarcerated for being 
Black and trying to complete their education. 

Already this year in 1976, we have had an attack 
on our only Black student publication, "Grassroots". 
It's editors illegally "fired", harrassed and the publi- 
cation halted for three weeks. Six whites attacked 
a Black student in James House dormitory in March. 
Meanwhile Black women are continually insulted 
and disrespected by white fraternaties. The epitomy 
of American racism! 

While writing this editorial, I am sure that there 
have been more attacks. 

* * * 
On Monday April 5th, a Black lawyer was beaten 
severely and had his nose broken by the steel staff of 
an American flag as he was about to enter City Hall 
in Boston, less than 100 miles from Amherst. The 
mob was composed of students from South Boston 
and Charlestown high schools who were protesting 

busing but more importantly were protesting Black 
people. We have already been informed that approx- 
imately 1000 of these students are registered and will 
be at UMass in September 1976. Obviously, racial 
confrontation will increase. 

What will save Black people and has saved them 
and kept us intact is our culture and tradition. A cul- 
ture that speaks to the needs of the people. In our 
music, our art, our drama and poetry and our dance 
we must provide an outlet for resisitance of the un- 
natural negative forces that continue to plague our 
communities. The need is not only for entertainment, 
but for education as well. 

Our art must inspire the young and give new 
hope to the old. Our art must denounce and docu- 
ment injustices against our people. Our culture must 
unify our people, stressing the collective over the 
individual. The art must provide energy to create, re- 
create, to build and rebuild. Indeed art must be "col- 
lective, functional and committed" and always speak- 
ing to the needs of the people. 

It is ironic that here at the University of "Mas- 
sassippi", we are blessed with the presence of Prof. 
Max Roach and Prof. Archie Shepp, internationally 
known and respected artists who are great Black 
leaders in their own right. These two men are pio- 
neers in the struggle for National Liberation and have 
dedicated their lives to the music tradition and cul- 
tural excellence. Their presence among us is an honor 
and should be cherished. Their contributions are too 
numerous to mention. Their music is a necessity, 
especially in 1976, dealing with the high level of 
racism that we are constantly confronted with. Max 
has already demanded "Freedom Now" in his Suite, 
while Shepp has made it clear that "things gotta 
change" or their will be some "Fire Music". 

This magazine is a joint venture between the 
Drum staff and The Black News Service, creators 
and publishers of "Grassroots", "the peoples' news- 
weekly". Together, we hope to more effectively docu- 
ment the vast majority of events that have taken 
place in the Sept. 1975 to May 1976 academic year 
at the University of Massachusetts. And as the 
struggle continues, I would like to remind everyone 
that to go back to tradition is the first step forward. 
If we are able to survive on this planet as a people, 
we must work collectively instead of individually and 
accept a new value system that is common to us all. 
One that tolerates only positive action and movement 
that would be beneficial to our people. 

And in the final analysis we cannot separate the 
struggle from the music and the culture. The two are 
inseparable and can only exist together. 



TheBusleft— Half full 
most of the kids 

said Fuck that Shit 
I would have to but 

Mom won't hear that Shit 
She said she didn't walk 

into Bull Connors 
Water hoses 
For nothing 

BANG ! A rock just hit the bus 
Joey Tailors' got a knife 

I told him to stash it 
He said he was in some white boy's butt 

We all laughed — Loud and long 
And it was good to be laughing 
And laughing 
And laughing 

Alii Cabral 




Text of Speech presented by Muhammad Ahmad— 
Feb. 18, 1976— National Black Solidarity Conference 
— Tufts Univ. 


The struggle in the 70's has reached new heights. 
Any social revolution must attack the weak points 
in the oppressive system first before making the 
main attack. 

Due to the nature of the United States multi na- 
tional monopoly capitalist system, it's economic and 
military structures are its strongest points. But 
racism manifesting itself internally is U.S. imperial- 
ism's Achilles heel. The struggle for national demo- 
cratic rights (equality) becomes the movement's 
strong point and the system's weak point. 

The contradiction of maintaining the racist 
system heighten's the consciousness of Black, Third 
World and eventually lower white working class 
people. Therefore, the present focus of total equality 
for Blacks and Third World people within the rac- 
ist capitalist system polarized the internal contradic- 
tions of the U.S. multi national monopoly capitalist 

Democratization of the political system in the 
U.S. will lead to a second civil war (class war). The 
main focus should be to develop an independent 
Black Political Party that would struggle for complete 
national democratic rights (15% representation of all 
elected officials in America) for Black people. "Black 
people already have the voting potential to control 
the politics of entire southern counties. Given maxi- 
mum registration of blacks, there are more than 110 
counties where black people could outvote the poli- 
tical parties and not waste time trying to reform or 
convert the racist parties." (1) 

Since the 1960's there has been a development of 
Black political parties. In Mississippi there's the Mis- 
sissippi Freedom Democratic Party (Loyalist demo- 
crats); in Alabama, the National Democratic Party 
of Alabama (NDPA); in South Carolina the United 
Citizen's Party (UCP); in Florida, the African People's 
Socialist Party (APSP). Black students should at- 
tempt to work with these parties and with voter regis- 
tration drives. They should spend the summer work- 
ing in black belt counties in the south. Credit for their 
efforts should be given through Black Studies and 
other programs at universities. The new concept of 
education brought out by student activism should 
be one of part time in the university and part time 
in the community— learning while doing. 

(1) Carmichael and Hamilton, Black Power, pg. 166 

Counter-revolution has set in and most of the 200 
Black Studies departments in the country have revert- 
ed back to capitalist bourgeois elite orientation to aca- 
demic work. Black students must struggle with Black 
Studies departments to develop community out- 
reach programs. A vital program would be one of 
students receiving credit for working to build inde- 
pendent black parties in both the north and the 

The struggle for Black Studies is not over. If 
Black Studies is to be meaningful, it must be revolu- 
tionary nationalist and political in content. Most 
Black studies programs presently place too much 
emphasis on culture and aesthetics. Culture is essen- 
tial but culture itself does not transform a political, 
economic and military power structure. Black Studies 
must teach students how to organize to overthrow 
the racist monopoly capitalist system. Each Black 
Studies department should include a course on Black 
revolutionary politics. Black Studies should be di- 
rectly linked to the Black liberation movement. 
Black Studies departments should be the center for 
information to Black students of what Black Libera- 
tion organizations are doing in different communi- 
ties and should be the vital link between students and 
liberation organizations. Black studies came into ex- 
istence for the struggle of Black people and its survi- 
val and success depends upon its live contact with 

All Black students when entering any college or 
university with Black Studies departments should be 
required to take four semesters or two year of the 
"history of the Black liberation struggle." This course 
would prepare every Black student regardless of his 
class background or various ambitions to view the 
world correctly. The student would then be prepared 
to bring his or her skill back to the community. Every 
Black Studies department or Black Student Union 
should have a community based Institute of Black 
Political Education. Through the IBPS cadre study 
groups, adult education, forums and tutorial projects 
would form. The IBPS would also eventually provide 
the community with free legal assistance, martial 
arts training and medical services. IBPS would be more 
than an alternative community school where com- 
munity and students would get credit for developing 
community organizing skills, it would also provide 
the community with the new revolutionary culture. 


A similar program that white radicals have created 
and one which we should study is the Boston Com- 
munity school. By struggling to build these commu- 
nity extensions students would have avenues to 
bringing their skills back to the community 

The most important thing we must understand is 
that our struggle is protracted. (2) It will take years 
for our struggle to win and the racist U.S. monopoly 
capitalist power structure to be destroyed. With these 
understanding we will build our new Black student 
movement. The National Black Student Association 
would struggle to build a mass based membership not 
only among college and university students but also 
high school, junior high and elementary students. 
With the philosophy of each one teach one, we would 
build the new Black political revolution of the 1970's 
and 1980's among the millions of Black youth. Since 
the purpose of the purpose of the National Black 
Student Association would be to serve the people, 
the NBSA's main emphasis would be to develop com- 
munity strength. The best way this can be done is 
by showing the masses of black working class 
brothers and sisters that they can win victories no 
matter how small by struggling against the power 
structure. Winning continuous victories will build 
our people's self confidence and revolutionary na- 
tionalist consciousness. NBSA would attempt to cre- 
ate mass movements out of local community issues. 
When a community group is demonstrating or strug- 
gling over an issue, NBSA would help that group in 
organizing and would mobilize all Black students 
from elementary to college to support the demonstra- 
tion. NBSA would find issues sometimes hidden from 
the people, bring them out and educate the people to 
struggle around them. Through struggle NBSA 
would engage in mass cadre development. Summer 
seminar cadre institute's would be established to 
train students ideologically (politically) as they prac- 
tice. NBSA would develop through Practice, Study, 
Practice and operate on the principles of collective 
leadership, democratic centralism and Unity, Criti- 
cism, Unity. 

NBSA would develop mass movements around 
struggle issues as they arise by having mass demon- 
strations around U.S. involvement in Angola, sup- 
port for Assata Shakur (Joanne Chesimard), Cherly 
Todds and Dessie Woods and many other victims 
of political frame-ups. Coming to the defense of Afri- 
can Prisoners of War is very important because unless 
we do the movement will continuously be picked off 
one by one. The best defense is an offense. Mass 

(2) Mao Tse Tung, Selected Works, "Protracted War". 

political defense through mass action (demonstra- 
tions) and teach ins is the first line of defense for the 
movement. Who respects a people who don't protect 
or come to the aid of their own kind? Besides the 
inability to raise independent finances, the lack of 
political defense work is the biggest weakness of 
our movement. Coming to the defense of African 
Prisoners of War will rebuild nationalism in the Black 
community which will lead to the rebuilding of the 

Mass political defense work must be viewed as 
self defense and if properly carried out will evolve 
eventually to armed propaganda. With this in mind 
NBSA should immediately address itself to organizing 
mass black independence/ reparations demonstrations 
and marches on the 4th of July in every local com- 
munity to protest the racist bicentennial. We should 
demand reparations* by setting up ad hoc reparations 
committees. For those from Chocolate City (Washing- 
ton D.C.) the reparations committee would organize 
a mass demonstration in front of the white house. 
We should also visit the congressional black caucus 
and ask them to introduce a reparations land bill 
before the congress. 

Also with the new evidence on FBI, CIA, Army 
conspiracy against the movement we should form a 
lobby at the United Nations and ask all Third World 
countries to bring out issues concerning African 
Prisoners of War before the general assembly, charg- 
ing the U.S. with genocide-violation of the human 
rights charter. NBSA should use all forms of multi- 
media to get its message across to our people. We 
should remember there is constant protracted psycho- 
logical warfare going on against us. We must be 
aware that we are products of programmed learning. 
We must reprogram ourselves through Black pro- 
grammed learning. NBSA after calling its national 
conference and establishing itself should pressure 
Black educators to call a national conference on Black 
Studies to clean house, purge reactionaries and for 
students to regain control over Black Studies— making 
it once again revolutionary and nationalist. This 
would be the first step in the struggle in fighting for 
more financial aid and against admissions cutbacks. 
Through the grapevine the word should go out. 
Black is Back! 

NBSA should be the beginnings of unity of all 
community nationalist and revolutionary organi- 
zations. As Black people progress in struggle we see 
our struggle moving closer to a national liberation 



I wonder what would happen if 

the different me's decided to intergrate 

Would that be a joyous reunion 

encrushed in white 

all smiles on a sunny day 

faces tilted to greet the sun 



Would there be abrasive spirits turned loose on one 'nother 
Campaigning for positions of incompatent power. 
Sloganing "Let the individual be". 
All caught up in intervascular symbiosis Nors squalor 

What if each municapality opped to govern itself 
while vieing for overall prestigeous positions. 

What atomic temperatures would be reached 
energies swollen strained proportions. 

Would it be like orgastic joy or parallel meditative calm. 
Blurred gray, ivory fliting beneath suptle brown 
Mother of Pearl receiving life from father of man 
Bared sould embrassing foreign terrain giving footing for 
twists of spirit, anatomy, twisted minds 

I ma 

(Univ. of Mass) 



The role of the Black educator 


One of the most important roles in the struggle 
for national Liberation of Black and Third World 
people is the role of the Black Educator. Education 
has always been a major setback for Black people 
in this country. After stripping them of their lan- 
guage, history, and culture. Whites have always made 
it extremely difficult for Blacks as well as other Third 
World people to obtain an education. During early 
slavery days. Blacks were not allowed to communicate 
either by speaking their native tongue or by means 
of the drum. Much communicating was done by 
grunting, and a form of "grunting" language was 
actually developed by these enslaved people. After the 
famous Emancipation Proclamation, in many states 
it was illegal to educate Blacks, especially the knowl- 
edge of reading and writing. In the state of North 
Carolina, the education of Blacks was banned -until 
the early 1900's. 

There are many famous stories on how many 
Blacks obtained an education back in what Whites 
generally refer to as the "good ole days". The great 
politician, Stateman and Scholar, Fredrick Douglass 
learned how to read by tricking a white boy into 
teaching him. Other Blacks used to stand outside 
school houses and learned. Later in secret sessions, 
they would teach others. A few fortunate slaves were 
even educated by their slave masters. 

Today in 1976, just as several hundred years 
ago Black people are in serious educational trouble. 
A recent study clearly indicated that schools in Black, 
Puerto Rican and other areas that contain people of 
color, are systematically excluded from quality edu- 
cation. These schools are usually overcrowded, un- 
derstaffed, and lack adequate educational materials 
necessary to keep the students mentally up to state 
and federal standards. 

At the same time, the predominantly all white 
suburban and semi-suburban community schools 
are well equipped to go about the business of seri- 
ously educating their pupils. The facilities are usually 
from good to excellent, the classrooms are comfort- 

able with only the best current education materials, 
and the faculty is really concerned about his or her 
student. The contrast between these two school sys- 
tems is great. The implications, especially racial, are 

It is said that Education is the key to unlock the 
doors of wisdom and knowledge. An illiterate person 
is someone who will have to be told about life, never 
living it. Keeping Black people uneducated will un- 
doubtedly keep them from the truth. Mis-education 
is lies, propaganda and serious brainwashing. With- 
out the proper knowledge of the past, it is doubtful 
that a people can prepare for the future. 

So crucial is the role of the Black Educator that 
it cannot be over-emphasized. It is the responsibility 
of the Black educator to review all the so-called 
knowledge that the slave master has imposed on their 
people. To expose the lies, racism and injustices that 
have been integrated into the history books. To re- 
assess the economic, social and political status of 
Black people to use their skills to aid an oppressed 
and exploited people. In our schools, we must have 
Black Administrators and faculty dedicated into pro- 
viding the necessary information to students so that 
they may be prepared to deal effectively with the sit- 
uations at hand. Teach us about our history, culture 
and tradition. Fill in the blank spaces that were left 
by nonconcerned White and "white washed" Black 
teacher. Teach us of Turner, Walker, Garvey and 
El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X). Teach us 
survival, patience and understanding. Teach the 

We charge the Black educators with this task. We 
say that this is your responsibility. We are aware of 
those that have gone "off" on a PHd trip and those 
educators which have chosen to defect to the ranks of 
the oppressor. There are many good intentions. 
However, we can only recognize serious work and 
concrete accomplishments. You could say that the 
future of the world is in your hands. 



A Black Perspective of The U. S. Bicentennial 

O. C. Bobby Daniels 

Associate Dean of Students 

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01002 

Notwithstanding the legitimate observances of 
our nation's bicentennial, the prevailing aura is a 
celebration in hypocrisy. If you are among the thirty 
million U. S. citizens of African ancestry, the bicen- 
tennial represents the fact that you are participating 
in an endless search for a clearer identity. If you are 
among the White citizenry of this country, you are 
most likely unaware that your identity has been dis- 
torted by the basic contradictions of U. S. history. 
In order to grapple with what history has made of us, 
we must first uncover the content and the extent of 
its control. This process involves identification of 
patterns in our culture which socialize and legitimate 
racists institutions. 

Through cultural conditioning, history exerts 
tremendous influence over us. It forms our con- 
sciousness, which lurks behind our attitudes and 
behaviors. So pervasive is its influence that it aston- 
ishes us! We feel, say, and do things out of condi- 
tioned response, sometimes contrary to our conscious 
intent. St. Paul (RSV) described this awkwardness: 

I do not understand my own actions ... I can will 
what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do 
the good I want, but the evil I do not want is 
what I do. 

Many individuals may think that the bicenten- 
nial is irrelevant to their roles in our university com- 
munity. Such an approach to campus life is problem- 
atic, because it excludes the fact that Black and 
White citizens suffer from a lack of data about them- 
selves and our nation's 200 year-old history of racial, 
sexual, economic, political, and educational discrimi- 
nation. Individuals without general awareness of 
these forms of discrimination exacerbate rather than 
ameliorate the problem. 

The purpose of this article is to present three of the 
most blatant contradictions in U. S. history which af- 
fect the day-to-day interactions between Blacks and 
Whites. Contradictions within the Declaration of 
Independence, the U. S. Constitution, and the U. S. 
Presidency are presented with special attention to 
their implications for practical action. 


An unfortunate fact accounting for much of 
these bicentennial contradictions is the social mythol- 
ogy perpetuated through the works of leading White 
scholars, e.g., DeTocqueville, Morison, Commager, 
and Eilkens. This indictment could never have been 
stated had our leading American institutions recog- 
nized and provided research opportunities for their 
contemporary Black scholars, e.g., DuBois, Wesley, 
Woodson, and Schomburg. The critical balance of 
inter-racial apperception and ideology would have 
had a far better chance of attainment had American 
educational media reflected the contributions of all 
Americans toward the building of our nation. Instead, 
an insensitive combination of scholars has virtually 
ignored the presence of Black people since their 
arrival on these shores in the early Seventeenth 
Century. The tragic consequence of this irresponsible 
scholarship is the fact that when more sensitive 
White scholars (e.g., Margaret Mead, John Howard 
Griffin, and Gunnar Myrdal) emerged with data that 
exposed the inept history, the myths perpetuated by 
their predecessors had cemented societal norms, and 
provided an intellectual rationale for the oppression 
of racial minorities, especially Black Americans. 
Nevertheless, the U. S. Bicentennial provides an 
opportunity to apply Myrdal's (1962) myth and 
reality concept as a framework to check the consist- 
ency between what we say and what we actually do. 

Implication; American education originated and 
continues to operate in this same White-dominated 
environment. A random sample of textbooks audio- 
visuals, and other forms of educational media over- 
whelmingly illustrate this fact. However, individuals 
need an accurate knowledge about U. S. history 
before they can identify and effectively deal with the 
subtle, overt, and potential racism in the education 
profession. The major implication of the American 
social order is a double bind which leaves all of us 
less than we could be. Consequently, the duty of 
Black people is first to become aware of these with 
others. Such an approach is essential if the univer- 
sity is to continue nurturing humaneness and assist- 
ing all involved in becoming more fully whole. 



Franklin (1975) states one may well be greatly 
saddened by the thought that the author of the Dec- 
laration of Independence and the commander of the 
Revolutionary army and so many heroes of the 
American Revolution were slaveholders . . . Nor is 
one uplifted or inspired by the attitude of the Found- 
ing Fathers toward the sl?ve trade, once their inde- 
pendence was secured. In the decade following inde- 
pendence the importation of slaves into the United 
States actually increased over the previous decade as 
well as over the decade before the War for Indepen- 
dence began. 

In the case of the Declaration of Independence, 
it must be recognized that racism and its myriad of 
insidious manifestations were no accidents in our na- 
tion's history. They represent the paradoxical legacy 
that the Founding Fathers bestowed upon us. The 
major heroes of the Revolution (e.g., the author of 
the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson 
and the commander of the Revolutionary army, 
George Washington) were slaveholders before and 
after the document became official. Mainly, because 
of attitudes similar to theirs, the importation of 
slaves into the United States actually increased dur- 
ing the decade following independence. In an Inde- 
pendence Day (July 4, 1852) address nearly a century 
later Frederick Douglass articulated the contradic- 
tion inherent in allowing slavery to exist within a 
society professedly dedicated to individual freedom 
(Brown and Ploski, 1967, p. 88): 

"Co where you may, search where you will; roam 
through all the monarchies and despotisms of 
the Old World, travel through South America, 
search out every abuse and when you have found 
the last lay your facts by the side of the everyday 
practices of this nation, and you will say with me 
that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypo- 
crisy, America reigns without rival." 
Franklin (1975) cites still another glaring contra- 
diction involving Paul Cuffe and his brother. In 1781 
the two young enterprising Blacks, asked Massachu- 
setts to excuse them from the duty of paying taxes, 
since they "had no influence in the election of those 
who tax us." And when they refused to pay their 
taxes, those who had shouted that England's taxation 
without representation was tyranny, slapped the 
Cuffe brothers in jail. (p. 11) 

Implication: The Declaration of Independence is 
regarded as the fundamental national document 
which affirms human equality and consequently, 
represents certain unalienable Rights, e.g.. Life, 
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Many individ- 
uals operate on this assumption and in so doing 
model behaviors which ignore the duplicitious nature 
of the American social order. Granting this contra- 
diction, the University should provide relevant pre 
and in-service training for racial awareness for all 
students, staff and faculty. 


In the case of the U. S. Constitution, the very 
people who were denied participation in the framing 
of it have consistently emerged as its moral guardians. 
Initially, Black people and White women were 
viewed as unequal to White males. In 1787 when the 
document was adopted, a Black person was considered 
only three-fifths of a White male; White women were 
disfranchised. The 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th 
Amendments would not have been necessary had the 
moral fiber of our nation been woven with a basic 
humanity that viewed and protected all citizens as 
equals. Paradoxically, because of these Americans 
perennial struggle against lynching, rape, segrega- 
tion and tokenism various forms of socio-economic 
oppression previously neglected have again been 
exposed, e.g., sexism and poverty. 

Twentieth Century history clearly indicates that 
Black Americans continue to be moral guardians of 
the Constitution and the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, he challenged organized religion. It would 
awareness among themselves and humanistically- 
oriented White Americans. The nation has never 
been the same since Thurgood Marshall and the 
Browns of Topeka successfully challenged the con- 
stitutionality of "separate but equal" schools. This 
foray combined with Rosa Park's challenge of the 
constitutionality of racial discrimination in public 
conveyances confronted White America in a way 
that no White citizen could rgardless how liberal 
his or her persuasion. The advent of Martin Luther 
King, Jr. provided an unparalleled era of spiritual 
leadership for our nation. Not only did he challenge 
the Constitution and the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, he challenged organized religion. It would 
then seem only providential that Frank Wills, a 
Black security guard at the Watergate, should have 
initiated an inquiry that ultimately led to one of the 
gravest Constitutional crises in our history. Given 
the elements of time, location, and racism, only Mr. 
Wills could have awakened White America from its 
fantasy into the reality that skin color doesn't auto- 
matically insure Constitutional rights. Without 
these Black challengers of the law, our Constitution 
and the people for whom it was drafted to serve might 
well be out of touch with each other. 

Implication: Unless education is reality oriented 
the process itself may well become a frustrating ex- 
perience for everyone concerned. Students and facul- 
ty must, therefore, be aware of their own attitudes, 
limitations and goals. The need for an on-going 
values clarification experience for both is essential. 
Clarification of racial and sexual values historically 
inherent in the American social order is critical to 
understanding identity and aspirational problems 
of today's students. 


From George Washington onward, U. S. Presi- 
dents have reflected the racism of the American 


social order in shaping American domestic and for- 
eign policies. Two days before the Fourth of July, 
1776 Washington wrote the following letter (Gregory, 
1971, p. 8): Sir: With this letter comes a negro (Tom) 
which I beg the favor of you to sell in any of the 
islands you may go to for whatever he will fetch and 
bring me in return from him: one hogshead of best 
molasses, one ditto of best rum ... If Thomas Jeffer- 
son is to be viewed as the humanitarian many his- 
torians have portrayed him to be. Black people per- 
ceive him as a complex Virginia planter, slave owner, 
and politician. Suffice it to say, racist, integration- 
ists, abolitionists, and states righters proclaim him 
as their hero. Andrew Jackson was proud to be 
known as a slaveholder and an Indian fighter. Ac- 
cording to Steinfield (1972) one of the most shocking 
incidents in the shameful record of this country's 
relations with the Indian was Jackson's defiance of 
the United States Supreme Court and his insistence 
upon the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation 
from their traditional lands. 

It is astonishing that the myth of Abraham Lin- 
coln as the Great Emancipator continues to prosper. 
In 1858 Lincoln states (Steinfield, 1972, p. 124): 
I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in 
favor of bringing about in any way the social and 
political equality of the white and black races, that 
I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters 
or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold 
office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will 
say in addition to this that there is a physical differ- 
ence between the white and black races which I be- 
lieve will forever forbid the two races living together 
on terms of social and political equality. 

Implication: As a socio-psychological frame of 
reference "The Presidency" is perceived as the final 
and most influential national office. When our 
Presidents recite the rhetoric of freedom and racial 
equality Black students (aware of their plight in the 
American social order) view such statements with 
distrust. In varying degrees this distrust filters 
through every aspect of American Life and accounts 
for much of the communication problems which con- 
tinue to exist between Black and white students. 
Implicit in this communication problem is the White 
students' recognition and reaction to the history of 
contradictions between White America's rhetoric 
and its behavior. 


As we observe the U. S. Bicentennial, we must 
not apologize, compromise, and temporize on those 
principles of liberty that were supposed to be the very 
foundation of the American way of life. We must 
state with the full awareness that racial segregation is 
no unanticipated accident in our nation's history 
and confront this flaw in our national character. As 
we do this, it is well to remember that criticism does 
not necessarily imply hostility; and, indeed, the 
recognition of human weakness suggests no aliena- 

tion. We should incorporate in our statements with 
others a deeper examination of the bicentennial and 
the need to improve the human condition. Franklin 
(1975) suggest an appropriate beginning would be 
to celebrate our origins for what they were, i.e., to 
honor the principles of independence for which so 
many patriots fought and died. Consequently, it is 
equally appropriate to express outrage over the 
manner in which the principles of human freedom 
and human dignity were denied and debased by those 
same patriots. Their legacy to us in this regard 
cannot, under any circumstances, be cherished or 
celebrated. Rather, this legacy represents a contin- 
uing and dismaying problem that requires us to put 
forth as much effort to overcome it as the Founding 
Fathers did in handing it down to us. 

Finally, this encounter with the power of history 
brings Black Americans to the brink of the deeper 
meaning of freedom. We are beginning to come to 
terms with what history has made of us, and we are 
doing so, according to Baldwin (1966): 

Because thereafter, one enters into battle with 
that historical creation, oneself, and attempts to 
re-create oneself according to a principle more 
humane and more liberating; one begins the at- 
tempt to achieve a level of personal maturity and 
freedom which robs history of its tyrannical 
power, and also changes history. 


Baldwin, J. "Unnameable Objects, Unspeakable 

Crimes", in The White Problem in American 

sp. ed. Ebony (Summer, 1966) Chicago: Johnson 

Publishing Co. p. 174. 
Ford, P. L. (Ed.). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 

New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1899. 
Franklin, J. "The Moral Legacy of the Founding 

Fathers", University of Chicago Magazine, 

LXVII (Summer, 1975), pp. 11-13. 
Gregory R. No More Lies: The Myth and the Reality 

of American History. New York: Harper and 

Row, 1971. 
Mayo, B. Jefferson Himself. Boston: Houghton 

Mifflin, 1942. 
Myrdal, G. An American Dilemma. New York: 

Harper-Rowe, 1962. 
Ploski, A. and Brown, R. The Negro Almanac. New 

York: Bellwether, 1967. 
Steinfield, M. Our Racist Presidents. San Ramon, 

California: Consensus, 1972. 
Swartz, B. and Disch, R. White Racism. New York: 

Dell, 1970. 


Cetn pffftj Htm cf^iirf' 

The Singer 

John Coltrane 

was not a saxophonist, 

but a singer. 

He sang the blues, 

He sang 'bout me and' you, 


He sang of love. 

He sang of supreme love, 


He sang a song of us. 

He sang a song of the people, 


He sang a song of warriors, 
He sang of revolution, 
Tru/blk/revolutionary ('s)/musik. 

And they thought he played 

an ins-tru-ment 

for fun and money. 
And we all know 

that he played a weapon 

for ins-tru-men-tal purposes. 

And they thought he died 

with his death. 
And we know that he resurrected 

with his song. 

Yes 'Trane was a singer. 
And his voice was a tenor 


Permission to Reprint- Archie 5hepp, NY. Times. 

Black Power and Black Jazz 

by Archie Shepp, Jazzman and playwright 

Shortly after World War II, over 50 per cent of 
the black people living in the United States were 
found to have moved from the rural south to the 
large industrial complexes of the North and Mid- 
west. A substantial number had settled even farther 
west beyond the Rockies. 

Most brought with them a few worldly posses- 
sions, the family Bible and an enormously rich musi- 
cal heritage derived from Africa. Though they them- 
selves had limited access to musical instruments, 
save an occasional upright or a guitar, they were 
able to pass on through religious songs and church 
records— the only authentic cultural experience this 
country has ever inspired, with the possible ex- 
ception of the ritual of the American Indians. 

More over, the provincial organ of the backwoods 
church could neither anticipate nor stay the cruel 
social and economic changes that would eventually up- 
end religion as the traditional moral force in the black 

Both the church and its historical ally, the fami- 
ly, foundered on the devastating rock of depression 
and two world wars. Black men returned home bitter 
and jobless to face in peacetime the same igno- 
minious poverty they had always known. Indeed the 
American Dream appeared a nightmare, and the unful- 
filled hopes of the Reconstruction a remote and care- 
fully nurtured myth to a generation a hundred 
years removed. Not a few of America's black sons 
turned to dope (here I don't refer to marijuana) and 
crime as a last democratic response to an apathetic 
and unviable republic. Night life flourished as a nec- 
essary accommodation to this expanded social milieu. 

Thus the black jazz musician, economically 
insecure just as the worker, made a similar trek 
north bringing with him the secular music of the 
streets, the language of hip and the lore of the bistros. 
One such man was Charles Parker, one of America's 
rare and seldom acknowledged geniuses. Mr. Parker, 
known to jazz devotees as Bird, was originally 

from Kansas City. He settled in New York in the for- 
ties after having traveled extensively with the Jay 
MacShann band. His biographers state that he had 
already been involved with heroin by the time he was 
15, a fact no doubt attributable to the extensive vice 
that existed during Kansas City's notoriously corrupt 
Prendergast regime. 

The music of Parker and his contemporaries 
(Monk, Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, etc.) ignited the spark 
of a renaissance in so-called jazz music Bird, the 
man, was reflective not only of an emergent identity 
among black artists, but a growing socio-political 
awareness, among Negros in general. Through Park- 
er's music, the urbanization of the black man took on 
the added dimension of sophistication. This "sophis- 
tication" was in reality a realignment of values that 
would enable the Negro to deal with the specious 
hypocrisy of northern whites while at the same time 
maintaining his own sanity, or to put it another way, 
"Keep the faith, baby." 

Parker's music found an eager audience in the 
cities, primarily among youth. The rootless, aliena- 
ted existence of the young Negro was made timeless 
and universal by the magic of his soaring sound and 
rapid notes. The Existential was lent a new plausibil- 

Then, in 1954, Bird died of pneumonia at the age 
of 35. To some, at least, his death seemed sense- 
less, not a providential act, but a systematic, socio- 
logical murder for which there was a precedent. Men 
like Max Roach, and Sonny Rollins, Parker's erst- 
while associates, began to involve themselves more 
directly in political action in order to change things. 
The black esthetic revolution now widened its scope 
to include its political counterpart. Roach's "Freedom 
Now" Suite was deemed so provocative that is was 
banned by the racist authorities of South Africa. 
Charles Mingus, well known bassist, invented titles 
like, "Fables for Faubus," and obvious reference to 
the school desegregation crisis of 1954. Moreover, 
the police action in Korea had released another bitter 
generation from the syndrome of world death. They 


were to return like their fathers, Sancho Panzas 
without portfolio, perennial accomplices to internation- 
al crimes they neither caused nor condoned. The 
implacable fact would not yield to rationalization. 
A gook and a Nigger were interchangeable when the 
heat was off. 

The urban black turned inward, became more 
taciturn. Was he really apathetic? Super cool? Or 
had Whites once again gratuitously misjudged the 
extent and potential of his political response to 

As the tempo of life increased, all art reflected 
the change. People walked faster. Notes were played 
faster. New hopes were born and, like the tall 
buildings of cities, they seemed to reach to the sky. 
The children of the previous generation were now 
grown up and were challenging the democratic proc- 
ess to provide solutions in place of academic in- 
quiries. They were not going to be put off with the 
same old lies, not about to be hacked to death on 
their knees. Suspicious of Christianity out of an 
historical pre-disposition, they either rejected the 
old mora! nostrums altogether, or re-interpreted the 
religious experience through Black Islam. The image 
of Buckwheat and Aunt Jemima which had persisted 
in the American mythology as stock types, were ex- 
posed for what they were: the absurd projection of an 
elaborate white fantasy. 

The white world grew suddenly alarmed. In the 
midst of the Great Society a nation within a nation 
seemed to have developed. Not only was the black 
determined to be free; he was determined to be 
black and free. Watts exploded like a fat bloody 
watermelon all over America, and black youth were 
able to distill from the fierce cry and passionate 
urgency of John Coltrane's music the faint admoni- 
tion of Max Roach: "Freedom Now." 

Thirty years before, Benny Goodman had won ac- 
claim from the white liberal establishment when he 
hired Teddy Wilson and Charlie Christian (both 
Negroes) to work in previously all-white clubs. But 
the benevolent patronage of well meaning whites, de- 
spite their intent, was beginning to wear a little thin 
to America's 20 million Negroes. A white "King of 
Swing" seemed to them as implausible and insulting 
as Tarzan and Jane in the Ituri. 

Black power was the inevitable response of a 
people without power to a system which had grown 

fat and indifferent to the yearnings of the poor; a 
system whose ethic, at least, was still rooted in 
the institution of slavery; whose immense wealth 
and idyllic democracy had failed at this late date to 
provide even a black quarterback, or a single soli- 
tary Negro billionaire. 

LeRoi Jones's Black Arts theater schools was an 
ambitious attempt to offset these shortcomings of 
democracy, and acquaint the black with the full portent 
of his historical role. Though the organization was 
plagued with difficulties from its inception, it rep- 
resented a signal attempt by the black artist to com- 
bine his cultural and vocational aims into a specific 
political expression— not violence— but emancipation. 

At the initiative of Mr. Jones, the first New 
Thing recording was done live at the Village Gate (The 
New Wave in Jazz, Impulse Records). This record- 
ing, led by the formidable John Coltrane, was a mile- 
stone in that it introduced a score of unknowns to 
the mainstream jazz audience, among them Grachan 
Moncur, James Spaulding, Charles Tolliver, Sonny 
Murray, Beaver Harris, Albert Ayler, and Archie Shepp 
Critics such as Jones began to point out the re- 
lationship of the new music to popular rhythm and 
blues. The burgeoning mass consciousness of the 
black artist had evolved into a complete esthetic 
expression. "Soul " was its creed, and "brotha" 
its most constant reference of endearment. 

Bird, Rollins, Miles, Monk,Trane, Roach, Clarke, 
Roy Haynes . . . were the immediate ancestors 
of a revolution, a new American Revolution. Its demo- 
cratic message was hammered out in the intransigence 
of Elvin Jones's drum and the plangent sounds of 
the Trane's horn. Black youth found its kindred 
spirit in the new music and like Big George (an 
avid devotee of the Trane) they would shout, "git 'em 
Trane! " — in the sure knowledge that music works 
a magical power against evil. It was under the tutelage 
of the Trane that the so-called New Thing developed, 
but much of its conception was due to the innovations 
of Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, its two found- 
ing fathers. 

This new statement had been accused of being 
"angry" by some, and if so, there is certainly some 
justification for that emotion. On the other hand, it 
does not proscribe on the basis of color. Its only 
prerequisites are honesty and an open mind. The 
breadth of this statement is as vast as America, 
its theme the din of the streets, its motive freedom. 



Bill Hasson on Music 

They're afraid to listen to the Dolphy cause the 
Cannonball has flown and the train doesn't stop here 
any more, but the sun is still Ra and Ras. ... It is an 
undisputable fact that nature has exhibited its poten- 
tial power this past winter and in a very natural way. 
There was nothing that no one could do to prevent 
this tremendous forceful expression. It was a natural 
force. For those that are tuned in to the forces of 
nature and naturalism, they simply accepted and 
kept getting up. But of course, there was those who 
would like to have had curtailed this action of which 
they possibly had no control what-so-ever. We are 
still early in the game because there is more to come. 
The music has the same capacity to reveal itself in a 
very forceful and natural manner and the artist in the 
developing and development of his craft must accept 
this natural evolution. In order to understand all of 
this, one must have a knowledge and understanding 
of the historical aspects of naturalism and the music. 
Of course, there are those who would like to suppress 
and exploit, misuse, abuse and out right pie about 
music and the nature. Yet they are up against forces 
that have been ordained by the creator himself. 

Given the kind of society we live in where a 
minority of people have been isolated for exploited 
reasons it would seem natural that all of the minori- 
ties expressive qualities should also be exploited for 
the gain of the oppressive majority. In some cases 
there are defectors from the ranks of the minority 
who in a confused state of aping the colonizers dis- 
tribute useless information, withhold skills and tal- 
ent, and operate in an exotic state of euphoria. Let's 
go disco. It is a sad state of affairs when a comedian 
named Nipsy Russell cannot even remember the name 
of Paul Robeson. Instead he feels comfortable calling 
him Robinson, or on the night of Mr. Robeson's 
funeral the television tragedy "Good Times" let 
Junior denounce the attributes of the people of Cuba, 
or the recent cartoon which appeared in the Collegian 
that would have you think that the Soviet Union and 
the U. S. are at odds in their support of the various 
factions in Angola. Our musicians are very impor- 
tant teachers, and predictors often guided by the 
forces of nature and we must protect, know, and 
cherish their music, all forms and expressions. I have 
nothing personally against the boogaloo, but there 
is more to the music than the boogaloo. While we are 
here at the University finding out all we can about 
Western civilization, we must dig deep into our own 
roots and we would be healthier persons through that 
exercise. I charge the disc jockeys to give us more 
than the hustle. Give us news, give us history, tell 
us who Bud Powell was, let us occasionally hear a 
record by Sid Catlett, let us know what style Dinah 
Washington represented and who were the pace 
setters in this original American Art Form. Action is 
truth. Let us know why the record companies took 
off Nat King Cole and since charity starts at home, 
let us all be present at the musical events here on 
Campus no one can save you but yourself, so there- 
fore, serve the people and save the nation. 

Disco-The New Drug 
$2.00 for a high 

Another negative cultural phenomena has in- 
flicted the Black communities of America. It is 
called Disco and thus is having essentially the 
same function that drugs did in the 1960's. It 
is being piped into our communities by electronic 
media and its function is to stifle our progress as 
a people; keeping us occupied playing superfly and 
generally encouraging us to play Negro. 

Now please don't misinterpret what is being 
said . . . Black people have traditionally partied 
and danced, for it is an integral part of our cul- 
ture. What is being said is that disco is a very sta- 
tic, non-emotional addictive, and definitely un- 
black tradition that is doing damage to the moral 
and spiritual fibre of our communities. The word 
discoteche is a European word which has been ad- 
vanced by the American capitalist system as a way to 
make money, keep us pacified or cooled out (same 
as drugs) and to stifle our progress as a people. 

It is totally absurd that white America makes 
money off black folks dancing and it is millions. 
All that is involved in having a disco is a large 
room, some rhythm and blues records and a flyer 
saying disco tonight at nine. Negroes will turn out 
from coast to coast, check out Rashid's, Bluewall, 
or your local Roxbury disco. Black people are 
there in droves supporting these establishments. 

Why do we willingly allow these people to con- 
tinue to exploit us like this. How many of you 
payed to disco this past weekend? How many of 
you have purchased disco clothes with the silver 
trinkets on them and the stack heel shoes? The 
clothing industry has profited greatly off black 
people wanting to look like disco freaks. We also 
support the alcohol industry when we put this 
poison in our bodies. Alcohol does nothing to ele- 
vate us physically or spiritually. 

Disco is also a means to encourage us to listen 
to only one hand of music and not to listen to the 
music of our progressive black musicians. If we 
could really dance then we would dance and 
groove to the music of Archie Shepp, Max Roach, 
and Sun Ra. Their music is about freedom and 
struggle, yet we allow the white media to distort 
our knowledge of the true function of music. 

Do we have Angola, Roxbury, Earl Brown, 
Craemen Gethers or Malcolm on our minds when 
we disco? Are we even thinking of our own moth- 
ers when we disco? 

We must move towards banning this hallucina- 
genic evil from our communities and towards devel- 
oping a greater understanding of the imperialist 
forces that are at work against us in the most subtle 
but deadly ways. 

Let us dance on to freedom and liberation and 
to the control of our great natural resource . . . 
black music. 



O waters so free, dancing and gay 
On the rocks of the brook 
Such music you play. 

Under water caverns hand-made 
by the master, 

Tells more stories 

Than before and after. 

The soothing sounds 

Of the singing brook 
Speaks statements profound 

From the eternal book. 

by Doug Hammond 

(Reprinted from, 

(Chaka's Tune) 

Blowing, screaming, racing, burning 
Blow brother like fire pouring 

Into the guts of a saxophone 

You can't stop now, chasing notes 

Through the lower register while 
Inner sounds of passion tell me of 


by Abdul Malik 
Philadelphia, Pa. 


Africa— Our origin 
our destiny 

foy Wadada Tzake 

There is nothing on earth common to man that 
man cannot do. As the highest manifestation of life 
on earth every human being is a lord of all creation, 
made in the image of the creator and endowed with 
the power to think creatively and to shape his own 
destiny. When a man is unable to shape his own des- 
tiny he is no longer a master of the earth but rather a 
slave of the forces which prevent him from develop- 
ing his creative powers. 

For the past four hundred years racism, exploi- 
tation and slavery has been inflicted upon the indig- 
enous inhabitants of Africa, Asia and America by 
white agressors. The inevitable result of four hun- 
dred years of savage and selfish world domination by 
the European and his offspring, the white American, 
is untold misery and suffering for the billions of 
black and yellow people throughout the world. 

There are at least thirty million people of African 
descent in this country, but four hundred years of 
slavery has robbed us of our true culture and pres- 
ently the overwhelming majority of us live in a state 
of total ignorance and neglect of our African identity 
and of our status of independent human beings, 
capable of mastering all natural forces in the uni- 

The primary cause of our present condition is 
that as a race we have no authority and power. In this 
20th century, an age characterized by exploitation 
and manipulation, a race without power is a race 
without respect and a future. For us, the African 
race, to remain as we have been in the past, divided 
among ourselves and nationalizing our activities as 
subjects and citizens of the many alien races and 
governments under which we live— can only result 
in our continued slavery and exploitation and possi- 
ble extermination. Chance has never satisfied the 
hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the 
vision of self and the future have been the only 
means by which the oppressed have seen and realized 
the light of their own freedom. 

Here in America, many of us have become so 
engrained with white culture that we no longer even 
express the desire to rule our lives independently and 
appear satisfied to try and "get over" in this artificial 
and materialistic, white dominated American society. 
However, those of us who are so inclined will inevi- 
tably be forced to realize that there is no getting over 
in America. The mere acquisition of a few man made 
items (house, car, money etc.) will not bring you the 
lasting happiness which you seek, for these items 
are impermanent by nature and must sooner or later 
pass away. The foundation of American commercial 
society lies in the exploitation of the lives and coun- 
tries of the billions of black and yellow peoples in 
America and abroad. Consequently, when the time 
comes for this exploitation to stop, as it inevitably 

must, American society will collapse into dismal ruin 
and so will the way of life of its inhabitants. 

Both Marcus Garvey and Malcom X, pioneers 
in the struggle for Black Liberation, emphasized the 
absolute necessity for the cessation of the exploita- 
tion of the disinherited masses of the world and con- 
stantly urged the Black inhabitants of the five con- 
tinents to return to Africa to work to create a power- 
ful, unified Black nation. In the words of Garvey, 
"Be as proud of your race today as your fathers were 
in days of yore. We have a beautiful history and we 
shall create another in the future that will astonish 
the world." 

Black and other Third World students, who are 
attending American Colleges and universities, have 
a special task to perform. Indeed we are very fortu- 
nate to be able to attend institutions of higher educa- 
tion which enable us, to a certain extent, to shape 
our personal destinies; a privilege which very few 
black people have. However, whatever heights we 
are able to achieve in our education will be of no avail 
unless it is directed to the service of the Black Revo- 
lution. Our lives will be absolutely fruitless if our 
sole ambition is to obtain a high paying job, for all 
the money in the world won't save you or this coun- 
try when the suffering billions throughout the world 
unite to fight for their liberation and to bring an end 
to four hundred years of selfish world domination 
by the white race. 

It is absolutely mandatory for us to educate and 
organize ourselves to unite with our oppressed 
brothers and sisters for the final showdown against 
our white oppressors. In working towards this objec- 
tive, here on campus, we need to create a central 
Black organization with the maximum membership 
of the Black community of the five-college area, with 
the objective of collectively shaping our so-called 
"higher education," for the liberation of Africa. 

Indeed, the liberation of Africa is essential to 
our continued existence as a people as well as for the 
reestablishment of our status as masters of the earth; 
for it is the naturally ordained home of all Black 
people. Many of us were forcibly removed from the 
motherland and robbed of our culture. We have en- 
dured four hundred years of both physical and 
psychological slavery, intentionally designed to 
reduce us from our natural status as masters of the 
earth to a state of cringing weaklings who are depen- 
dent upon another race to think, organize and pro- 
vide for them. The only way for us to be free of this 
slavery and to regain our rightful places as "the 
lords of creation" is for us to move forward to mother 
Africa to live and love with one another and to work 
to develop it for the benefit of all African people. 
Free from any form of exploitation of man by man. 






r 1 i 



Diana Ramos 

Sun Ra's Band 

Vishnu Woods 

Sun Ra 

Pro. Max Roach 

Jean Cam 

Impressions of Max Roach 


It is Rare Indeed 

To find a Man on the Planet 

Who is Uncompromising 

When it comes to Truth and Justice 

A Man who had Dedicated 

His life, using the Natural 

Talent that the Creator has 

Bestowed upon him to 

Uplift his people 

Exposing injustices 

And denouncing Oppression 

Wherever and Whenever it Exists 

In our Family 

Which includes all of Us 

Who Know the Truth 

And who Collectively break bread Together 

Art is the materialization of Cultural Energy, 

A necessity in Combatting Exploitation 

Music is the Creators Gift, necessary to sustain Sanity 

And at the Highest Realm 

Of Great Black Classical Creative Heritage 


Music developed and created by Enslaved People 

America's Only Original Music Form 

Is Max Roach 

International Giant, A man who is a Legend 

In his own time 

A Man who is Known, Respected 

And Loved the World Over 

Our "Prince of Percussion" 

Master Musician, Composer 

Artist and Leader 

A Brother who's Great Contributions 

To the Entire World have yet 

To receive proper Recognition 

Our Giant, Our Leader 

Our Teacher and Our Friend 

And most of all our Brother 

The University of Mass. and Pioneer Valley's Own 

Professor Max Roach 

Denis Coulon 

THE UNITY ENSEMBLE, L-R. Sulaiman Hakim-Reeds, Clifford Adams-Trombone, Charles Farnbor- 
ough-Bass, Aurell Ray-Guitar, Chris Henderson-Drums, Art Matthews-Piano. 

Alpha to Omega 


Unity. Ensemble. Think about the meaning of 
these two words— then consider an ensemble of 
rhythmetic thoughts joined in perfect harmonious 
unity. Feel being reached inside where you live and 
have all the joy— pleasure— pain— beliefs pulled out 
of you, flowing around you and in the center of it, 
silver strands of honey, warm like a summer breeze. 
Subtle play on your senses. 

Conjure up all this magic and you have the 
UNITY ENSEMBLE-Sulaiman Hakim-alto and 
soprano sax, Clifford Adams— trombone, Art Mat- 
thews—electric piano, Aurell Ray— electric guitar, 
Chris Henderson— drums and percussion and Charles 
Famborough— bass; blessed with the special pres- 
ence of vocalist. Prima. 

The Top of the Campus was transformed this 
weekend into a place of unbelievable celebration and 
the music is still circulating the atmosphere. 

Starting off at alpha level, from Miles to Art 
Matthews own "Love Dreams" and "Ebony Samba" 
and more, they spiralled higher and higher 'till some- 
where at omega a meteor exploded— Chris Henderson 
went off taking the Ensemble with him and everyone 
else too. And if an even higher level could be reached 
all those beautiful brothers came in and out on their 
own, like a dream web. From very surreal to very 
mellow. In the middle of it all was Prima, the silver 
strand, a rare Black pearl. ; She and the Brothers 
got into "People Make the World Go Round" and as 
she said, "couldn't come out." Could be she is the 
summer that she sang, "knows". Had to be the unity 
of her brief ensemble with them-us made the snow 
outside seem out of place. 

Unity. Ensemble, think about the meaning. 


Far right; Clifford Adams-New Jersey-trombone, vocals and anything else, has recorded with dynamic 
Lonnie Liston Smith, and Charles Earland. Black classical music should be taken out of bars and night- 
clubs and presented in concert halls, so that the entire realm of Black people will get its true meaning 
and understanding. 


Chris Henderson, from South Philadelphia, 
Co-leader of Unity Ensemble on drums, congas 
and miscellaneous percussion, is one of today's 
most outspoken artists— "Because of the lack of 
communication among most of our people 
we must realize that Black classical music has 
become watered down." Chris has also recorded 
with Marion Brown. 



■if ■, *;!Sfc. 


^*f ■ 




' K t^iiV 

Sulaiman Hakim— reeds— out of Watts Los 
Angeles, to his credit has played with such 
giants as Archie Shepp and Max Roach. He 
can be heard on the upcoming album "I 
Know About the Life", recorded under the 
leadership of UMass' own Charles "Majid" 

Archie Shepp 

by Nelson Stevens 



we be pooooor, but we strive and survive. 


my strength comes from 

Nan and grandpop Pleasant 
my sister and brothers, val, jimmy, and norman 
from beth, cary, tina, tyrone, kirn, debbie, ladonya, l<awesi kalama 
(norman jr.), malaki (denine), dad weston whose spirit is still 
alive and happy, and most of all my wife Ima. 
but i didn't forget you. 


why i want to be so well known that when my name, chris henderson 

is mentioned people all over the world will say yes with a smile. 

i want Ima to always be happy, i want my family to grow stronger, 

i want to be so good that when i play my drums everybody will smile. 

i want enough money to fight the evils of the world, i want mom, 

grandpop and nan to stop achin, i want the best of opportunities 

for all oppressed people all over the world, i want to have good 

strong and healthy children, i want to live a good long healthy life. 

all of this will come, because i want, and with my want the creator 

will provide, now i didn't mean to be selfish, let's take a look 

at what YOU WANT 





5. and so on 

Chris henderson 



Reprinted from Grassroots— 

The Peoples Newsweekly 
Vol. 2, Issue 2, Jarj. 27,1976 




Craemen Gethers third year 
math student at UMass has 
served one year of a 8-12 year 

On August 7, 1974, a robbery took place in Mac- 
Donald's on route 9 in Hadley, Massachusetts and 
approximately $1200.00 was taken from the register 
at gunpoint. The police were sent to apprehend three 
Black men. Craemen Gethers, a third year math stu- 
dent at UMass was picked up by police and was 
tried and sentenced to 8 to 12 years at MCI Norfolk 
for armed robbery and assault. Craemen was on 
crutches and disabled at the time, with the proper 
medical receipts from his doctors to prove this fact. 
He could not have "leaped" over the counter at Mc- 
Donald's as one witness testified. Craemen also had 
an eyewitness who testified that he and Craemen 
were playing cards at a UMass dormitory during the 
alleged holdup, while he (the eye witness) was on 
security at the dorm. These facts did not save Crae- 
men from incarceration. 

The case of Robert Earl Brown received a lot 
more attention than the Gethers case because Gethers 
was tried and sentenced during summer intersession, 
while most students were away. Earl Brown was a star 
athlete who was recruited by UMass from Elmira, 
N.Y. Earl played first string defensive halfback on 
the team for three years. Brown was good enough to 
have been watched closely by several pro scouts from 
across the country. Earl Brown was arrested by police 
after they searched the UMass I.D. files for Black 
male students who fitted the witness' description. We 
have learned since then that Police are free to examine 
personal students I.D. photos and files upon request, 
a system not unlike that of the racist South African 

Brown's room was entered by Police without his 
consent or knowledge and Police picked out clothes 
that fitted closest to the description given by one of 
the witnesses. Although State Police found a stolen 
car abandoned the next day after the robbery contain- 
ing a sawed-off shotgun and clothes that fit the wit- 
nesses' description of the alleged thieves, it appar- 
ently did not save Brown from incarceration. Al- 

Robert Earl Brown played 
on UMass Football Team and 
was community organizer and 

though none of McDonald's employees could make 
a positive identification of Gethers and Brown and 
out of 10 witnesses, only 3 of them said they recog- 
nized Brown, he was still convicted. One of the wit- 
nesses said that the hold-up man had no mustache. 
Brown had several eye-witnesses testify that Brown 
has worn a mustache for years, this did not save 
Earl Brown from incarceration. Even though Brown's 
first trial ended in a hung jury, he was tried again by 
an all white jury at Northampton District Court and 
sentenced to 3 to 5 years, in prison at MCI Walpole. 
Presiding Judge Tamerillo gave Brown a somewhat 
lighter sentence than Gethers because of Brown's 
enormous support. 

The stories that these two students have revealed 
from inside prison walls are tragic, sad and highly 
emotional. Both students were guilty only of being 
Black and trying to complete their education. From 
inside the confines of Norfolk prison Craemen told 
Grassroots that "It could happen to anybody." In 
light of the semi-Police state here at UMass; our I.D. 
photos and personal files open to Police upon re- 
quest; our rooms searched without warrants and 
our students pulled from out of the University 
confines, handcuffed, fingerprinted and booked on 
"Suspicion" charges. Grassroots wonders "When 
Will The Administration Take A Stand" on these 
injustices? Who Will Be Next? How many more will 
become the victims of injustice before our rights are 

Grassroots is calling on President Wood, the 
Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, and Trustees and 
anyone else in the administration to take a stand on 
the plight of these two innocent students. We are 
calling on the Administration to use the power of the 
University to help free these students. In light of the 
continued silence of these powerful figures. Grass- 
roots cannot help but wonder what the Administra- 
tion's position would be if these two students were 


'The degree of a country's revolutionary awareness can he measured by the political maturity of it's woman. 

Kwame Nkrumah 

A letter, To My People, from Assata Shakur and text 
of opening statement by Sister Assata Shakur, Black 
Liberationist, to Judge Thompson and Men and 
Women of the Jury; Preliminary Notes Gathered by 
Sister Jamila Semenya Gaston 

Assata Shakur: A Revolutionary Black Woman 

Rosa Blanco Gaston 

Notes On Assata Shakur 

For three years Assata Shakur, a woman totally 
committed to the liberation of oppressed people, par- 
ticularly Black people, has been engaged in a struggle 
to the death in the courts of these United States. She 
has been forced, under the most arduous circum- 
stances, to fight four attempts by the government, in 
the name of the "people," to legally lynch her. In May 
of 1973 Assata was being hunted by the police to face 
charges on a variety of cases, all of which she has 
been since judged Not Guilty. Assata Shakur's crimes 
against the government's "people" are political not 
criminal. She is invincible, she is Black and she is 
committed. The government is determined to break 
her and eradicate the example that her courage and 
perseverance set for all oppressed people. 

Assata Shakur is presently on trial in New 
Brunswick, New Jersey on charges stemming from a 
confrontation with the Jersey state troopers on May 
2, 1973, during which Assata Shakur was shot in the 
chest and lay near death; her comrade Zayd Malik 
Shakur was killed; another comrade, Sundiata Acoli, 
escaped but was recaptured within 40 hours; a state 
trooper was shot and wounded and another state 
trooper was dead. This entire episode took place as a 
result of the hunt for Black Liberationists associated 
with the Black Liberation Army. Sundiata Acoli was 
tried in a separate trial and given 24 - 30 years con- 
secutive terms for related offenses. Assata was ex- 
tradited to New York City where she was charged first 
with bank robbery then with robbery and kidnapping 
of a known drug pusher in the Black community and 
then another bank robbery charge. The government's 
cases against her were so blatantly fabricated by local 
lackeys and F.B.I, officials that the three juries found 
her NOT GUILTY. In another trial she was charged 
with the attempted murder of two New York City 
policeman but the case was dismissed for lack of evi- 
dence. Now the New Jersey attorney in collaboration 
with the F.B.I, and media supporters of the United 
States ruling elite are attempting to further victimize 
this Black woman by using every tactic imaginable to 

make her succumb to this new form of genocide by 
trial. She stands accused of murdering the state troop- 
er who left her laying on the Jersey turnpike with a 
gaping bullet wound in her chest. During the entire 
period of her incarceration the government has care- 
fully segregated Sister Shakur from the rest of the 
prison population. Neither she, nor any of her coun- 
sel have been permitted to legally challenge this un- 
lawful act. The government placed her in a psychi- 
atric unit because she is considered a security risk to 
the "internal" institution because of her notoriety. 
She has been deprived of many of her constitutional 
and civil rights, as well as all normal "privileges" per- 
mitted prisoners in the general population. The per- 
sistent denial of adequate medical attention resulted 
in the paralysis of her right arm. Inappropriate medi- 
cal care also caused unnecessary pain during and af- 
ter the birth of her daughter in 1974. She is required 
to remain alone in her cell where there are no provi- 
sions for the intake of food. She is not permitted to 
attend legal education classes that would help her 
prepare her legal case for presentation. She is denied 
the right to attend college classes although she was 
formerly a college student and always a student of 
life's reality in the street. She was only permitted in 
the library under heavy guard escort. No one else is 
permitted in the room while she is there. Her mail, 
both legal and personal, is constantly opened and 
read before it is given to her. Letters she writes are not 
sent out for weeks so that she is prevented from re- 
ceiving adequate counsel and personal messages. Her 
cell is constantly subject to search and seizure by the 
guards so that she is constantly under pressure cal- 
culated to break her will. Since February 1975 
Assata's attorney and his assistants have been denied 
access to their client in order to collect information for 
the trial. These are direct denials of civil rights. Only 
the persistent vigilance of the Committees to Support 
Assata Shakur will prevent the government trom 
succeeding in its mission to destroy Assata Shakur. 

There has been a high level of security wherever 


Assata has been imprisoned. Even her infant daugh- 
ter has been subjected to extremely thorough search 
in the fear that this two year old might somehow slip 
some weapon or message to her mother. Recently the 
New York Times and local New Jersey newspapers 
accused Assata of being the source of a revolt in a 
state prison for men hundreds of miles away. 
Throughout these trials and the persistent govern- 
ment persecution Assata has maintained her dignity 
and spoken directly to issues concerning Black peo- 
ple. Her latest trial began in March of 1976. Up to this 
point she has fought without the mass support of 
Black people. She has been declared Not Guilty on 
three occasions. This is the last go round. The gov- 
ernment is determined. They have successfully sur- 
rounded her in a veil of security and silence. We, as a 
people have the responsibility to let them know that 
their efforts to keep Black Liberationists work and 
ideas from the Black population are in vain. We will 
not permit them to lynch our women and our men in 
their courts. We will reach out to each other, we will 
defend ourselves and we will support our rights as 
human beings. We will fight unceasingly for the lib- 
eration of all oppressed people. We will always strug- 
gle and we will win! 

Assata Shakur is one manifestation of the deter- 
mination of Black people. Following is a letter written 
by her to Black people on July 6, 1973 from the Mid- 
dlesex County Workhouse and the text of her open- 
ing statement to the jury and Judge Thompson in 
Brooklyn Supreme Court on November 10, 1975. 


A letter from Assata Shakur 

Black brothers, Black sisters, I want you to know 
that I love you and I hope that somewhere in your 
heart you have love for me. My name is Assata 
Shakur (slave name jo anne chesimard), and I am a 
revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that I mean 
that I am a field nigger who is determined to be free by 
any means necessary. By that I mean that I have de- 
clared war on all forces that have raped our women, 
castrated our men and kept our babies empty bellied. 

I have declared war on the rich who prosper on 
our poverty. The politicians who lie to us with smiling 
faces and all the mindless, heartless robots who pro- 
tect them and their property. 

I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, I am a 
victim of all the wrath, hatred and slander that amer- 
ikkka is capable of. Like all other Black revolutionar- 
ies amerikkka is trying to lynch me. 

I am a Black revolutionary woman and because 
of this I have been charged with and accused of every 
alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have 

participated. The alleged crimes in which only men 
were supposedly involved, I have been accused of 
planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be 
me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, sub- 
ways, banks, televisions and newspapers. They have 
offered over fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in re- 
wards for my capture and they have issued orders to 
shoot on sight and shoot to kill. 

I am a Black revolutionary and, by definition that 
makes me part of the Black Liberation Army. The pigs 
have used their newspapers and TV's to pain the 
Black Liberation Army as vicious, brutal, mad dog 
ciminals. They have called us gangsters and gun 
molls, and have compared us to such characters as 
John dillinger and ma barker. It should be clear, it 
must be clear to anyone who can think, see or hear, 
that we are the victims. The victims and not the crim- 

It should also be clear to us by now who the real 
criminals are. Nixon and his crime partners have mur- 
dered hundreds of Third World brothers and sisters in 
Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola and South 
Africa. As was proved by the Watergate, the top law 
enforcement officials in this country are a lying bunch 
of criminals. The president, two attorney generals, 
the head of the fbi, the head of the cia, and half the 
white house staff have been implicated in the Water- 
gate crimes. 

They call us murderers, but we did not murder 
over 250 unarmed Black men, women and children, 
and wound thousands of others in the riots they pro- 
voked during the sixties. The rulers of this country 
have always considered their property more important 
than our lives. They call us murderers, but we were 
not responsible for the 28 brother inmates and the 9 
hostages murdered at attica. They call us murderers 
but we did not murder and wound over 30 unarmed 
Black students at Jackson State or Southern State 

They call us murderers, but we did not murder 
Martin Luther King, Emmet Till, Medgar Evers, Mal- 
colm X, George Jackson, Nat Turner, James Chaney 
and countless other Black freedom fighters. We did 
not bomb four (4) Black little girls in a Sunday School. 
We did not murder, by shooting in the back, 16 year 
old Rita Lloyd, 11 year old Rickie Bodden or 10 year 
old Clifford Glover. They call us murderers, but we do 
not control or enforce a system of racism and oppres- 
sion that systematically murders Black and Third 
World people. Although Black people supposedly 
comprise about 15% of the total amerikkkan popula- 
tion, at least 60% of murder victims are Black. For 
every pig that is killed in the so called line of duty 
there are at least 50 Black people murdered by the po- 


Black life expectancy is much lower than white 
and they do their best to kill us before we are born. 
We are burned alive in firetrap tenements. Our broth- 
ers and sisters O.D. daily from heroin and methadone. 
Our babies die from lead poisoning. Millions of Black 
people have died as a result of indecent medical care. 
This is murder. But they have the gall to call us mur- 

They call us kidnappers, yet Brother Clark 
Squire (who is accused along with me of murdering a 
new jersey state trooper) was kidnapped on April 2, 
1969, from our Black community and held on 
$100,000 ransom in the New York Panther 21 con- 
spiracy case. He was acquitted on May 13, 1971 along 
with all the others of all the 156 counts of conspiracy 
by a jury that took less than two hours to deliberate. 
Brother Squire was innocent. Yet he was kidnapped 
from his community and family. Over two years of his 
life were stolen, but they call us kidnappers, but we 
did not kidnap the thousands of Brothers and Sisters 
held captive in amerikkas concentration camps. 90% 
of the prison population in this country are Black and 
Third World people who can afford neither bail nor 

They call us thieves and bandits. They say we 
steal. But it was not us who stole millions of Black 
people from the continent of Africa. We were robbed 
of our language, of our Gods, of our culture, of our 
human dignity, of our labor and of our lives. They 
call us thieves yet it is not us who rip off billions of 
dollars every year through tax evasions, illegal price 
fixing, embezzlement, consumer fraud, bribes, kick- 
backs and swindles. They call us bandits, yet every 
time most Black people pick up our paychecks we are 
being robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our 
neighborhood we are being held up. And every time 
we pay our rent the landlord sticks a gun into our ribs. 

They call us thieves, but we did not rob and mur- 
der millions of Indians by ripping off their homeland, 
then call ourselves pioneers. They call us bandits but 
it is not us who are robbing Africa, Asia and Latin 
America of their natural resources and freedom while 
the people are sick and starving. The rulers of this 
country and their flunkies have committed some of 
the most brutal, vicious crimes in history. They are 
the bandits. They are the murderers. And they should 
be treated as such. These maniacs are not fit to judge 
me, Clark Squire or any other Black person on trial in 
amerikka. Black people should and inevitably must 
determine our destinies. 

Every revolution in history has been accom- 
plished by actions, although words are necessary. We 
must create shields that protect us and spears that 
penetrate our enemies. Black people must lejrn how 

to struggle by struggling. We must learn by our mis- 

I want to apologize to you, my Black brothers 
and sisters, for being on the new jersey turnpike. I 
should have known better. The turnpike is a check 
point where Black people are stopped, searched, har- 
assed and assaulted. Revolutionaries must never be 
in too much of a hurry or make careless decisions. He 
who runs when the sun is sleeping will stumble many 

Every time a Black Freedom Fighter is murdered 
or captured the pigs try to create the impression that 
they have squashed the movement, destroyed our 
forces and put down the Black Revolution. The pigs 
also try to give the impression that 5 or 10 Guerrillas 
are responsible for every revolutionary action carried 
out in amerikka. That is nonsense. That is absurd. 
Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We 
are created by our conditions shaped by our oppres- 
sion. We are being manufactured in droves in the 
ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford 
hills, leavenworth and sing sing. They are turning out 
thousands of us. Many jobless Black veterans and 
welfare mothers are joining our ranks. Brothers and 
sisters from all walks of life who are tired of suffering 
passively make up the BLA. 

There is and always will be, until every Black 
man, woman and child is free, a Black Liberation 
Army. The main function of the Black Liberation 
Army at this time is to create good examples to strug- 
gle for Black freedom and to prepare for the future. 
We must defend ourselves and let no one disrespect 
us. We must gain our liberation by any means neces- 

It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our 
duty to win. We must love each other and support 
each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains! 

In the spirit of: 

Ronald Carter 

William Christmas 

Mark Clark 

Mark Essex 

Frank Heavy Fields 

Woodie Changa Olugbala Green 

Fred Hampton 

Lil Bobby Hutton 

George Jackson 

Jonathan Jackson 

James McClain 

Harold Russell 

Zayd Malik Shakur 

Anthony Kumu Olugbala White 


We must fight on. 

July 6, 1973 

Middlesex County 

Note: Information Came From the National Coali- 
tion To Defend Assata Shakur, P.O. Box 1352 
Harlem, New York 10027 

Opening Statement of Assata Shakur at her trial 


I have decided to act as co-counsel, and to make 
this opening statement, not because i have any illu- 
sions about my legal abilities, but rather because there 
are things that i must say to you. I have spent-many- 
days and nights behind bars thinking about this trial, 
this outrage. And in my own mind only someone who 
has been so intimately a victim of this madness as i 
have, can do justice to what i have to say. And if you 
think that i am nervous, your senses do not deceive 
you. It is only because i know that this moment can 
never be lived again, and that so much depends on it. 
I have to read this opening statement to you, because 
i am afraid that if i don't, I will forget half of what I 
have to say. Please try to bear with me. 

This will not be a conventional opening state- 
ment. First of all, because i am not a lawyer, and what 
has happened to me, and what has happened to Ron- 
ald Myers does not exist in a vacuum. There are a long 
series of events and attitudes that led up to us being 

When we were sitting in this courtroom, during 
the jury selection process, i listened to Judge Thomp- 
son tell yoj about the amerikan system of justice. He 
talked about presumption of innocence; he talked 
about equality and justice. His words were like a 
beautiful dream in a beautiful world. But i have been 
awaiting trial for two and one half years. And justice, 
in my eyesight, has not been the amerikan dream; it 
has been the amerikan nightmare. There was a time 
when i wanted to believe that there was justice in this 
country. But reality crashed through and shattered all 
my daydreams. While awaiting trial i have earned a 
PhD in justice, or rather, the lack of it. 

I sat next to a pregnant woman who was doing 
90 days for taking a box of pampers, and watched on 
T.V. the pardoning of a president who had stolen mil- 
lions of dollars, and who had been responsible for the 
deaths of thousands of human beings. For what? For 
peace with honor? Nixon was pardoned without ever 
being formally accused of a crime. He was pardoned 
without ever standing trial or being found guilty of a 
crime or spending one day in jail. Who else could 

commit some of the most horrendous destructive 
crimes in history and get paid 200.00 tax dollars a 
year? Is there really such a thing as equality under the 
law? Ford stated that he pardoned Nixon because 
Nixon's family had suffered enough. Well, what 
about thousands of families whose sons gave their 
lives in Viet Nam? What about the families who have 
sons and daughters in prison, who cannot afford bail 
or even lawyers for their children. And what about 
the millions of people who have been sentenced at 
birth to poverty, to live like animals and work like 
dogs. Where is the justice for them? 
What kind of justice is this? 

Where the poor go to prison and the rich go free. 
Where witnesses are rented, bought or bribed. 
Where evidence is made and manufactured. 
Where people are tried, not because of any criminal 
actions but because of their political beliefs. 
Where was the justice for the man at Attica? 
Where was the justice for Medgar Evers, Fred Hamp- 
ton, Clifford Glover? 

Where was the justice for the Rosenbergs? 
And where is the justice for the native Americans who 
we so presumptuously call Indians? 

I am not on trial here because i am a criminal, or 
because i have committed a crime. I have never been 
convicted of a crime in my life. Ronald Myers is not 
on trial because he is a criminal or because he has 
committed a crime. He was 19 years old when he 
turned himself in, after seeing his picture in the news- 
paper. He thought that the police would immediately 
see their mistake. I met Ronald Myers for the first 
time about 8 months ago in the lawyers conference 
room. It was a stiff and strange meeting, something i 
hope i'll never have to go through again. I was 
shocked to see how young he was. And no matter 
what the outcome of this trial is, i will always feel a 
bitterness about what has happened to Ronald Myers 
and what has happened to me. 

I do not think that its just an accident that we are 
on trial here. This case is just another example of 
what has been going on in this country. Throughout 
amerika's history people have been imprisoned be- 
cause of their political beliefs and charged' with crim- 
inal acts in order to justify that imprisonment. Those 
who dared to speak out against the injustices in this 
country, both Black and White, have paid dearly for 
their courage, sometimes with their lives. Marcus 
Garvey, Stokeley Carmichael, Angela Davis, the 
Rosenbergs and Lolita Lebron were all charged with 
crimes because of their poUtical beliefs. Martin Luther 
King went to jail countless times for leading non-vio- 
lent demonstrations. Why, you are probably asking 
yourselves, would this government want to put me or 
Ronald Myers in jail? In my mind the answer to that 


is very simple. For the same reason that his govern- 
ment has put everyone else in jail who spoke up for 
freedom: who said give me liberty or give me death. 

During the voir dire process we asked you about 
the word 'militant'. There was a reason for that. In 
the late sixties and the early 70's this country was in 
an upheaval. There was a strong people's movement 
against the war, against racism, in the colleges, on the 
streets and in the Black and Puerto Rican communi- 
ties. This government, local police agencies, the F.B.I. 
and the C.I. A. launched an all out war against people 
they considered militants. We are only finding out 
now, because of investigations into the F.B.I, and the 
C.I. A., how extensive and how criminal their methods 
were and still are. In the same way that witches were 
burned in Salem, this government went on a witch- 
hunt, for people they considered 'militant'. Countless 
numbers of people were either killed or imprisoned. 
The Berrigans, the Chicago 7, the Panther 21, Bobby 
Seale and thousands of anti-war demonstrators were 
all victims of this witch hunt justice. Maybe some of 
you are saying to yourselves, no government would 
do that. Well, all you have to do is check out for your- 
self the history of this country and to look around 
and see what is going on today. All you have to do is 
ask yourselves, who controls the government, and 
who are the victims of that control. 

Since you have been in this courtroom you have 
heard the name Black Liberation Army mentioned 
over and over. Those of you in the jury have been 
questioned as to what you have read or seen on tele- 
vision and what your opinions were about the B.L.A. 
Most of you have stated that you thought that the 
Black Liberation Army was a militant organization. 
You have said that what you have read or heard has 
come from the establishmentarian media. The major 
TV and radio networks, the times, the post and the 
daily news. I have read the same articles that you 
have read. I have seen the same news programs that 
you have seen. When it comes to the media, i have 
learned to believe none of what i hear and half of what 
i see. But i can tell you, if i were just Jane Doe citizen, 
if i did not know better, i would've read those articles, 
and come to the conclusion that JoAnne Chesimard, 
Ronald Myers and all other people called militants 
were a bunch of white hating, cop hating, gun toting, 
crazed, fanatical maniacs, fighting for some abstract, 
misguided cause. 

But One percent of the people in this country 
control 70% of the wealth. And it is that One percent, 
the heads of large corporations, who control the poli- 
cies of the news media. And determines what you and 
i hear on the radio, read in the newspapers, see on 
television. It is more important for us to think about 
where the media gets it information. From the police 

department or from the prosecutor. No major news- 
paper or television station has ever asked my lawyers 
or myself one question concerning anything. People 
are tried and convicted in the papers and on television 
before they ever see a courtroom. A person who is ac- 
cused of stealing a car becomes an international car 
theft ring. A man is accused of participating in a 
drunken brawl and the headlines read, "crazed maniac 
goes berserk". 

During the 70's, the media created a front page 
headline, guaranteed to sell newspapers: the Black 
Liberation Army. According to them, the B.L.A. was 
everywhere. Almost every other thing that happened 
was attributed to the Black Liberation Army. Head- 
lines that are sensational sell newspapers. The media 
shapes public opinion and the results of that are often 

Before you were sworn as jurors you were asked 
about your knowledge of the B.L.A. Most of you 
stated that you had no knowledge of what the Black 
Liberation Army was or what it stands for. However, 
most of you did say that you believed that the Black 
Liberation Army was a 'militant' organization. I would 
like to talk about that for a moment. The Black Lib- 
eration Army is not an organization: it goes beyond 
that. It is a concept, a people's movement, an idea. 
Many different people have said and done many dif- 
ferent things in the name of the Black Liberation 

The idea of a Black Liberation Army emerged 
from conditions in Black communities. Conditions of 
poverty, indecent housing, massive unemployment, 
poor medical care and inferior education. The idea 
came about because Black People are not free or equal 
in this country. Because 90% of the men and women 
in this country's prisons are Black and Third World. 
Because 10 year old children are shot down in our 
streets. Because dope has saturated our communities 
preying on the disillusionment and frustration of our 
children. The concept of the B.L.A. arose because of 
the political, social and economic oppression of Black 
people in this country. And where there is oppression 
there will be resistance. The B.L.A. is a part of that 
resistance movement. The Black Liberation Army 
stands for freedom and justice for all people. 

While big corporations make huge tax-free prof- 
its, taxes for the everyday working person skyrocket. 
While politicians take free trips around the world, 
those same politicians cut back food stamps for the 
poor. While politicians increase their salaries, millions 
of people are being laid off. This city is on the brink 
of bankruptcy and yet hundreds of thousands of dol- 
lars are being spent on this trial. I do not understand 
a government so willing to spend millions of dollars 
on arms to explore outer space, even the planet Ju- 


piter, and at the same time close down day care centers 
and fire stations. 

I have read the Declaration of Independance and 
i have great admiration for this statement: 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all 
men are created equal, that they are endowed by their 
Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among 
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 
That to secure these rights. Governments are insti- 
tuted among men, deriving their just powers from the 
consent of the governed. That whenever any form of 
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is 
the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to in- 
stitute New Government, laying its foundations on 
such principles and organizing its powers in such 
form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their 
safety and Happiness." 

These words are especially meaningful in the 
year of this country's bicentennial. I would like to 
help make this a better world for my daughter and for 
all the children of this world: for all the men and 
women of this world. 

But you understand that the B.L.A. is not on trial 
here. I am on trial here. Ronald Myers is on trial here. 
And the charge is kidnapping and armed robbery, 
where the so-called victim is a drug pusher, a seller of 
heroin, a man called James Freeman. 

We live in New York, and it is impossible not to 
see the horror, the degradation and the pain associ- 
ated with heroin addiction. Most of you have seen the 
staggering numbers of young lives sucked into obliv- 
ion, into walking deaths by the use of drugs. Many 
of you have seen helpless mothers watch their chil- 
dren turn into nodding skeletons, whom they can no 
longer trust. And seen the dreams, the potential of a 
whole generation of youngsters drain away, down 
into the bottomless pit of a needle. And these victims 
also have their victim. The countless number of peo- 
ple who have been mugged, burglarized and robbed, 
by drug made vampires, who can care about nothing 
else but their poison. 

We will show you that James Freeman is a liar. 
We will show you that the other prosecution wit- 
nesses are all friends, relatives, lovers or employees of 
James Freeman, and that they are liars. You will see 
for yourself that they have conspired and that they 
have been coached. 

Men and women of the jury, human lives are 
serious matters. I have already told you that i have no 
faith in this system of justice and believe me i don't. I 
have seen too much. If there was such a thing as jus- 
tice i wouldn't be here talking to you now. You have 
been chosen to be the representatives of justice. You 
and you alone. You have said that you have no prej- 
udices or preconceptions. You have said that you 
could try this case on the basis of the evidence. What 
i am saying now is not evidence. What the prosecutor 
says is not evidence. You may or you may not agree 
with my political beliefs. They are not on trial here. I 
have only brought them up to help you understand 
the political and emotional context in which this case 
comes before you. 

Although the court considers us peers, many of 
you have had different backgrounds and different 
learning and life experiences. It is important to me 
that you understand some of those differences. I only 
ask of you that you listen carefully. I only ask that 
you listen not only to what these witnesses say but to 
how they say it. 

Our lives are no more precious or no less precious 
than yours. We ask only that you be as open and as 
fair as you would want us to be, were we sitting in the 
jury box determining your guilt or innocence. Our 
lives and the lives that surround us depend on your 

Thank you. 

Personal Statement 
from Assata Shakur 



Struggle on my brother 
cause the work must be done 
The fight has just begun 
As you travel through the valley 
of changable realities 
in shifting splitting opposites 
take with you these offerings 
The pillow of knowledge 

to rest upon 
The hand of wisdom 
to point the way 
Flowing water 

to comfort the soul 
Gentle arms 

to balance the mind 
Struggle on my brother 
Peace and togetherness 
May the best of all the worlds 
follow you 

by Annie Carpenter 




I'll learn this White culture 

but I won't forget 

Watts/Harlem/South African shanty-towns & 

other prisons. 

I'll sail with lost Colunnbus & 
blaze Western trails with Dan'l Boone, 

I'll mingle with 
the cavemen of Europe but I'll never forget 
the cattle/prodded Black bosoms 
or the snarling police dogs or the cracked skulls & 
castrated bodies of my brothers . . . 

I'll learn to mathematize/calculize/systematize/ 
astronomize & chart a new route to the planets, but 
I won't forget those Freedom Marches down long 
dusty & dangerous paths 

lined with sniper/cowards raised on special "K" (KK) 
breakfast sucked in from moma's milk. 
I'll swear that I'd kiss Shakespeare's wrist (in Act #1 ) 
& shoot crap with Sir Walter Scott & 
get drunk with Poe & trade words with Wordsworth & 
minuet with Emily Dickinson & walk thru hell with 
Dante & fight the devil with Dan Webster 

I won't forget those bullets 

that knocked on Panther doors at 3:10 A. M. (Chicago time) or 
the blood/plastered balcony in Memphis 
where the Black Christ choked on his own non-violence or 
my little sisters bombed to God in B'ombingHam or 
the slaughter on Pork Chop Hill in Asia . . . 

I'll Frost my cake 

with Milton & Chaucer & 
swim in lonely lakes & tag along with Longfellow & 
lie on shores with Andy Marvell, 

digging stars & clams & 
hang out in waterfront bars with Cap'tn Ahab 
(but while he's looking for a white whale, 
I'll be looking for a black catfish sam/mich 
wit mustard & hot sauce). 

I'll play the game, Summa Cum Lame, 
but Phi Beta Kappa keys 
won't put me on my knees 
skin-poppin' White culture 
without TRUTH for a chaser. 

I'll stand tall & rigid 
like a new African spear when they play 
"The Star-Spangled Banner" 
hand over my heart (like it says in the book), I'll drool 
when they sing "Rule Britannica . . Rule!" 

but I won't forget 
Jean Toomer/Langston Hughes/Richard Wright/ (or Lerone 
Bennett's "other" history, left out of White books) or 
Chester Himes/James Baldwin/LeRoi Baraka/Larry Neal/ & 
Sonia Sanchez ain't Spanish & Don Lee ain't Robert E's son 
& Nikki Giovanni ain't no l-talian . . . U dig? 
I'll git yo 
bastard degrees & 
Master & Doc'trate keys 

but I'll learn 
Karate (on the side) & how to make 
Mr. molotov's drink (poverty's A-bomb) 
in Lab 306 . . . 
Yea, baby, 

I'll learn to speak/walk/& talk 
with the seasoned erudition & perspicacity of 
a neophyte scholar, 

thinking of Ghana & sleeping giants 
who wake fast once they're aroused 
. . . kicking white sheets to the wind . . . 
Yes, brothers & sisters, 
I'll do all that shit 

(until the final grade is in), 

. . . the Paradise is lost. 

Richard Fewell 
Bridgeport, Conn. 


Robert Earl Brown 

from within Walpole MCI. 

Colonists in 1975? 

The following is a reproduction of the letter sent 
to the Black Affairs Office on Nov. 9, by Earl Brown, 
UMass student, convicted and sentenced to serve 
three to five years for armed robbery of a MacDon- 
alds Hamburger establishment on August 7, 1974. 

I ask, are we the "Colonist in 1975"? The ques- 
tion is very relevent, when we view the recent hap- 
pening against Third World People. It is obvious 
that the system is perpetuating law and order in a 
colonist to master syndrome. We ask for justice, and 
receive in return promises. When acts of violence are 
brought on the master side (as the recent case of 
Brown and Gethers vs. the state), the first niggers 
will do. When the situation is reverse, the local ad- 
ministration wants to have a hand in the decision 
(as the case of the ballot box destruction of the break- 
ing and entering of the Malcolm X center). 

Are we to stand by, and fall into the 1975 colo- 
nist legend, or are we to organize and separate the 
differences between our own races, in a united effort. 
Of course, each individual must decide his or her 
action or reaction. The situation which occurred late 
Thursday at 4:45 occurred in late June; occurred to 
a brother at Amherst college; occurred when two 
sisters were in an incident at the Bluewall; and oc- 
curred within the first two months of school. Attacks 

and blind justice will occur as long as WE in the Pio- 
neer Valley remain asleep. Oppressed people will re- 
main as long as society has its way. No persons, or 
individuals are safe, as long as innocent people are 
behind bars. No race is safe, if bitterness separates 
nationalist goals. But, we will survive only by strug- 
gle, and lending each other both hands. 

We will survive, only if we realize our own 
strength and weaknesses. This also takes into con- 
sideration whether the struggle is interpreted "By 
Any Means Necessary." 

In summation, I have sensed that one day, the 
chains of injustice will revert into my freedom. That 
the tide is changing for the sleep to awake, and vice 
versa. And unless we remind ourselves, that the 
"Railroad Philosophy" can happen to me, whether 
in the Pioneer Valley or elsewhere; then the feeling 

of being FREE will remain only a dream. 

Earl Brown 
P.S. When the above was written, I had no access to 
a dictionary or other material to focus on my main 
topic. The article in Monday's Collegian, is what we 
face today. Unless we act in a serious manner there 
may be no one to write such an article. 

I express my thanks to you and the community. 
For one day we will all be repaid. 


To The New Afrikans 

By Abdul Malik, co- 
Out tribe has now developed into a viable force 
and has started moving towards positive changes. 
The elements of South Boston or the elements of 
Philadelphia are all of the same crust and must be 
thought of as such. We Black students here at the 
University of Massachusetts shall bear the responsi- 
bility of telling our youth of their past through the 
vehicles of education, the arts and sciences, as well 
as the methods of academic indoctrination; how it 
has been taught and applied. We must not forget 
these meanings nor these values ever. As we look at 
this past semester let us not forget that the struggle 
continues; its imperativeness must take a high pri- 
ority here at UMass. This, the final issue of the 
Drum for the semester, basically deals with the music 
and the struggle, which to most black folk go hand 

editor of Grassroots 

in hand. We've tried covering most of the major 
events that have taken place here in the Pioneer 

Thank You, ARCHIE SHEPP, your political 
awareness; your musical expertise has been felt and 
appreciated. To MAX ROACH who has always been 
in the forefront of the struggle, his unselfish atti- 
tude has made us a lot stronger than we realized. 

As Co-editor of Grassroots, I would like to 
express my deepest appreciation on the behalf of 
the entire Roots staff to our many brothers and 
sisters who fought with us for a free and independent 
news press. To the many of you, thanks; also thanks 
to our Philadelphia correspondent brother James 
Gilliam at Community College for his time and in- 
terest of the affairs effecting UMass students. 

The Re-birth of New Africa House 

Kwaku Gyata 

Six years ago New Africa House came totally 
under the control of the Black community here at the 
University of Massachusetts, due to the mass 
action and coordinated efforts of every Black person 
on the campus at that time. 

New Africa House, soon after, became the center 
of all Black activity on campus. The building contin- 
uously thrived with the excitement of Black folk 
doing their thing, living and maintaining their cul- 
ture on an alien white campus. 

For some years New Africa House continued in 
this tradition. Many entities came into being within 
the building, providing the Black community with a 
place to eat food not so foreign and suspect as that 
served in the dinning commons; a place to party 
to the sounds we dance to; a place to hear the seri- 
ous classic Black music (an original Black art form) 
live on stage; a place to get our hair cut where the 
barbers were not so puzzled by our wooly hair; an 
art gallery to display the works of our Black artists. 


But then for some reason Black students interest 
in what was going on in New Africa House seemed 
to die, and with it the building began to die; the 
main activity was the classes held in the building. 
The result of this was devastating, without New 
Africa House serving as a center for Blacks to come 
together informally, to relax, be Black, and commu- 

nicate with one another the Black community began 
to split into several cliques spread out over different 
parts of the campus. 

This splitting of the community among other 
things weakened our political power base here on 
campus. This allowed the white administration to 
make certain cutbacks not least of which was the 
cut in the budget of the Black Cultural Center (the 
student run programming agency within New Africa 

But . . . now again New Africa House is coming 
alive. Slowly New Africa House is being reborn as 
symbolized by the rededication of the building to 
the Black community and the raising of the Afri- 
can Peoples Party's flag two weeks ago. Inside the 
building Yvonne's West Indian paradise has become 
not only a place to enjoy the sister's good cooking, 
but a place to meet and talk with Black folk from 
freshmen to administrators. There is now a student 
run non-profit store growing to meet the needs of 
Black students and faculty. There is a Black News 
Service office that provides a place where informa- 
tion regarding the Black community is readily avail- 
able. But most important there is a spirit of together- 
ness and unity, and of collective work. 

May nothing impede our progress. May ALL 
Black students (in the broad sense of the word) 
come together under the spirit of Umoja and make 
the rebirth of New Africa House complete. 



''America's the Black Man's Battleground:" 
Black Students and the Bicentennial. 

By Akbar Muhammad Ahmad 

This year at Tuft's University (Medford, Mass.), 
Feb. 17 to 22 a National Black Students Conference 
was where the National Black Students Association 
was formed. There the Black Students issued a state- 
ment which reads in part: 

Blacks are not and never have been included in the 
social, political and economic areas of this capitalis- 
tic-based society in which the "of the people, by the 
people and for the people" meant only those who 
were white and owned land, and since every attempt 
was made and successfully initiated during and since 
the Reconstruction Era to ensure that Blacks remain 
landless, his rights as a citizen were invalid. With 
that being so, we never had nor never will have a 
desire to join in an alien celebration predicated on 
prejudice, hypocracy and propaganda in the highest 
order. With this in mind we seek reparations for the 
countless injustices inflicted on our race and that a 
plebicite be started by 1980 to ensure this purpose. 
We collectively denounce the 200 years of imperialis- 
tic activities of the united states upon other coun- 
tries in her quest for Expansion, which included 
robbery of lands and resources, foreign aggression 
and domination, subversive activities and assassina- 
tions of domestic and foreign leaders. These activities 
are in no way affiliated with or aligned to the Black 
prospective, but rather it is totally divorced from the 
Black struggle. Therefore we see no need, wish or 
desire to participate in this celebration and most im- 
portantly, we denounce the celebration altogether. 

Black people should ask themselves, what do we 
have to celebrate in 1976? We face the same situa- 
tions, poor housing, discrimination in employment, 
racial brutality, housing discrimination and live at 
the lowest subsistance level. What do the black poor 
in AmeriKKKa have to celebrate? It is time we be- 
gin analyzing why we are in the condition we're in. 
Just how did we get in this position and how we're 
going to get out of it. 

Black people's struggle is a struggle for self- 
determination and in independence. 

The recent framing of two Univ. of Massachu- 
setts student, Craeman Gethers and Earl Brown is 

just part of what's happening across AmeriKKKa. 
Black people because they pose a potential internal 
threat to AmeriKKKan society are being framed by 
the hundreds and thousands. AmeriKKKa's new 
concentration camps are its prisons where thousands 
of brothers and sisters are. The prisons are bursting 
at the seams with black people. 

Black people have historically been excluded 
from the decision making process in this country 
and are the victims of its hypocriscy. 

Thirteen years ago this time, movement activists 
were evaluating the failure of the March on Washing- 
ton to achieve meaningful change in the condition of 
oppression of our people. 

As we look around the country today, we see 
prisons filled up with ex-movement activists and 
thousands upon thousands of Afrikans who have 
been unjustly incarcerated by a racist economic- 
political system. When we address ourselves to the 
African Prisoner of War question we must address 
ourselves to a larger question, because we are dealing 
with the legality of the entire system. 

This question has plagued our movement 
since before the civil war and the reconstruction 
period. The question revolves around our right to 
reparations, land, and whether we are a nation or a 
colonized minority. 

This plagues us today because there are many 
among our ranks who are clear on the international 
question but confused on the national question and 
thereby unable to draft a suitable program to involve 
the masses of our people on a day by day level. 

This is the precise reason Afrikan prisoners of 
war get so little support from the movement in 1976 
because most of the movement is confused as to how 
to deal with raising the issue of Prisoner of War. 

The late El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X), 
in 1964 saw this confusion forthcoming and this is 
why he said we must internationalize our question; 
our situation is not a domestic issue of civil rights but 
a question of human rights. What did Malcolm 
mean when he said our struggle is one of human 


This is what Malcolm knew. He knew that those 
Afrikans who were taken as slaves or were the de- 
scendants of slaves and pronounced "freedmen" by 
the Emancipation Proclamation were never given a 
chance to vote or to decide whether they wanted to 
become citizens of the United States or not. There- 
fore, the 14th, 15th and 16th amendments that 
stated we were citizens of the U. S. were and are today 
unconstitutional until they are ratified or rejected by 
mass vote of those descendants of slaves or persons 
of Afrikan descent. 

This being true there are no laws that Afrikans 
have to abide by the U. 5. government until they 
(Sherman's field order #15) they set a statue of 
whether they vvant to be citizens of this government 
or want independence; land and a nation of their 

Our so-called second class citizenship is in fact 
citizenship slavery; having the responsibilities of a 
citizen and denied the rights of citizenship. There is 
only one class of citizenship, first class; the other is 
called colonization. 

When the capitalist ruling class decided upon 
our so-called emancipation, promising us forty acres 
and a mule if we would fight on the side of the union 
(Sherman's field order 15) they set a statue of 
limitations of 100 years in which we would become 
automatic citizens if no legal protest by the descend- 
ants of the former slaves was made. The statue was 
up in 1965, having been established in 1865. 
Brother Robert L. Brock, then chairman of the Self 
Determination Committee in Los Angeles, and a 
practicing lawyer, presented a legal protest, officially 
asking for reparations and a constitutional recall. 
In ordinary circumstances Brock's case— which went 
to the U. S. Supreme Court of Appeals— would have 
gone to the U. S. Supreme Court for a decision and 
would have been headline news. But this case is un- 
heard of. Decision is yet to be passed on it. Why? 
Because within Brock's legal document rests the key 
to our enslavement and also our liberation. The ques- 
tion is a historical one which was never resolved after 
the civil war and is the crucial question of the coming 
second American civil war. 

During the reconstruction period, Thaddeus 
Stevens argued in Congress that the so-called freed- 
men, descendants of captive Afrikans, should be 
given 40 acres a piece of the confiscated land of the 
southern plantation owners. This was his Home- 
stead Act, which was defeated and never again dealt 

New, what are we getting to? We are saying 
that if Afrikan people are 10 to 15% of the total popu- 

lation of Amerikkka, then we should control 10% 
of the political structure, local, state and federal 
government; 10% of all the land of Amerikkka, 10% 
of the national gross product, the economy, 10% of 
the military, 10% of the industry, 10% of the police, 
10% of the executive government, including the De- 
fense Security Agency, the FBI, Secret Service and 
CIA, 10% of the U. S. Supreme Court, 10% of Con- 
gress, 10% of all farms and food industry. That is, if 
we are to be given rights of "true" citizenship, first 
class. This is the least our oppressors should do until 
we have a right to vote to determine our self-deter- 
mination through a United Nations plebiscite. 

If we deal with the original question of what we 
want, and what our oppressor owes us, we may go 
flip. Let's see what our oppressor owes us. We, as 
any colonialized and abused nation have the right to 
restitution or reparations (repayments for injustices 
done to us); for the 400 years of forced free labor 
(slavery); for the 400 years of genocide, denying us 
of practice of our native tongue, religion, culture, 
way of life; and also denying us the right to read even 
the oppressor's language for 400 years. All this 
made us into a different people, something we don't 
even recognize because we don't have the full knowl- 
edge of ourselves. Then another 100 years of en- 
forced citizenship slavery, the gross miseducation of 
our children that is forced upon them daily (Santa 
Claus, George Washington, so-called father of the 
country who never told a lie and chopped down some 
cherry trees, etc.). And yes, how about that promised 
forty acres and a mule for helping and winning the 
civil war for the union. Forty acres was to go to each 
freedman. So, every descendant of the freedman has 
a right to forty acres of land. Now, let's see, there are 
now 30 million or more persons of Afrikan descent 
in captivity in Amerikkka. That means Amerikkka 
owes Afrikans one billion, two hundred million 
acres of land without the interest of 100 years, and 
the mules would now equal tractor equipment— or 
at least a deuce and a quarter. 

Amerikkka is a racist, criminal government 
of international gangsters. It is just as evil as it's 
U. S. A. partner, the union of South Afrika (Asania). 

With the recent exposure of the watergate con- 
spiracy, which has led to the indictment of over 44 
top Nixon aides plus the ex-attorney general, Mitchell, 
who was responsible for the mass raids on the Black 
Panther Party, and information that the late J. Edgar 
Hoover, former director of the FBI had given top 
priority orders to destroy any and all Black national- 
ist organizations by any means necessary— through 
agent infiltration or overkill, or frame up— evidence 


shows that all Afrikans in prisons are victims of a 
conspiracy by white government officials on the 
local (police), state, and federal level. 

The massive influx of drugs into the Black com- 
munities, the young left movement, and the army 
reveals that modern 20th century "opium war" was 
waged against the Black liberation struggle with the 
introduction and romanticization of scag and coke by 
"Superfly" planned by the Nixon-Axis. 

Given these historical and constitutional ques- 
tions, all Afrikans in prison have constitutional 
grounds to be immediately released. An Afrikan 
Prisoner of War can use laws and grounds dealing 
with the burden of double jeopardy. This, he or she 
was forced to abide by the responsibilities of the law 
without having equal protection or benefit of the law. 

We should do some thinking. This applies to all 
Afrikans until we as a people have a right to vote to 
determine our destiny (self determination). 

Also, Afrikan Prisoners of War can use the Civil 
Rights Act of 1869, which states that a blackman has 
to have the same equal rights as a white man. If this 
be true, then there have been thousands of violations 
of this statute with all white juries finding black men 
and women guilty, plus the double jeopardy and also 
with the usual procedure of hearsay evidence, high 
bails, etc. Again, jailhouse lawyers, deal with the con- 
stitutional questions and flood the court system. 

Now dig this. Sections 1981 and 1983 of the 1964 
Civil Rights Act deal with "conspiracy by local, state 
and federal governmental officials to violate a per- 
son's civil rights." Afrikans, remember your human 
and civil rights have already been violated by you not 

having due process of the law, to have any say so on 
whether you wanted to be a citizen or not, and then 
after forced to be a citizen without your consent, you 
are not afforded equal protection of the law nor equal 
protection of the law nor equal benefits of the so- 
called citizenship because of economic, educational, 
political and social discrimination. You are forced to 
live a life of a second class citizen, and all this is un- 
constitutional in the first place. Any time that you 
have had pretrial biased publicity, usually given to 
the newspaper by police officials, or one or more 
police agencies have cooperated prior to your arrest, 
any time you have been victim to a secret indictment, 
electronic surveillance, tapping of your phone, 
bugging of your home, car, and forced confessions 
resulting from police beating, or in any way been 
singled out because of your association in a libera- 
tion organization, or because of your race, religion, 
political beliefs or economic standing, then you can 
use the 1964 civil rights act to bring a people's indict- 
ment against your accuser. 

We must flood the illegal court system from the 
outside and from the inside. Flood the court system 
with people's indictments. Jailhouse lawyers, go to 
the books; the laws are there and we can use them en 
masse. Let's take the real criminals to court. Write 
constitutional writs en masse. Someone is bound to 
win and then we learn from that victory how to gain 
others. Let the mass constitutional movement begin. 
Anytime the black and the poor must start a new 
constitutional movement, we say, AmeriKKKa's the 
Blackman's Battleground! 

Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win! 


Bullshit, You Know Better 

As if you didn't know 

your father's hands 

have become yours. 

Hogwash, you tear out hearts 

and you know why, America. 

Tied down in the electric chair 

of history, autopsy 

of speech, the ceremony 

of breaking bones. 

Don't place my hand on your cunt; 

Miss America, I don't forget, 

forgive that easy. 

Extravagant, the naked machine 

ripping off legs and arms; 

you've fallen in love 

with mad capers 

locked inside inventions. 

Wretched, you can't wash 

your hands clean, guilt complexes, 

in the blue lake of my life. 

Don't come on with innocence; 

gifts of pink titties and ass. 

Your laugh, your soft touch 

grows into something still grey 

with the stench of Zyklon B. 

Yusef Komunyakag 
Denver, Colorado 

For America 

come young 


love in the valley 

of death 

swim in the rivers 

of blood 

drink from the cup 

of hate 

marry into the house 

of untruth 

and bear 

the children 

of discontent 

Be yourself 


by Lloyd Corbin 
(Djan gatolum) 


Our Family Album 

I r^irJlL Jlr. ' 

Left. Mrs. Shirley Graham DuBois 

(Left) Prof. Nelson Steven 


■ wMi» < »^ s p»s s a i8t wawi i i i ro i >iii!i>^^ 







r:#v-, ..» 1 



Black America and The Bicentennial 

The role of the Black American in the Bicenten- 
nial is a subject that has provoked considerable dis- 
cussion during the past several months. By the time 
this is in print, most readers, more than likely, will 
have reached their saturation point of articles, pro- 
grams, etc. about the participation of Blacks in the 
Bicentennial. The basic positions, both for and 
against, have been stated quite clearly in Ebony 
(August, 1975). However, I would like to raise some 
questions which I feel should be considered if Black 
Americans are to more effectively examine and con- 
test the meaning of the Bicentennial and put it in a 
perspective more attuned to the historical and con- 
temporary realities of Black America. As much as we 
would like to. Black people cannot ignore either the 
Bicentennial celebrations or the ideological positions 
that accompany them. Too many Black people are 
already involved; silence might be mistaken for con- 

This discussion, therefore, will focus on three 
reasons why Black Americans should be critical of the 

1. To accept the white definitions of the impor- 
tance of such dates as 1776, etc. is to acquiese to 
the national mythology of White America and to 
do violence to the historical experiences of Black 

2. Even the most superficial comparison of 
what Black Americans have contributed to the 
development of the United States with their cur- 
rent position in society will indicate that there is 
nothing to celebrate; 

3. As we approach 1976, there is very little 
democracy left for anybody— Black or white— to 
boast of. 

1. U. S. History vs. Black History 

One of the difficulties in working out the rela- 
tionship of Black Americans and white Ameri- 
cans is that the historians of Black America too 
readily have accepted the categories and periodi- 
zation more appropriate to White America. July 

4, 1776 is of less importance to Black Americans 
than the date of the Northwest Ordinance which 
banned slavery from the Northwest territory or 
the dates of the major slave revolts, e.g., 1739, 
Stono Rebellion; 1811, Louisiana; 1831, Nat 
Turner. One alternative periodization is as fol- 
lows: 1619-1860, Slavery; 1860-1877, Civil 
War, Emancipation, Reconstruction; 1877-1954, 
Black America as internal colony; 1954-1968, 
Black America: Decolonization; 1968-present, 
Black America: internal neo-colonialism. This 
is not the place for a full-scale exposition of this 
view or even for a more detailed breakdown of 
periods, but it should be clear that on the whole 
it fits the contours of Black American history 
more closely than the more dominant views that 
focus on the administrations of the various 

What Black Americans Have Put into the U. S. 
vs. What They Have Gotten In Return 

The Bicentennial has intensified the trend be- 
gun in the late 1960's of limiting the contribu- 
tions of Black Americans to the acts of excep- 
tional individuals such as Charles Drew, Crispus 
Attucks, George Washington Carver, etc., to 
lists of Black inventions or to the more obvious 
and outstanding cultural attainments. 

These are indeed worthy of note, but Blacks 
have made a more profound contribution to the 
establishing and developing of the United States 
as the most wealthy and powerful nation in the 
modern world. Thomas Abernathy, a conserva- 
tive white Southern historian, in a moment of 
candor rare for American racists, spelled out 
that contribution: 

Slavery was an ugly institution, and there was 
never any excuse for it except that there was no 
other labor force available for the production 
of the staple crops of the southern colonies 
and states. Without slaves, the settlement of 
the transmontane area between the Ohio River 
and the Gulf of Mexico would hardly have 


advanced as rapidly as it acquired. In that case 
we would not have been able to take the 
Southwest, including California, from Mexico, 
and the boundary of the Louisiana Purchase 
would probably have remained our limit in 
that direction. Thus the nation profited, and 
the South lost . . . (American Historical Re- 
view, LXXX, July, 1965, p. 1240). 

In 1976, over one hundred years since the abo- 
lition of slavery. Black Americans have yet to 
receive anywhere near just compensation for 
their efforts. Blacks who are more than 10% of 
the population, own only 1.2% of business equity, 
1.2% of farm equity and 0.1% of stock equity. As 
of 1970, Blacks received only 6.5% of total U. S. 
income and less than 1% of all investment and 
property incomes (Fact Sheets on Institutional 
Racism, July, 1974, pp. 1, 3, 4). By any measure 
of wealth and power. Blacks are still oppressed 
and exploited. A much fuller picture is presented 
in Victor Perlo's Economics of Racism U.S.A.: 
Roots of Black Inequality (International Pub- 
lishers, 1975). Even if one has serious reserva- 
tions about Black Americans' participation in 
the development of monopoly capitalism and 
imperialism it is still clear that Black America 
has been granted neither self-determination nor 
the just fruits of their labor. 

3. 1776-1976: Monarchy to Autocracy 

As we approach the elections of 1976, Ameri- 
cans, both Black and white, should reflect on the 
facts that the outcome of every presidential elec- 
tion since 1960 has been determined by gunfire 
and that the United States is currently being led 
by a president who was not elected. To refresh 
our memories, let us recall that the assassination 
of John Kennedy in 1963 elevated Lyndon John- 
son to presidency; the assassination of Robert 
Kennedy in 1968 resulted in the election of Rich- 
ard Nixon; and that the shooting of George 
Wallace during the 1972 primaries cleared the 
way for a Nixon landslide. Unless we are plan- 
ning on a rerun of 1776 with Ford in the role of 
King George, I see too little left of what there was 
of United States democracy to boast about. 

In conclusion, perhaps Black America should 
take its cues from Frederick Douglass when he was 
invited to participate in a July 4th celebration in 
1852. In one of the most dramatic and telling speeches 
in the history of our sojourn in America, Douglass 
pointed out the irony in asking an ex-slave to join in 
a celebration of the liberty of a nation of slaveholders. 
I fear that many of Douglass' comments are still rele- 
vant today: Let Douglass speak: 

. . . Your high independence only reveals the 
immeasurable distance between us. The blessings 
in which you this day rejoice, are not enjoyed in 
common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, 
prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by 
your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The 
sunlight that brought life and healing to you, 
has brought stripes and death to me. This 
Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may re- 
joice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters in- 
to a grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call 
upon him to join you in joyous anthems were 
inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do 
you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me 
to speak today? . . . 

Douglass said much more, but the point is clear: 
National celebrations are something to overcome, 
not to revel in. There are more important tasks to be 
done. Let us move forward. 

John Bracey 
Univ. of Mass. 

W.E.B. Dubois 

Dept. of Afro. Am. Studies 

Chair person 

April, 1976 


A final ironic note on the meaninglessness of the 
Bicentennial to Black America is that on Monday, 
April 15, 1976, in Boston, Massachusetts, a Black 
man on the way to City Hall was attacked by a band 
of white Americans and beaten with a pole holding 
an American flag. Enough said. 




The DRUM Staff would like to thank: 

The Black Community for persevering with us in this struggle. 
The Black News Service Staff and Grassroots. 

For Articles: 

Bro. John Bracey 69 

Bro. Bobby Daniels 20 

Bro. Akbar Muhammad Ahmad 8,57 

Bro. Rick Scott Gordon 18, 36, 39 

Bro. Bill Hasson 28 

Sis. Rosa Blanco Gaston 46 

Bro. Archie Shepp 25 

Sis. Vikki Lights 32 

Bro. Earl Brown 55 

Bro. Kwaku Gyata 56 

Bro. Abdul Malik 29, 56 

Sis. D. E.Johnson 37 

Sis. Gail Bryan 31 

For Poems: 

Bro. Chris Henderson 44 

Sis. Ima 17 

Bro. Richard Fewell 54 

Bro. Yusef Komunyakag 60 

Bro. Lloyd Corbin 60 

Sis. Annie Carpenter 52 

Bro. Alii Cabral 14 

For Photography: 

Eddie Cohen 27,30,31,35,37,38,40 

Deryl Marrow 66, 67, 68 

Juan Durruthy 52 

Fitz Walker 2,40,55 

Kenneth Robinson 18, 52, 57, 
For Art work: 

Ray Horner, Jr. 19 

Pam Friday 6, 71 

Nelson Stevens 43 

Carl Yates 23 

Front Cover: 

Professor Maxwell Roach 

Back Cover: 

Sis. Pam Friday 

And a very special thanks to Bro. Chet Davis and all the Brothers and Sisters that stayed on my back about 
this Magazine. 

And to my Staff. Don't know how I would've made it without you. 






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