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The Drum, Spring 1978 
Volume 9, Number 2 

Editorial, Circulation and 

Advertising Offices 
Located at 427 New Africa House, 
University of Massachusetts 
Amherst, Mass. 01003 


All Letters 

Poems, Contributions 

To The Above Address. 

Copyright by Drum, 
427 New Africa House 
Printing: Hamilton L Newell, 
Amherst, Mass. 


One of the art forms they took from us when 
we came to this strange land was the drum.. 
Here in Amherst we got our DRUM back 
after great struggle 9 years ago. We are learn- 
ing how to remember the correct rhythms 
and we've got it right now. Check us out and 
let M5 know if you hear us for we are always 
in danger of again losing our drum. 

Front Cover: John Kendrick 
Back Cover: Frank Thornton 

DRUM would like to extend its deepest apologies to Fritz Walker for not giving him credit for the fine cover 
painting on the South African Issue of DRUM Vol. 8 No. 1-2, and also to Edward Cohen for his photography on 
page 43 of that same issue. 


mff *; 

Drum I 


It is as a rebirth 

We now enter the world 

Relying upori our own survival skills 

We take with us 

The Love of our family 

But no longer shall we depend on them 

And we shall continue to grow 

To learn, to change 

To live for ourselves 

We must be 

What we can be 

And do 

What we can do 

For we have formed 

Our own goals and expectations 

It is as a rebirth 

Mary E. Custard 

Welcome to the Land of the DRUM: A land which is plentiful, jammed with 
unique thought, and totally for real. Within this issue you shall find the good 
works of brothers and sisters who are interested in sharing with you the very 
finest in literary thought and artful images. 

This issue of DRUM represents the collective efforts of individuals who have 
come together in a 3 credit course to explore the possibilities of developing a 
magazine which can best be described as an "informational art form." 

The 20 young adults comprising the DRUM staff have worked hard and with 
specialization and cooperation have proven again that undergraduate students 
can move together to produce works of great quality and lasting value. 

Some of the thoughts within these pages echo the spirit of our dear sister Jill 
Dickenson who is recuperating from an "accident" which is yet to be fully ex- 
plained. The staff and I felt inspired to be certain that this magazine reflects 
what Jill detested; mediocrity. She, as well as we, believe that DRUM shall 
always be an affront to mediocrity. 

Therefore, I invite you to sit back and share with me the good works of a 
group of talented students who have made mo extremely appreciative of the 
beauty of our next generation. They have once again convinced me that Lhey 
too will struggle for answers and solutions to problems which beset all op- 
pressed people. This "informational art form" depicts an artistic 
strategy — our hope is that you develop yours and carry the spirit on. 

ur Best, To You 

Nelson Stevens 
Associate Professor of Art 
W.E.B. DuBois Department of 

African American Studies 
Co-ordinator of DRUM Magazine 1977-78 
University of Massachusetts/Amherst 






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Larry Neal 10 


FESTAC '77 Nelson Stevens 71 


Eno 26 


Femi Richards 12 


a self-portrait 5 

CCEBS 1978 Graduates 50 


Sunni 6 


Oscar Peterson 15 

Vea Williams 76 

Tribute to Duke Ellington 77 

Chano Pozo 81 

Marion Brown 83 


Sonia Sanchez 90 

Prison Poems 55 


Carol Garter 8 

Liz Young-Kenny Ghin 93 


Valerie Maynard 18 

4 Drum 



by Carl Yates 

During the Sixties, a second 
Reconstruction was taking place, 
that burned across this land, laying 
claim to the streets that are ours. 
From inside these revolutionary 
paces, came the need for documen- 
ting the historic occurrences of 
that time, the ideas, the thoughts, 
the heroes, the validation of 
ourselves and our cultural 

In the latter part of those times, 
an event related to what was hap- 
pening nationwide, took place here 
at the University of Massachusetts. 
That event, the formation of Drum, 
Black Literary Experience, a 
magazine founded in 1969 by Robin 
Chandler Smith. 

Since its inception. Drum has 
held a very high standard of quality 
and stuck close to its purpose as 
stated in Article 1 of its Constitu- 
tion — 

"To disseminate information of a 
political, literary, social and 
cultural nature to the black com- 
munity at large; to provide a con- 
structive sounding board and 
platform for black students 
through which they may express 
their creative abilities and to 
educate the white community as 
to the intent and feelings of 

black and minority peoples 

Fiction, book, film and album 
reviews, poetry, art and interviews 
are some of the features of this 
twice-a-year publication (which is 
on demand by major colleges and 
universities nationwide.] Exposes 
as to the dehumanizing conditions 
in state prisons (universities?), in- 
formation leading to the increased 
awareness of the struggles of black 
people worldwide, as well as here 
in the Pioneer Valley. Dedications 
to the children, our heroes and 
heroines (defined as our mothers 
and fathers, Malcolm, Martin, 
Angela] and countless others 
who've fought to open doors for us 
to be where we are, now. Inter- 
views with Professors who are try- 
ing to do the same, educate us, the 
inheritors of the future, to our roles 
in yesterday's and tomorrow's 

Drum is a revolutionary concept, 
born of a revolutionary time, a con- 
cept light years ahead of itself, and 
still moving. Historically, the driun 
has been a deliverer of messages, a 
communicator of Spirit/Life force 
rhythm. Presently Drimi magazine 
maintains those ideals, continuing 
to communicate and deliver word 
and truths. 

Drum 5 


by Jenee Gaskin 

Back on the street when I was a 
real young girl there used to be this 
brother named Sunni, what lived 
in the apartment next door to Ida 
Thomas. Nobody really knew 
whose apartment it was, nobody 
really cared, 'cept on week nights 
when they kept up too much noise. 
On those nights when folks had to 
make it to work in the morning, and 
us kids had to go to school, Ida said 
them was the nights Sunni played 
best. He'd start off on his horn real 
slow and kinda quiet like, and 
somebody would hum and sing. 
Then one of Sunni's friends, the one 
what played the conga drums, 
would knock a beat. Ida said it 
would get loud and fast and the 
whole building would shake and 
rumble. By that time I could hear 
the music way down on Jersey 
Street. Up on the hill Sunni would 
blow and blow, and the congas 
would beat and beat as if they 
meant to wake the dead. Ida told 
me them was good nights for her, 
and I know what she mean. Simni 
had a way with that horn, it would 
be like he was talkin' to us. The 
rhythms made me want to raise 
myself up outa that bed and dance 
and dance. Most times I did, but 
real quiet, cause if Mama or Cissy 
caught me I'd get beat. 

Simimer times on the street was 
the best times for me. Siunmer 
nights and Sunni, and 'course all 
his crazy friends. Me and Ida could 
stay out as late as we wanted, I'd 
always go up on the hill to Ida's 
stoop, seems like that was where 
all the fim was. Big fun! We'd play 
hot beans and butter with Fred and 
Tony, and when they got us too 
hard with the belt we'd holler for 
Sunni. Sunni would stand there not 
sayin' a word. He was tall, real tall. 
He had black, black, blue black 
skin, what shined in the dark; and 
black eyes what shined all the time 
even when he was sad. Sunni 
would look right through Fred and 
Tony and move his head from side 
to side so slowly slow. He looked 
somethin' like a lion all that bushy 

hair standin' way out. Sometimes 
Sunni would cop a squat on the 
stoop or lean up on the railings, and 
stretch his long arms. That's when 
he looked like a tree to me. He'd br- 
ing his head up and down, then 
point a finger and we'd all come 
closer, like we was possessed. We 
knew Sunni was fixin' to speak, 
and I loved to hear him talk. He 
spoke very soft and deep like a note 
he played. He'd clear his throat 
and think for what seemed like a 
real long time, then he'd smile, and 
maybe even laugh a little. 

"Fred, Tony, these are your 
sisters. You mustn't be rough with 
them but you must be gentle. Do you 
know what I mean?" Fred and 
Tony would nod yes, but I knew 
that they didn't know what he 
meant, cause I didn't know what he 
meant. I was never too sure what 
Sunni was talkin' about, especially 
when he called us sweet ju-ju fruit. 
But I knew it was deep cause he 
said it sweet, and 'cides Cissy said 
Siumi was DEEP. 

Simni would pull us closer with 
his eyes and rap a long time to us 
about Africa, what he said was the 
Motherland. He'd tell us we was all 
special, and that we came from 
kings and queens. And when Sunni 
told us our skins was beautiful, 
he'd look right at me. Ida would get 
mad with me cause her skin was 
not as Black as mine, and she knew 
Sunni liked BLACK skin. 

Those were good times on the 
street, Ida, Sunni, and all the folks. 
Talk of the cosmos, spirits, revela- 
tions and whatnot. Most of the stuff 
I didn't know nothin' about. I just 
knew that when Cissy said Sunni 
was a beautiful brother, he was 
just that. She and her friends used 
to call Sunni the 'Prophet'. I knew 
'bout prophets from Sunday school, 
and when they said he was a star, I 
really did understand even if I 
didn't know how to say I did. Sunni 
was warm, even in winter. When I 
came up on him in the street, he 
gave off heat. But in the street 
things change, nothin' stays the 

6 Drum 

same. After a while Fred and Tony 
didn't want to play hot beans 
anymore, they wanted to play feel- 
up behind the steps or in dark 
alleys. Things changed for real. 
First Cissy and her friends cut their 
hair real short, or bushed it out like 
Sunni's. And though Ida and me 
were gettin' older, the streets was 
too dangerous for us to be out in on 
late summer nights 'cause older 
brothers started having rimibles 
with the police. 

There was a change in Sunni too. 
I could hear his rhythms from the 
hill, they were not the same. The 
notes was hard and short like the 
shots that killed little Rickey. His 
music made me want to cry. I didn't 
want to dance no more to Sunni's 
music. Sunni, the Star, our Prophet 
was changin'. There was a far 
away look in his eyes — and fire. 
Yeah, that's where I first saw the 
fire, in his eyes. 

Fire burned on the street from 
sunset to dawn. Mama and them 
wouldn't let me go out, so I watched 
from the big window in the front 
room. Everybody was outside. 
Young boys was rimnin' and car- 
ryin' loot from the stores they 
busted in. Old men sat on the stoop 
and old ladies hung out of the win- 
dows watchful of the happenings. 
Grown-folks was cussin' and 
fightin', babies was cryin' and 
mothers was screamin' to they kids 
to get out of harms way. The street 
was full. Storefront windows was 
broke into and left open to anybody 
what passed by. Watkins the stink- 
mouth wino what lived upstairs 
took a brick to the window of 
Charlie's Liquors. A piece of glass 
caught him in the eye and blood 
poured down his face. He hollered 
and hollered, but folks was too 
busy gettin' into Charlie's to pay 
him no mind. His cryin' made me 
hurt. The alarm from Charlie's 
rang in my ears and Watkins fell in- 
to the street screaming. I started to 
cry and Mama yelled to Cissy to get 
me from the window. Cissy came 
for me, but I cried more and more. 
Seems there was a time when 
nothin' on the street would make 
me cry, but that was changed. 
Mama got mad with Cissy for let- 
ting me be in the window so long. 
She held me in her arms real tight 
and told me to hush. My tears final- 
ly stopped, but my insides felt real 

bad. Mama said maybe I was com- 
ing down with somethin' and put 
me to bed. I didn't sleep much 
though I kept thinkin' about 
Watkins and how one time he gave 
me a quarter for some candy. 

Days before the fire me and Ida 
raced home from school. We loved 
to rim in the street, seems like we 
was movin' with everybody else 
when we ran. And we ran fast. 
Zoom! We could fly, and I'm not 
afraid of flyin', cause you can see 
everything. Like one time I looked 
up to this building on Blossom 
Street, and saw this lady jump from 
the top floor. We kept runnin' 
though — didn't stop. Funny how we 
was in another world when we was 

We heard lots of things when we 
was flyin', like music, plenty of 
music. Gaby's Dew Dale Record 
Shop always had plenty of the hits 
blowin'. And the Zebra Lounge was 
jumpin' any time of the day or 
night. Sometimes me and Ida 
played like we was in the movies — 
cause the music pushed our flight, 
and I became Wonder Woman, 
leaping and jumping over all 
earthly things. I COULD FLY!!! 

There were voices in the street, 
and we heard words in our flight 

Nigger you better move! BITCH! ! 
Hit that ball Willie! Ah Shit! 
Hey sweet Mama!!! 
There were smells in the street. 
Ribs, bar-b-q chicken, liqour, pee 
and gasoline. Sometmes the smells 
from the garbage made my stomach 
hurt, but I paid it no mind. It was 
only that one time that I stepped in 
dog mess that I got sick. 

Cissy met us at the corner like 
she always do and fussed with us. 
She said we was goin' to get our 
poor bodies killed one day from a 
speedin' car, cause we didn't 
watch before we took off across the 
street. Cissy was always preachin' 
to us about one thing or another. 
Like the time I put on some ankle 
socks in the dead of winter. When 
she saw me at the corner she 
fussed and fussed. She said we 
don't be about these Nordic 
temperatures, and I had better 
never go out with my legs un- 
covered again. She fussed so much 
I started cryin' and made her pro- 
mise not to tell Mama. Even though 
Cissy got mad with me I liked her. 

She smiled alot and took me places, 
and she never laughed at me when 
Mama gave me a whippin'. 

We walked to Ida's house. There 
wasn't much happening. Cissy 
went next door to talk to Rocky, so 
Ida and me decided to play hang- 
out. Ida Uved on the 10th floor, so I 
wasn't scared like when we played 
with Tony what lived on the 19th 
floor. We'd all take turns to see 
who could hang out the window the 
farthest. I didn't like it much cause 
Ida always could hang farther than 

Though most folks was back to 
dancin' in the streets, the memory 
of the fire stayed with us. I could 
hear voices in the night — Mama, 
Cissy, Jimmie, and his daddy, what 
live next door. They all whispered 
in the night, and Simni's horn 
wailed a blues loud and pitiful, 
cryin' — it's not over — not 
over — not over. 

Late, long after Mama had put 
me to bed, Jimmie' s daddy, what 
name is Brown came to the house. I 
could hear Brown's big feet slap 
the floor as he walked into the kit- 
chen. Brown was a mighty man. He 
was tall and strong. He said he got 
big from wrestling. Brown had 
smooth yellow skin and a gold tooth 
right up front, what winked at me 
when he smiled. He be away most 
times cause he works on a ship; so 
Cissy and Mama tell him all the 
happenings he missed when he 
comes home. The echo of Sunni's 
horn almost made me forget to 
listen after Mama and them, but 
the harder I tried to stay awake the 
farther I drifted into sleep. 

I dreamed. I dreamed I was in a 
forest. The trees was brown and 
tall, and they leaves was black and 
woolly like Sunni's hair. There was 
a road in the forest, and I walked 
on it taking my steps real slow. I 
walked a long time until the trees 
were behind me. Then I heard the 
notes from Sunni's horn. I turned 
around and the trees was Sunni. 
There was about fifty Sunni's 
following me playing they horns. 
They took big steps and the notes 
came at me like hail stones. I got 
scared and ran, but they came 
faster — the notes, the trees, was 
quick and sharp. I ran on the road 
and within a blink I was runnin' on 
the street. I flew, this time for real. 
Continued on page 24 

Drum 7 


Interview with Dr. Carol Carter, 
Associate Director of the Commit- 
tee of the Collegiate Education of 
Black Students, University of Mas- 
sachusetts/Amherst, Massachu- 

by Sherwin W. Moyston 


Carter was born in Elyria, Ohio, 
but was reared in Canton, Ohio. 
She was educated in the Canton 
Public Schools and went to 
undergraduate school at Central 
State College in Wilberforce, Ohio. 
She taught for four years in Canton 
and two years in Gary, Indiana. 
While in Indiana, she earned her 
Masters from Indiana State Univer- 
sity, and in 1968, she enrolled at 
the University of Massachusetts/ 
Amherst and received her Doc- 
torate in 1971. Her educational 
training has been in the areas of 
teacher education, evaluation, and 

Q. Would you please define "sex- 
ism" as you perceive it? 

A. Sexism is discrimination based 
on sex. It is usually practiced by 
men against women. Take a look at 
history and you can see who gets 
the notoriety, or for that matter, 
note the way the word is spelled. 
History, not HERstory! 

Q. What is the difference between 
sexism and racism? 

A. Racism is used to define, op- 
press, and exploit people of color 
(non-white people) of the world. 
Sexism, like racism, implies a kind 
of superiority of one group over/ 
another group. If one believes in 
the tenets of racism and sexism, 
then one behaves according to 
what is expected of that group. 
Some aspects of sexism I accept 
because I believe in sexual role 

clarification as an integral part of 
the natural order of things. How- 
ever, I do not believe that sex 
should be used as the determinant 
which restricts abilities, oppor- 
tunities, and capabilities for 
anyone. Neither do I believe or ac- 
cept that there is any causal rela- 
tionship between one's sex and 
one's mental capabilities. Like 
wise, I neither believe or accept 
that there is any causal relation- 
ship between the color of one's skin 
and one's mental abilities. If some 
equity is provided to individuals, I 
believe that educational, cultural, 
economic, and political differences 
contribute far more to the develop- 
ment of one's potential than any 
other factor, not race or sex. 

Q. When did you first become 
aware of the effects of sexism? 

A. I think that I became aware of 
sexism as a young girl. I am the 
eldest of five children and part of 
my responsibility was to take care 
of my siblings in my mother's 
absence. I had to do certain things 
my brothers did not have to do, and 
when I questioned my mother, she 
would tell me I had to do those 
things because I was a girl and the 
oldest. It did not make sense to me 
then, or now. As time progressed, I 
resented it but the practice was a 
part of my family and I had to do 
what was expected then. 

Q. Is sexism an oppressor? 

A. Yes, it is. Sexism is oppressive to 
both males and females. Sexual 
distinctions are made between 
males and females from the time 
we are children through adulthood. 
Someone establishes what the rules 
are and others are supposed to 
abide by them. In abiding by them, 
if one chooses to break from the 
traditional mode, it is very difficult 
for the individual. "Big boys don't 
cry"; "Come on, be a big man"; 
"What are JittJe girJs made of?" 

Photograph by Edward Cohen 

"Sugar and spice and everything 
nice". "What are little boys made 
of?" "Snips, snaiJs and puppy dog 
taiJs". All those kinds of sayings 
suggest inherent strengths and 
weaknesses for each group. 

Q. If sexism is an oppressor, then 
how does that affect Black people 
in our struggle? 

A. Well, sexism is another kind of 
ploy that has been used to destroy 
whatever unity that exists among 
black people. Our history is one 
based on economic exploitation. 
We men and women were brought 
here as indentured servants and 

slaves to work according to the 
needs of others. If we tried to work 
together, one of the luiique ways to 
neutralize us was to pit us against 
each other with various tactics. I 
think the oppression to us as a 
"People" is the issue. While I as a 
female am oppressed, I am also op- 
pressed because I am Black. I think 
it is an oppressive situation for my 
brothers, too. Because they are 
male, they suffer from another kind 
of oppression, and it is exacer- 
bated by race. For Black people, 
the two are inextricably bound 
together, and we are mutually af- 
fected. Our resources are too 
limited to argue whether or not a 

man or a woman initiates the ef- 
fort. We have to continually keep 
our eyes on the bigger issue, which 
is the effects of capitalistic oppres- 
sion on our people. 

Q. What steps do you think can be 
taken to stop sexism with children 
and families in this society? 

A. I think that if we want to start to 
combat sexism, we have to begin to 
teach our children that there are 
sexual differences, but emphasize 
that in some areas individuals are 
going to have more strengths, and 
more weaknesses, more abilities 
and limitations; but emphasize 
strongly that those distinctions 
have nothing to do with the fact 
that one is male or female. The 
most important issue is that the op- 
portunity be afforded for one to ac- 
tualize her/his potential. 

Q. What help is it to have role 

A. Role models are vital. When I 
was an umdergraduate student, the 
first black woman history teacher I 
had was Wilhelmena Simpson 
Robinson. She turned me on to 
history in a way that I had never 
been exposed to and I immediately 
changed my major to work with 
her. She encouraged me to think, to 
question and to analyze. She ap- 
parently saw some potential in me 
and assisted to develop it. I will 
never forget her. I never got that 
kind of encouragement from my 
male teachers. I think that role 
modeling is terribly important. One 
has to see some real examples of 
others actively engaged in various 
situations in order to believe it can 
be done. 

Q. How did sexism affect you in 
your career? 

A. I am fully cognizant of the 
restraints of sexism. There are men 
who continually challenge 
whatever I say in professional 
meetings or who do not believe that 
I am knowledgeable or capable of 
doing some things. Sexism can be a 
problem, but what I do to combat it 
is to keep going and doing what I 
have to do. The residual effects of 
sexism have made me far more 
determined than ever to do 
whatever is necessary to ac- 
complish my established goals. 

Drum 9 





Poet, essayist and playwright 
Larry Neal is the author of Black 
Fire, Hoo doo Hollerin' Bebop 
Ghosts, and Black Boogaloo. Neal 
has established throughout his 
writings the notion of a Black 
Aesthetic, just as there exist 
cultural notions among other ethnic 
and racial groups of the world. An 
expression of his notion appeared 
to be appropriate for inclusion in 
this issue of Drirni, which is 
devoted to exploring the Black 
cultural concepts. Interviewer 
DiRocco became acquainted with 
Neal during an internship at D.C. 
Arts, a program sponsored by the 
D.C. Commission on Arts and 
Humanities, of which Neal is direc- 
tor. He was the first non-career ad- 
ministrator to be appointed to the 
post, in 1976. 

Let me give you an example. I 
was talking to Max Roach. Max 
was down here last week. We did a 
show with A.B. Spellman. I was on 
the show; Max did a monster inter- 
view. He told this one story. He said 
he knew very early the difference 
between the things that he needed, 
and the things that would be re- 
quired for conservatory training. 
So he went to the conservatory. At 
first he enrolled in a course on his 
instrument, percussion. This is 
after he had been playing with 
Byrd and all them. He's taking this 
course to get this thing growing, 
theory courses. He took a course in 
percussion and he said, "I realized 
from the way this guy was telling 
me to hold my sticks that I wouldn't 
be able to play the music that I had 
been playing. I wouldn't be able to 


written by Lisa DiRocco 

LD. In many of your past essays you 
were trying to develop the idea of a 
Black Aesthetic. Could you clarify 
that concept? 

LN. What I was simply saying is 
that there is a Black Aesthetic; we 
were trying to bring awareness of 
that from a theoretical point of 
view, so that scholars would study 
that phenomenon and how it works 
in Afro-American art. Or how it 
works in American art. American 
art utilizes aspects of Black 
Aesthetic forms — by that I mean 
blues, black rhythmic patterns — all 
those things most associated with 
African peoples in this country. 
The ways of creating out of a 
cultural ethos or matrix. 

When we were talking about the 
Black Aesthetic, and we still talk 
about it, we are talking about a 
vocabulary — the ingredients that 
constitute a way of proceeding 
creatively. A perception of things, 
like a way of playing the blues. I 
mean, there is a way to play the 

play it if I held my sticks that way." 
So we said, "What did you do?" 
And he said, "I transferred to com- 

It's a craft procedure — the 
ideological concept behind the 
Black Aesthetic is for the Black 
scholars to be aware of that 
phenomenon as an existing 
phenomenon in American art and 
in Afro-American art. To not pre- 
tend that all art is the same. Afro- 
American music does soimd dif- 
ferent from hillbilly music; the 
Afro-American component in 
Western music is different from 
other kinds of components in 
Western music. 

The kind of thing that Dvorak 
was hearing in Afro-American 
spirituals created certain sounds 
in the Dvorak symphony. Gershwin 
was hearing a certain kind of thing 
in "Rhapsody in Blue". Gershwin, 
for example, was after a certain 
kind of thing when he had black 
people sing "Porgy and Bess". He 
was looking for a certain kind of in- 
gredient associated with Black peo- 

10 Drum 

pie, a certain modality, so to speak. 
That's what we're trying to get at. 

On the ideological plane is the 
assertion that there are various 
ways of perceiving the dynamics of 
art, and that these must be 
acknowledged. The Black Aesthetic 
position forces all people that ap- 
proach art to approach it with the 
respect that there is a history, a set 
of procedures within that form that 
should not be taken for granted. 

Other people have called this 
Black Aesthetic other things. Ralph 
Ellison refers to the Blues Feeling. 
Albert Murray talks about an Afro- 
American Blues Idiom Aesthetic. 
Ishmael Reed talks about 
Hoodooism. All of these are grids, 
or forms of definitions, if you will, 
to describe this phenomenon of dif- 
ference and activity, and the 
nature of that difference and ac- 

That does not mean that the 
"Black Aesthetic" exists in distinc- 
tion of relationships to other pro- 
cedures. Getting back to the Max 
Roach conversation, he was saying 
that in the music that he wanted to 
play, that particular craft pro- 
cedure didn't work; which would 
mean, therefore, if you were going 
to teach someone to play Max's 
music, to play that way, then ob- 
viously there's a methodology. 

What we're trying to do is get the 
academic world, the critics, the 
scholars, and the artists 
themselves to recognize these 
elements — consciously recognize 
them — rather than say they are xm- 
conscious. So we proceed to 
develop books, scholarship about 
our music. We should be clear on 
the methodology, the aesthetic 
methodology involved in the crea- 
tion of, say. Black dance. Black 
song. Black speech. So, what are 
the references — if you're trying to 
get at your cultural identity, the 
Black Aesthetic mode forces you to 
look at Black culture in terms of the 
specific uses of these items for art. 

For example, the folktale, the 
spiritual, music, sermons, or 
whatever patterns one can think of: 
aesthetic patterns become objects 
to be used and be aware of. So that 
if you're studying writing, 
studying drama, studying choreo- 
graphy — you're working with these 
forms. You get a sense of the 
utilization of the existing aesthetic 

patterns and you recognize them, 
bring them out of the dark and 
bring them forward. 

If you want to get at how Afro- 
Americans move, to choreograph a 
piece, it means isolating that ele- 
ment in Afro-American culture. 
You can't say, well, they move like 
everyone else, because it's not 
true; observation tells you that they 
don't. That difference — what does 
it tell a choreographer, for exam- 
ple; what does that language tell a 
choreographer or a musician. 
Since our culture, as Albert Mur- 
ray pointed out, has become a 
"dance de-oriented culture"; that's 
also an awareness of a certain kind 
of aesthetic thrust. I call it black, 
but it could be Afro-American, it 
could be what Murray calls the 
"Blues Idiom Aesthetic"; I'm not 
going to quibble over that. The 
question is, we're talking about a 
phenomenon, a construct, a 
cultural construct. 

LD. Looking at your earlier 
poems — I'm thinking of a volume 
called Hoodoo HoUerin' Bebop 
Ghosts — many of the poems deal 
with ghosts, mysteries, voodoo 
gods, other worlds — what is the 
relation of ghosts to the Black 

LN. What you're talking about is 
folk forms. I'm a writer who is very 
influenced by folk lore. I was a stu- 
dent of folk lore for a long time 
when I was an undergraduate, and 
then in graduate school. I'm a stu- 
dent of folk lore the same way 
James Joyce is a student of folk lore, 
or Faulkner is a student of folk lore, 
or many other writers that we 
know have been. I remember grow- 
ing up and hearing ghost stories. 
Ghost stories are fun. I'm trying to 
deal with the world of the dead. 
The African world view is that the 
dead are not dead. The aead are 
really all aroimd. So, those poems 
are trying to be informed by those 
ghosts. The ancestors are ever pre- 
sent, because that's one of the 
functions of ghosts. 

I'm not saying that's the Black 
Aesthetic — that's my aesthetic. I'm 
not saying that it stands for the 
total thing, but it helps get at the 
question of voice. I think I'm going 
to do a novel when I finish this play 
I'm working on now. What I'm 
thinking about now, before I even 

get to that novel is the way narra- 
tive passages can be haimting. Do 
you know what I'm talking about? I 
want to write passages that haunt. 

LD. What is the relation of Shine 
and the blues god to the Black 

LN. I'm working on a book of poems 
right now, called Shine, that is 
about Afro- American folk figures. 
You can read about the legend of 
Shine in Bruce Campbell's book on 
Afro- American folk lore. Shine was 
the only black man on the Titanic. 
There is a little rhyme that goes 
with that, and a whole set of urban 
narratives, called toasts. What I'm 
doing in that suite-it's going to be a 
slender book — is working with all 
that imagery: with shining, glow, 
the Sim, Sim people, niggers shine- 
all the permutations of Shine. He is 
also being reincarnated at various 

I've been working with reincar- 
nation a lot, and in that series there 
will be a lot of reincarnation 
moments, cyclical moments. The 
poem, as I've always thought of it 
for myself, begins in the heart of 
the sim; and then it goes through 
time, and various reincarnations of 
this figure called Shine. 

The blues god is an attempt to 
isolate the blues element as an 
ancestral force, as the major 
ancestral force of the Afro- 
American. What I always say 
about the blues god is that it was 
the god that survived the middle 
passage. It's like an Orisha figure. 
Because even though the blues may 
be about so-called hard times, peo- 
ple generally feel better after hear- 
ing them or seeing them. They tend 
to be ritually liberating in that 
sense. And they represent a par- 
ticular kind of poetry, but they also 
represent a particular kind of 
rhythmic impulse like you get in 
Coimt Basic or Coltrane. 

If you go through Afro-American 
music, one of the things that make 
it Afro-American is the blues feel- 
ing. Once you take that out, you got 
something else. And if a cat can't 
play the blues you know he can't 
play. . . all musicians know that. 
What they're saying is that there's 
some particular kind of power 
endemic to the blues. 

Albert Murray has done a very 

Drum 11 

fascinating book on the blues; he 
goes into a great deal of detail on 
the function of the blues. A book 
called Stomping the Blues. It came 
out last year-a fantastic book. It's a 
very good philosophical basis for 
discussing the blues. The other 
book where he connects the blues 
with hterary themes is The Hero 
and the Blues. Murray has a lot of 
work on this. Ralph Ellison's essays 
in Shadow and Act constitute a ma- 
jor set of material. And of course 
LeRoi Jones' Blues People. These 
groups are all trying to get at the 
assemblable element of the blues in 
Afro-American life. The poetic and 
literary and artistic forms. So, 
that's my metaphor — the blues god- 
— it's not nobody elses metaphor. 
It's mine. 

LD. Getting back to your job as 
director of the D.C. Commission, 
how long have you been working 

LN. About a year and a half. 

LD. What are your goals and 
primary concerns there? 

LN. My first concern is to get the ci- 
ty goverrmient to increase its com- 
mitment to the arts in both 
legislative areas, and budget ap- 
propriations — that's the major 
goal. From that point we go into ex- 
panding the program and the agen- 
cy — to expand its capability and its 

A long range goal is to help the 
city develop an arts industry, so 
that areas that need to be re- 
searched, for instance, the film in- 
dustry: there should definitely be 
development in this town of a film 
industry. Also, some feasibility 
work has to be done on the 
possibility of a recording center. 
Since Washington, D.C. is 75% 
black, it could probably support a 
small recording industry to utilize 
the talent that they're training in 
the various schools. The talent is 
here. We could create a new 
economic area for the creative ar- 
tist, for musicians and for techni- 
cians. Those are two large goals 
that I have. 

The other is, we want to open up 
our humanities component because 
the commission hadn't been utiliz- 
ing its humanities thrust. We have 
a major application in now to the 

Continued on page 13 

Photograph by Edward Cohen 



Dr. Femi V. Richards is an 
Associate Professor of Afro- 
American Studies at the University 
of Massachusetts in Amherst. A 
native of Sierra Leone, Dr. 
Richards received his Ph.D. in 1970 
from Northwestern University. He 
has taught at Lagos University, 
Ahmadu Bello University as well as 
Northwestern and travelled exten- 
sively throughout Europe, North 
America and Africa. 

Dr. Richards specializes in 
teaching contemporary textile and 
fabric design here at UMass and of- 
fers us some insight as to the 
nature of his art: 

Drum: What is the role of fabric 
design in a traditional African soci- 

Femi: Some designs in traditional 
African societies are used to 
manifest or enshrine belief 
systems, and cultural values. The 
designs contain non-pictorial 
motifs that can be deciphered by 
those sensitive to their messages. 
The kente cloth of the Ashanti in 
Ghana and the mud cloth of the 
Bamana of Mali are good examples 
in which designs are used as a 
means of non-verbal communica- 

Drum: How long have you been 
working with textiles as an art? 

12 Drum 

Femi: I have been working with tex- 
tiles since 1963 when I was an 
undergraduate student at Ahmadu 
Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. I 
have always enjoyed the creative 
experiences associated with textile 
designing and printing. Textile 
designing and printing are an ap- 
plied art form. The printed fabric is 
a lively and mobile form of art that 
gives the user a feeling of impor- 
tance and self confidence or it pro- 
vides protection against the incle- 
ment weather. 

Drum: Colors and inspiration play 
a major part in the life of an artist, 
what inspires you to design and 
why do you choose certain colors? 

Femi: The inner need which exists 
in most designers is to create 
something new and exciting. I draw 
inspiration from nature for design- 
ing what are basically my percep- 
tual designs even though the final 
form is non-pictorial. My concep- 
tual designs manifest an inner feel- 
ing and force that impels me to 
design continuously. The designs 
produced are an externalization of 
my imagery, feelings of joy, and 
disenchantments. My colors reveal 
my mood from day to day. They are 
exuberant, bright and charismatic. 

tualization of the design to be 

printed. The design is then put in 

repeat divisors of 36" or 48" and 

then transferred onto frosted 

acetate using a photo opaque ink to 

create a positive or negative film. 

The second stage involves the 

preparation of a light sensitive 8XX 

lOXX silk screen by coating the 

fabric of the screen with a solution 

of potassium bichromate and 


Third, expose the light sensitive 

screen and positive or negative film 

on a 5 way light box. 

Fourth, the exposed screen is 

washed out to reveal the printing 


Finally, the design on the screen is 

printed on a desized fabric using a 

fiber reactive dye. The printed 

fabric is then heat cured for 3 to 5 


Drum: What monetary compensa- 
tion can an artist expect from the 
commercial fabric houses? 

Femi: Most large scale commercial 
fabric houses buy scores of designs 
from freelance designers every 
year, and than transfer them on to 
furnishing or dress fabrics for con- 
sumers. The prices paid for a 


I like secondary colors — shades of 
yellow and red. 

Drum: What are your theories of 
design related to fabrics? 

Femi: My contemporary designs 
depict some of my perceptions of 
space within a pictorial field. I try 
to make every space within the 
field functional and interesting 
without creating a feeling of horror 
vQcui. To create interesting shapes 
or forms within the pictorial field 
so that little or no negative space is 
left in the field. 

Drum: What exactly is the process 
of designing on fabric. 

Femi: The first stage, is the concep- 

marketable design varies from 
$250 to about $2,000 depending on 
the reputation of the designer. In 
lieu of an outright fee a designer 
may accept royalties from the com- 
mercial houses, calculated on a 
percentage of the wholesale price 
of the printed fabric. This may 
range from 2% to 10% per yard 
price and if a million yards of the 
fabric are sold the royalties could 
be quite considerable. Designs for 
furnishing (drapes, carpet, wall 
paper, etc.) seem to command a 
higher fee than designs for fashion 
(dresses scarfs, etc.) because fur- 
nishing fabrics are kept and used 

Continued on page 14 

Larry Neal—from page 12 

National Endowment for the 
Humanities for a project I want to 
do this year — a big project about 
Washington using the himianities 
called, "Visions of D.C." To 
reiterate — we're talking about 
budget appropriation and 
legislative commitment. There are, 
for example, areas for legislation 
on artists rights, and just a variety 
of activities needed to get the arts 
going in Washington, D.C. 

LD. What are some of the projects 
that the commission is assisting 
right now? 

LN. We are assisting organizations 
like Chamber music groups, 20th 
Century Consort, Radio Station 
Pacifica, WPFW, Capitol Ballet, 
New Playwright's Theatre, Miya 
Gallery. We also have a large 
CETA program; this is the first time 
the city has had a CETA arts pro- 

We also want to make sure that 
any funds coming in from the Labor 
Department that can go to the arts 
be earmarked for that. That's a ma- 
jor struggle because they just now 
are getting used to the fact that 
arts people are workers. That's not 
an easy concept to get over to any 
society, but particularly not in 

LD. Is there any kind of tension be- 
tween your art and your adminis- 
trative functions, and how has this 
new administrative function chang- 
ed your writing? 

LN. This job helps me, as a matter 
of fact. The ability to write, the 
ability to plan, the ability to 
develop proposals — to just com- 
mimicate in general — those skills 
are very useful, particularly in an 
arts program where you are 
always writing programs. What I 
try not to do is write in 
burekucratese. I try to write really 
good letters, as careful as I can. I'm 
always concerned with style, no 
matter what I'm doing. I know my 
letters are definitely different in 
tone from a lot of the stuff that 
comes out of many bureaucrats. So, 
that's something always to be 
aware of — the importance of keep- 
ing the language fresh and im- 

The only problem I have maybe is 
I have to discipline myself more to 

Drum 13 

the time I'm supposed to be writing 
for myself. For instance, I'm a night 
writer. I have a studio apart from 
home and apart from the office, 
naturally. And I go there to work. 
So there's a definite place where I 
go to do the creative work that has 
to be done for me. I know that I'm 
averaging at least six hours of 
writing a day. There are times 
when there is a clash, times where 
I'm working on something, and I 
know I have to go to work in the 
morning, and I really want to sleep 
late and get back on it again. 

LD. Can you recommend some 
books, articles or periodicals on 
culture that would be necessary for 
someone to imderstand American 
culture a little better? 

LN. Albert Murray's Album of the 
Americas should be read. All of his 
books are important. Ralph 
Ellison's Shadow and Act. LeRoi 
Jones' Blues People. Black Culture 
and Black Consciousness is a book 
that just came out — I've forgotten 
the writer — it's a very important 
and formidable book. It's in the 
spirit of folk culture, all the stuff 
we're talking about. There's a book 
coming up soon by Stanley Crouch 
on black music that should be very 
important. That will be published 
by Viking. 

I think key novels are, of course 
Invisible Man; Albert Murray's 
books; Toni Morrison's work; Black 
Fire done in 1968 by me and LeRoi 
Jones is very important. That book 
indicates the major shift in the 
orientation of yoimg black people; 
in many ways it really annoimces 
the emergence of another kind of 
generation of black writers. Of 
course, I'm pushing my own book, 
but it is important, I think. Janhein- 
zi Jahn's Muntu is a book people 
might want to take a look at again. 
Ishmael Reed's novels are impor- 
tant — almost every one of them 
utilizes a great store of world infor- 
mation. He has a great knowledge 
of black folk culture, particularly 
hoo doo and all that kind of stuff. I 
think Andre Malraux's Voices of 
Silence or Museum Without Walls 
are essential. Kenneth Burke's 
work — particularly Counterstate- 
ment. I think that's an important 
critical work, then maybe Function 
of the Literary Form. Off the top of 
my head, I guess that's about it. 

Femi Richards — from page 13 

much longer-S to 10 years-by con- 
sumers than dress fabrics which 
may be changed every six or nine 
months. The high graduate 
unemployment among artists today 
is forcing very good artists to seek 
work and training as freelance tex- 
tile designers. 

Drum: What is the business aspect 
of textile designing? 

Femi: It is plausible to assiune that 
there are great potentials in the 
business end of textile designing. 
Everybody wears clothes or uses 
some designed products for fur- 
nishing or dress. The best and least 
problematic way to get started and 
hopefuUy prosper in the textile 
business is for a designer to print 
and market his/her own designs 
and printed fabric. That is to 

Photograph by Ana Andreu 

design, print, style and sell the end 
product to retail stores or in the 
designer's store. Most successful 
designers we read about today 
started out this way. By printing 
their own designs they can main- 
tain complete control over their col- 
or schemes, motifs, and exact 
reproduction. In contrast, commer- 
cial houses may alter the designs to 
suit their clientele and or the 
idiosyncracies of the company's 

1 4 Drum 


by Cheryl L Crowell 



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■''•■*'' ** ^' •' ■ ■> ' '''^ .-•a'ir'". ' , v-*-, 

Oscar Peterson was 14 when he 
won his first award as an ac- 
complished pianist. Nine years 
later he was a featured pianist 
with Jazz at the Philharmonic in 
New York's Carnegie Hall. Now, at 
52, Peterson is considered the 
greatest pianist in jazz history. 

Born Oscar Emmanuel Peterson 
in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he 
began his musical career as a 
trumpet player. A bout with tuber- 
culosis forced him to direct his 
talent toward the piano, an instru- 
ment with which he had some 
familiarity — three siblings were 
aspiring pianists. His mastery of 
those 88 keys has been rewarded 
many times as he has been 
presented with a Grammy, at least 
ten of the Playboy "Musicians' 
Musicians" Awards and Downbeat 
magazine's Best Piano Player 
award, annually in 1950-55 and 

Peterson gained prominence in 
the United States under the 
management of Norman Granz, 
who initiated Peterson's appear- 
ance with the Philharmonic group 
in 1949. Since then, he has made 
nimierous recordings with jazz 
greats like Billie Holiday, Lester 
Young, EUa Fitzgerald (also man- 
aged by Granz), and Louis Arm- 
strong, to name a few. Some of his 
own compositions are Canadian 
Suite, Hallelujah Time, and Hymn 
to Freedom. In addition to recor- 
ding, Peterson began concert tour- 
ing, and continues to do so in this 
coimtry and Europe almost annual- 
ly. His audiences respond royally. 
"Oh — I don't know what to say. It is 
overwhelming. The piano is like an 
extension of his own physical be- 
ing. I'm amazed at the speed of his 
creativity," remarked a close 
friend and admirer. Peterson, a 
staimch believer in the art of im- 
provisation, does not rehearse 
prior to his performances. 

Not satisfied with only express- 

ing his own creativity, Peterson has 
helped expose other jazz talents. In 
1974 he had a television series in 
Canada entitled Oscar Peterson 
Presents. The show, which 
spotlighted leading jazzmen and 
singers, was awarded a plaque at 
the 17th International Film and TV 
Festival in New York. The Ad- 
vanced School of Contemporary 
Music, founded by Peterson in 
1960, demonstrates yet another 
aspect of his encouragement and 
responsiveness to young jazz musi- 
cians. Peterson's latest project, a 
book on contemporary jazz piano, 
will be released soon and promises 
to be an instructive and exciting 
experience for up-and-coming jazz 

Recently, Peterson gave a solo 
performance at the University of 
Massachusetts. He talked vdth me 
fo^ DRUM following that recital. 

— In your marvelous master class 
today a student made the state- 
ment that jazz and rock are fusing. 
You felt that they would never 
fuse, the same as jazz and classical 
have never fused. Considering 
everything that has happened, like 
Ellington mixing his jazz with the 
music in the classical vein, what is 
your definition of jazz as opposed 
to jazz rock? jazz classical? 
Jazz is a music that is based on con- 
cepts that have been set out by peo- 
ple like Ellington, Fats Waller, 
Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester 
Young. And it is basically instant 
composition. It is improvisation. 
Jazz has to retain its rhythmic con- 
tent, its harmonic movement. That 
has been set forth before us. To 
fuse it with anything else would be 
to change it from being jazz into 
something else. You can relate to 
something else in your jazz playing, 
but I see no reason to try and fuse 
it. It is a separate, independent en- 
tity in its own. 

Drum 15 

— Along that same vein, then, what 
are your thoughts on the use of 
electronic instruments like the syn- 
thesizer in jazz? 

Well, I think they represent a very 
important stage of musical develop- 
ment in this era. I v^rant to be very 
candid in saying that I am not one 
that disapproves of them. I happen 
to play them for my own benefit 
and gratification at home. BUT it 
takes a specific knowledge of those 
instrimients to play them. It is not 
as easily done as many people 

Photograph by Ana Andreu 

think. I do not think that they have 
been delved into; they have not 
been here long enough. They have 
not been exploited the way they 
should have been exploited. For in- 
stance, we do not have one really 
well-known synthesizer player. In 
other words, if I say trumpet, you 
might say Eldridge. You might say 
Dizzy Gillespie. You might say 
Miles Davis. Saxophone, you would 
say Cannonball or whoever. I say 
synthesizer, and you have to stop 
and think — simply because the in- 

struments have not got that kind of 
seniority, chronologically speaking, 
for someone to take one of them 
and say 'this is my instrument, this 
is what I am going to do.' And I 
know there are several instrimients 
with which that could be done. But, 
it is youth. It is a matter of youth in 
the music. 

— So you do not plan to go any fur- 
ther with that yourself? 

I've got my hands full with this [the 
piano and concerts]. I am hoping to 
do an album, an electronic albima, 
but it is not something for which I 
want to negate this. It is just 
something that I want to do. Over 
the years many listeners have 
queried why I nevfer played any of 
the electronic instruments on 
records. I recently did. Both Count 
Basie and I play electric 
piano — Fenderwoods piano. If the 
album goes the way I want it to, it 
will encompass some of the elec- 
tronic instrimients. I am not against 
them. I do not think they are the 
complete answer jazz- wise. I think 
that when used properly, they are 

— Grovting up black in Canada: 
how did that affect or influence 
your life? your music? your accep- 
tance in the United States? 

Well, going point by point of what 
you ask: growdng up black in 
Canada I would imagine is no dif- 
ferent from growing up black in 
Boston . . . Indianapolis. You are 
basically part of a minority race, 
numerically. I will not get into 
rights and vestiges. It is not man- 
datory that we go through it. I'm 
just saying that environmentally, 
that is the niche — the category — 
that you fall into. I do not think it is 
that much different because of the 
proximity of the two countries. The 
popular music in Canada is the 
same as the popular music here. 
Jazz is basically the same as jazz 
here, in and obviously of the jazz 

What were some of the dif- 
ferences? None, other than, I guess 
years ago if I were down in the 
deep, deep South when they had 
the really violent racial problems, 
it would have been different. But 
we did not have them to that extent 
in Canada. We may have them in 
the future, but we have not had 
them up to now. 

16 Drum 

In so far as my arrival in the 
United States: did it have any bear- 
ing? I think it had a certain amount 
of a curiosity factor, I'll put it that 
way. I think it would have to, 
because I was not that well-known 
to all Americans. So naturally, 
when someone says 'Here is a jazz 
player, he is from Canada' it is like 
saying 'Here is a trumpet player, 
he is from Yugoslavia.' It could be 
the same thing. I don't think it made 
that much difference other than the 
curiosity. You still have to do 
something once you are announced, 
no matter where you are from. 

— What about your family? What 
influence did they have on you, 
specifically in terms of you playing 
jazz as opposed to classical music? 

They had a great influence on me 
because they concurred with my 
desire to change over from 
classical music to jazz. 

— And what first sparked that 
desire in you? Why jazz? 

The possibility of invention, of long 
period invention. Improvisation. 
And, of course, the stimulus of the 
rhythmic patterns, harmonic pro- 
gressions. Most importantly, my 
older brother — who no longer 
lives — was, at that time, a pianist 
in a jazz group. So, I was intrigued 
with the things he was doing. 

— Were there any other in- 

Nat Cole, Teddy Wilson, and Art 
Tatum. Nat had the ability to make 
a group swing, and swing hard. 
Teddy had the neatest piano. Art 
Tatum, well, he could do it all. 

— I assume you are referring to the 
communication element you spoke 
of earlier today? 

Communication is a big part of the 
secret of playing together. If you do 
not communicate, you are not play- 
ing together. 

— Have you been playing recently 
with a trio? 

I keep my hand in it. I do some ap- 
pearances. I just did a thing in Los 
Angeles with Ray Brown and Louie 
Bellson. It is a part of my musical 
life that I do not want to lose 

— You, Ray Brown, and a third 
musician formed a different kind 
of trio when you founded your 

School of Jazz. What happened to 
that School? 

Nothing really. We had to curtail it 
because it took so much time to 
open up each semester, and ob- 
viously, we had to be there to close 
it. The school just took too much 
time out of the schedule. At that 
time, whether my career was get- 
ting bigger — I guess that was main- 
ly it — the commitments were a lot 
heavier than I could handle. We 
tried it, and we did it for about five 
or six years, but it just got to where 
we could not handle it. I cotild not 
do that and this [perform]. 

— Was there very much difficulty 
in retaining other musicians to 
help with the school? 

No, we did not have that problem. 
We had a problem with one thing 
that made it a little cumber- 
some — the premises. We rented the 
premises, and basically they were 
not used while the school was not 
in session. It is quite a responsibili- 
ty holding a building of the size and 
nature necessary to rim a school of 
that type. The school only ran, at 
the most, four months a semester. 
So, it was vacant eight months of 
the year, practically speaking. It 
was quite an overhead expense to 
worry about, plus we found out 
that even the four months was not 
enough time. I just could not give up 
any more time. 

— I know that you are also an ad- 
vocate of formal training for musi- 

We had formal training at the 
school also. I found it was more ex- 
pedient to have — rather than 
waste my time giving a student that 
needed that particular type of 
training along with jazz training 
(and when I say wasting, I think 
that this is what I do best) — I 
brought in a classical player to 
handle those problems in classical 

— So, you have mastered classical 
and jazz. You have been an instruc- 
tor, a composer, a Grammy award 
winner. You are probably the 
world's greatest jazz pianist. 
Where do you plan to go with your 
music from here? 
Well, to be very honest with you, I 
cannot really say where it is going 
to go. I do not know myself. That is 

a part of growing — you just hope 
you continue. 

I am going to be doing quite a bit 
more writing. I think it is time now. 
As one of the players that has been 
on the scene, I owe it to the music 
itself, to the form, to leave some 
kind of equitable musical direction. 
This is one thing that jazz needs. 
(We need more soloists too.] We 
have never had the written — the 
vast amount of written background 
and research material for players. 
And I think that if more players do 
this, it will make it a lot easier for 
aspiring young players. 

— You are still considering the 
book on music, then? 

On piano? The book is just about 
ready. In fact, it has changed from 
a book to a book with cassettes, and 
now we are talking about video- 
cassette teaching — possibly 
subscriptions to a video-series. 

— Thank you for talking with me. 

My pleasure. I'm sorry it was so 

Special thanks to Dana DeBarros, David Let- 
ters and Hi-Fidelity Magazine. 

Photograph by Ana Andreu 

Drum 1 7 

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Photographs by Ana Andreu 

Valerie Maynard is a black 
sculptress living in New York City. 
Recently she spoke with DRUM 
about her work, her life and her 

— As a woman has it been difficult 
for you to succeed as an artist? 

It has been difficult making an ar- 
tist of myself, because I am really 

doing what everyone else is doing 
— like any woman anywhere. But I 
am putting in many more hours, 20 
hours instead of 10 hours, or 
whatever, just to survive. Difficult 
in the sense that I do not know 
whether it is art, whether it is 
black art, or women's art. It is 
creating my earlier experiences, 
but it is difficult because I always 

18 Drum 

saw what no one else saw. I real- 
ized I had to learn some way to ar- 
ticulate my visual impressions. It is 
like making a language that hope- 
fully, someone will imderstand. 
There are those things in your 
mind, and somehow you have to say 
something about them. You know 
that it is happening to someone else 
too, so out of the whole, you try to 
pick out a little bit, try to say 
something about that bit. You might 
get an impression from the im- 
mediate community, but then it 
starts travelling everywhere. You 
find the whole human family, 
whether in language, age, or 
whatever. Art transcends all of 
this, and someone will say, "Okay, 
yes, I understand." The sacrifice is 
the primary difficulty because I am 
working for that small com- 
pany — that which goes on in my 
head — and no one can see it unless 
I do it. 

— Looking at the works you have 
displayed here, I would say that 
most of them have very expressive 
faces. Some are executed in stone, 
some in wood, and some in bronze. 
What other media do you use? 
I do some painting, printing, 

will look at it and see exactly what 
is there. At that point, I will stage 
what I have seen by blocking out 
the image. Now, when I go back to 
finish it, that is a different matter. 
For me, the initial thing has hap- 
pened. When I carve on wood, I am 
not working on a piece with which I 
am then finished. I may not touch it 
for six months or a year. I may 
begin again in five months or one 
and a half years. I do not time it 
unless I am doing a show or 
something. If I am printing or pain- 
ting I have thousands of pieces of 
paper with little drawings and 
notes about pieces I have done. I 
may look at them, and I may not. 

— In other words, you are open to 
your feelings? 

Yes, but it is difficult to achieve 
that initial feeling because I am go- 
ing to find all kinds of things as I go 
along. When I finish a piece I am 
seeing it for the first time, just as 
you are seeing it for the first time. I 
do not carve when I already know 
what is going to happen. 

— So it grows with you? 

Yes, the piece and I work togeth( 

— Was your experience and educa- 
tion an evolution of interests? 

Well, I have been showing my work 
since I was about 27. I began ex- 
hibiting in libraries and commimity 
centers. Then, my pieces were 
displayed in a couple of galleries 
and museimis, and then my work 
began travelling across the coulu- 
try. I was invited to teach at 
Howard in 1975, and I taught at 
Jersey State for one term. The 
students worked well, but it was 
really difficult for me to start at the 
beginning again, so I decided not to 
teach for a couple of years. 
Basically that is what I have done, 
and now I am working on some 
commissioned pieces. 

— You began your work in the mid 
fifties. I have here an article that 
says that during "the fifties there 
[was] an increase in the number of 
women artists who [had] achieved 
public careers." Women with 
careers are a primary concern 
right now. 

But, do you know of any woman ar- 
tists who succeeded? I do not know 
of any. 

ler. — Exactly, and that is what makes 


plasters, ceramics — just about 
anything I can put my hands on. I 
am curious about everything. Any 
material at all, and eventually I 
will work with it all. 

— Do you find working with wood 
more challenging? 

No, it is all challenging. Each thing 
presents its own challenge. Wood 
is perhaps more physical, but as 
you see, I love wood. Several 
lifetimes would not be enough to 
carve it. 

— How do you begin work on a 
piece of wood? 

First of all, the wood is here in my 
studio. I try to become one with it; I 
have no particular plans for it. It 
just sits there. It is a telephone 
table most of the time, but one day I 

— What is your educational 
background? Have you had any art 

I went to Public School 136, then I 
went to City Park, and then I went 
to a Fine Arts School. In 1955, I 
believe I was particxilarly sensitive 
and vulnerable; I was offered the 
chance to go to other schools after 
high school, but because I felt I was 
going to be isolated from my com- 
mimity, I decided not to go to col- 
lege. I just began working with my 
art. It was a personal thing. I 
taught and did other things — arts 
and crafts, made furniture, worked 
with public school centers. Last 
year, though, I enrolled in a course 
on monumental sculpture at Elaine 
Journet. With all of that, I find that 
I am fairly well disciplined. 

you so interesting. You came out of 
high school, you did not go to col- 
lege, or receive any formal train- 
ing — and here you are living and 
working as you do. 
At that time, I felt that all I could do 
was teach. They would say "Okay, 
you are a black woman. You can 
teach or be a secretary." There 
were few things for me to do, and 
even though I did not know what it 
was that I wanted to do specifical- 
ly, I knew that serving your com- 
mvuiity was a regular part of life. 
But I did not feel that was all. 

— Since we have mentioned women 
artists, do you feel that your work 
relates to that of women artists? 

Automatically it does. 

— According to Lawrence Alloway, 

Drum 19 

"a feminist is a woman who is will- 
ing to work with other women 
ultimately to reduce inequality, or 
to insure some reform." Do you 
consider yourself a feminist? 
For a few minutes everyday, it oc- 
curs to me that I have to deal with 
that label. I think I am, but, like 
everything else, it is only momen- 
tary. Life has not been luxurious 
enough for me to be anywhere 
longer than it takes for me to ac- 
complish something. During the six- 
ties I was dealing in a political way. 
Somewhere in this country I hap- 
pened to be aware of what was go- 
ing on, when suddenly, I was stan- 
ding in front of twenty guns about 

to be blown from this earth. 
Another time I was in New York 
fighting the judicial system; 
another time I was doing none of 
that — just sitting in a park playing 
with some children. Another time I 
was the superintendent of a 
building; another time I was work- 
ing at a factory on 17th Street; 
another time I was teaching at 
Howard. Another time I was in 
Maine gazing upon a lake and pain- 
ting a landscape; another time, 
whatever. All of it is integral. The 
worst thing about this society is 
that they want to label everyone, 
and as such that label will be worn 
from the first moment. Everyone 
will do her research to see what 
was said about a person, but what 
is really sad is that while we are 
able, while we are living and doing 

20 Drum 

everything contemporary, nothing 
will happen until we are dead. To 
try to stop life is preposterous. One 
thing we depend upon is changes. 
As far as defending women or them 
getting together, what is done in 
this lifetime as a woman will be 

— In reference to changes, 
Alloway also says that "the 
women's movement in art can be 
considered avant-garde because 
its members are united by a desire 
to change existing social forms of 
the art world." You said that you 
think of yourself as a feminist in 
the sense that you do not feel total- 
ly integrated into one group or 
movement, but let us say — 
And certainly not under the banner 
of changing the art world. I am not 
an idiot. I happen to be into art, not 
because I had nothing else to do, 
nor to support myself, nor to 
change anyone's ideas^nothing 
like that. I was finding my voice. 

— But is that not similar to bringing 
social change? 

No, not really. Women have been 
creating artworks since the world 
began, just as man has. Why would 
I spend my time trying to change 
that? My energy would not be 
directed toward change for that 

— So what concerns you are ex- 
pressions and the language? 

For everyone to express her 
language because if everyone ex- 
presses her language or sings her 
songs or uses her voice, the result 
will be harmony. 

— Which means that the Feminist 
Movement is a total waste of 

I think that it is valid for some 
people — those who believe that 
that is what is stopping them. 
Hopefully, with energy and com- 
munication, they will perceive that 
and outgrow the situation. 

— You have mentioned language, 
what can you say about contem- 
porary artwork, in which techni- 
que plays an important role? 

I find that now people are very in- 
volved with the technical vehicle. 
They are so busy dealing with that, 
they have forgotten matters of life. 
I can do everything totally, 
beautifully, technically, and have 

nothing to say — which is what we 
find proliferating all over the coxai- 
try — nothing himian, nothing that 
reflects life itself. Nothing. We 
have to know the language of every- 
day life so we have to be people, 
and artists who are social and com- 
mimative. That is what it is all 

— How do you present your art- 
work in galleries, schools, or 
universities? Who invites you and 
how do you feel as a third world 
woman? Are there any problems in 
dealing with your hosts? 
When people say "Now, how did 
you get to show with us?", I have no 
idea. I do not know. It is the type of 
situation where no one knows who 
is going or coming. No one knows 
what is there. It is very difficult. It 
will always be as a woman and as 
an artist, especially to get into any 
of the major museimis, to be taken 
seriously or criticized. Our entire 
society has been brought up with a 
certain way of seeing black women 
as maids, as prostitutes, or what- 
ever. I forgive them. People have in- 
vited me many places not knowing 
who I was or what I looked like. I sit 
there and enjoy, and remain aware 
of all that is going on, all the while 
they are looking for Valerie 
Maynard. Then, I will get up and 
say "I am Valerie Maynard," and 
watch the people as they just about 
pass out. They do not believe I am 
who I say I am. Other people have 
come to exhibits and said "there is 
only one name here. Where are the 
different artists? You did not put 
the labels on." 

Then galleries will say that they 
will sell my work for me and take 
forty or fifty percent. How can they 
value a sculptor's work? It takes 
me a year and a half to do a piece. I 
have to carry my work with me. 
Already I have spent 150% of my 
time and money — in addition to the 
space necessary to work on the 
piece itself. When somebody comes 
along and says "I want 50%," 50% 
of what? Of my grandfather's 
sweat, my father's and my mother's 
sweat? On the other hand, the 
museums want to buy my work. But 
what you must realize is that when 
that piece is bought, it is put on the 
floor for a year, and then buried for 
the next hundred years. As long as 
the piece is not here for me to 

control — so that you may see it — it 
means that I can be bought out of 
existence. There is not a patron 
willing to donate so many 
thousands of dollars to keep that 
piece of work on the floor. So, for 
the next 300 years I have never ex- 
isted. What this means is that I 
cannot afford to take the money 
that is sometimes offered to me. A 
multiplicity of things happen; the 
black artists, and so many other 
third world artists, have to deal 
with many problems. 

— What thoughts do you think the 
gallery and museum directors have 
in their heads when they make 
these statements? Is it because it is 
the work of a woman? a black 

It is the result of the way one has 
been educated, of the way one has 
been shown. It is only recently that 
kids are seeing black people in art 
books. Unless you looked at Na- 
tional Geographic, you would not 
see billboards with black people. 
There was no such thing. No reflec- 
tion of you or me anywhere. Like a 
blitz, a desert. Everything you saw 
was what surrounded you — your 
family and such. If they had a 
strong image, then you had a strong 

I grew up in New York-Harlem- 
and I got around quite a bit. My 
mother was the type of person who 
would send me anywhere, so I rode 
the trains and buses at a very 
yoimg age. I had no fears about go- 
ing anywhere. If I was the only 
black person, it did not occur to me 
to notice that fact. I was occupied 
with what I had come to see. 

— In what galleries have you ex- 

All kinds. Not many here in New 
York, but by choice. I have been ex- 
hibiting in the streets since I was 
19, and people have offered to buy 
things from me. Before I even knew 
who I was, I had intuitively said no 
to these offers. This may, at the end 
of my life, have been an error, but 
it is the way I have operated. 

I have some graphic work show- 
ing in South American musemns. It 
is an exhibit presenting the work of 
several black graphic artists. And I 
have some work in a three woman 
show travelling in Sweden. I 
thought the Swedish exhibit would 

Drum 21 

be good — my intuition said 'okay, I 
can do this.' I basically live and do 
my work by intuition. I cannot look 
at my work like it is a great 
business adventure. I do not know 
if I am going to live past tomorrow, 
so I cannot say 'I am going to do 
this or that in the future.' Now is 
the time to do it. 

— And if something happens to 
you? What will happen to your 
works of art? 

I would like my work to go to Black 
institutions, a place where young 
blacks — all kinds of people — will 
see it. Not aU of my works need go 
to one place, in case something 
happens to that institution. I do not 
want any of it to be in a place 
where it may be buried, or taken 
for a personal collection. I do not 
pay much attention to my prints 
and paintings. People can buy 
them — except for the ones about 
which I feel very strongly. 

— Did African art have any in- 
fluence on your work? 

All I saw was us, my own people. 
People would often say that my 
work looked African. My work 
represents the way my impressions 
came through me. As for the im- 
ages, an African artist and I may 
have similar ones. We are exactly 
the same — the way it has always 
been — in the way we sit, the way 
we carry ourselves, the way we 
talk. Afro-Americans use another 
language, but the tone and man- 
nerisms are exactly the same. 

I went to Africa for the first time 
last year for the Festac Festival 
'n, where black people from all 
over the world — artists, musicians, 
dancers — gathered together. There 
I received the opportunity to see 
and feel the tremendous palette of 
our people, and how we reflect 
upon each other. 

Afro-Americans have been here 
over 300 years. That realm of time 
is like a grain of salt in comparison 
to how long we have been on this 
earth. It is nothing. How I see did 
not come from the outside, but from 
within. I do my art the way I feel it. 

In terms of visual things, when I 
was younger my mother would take 
me down to the Village, to 
Chinatown, and I always asked, 
'Where are the pictures of us?' 
There were few blacks. Bearden 
Lewis, Morris and Jacob Lawrence, 

and other people were working in 
New York City at that time, but I 
did not know it. I belonged to the 
YMCA and other community 
organizations, but I just never went 
to their art centers. I never knew 
they were there until I was older — 
and that was pure coincidence. 

Chinese and African art were 
the first two types of art to instruct 
me spiritually. Whatever it was 
that hit me when I saw those im- 
ages was a matter of the spirit, and 
I immediately felt it and luiderstood 
it. I always knew there were people 
like me. It was just a matter of find- 
ing them. 

by Margarita Vargas 

22 Brum 

Valerie Maynard 

Continued from page 7 
I winged across roof tops and 
became a note. I was music, singing 
and shouting— REVOLUTION- 

Mama was fixLn' Brown a plate. I 
could hear her clangin' the dishes 
in the cupboard as she was 
reachin' for the good dishes. She 
always serves Brown on the good 
dishes when he first comes home. 
She says after a mans been away 
workin' he ought to be treated to 
somethin' special, especially cause 
some of our men don't take care of 
business the way Brown do. I knew 
Brown was smilin'. He loved to eat 
Mama's cooktn'. He always smiled 
'round Mama anyway, cause he 
said she was a beautiful lady. 
Mama fried him some chicken and 
made him greens and fresh bread. 
Brown was makin' all kinds of 
sounds while he was eatin'. 

"Umm, Ummm, Ummmm! Baby 
this is soo good!! Umm, Ummm- 
mmm!!!!" Between his "Umms" he 
told Mama about his trip and 
wanted to know about the trouble 
in the neighborhood. I could hear 
Mama sigh real heavy as she sat 
down at the table across from 
Brown. She paused for a minute, 
then picked up the salt shaker and 
twirled it aroimd a bit. That's how 
Mama do before she gets to talkin' 
about somethin' serious. 

"Yeah, Brown, there's been lots 
of trouble 'round here since you 
been gone. You know them old 
broken down tenements up on the 
hill — well Jessie Burden and his 
gang set them on fire, it caused 
such a commotion everybody took 
to the streets. Seems like Jessie's 
family was livin' in a real bad 
building, there was no hot water, 
the toilets wasn't workin', no heat, 
chipped plaster, broken down 
stairs — the works. It was a real rat 
trap. Well anyway, poor Mrs. 
Burden and all her kids was the on- 
ly ones left in the buUding. Condi- 
tions got so bad that anybody who 
could do it left. Poor thing — she 
tried so hard, but she just couldn't 
seem to find a place big enough for 
her and all her kids. Anyway, the 
landlord raised her rent, and set to 
collecting it too. He lifted not one 
finger to fix the place up. She 
couldn't pay no more rent — she 
could hardly pay what it was 


before. And you know Mrs. Burden, 
she's a proud woman — she wasn't 
collecting no welfare or nothing. 
Well honey, times got so bad that 
she wasn't makin' her rent 
payments at all. No sooner had two 
or three months gone by that white 
boy sent somebody from the court 
up here and had her served with an 
eviction notice. Her babies, and all 
her belongings was settin' right out 
on the street. The yoimg folks 
'round here got so mad — I mean 
you can't blame them. Jessie and 
the boys he stay with set fire to that 
building and every building like it. 
The hill was blazing! Lord, Brown, 
from that moment on people have 
been goin' crazy. Anything that 
wasn't owned by Blacks was 
destroyed. Not a white boy has 
been up this way since, 'cept the 
police of course. I've been told that 
it's not over. Theses children are 
talking about revolution. Can you 
imagine, REVOLUTION! I'm so 
afraid one of these kids is gong to 
be killed. It scares me to let Cissy 
out, but I'm really upset when I 
have to let Naomi go. Brown, she's 
so young to see all of this." 

"Now Maxine, the world is turn- 
ing, and things are changin'. We 
have our part to do and the kids 
have theirs. You gorma have to 
understand what they be tellin' 

Revolution, I hardly knew what 
the word meant. I asked Cissy and 
she said we was fighting The Man. 
But I didn't know what man she 
was talkin' about. Ida said it had 
somethin' to do with white people. 
The only white people I knew was 
my teachers in school and the old 
jew man what came collecting 
money for furniture. 

White folks didn't phase me. My 
teachers never bothered with me 
and I never bothered with them. 
We never read anything good in 
class, so I read my own books what 
Cissy got from the library. The old 
jew man smeUed funny, so I never 
went around him when he came to 
our building, 'cides he never came 
to our house. My mind was mixed 

up. Cissy told me revolution was go- 
ing to free all poor people like us. I 
didn't know we was poor, so I 
started cryin'. I didn't want to be 
poor, cause then maybe somebody 
would put us out on the street like 
they did to Mrs. Burden. 

Brown was gonna be home for a 
couple of months, and since Mama 
was so worried about us Brown 
promised to meet us by the projects 
everyday after school. Brown stood 
tall like a big bear, always looking 
in the direction we was comin' 
from. He kept one hand in his waist 
pocket, while the other hand held a 
toothpick in his mouth. Occasional- 
ly he let it tease one of his back 
teeth or pick at his gold tooth. As 
soon as he'd see us comto' he'd 
start to smUe, and me and Cissy 
smiled back, always walkin' faster 
to get to him. Brown gave off heat, 
he be warm just like Sunni be 
warm. Sometimes they put me to 
mind of each other. Cissy said it 
was because they was both 
guerillas, and guerillas don't take 
no shit! But I was scared of 
gorillas, so I thought it was just 
because of what I said — they both 
be real warm. Everyday Brown had 
a treat for us. Sometimes he'd pull 
four or five Mary Janes from his 
pocket, or he'd let us stop at Phil's 
Candy Store, where we could pick 
out anything we wanted. When 
Brown walked us home I felt real 
good. He got a way what always 
made me feel like jumpin' up in his 
pocket and hangin' out with all his 
dimes and quarters and Mary 
Janes. That was one thing 'bout 
Brown, he never kept no pennies, 
just big change. 

On Monday afternoon me and 
Cissy got up to the projects and 
Brown wasn't there. Cissy said 
maybe Brown forgot 'cause it was 
Monday, the first day of the week 
and all; but I knew BroAvn didn't 
forget. He don't forget nothin', and 
'cides Brown never breaks a pro- 
mise, and he promised Mama he'd 
meet us. My heart started beatin' 
kinda fast, and I thought that we 
Continued on page 43 

24 Drum 

Carl Yates 

Photograph by Jack Luron 


26 Drum 

What is an Eno? Eno is an 
Afrikan word originating from nor- 
thern Nigeria. Roughly translated, 
it means the "gift of God." I would 
not be so audacious as to grant 
myself a name that is an attribute 
of God because, in all honesty, I 
don't feel that I am worthy of, such 

The name, "Eno," was granted to 
me in 1970 in Portland, Oregon by 
Dr. Okon Essiet, Ministry of Educa- 
tion, Calabak, Nigeria. Dr. Essiet 
was teaching at Mt. Hood Com- 
munity College and had formed an 
Afrikan-based cultural group call 
the "Oyoyos." Many days and 
nights I spent with the Essiet family 
breaking bread, exchanging 
histories, and sharing cultural 
traits. And, there was plenty of 
dancing! The Essiets and I would 
dance at the beginning, middle, and 
end of each visit. This was a form 
of communication; a sharing of 
hope, love and trust. We were all 
secure within our individual iden- 
tities and our cultural ties. Dr. 
Essiet told me that I danced "like a 
Hausa (an indigenous people of 
Northern Nigeria)," and termed my 
style "asabo" again, roughly mean- 
ing, "controller of natural 
sources." I danced with the Oyoyos 
until the Essiets returned to 
Nigeria three years later. 

As Donald Washington, I had 
been a principal dancer in two 
other community-based groups: 
"Ibanduwo," and "We Black and 
Tans," between the years 1967 and 
1970 in Portland. Both companies 
were based at the former Albina 
Arts Center, once a thriving hotbed 
for Black talent and creators. "We 
Black and Tans" evolved into 
"Ibanduwo" and both groups 
fought for years attempting to keep 
the building from being foreclosed 
for non-payment of utilities. 
Benefits for the Black community in 
Portland, Eugene, Oregon, or even 
the Oregon State Penitentiary 
became our trademark. We sup- 
ported ourselves by doing every 
other thing. We were not bitter 
about our sacrifices because it was 
this "dues" that brought our collec- 
tive art and beings together. We 
made masks, graphics, taught art, 
dance, music, and crafts free of 
charge to children and adults at 
Albina Art Center. Just as politics 
and culture are not separated in 



the traditional Afrikan sense, 
neither is it in the Pan-Afrikan 
sense. The Black and Tans, and 
Ibanduwo had many exchanges 
with the "Black Educational 
Center," Portland's only ac- 
credited school for the "positive 
education" for Black children. 
Though the Black and Tans and 
Ibanduwo have physically disband- 
ed and members relocated to dif- 
ferent parts of the globe, there is 
still constant communications. All 
of us, though staunch individuals, 
still retain inseparable communal 
and ancestral links. Our bond has 
been forged in the fire of our wills 
and the purgatory of our ex- 

I remember dancing from the 
time I first learned to walk, but 
since I don't recall how old I was at 
the time, I usually say that I've 
been dancing since 1960 when I 
first learned an Afrikan-American 
social dance called "the Watusi." I 
was always the last one on the 
block to learn a dance, but once I 
learned something, I would never 
forget it. I practiced constantly and 
one of my favorite methods of 
retention was to learn a dance 
"backwards" or in reverse order. I 
do remember before I was officially 
enrolled in kindergarten, I would 
watch my mother and father from 
my bedroom as they danced the 
"St. Louis Bop," a dance evolving 
out of the original "Lindy Hop," or 
"Jitterbug." My mom and dad were 
somewhat amused by my interest in 
dance, and later showed me how to 
"bop," designating a broom as my 
temporary "partner." I continued 
to catalog movements, steps, 
dances, and history, into a personal 
vocabulary of Pan-Afrikan dance. I 
have studied under such great 
teachers as Mrs. Jacqueline 
Schumacher of the Portland Ballet 
School, Ahmand Sahir, a great ex- 
ponent of Afrikan dance, Raymond 
Sawyer, formerly working vdth the 
Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and 
Nontsizi Cayou, a teacher of 
Afrikan and Jazz dance at San 
Francisco State College. 

I have not limited myself to one 
particular style of dance. I incor- 
porate all styles. A true artist can- 
not be limited by forms alone. Con- 
tent and context determine forms 
and neither of these three can be 
viewed and evaluated separately 

Drum 27 

from the other two. This philoso- 
phy, while congruent to traditional 
or ancient Afrikan philosophies, is 
antithetical to Western or Euro- 
pean derived philosophies. This 
philosophy is also true in Pan- 
Afrikan dance forms where matter 
and manner combine to produce 
certain contextual phenomena. 

To describe what constitutes 
Pan-Afrikan dance, a brief over- 
view of Afrikan dance must be 
presented. Afrikan dances are not 
considered to be "art" in the Euro- 
pean sense of the word. It can 
generally be said that everyone in 
Afrika dances, except of course, 
those few individuals who identify 
with Western aesthetics and at- 
tempt to sever their historical and 
cultural ties with the land. It is not 
uncommon to see elderly Afrikan 
men and women dancing the same 
way one might expect to see 
children and young adults dancing. 
There are dances done for every 
occasion, and each dance and oc- 
casion has its OAAm particular driun 
rhythm and musical pattern. The 
dance is not done for the sake of 
the particular individual or occa- 
sion, but for the entire Afrikan peo- 

The individual doesn't exist in a 

vacuum, but as an integral part of 
the Afrikan social system where 
democracy was first implemented 
on Earth. The Afrikan artist is a 
"fimctional" artist. Art has to have 
a purpose, a justification, and a 
meaning. Afrikan art cannot exist 
for its own sake, but for the sake of 
the communal body from which it 
spawns. When dance, which was 
first done to communicate with 
heavenly spirits, becomes a 
showpiece, it loses the power to 
bring people together and instead, 
it separates people into the privi- 
leged and the not-so-privileged. 
Though Afrikan dance has not been 
static, it has generally remained 
true to its historical context. 

There are two types of Afrikan 
dance: recreational and ritual. Re- 
creational dance is informal, allow- 
ing for free improvisations and 
closely following current trends in 
music, fashions, and standards of 
acceptable behavior. Ritual 
dances, however, are relatively un- 
changing. As stated by Lee Warren 
in her book, The Dance of Africa, 
ritual dances are "the bones and 
blood of Afrikan culture with deep 
psychological and religious roots." 
Afrikan dance has, for centuries, 
expressed a fimctional unity of art 

and life, a total synthesis of mind, 
body and spirit. 

Under the yoke of colonization 
and slavery, Afrikan dance began 
to change. Many slaves brought in- 
to the West Indies were priests and 
religious leaders, and a number of 
surviving rituals have been shown 
to be similar to those performed in 
Afrika. According to historian John 
Hope Franklin, there was a great 
interchange of slaves between the 
West Indies and mainland Afrika 
which had an adverse effect on 
Afrikan dance. 

The North American settlers 
stripped the Afrikans of their 
culture by prohibiting the playing 
of the drum and any gathering of 
large groups until 1812. The slave 
hunters purposely sought out, tor- 
tured, and killed the principal car- 
riers of Afrikan history, religion, 
art, science and medicine. The 
principal carriers of African 
culture were the witch doctors, the 
musicians, the dancers, and the 
priests. The immediate and extend- 
ed families were slaughtered as 
well because the slave owners 
knew that Afrika was basically a 
non-literate (not illiterate) system 
of education, i.e., oral tradition. 
Continued on page 69 

28 Drum 

An Inmates Work— Anonymous 

Drum 29 


Piano keys paint this scene: 
Woven gold cloth 
torn by voracious winds 
and flapping over a rust desert. 
And piano keys paint this scene: 
A black bar of cloud 
hangs iron heavy 
over a bone-dry sand belly. 
That is us, 
storm sight 
cloud obscured. 
But Dollar Brand stands, 
a South African man, 
in touch with all his land 
and space, intones us to feel 
the immeasurable mercy 
of Allah: O play Abdullah Ibrahim, 
Compose a 
all odds. 

Frieda Jones 

'^m \ 

^l^-i- m.mmm 

Photograph by Ed^ ' ' 

30 Drum 


Love flies with the colored wings of the Butterfly. 
I borrow a pair and take flight. 

Her wings are often whimsical, 


Flying here, there. 


I've bypassed these. 

Mine is the Butterfly, landing 

When he has discovered that special flower 

holding his nectarous existence. 

May you be that flower, 

And I 

your Butterfly, 

where on my colored wings 

in a benign symbiosis of love. 

We'll fly above 

the mundane and earthly ills. 

Prospering, Caring, Loving. 

Last nite 
I tossed through 
significant dreams 
that pointed towards 
my former pain with you. 

It still lives 
inside my soul, 
rotting away my insides 
and asking why? how? 
and getting no answers. 

I sit here 

wondering why 

this rift between us. . . ? 

who broke the spell 

we cast upon each other? 

Geneva Mae White 

Photographs by Edward Coheri 

Drum 31 




Spirits in the Street I 

To My Friend 

12, April 1976 

1:40 am 

My Friend 
Your face drowned 

silent tears- 
it is not your time to smile. 
Your terrestrial high 
fifty leagues beneath 
seas of blue. 

your body's desires/ 
quiet wanting to speak/ 
be with/ of someone. 
My friend- 
need not know what it is, 

need only to come unto self and 

Through belief, 
positivity will flow 
the con 

through the 
of your troubled mind. 
My friend 
carefully float 
above the sea 

will not 
evade you. . . 
that one day 
the light of blue 
unto you. 

Zenola Harper 


an aura beckons us 

as we tread from here 

to a distant place. 

we follow bent fingers 

in patterns that wind 

distortingly ; 

look for solid ground 

and stable stars 

to proclaim our journey 


one finds a comfortable 

place to rest 

and dormantly remains. 

another is reminded 

of a hiatus in the past 

and returns to 


and we follow bent fingers 

that tell us to try 

to catch up to ourselves. 

Jacqueline L. Jones 

Drum 33 

34 Brum 

Drum 35 

/ Remember Yesterday; 

Yesterday I ran on youthful legs 
through a field of golden wheat, and 
each one of those beautiful plants 
held hands and formed a golden 
carpet especially for me. When 
I decided I no longer wanted to 
run, my friend the wind breathed 
her light summer breezes, carrying me 
wherever I pleased to go. 

Yesterday invisible hands visited me on several 
occasions bringing cake and ice cream, and even 
a brand new dress. I never worried about those 
hands because I knew they'd always return. 

Today I walk through a cement jungle on maturing legs, 
and each pebble makes its way through the holes 
in the bottoms of my shoes. When I get tired of 
walking, the wind blows her hot heavy breath on me 
sending me in the direction she pleases. 
Sometimes I land at the unemployment office, 
sometimes to a new house-cleaning job. 

Today invisible hands brought my gas, light, phone bill, 
and even a can of leftover pork and beans. I worry 
about those hands now, because I know they'll 
always return. 

As a warm, wet tear rolls down an aging face, 
landing into a can of leftover pork and beans, 
I remember yesterday. 

Sartreina Cooper 

36 Drum 

Frank Thornton 

Drum 37 

38 Drum 











*» 1^>*> 


40 Drum 

Tribute to Fela and Afro-Beat 

Carl Yates 

Hp Ritual II 

John A. Kendrick 

Chicago Winter Remembered 

Nipping winds of January come 

bluing raw lips of winter 

From the lake, now solid Michigan 

ice cracking breaths send away 

the cold: "We have walked four winter days 

deep in snow carrying a pair 

of shoes and a box of tampons. " 

Preparing for our future; 

fixing our footsteps firmly. Sometimes 

we inch on along slowly 

ignoring the lake, now solid 

Michigan, sending winter 

upon us. We pause between buildings 

to hide; too tired to retreat 

to a better place. Icicles melt 

under my skirt-thick-opaque- 

rich-against the dark brown of my legs. 

Cassandra West 


Self possessed while looking inside at something hip 
I saw me moving 

You can move for the right reasons 
You can move for the wrong reasons and get hurt bad 
You can move and soothe the pain 
Move rock and raise a child 
Move reel and cop an attitude 

Somebody watching you move saw you cop that at- 

And became rich 
Don't pretend to move 
Really move and fake them out 

Bill Hassan 

The eve of the unbirth of my child 

I sit, 

I think, 

I wonder what it would be like 

To have this seed grow round inside of me- 

Kick, tumble and turn. 

Then to have it emerge 

As an alive human being. 

To hear its cries. 

To see the first trace of a smile. 

And to feel the tender soft skin. 

To watch it learn and grow 

And suddenly be old someday 

To face a dreaded decision like my own. 

The eve of the unbirth of my child 

I cry. 



Just when it was 

But remembering still 

That it was a sweet kiss. 


After it was finally over- 
She was glad. 
She fought it to the end. 
Crying and cursing him and yet 
Loving him. 

She knew if she could just 
Do the right thing 
Or whisper the right words, 
He would fall to his knees 
And realize what he had denied them both. 
The months of frustration 
Turned into years 

And love became a gnawing obsession. 
She was filled with need 
Until one day she realized 
It was not the need of him 
But the need of love that drove her. 
Slowly, she stopped the pleas, 
The nagging and the tears, 
And the painful gnawing also ceased. 
After it was finally over 
She was glad- 
For then she was reborn. 

Shelley Y. Johnson 

42 Drum 

Sunni— from page 24 
should wait, but Cissy said no so we 
kept welkin'. Cissy was walkin' 
real fast and I had to run to keep up 
with her. She laughed at me and 
said we got out early anyhow, and 
we would probably meet Brown on 
the way, but she still walked real 
fast. We got up to Phil's Candy 
Store and Ida was in there. 

"Hey y'all, come on in and I'll get 
you some jaw breakers!" I was go- 
ing to go on in, but Cissy hollered 
out, "Another time Ida we gotta be 
getting home." I got mad with 
Cissy, but she said that I ate too 
much candy anyway. My mind 
went back to Brown, cause I knew 
if he was here he would let me get 
some jaw breakers — and then I 
started thinkin' about where he 
could be. 

We turned into our block and 
there was a crowd of folks around 
our stoop. I couldn't see much of 
anything and went to run off into 
the crowd, but Cissy grabed my 
hand and pulled me up on Miss 
Smith's steps. From there I could 
see everything. Felicia Roberts was 
screamin' and cryin' over her hus- 
band Ray who was layin' in the 
street bleeding. Some cop had his 
hands on Brown, and Brown was 
yellin' for him to take his hands off 
of him. 

"Get your fuckin' hands off me, 

"You better get in that car 

"Hell motherfuckin' NO!!!!!!!! 
Brown jerked himself away. 
Another cop came 'round behind 
him with a coke bottle in his hand. 
He lifted it over Brown's head. 
"BROWN, BROWN!!!!" I scream- 
ed, and Browns' blood came pour- 
ing out of his head like water 
gushes from the hydrants in sum- 
mer. I pulled away from Cissy and 
tried to get to Brown. 

Brown was punchin' one cop in 
the face and ended up pickin' up 
another one and threw him onto his 
car. Jimmie Burden and his brother 
came 'round from behind me with 
bottles and bricks. People were 

hollering voices screamed from 

everywhere. I couldn't tell one from 
another. It all seemed like ONE 
LOUD CRY. Somebody roared, "Oh 
Shit!" and then I heard a shot. The 
same sound I heard when little 

Rickey died and Sunni's horn cried. 
Help Us, Help Us!!! I screamed for 
Mama, I screamed for Cissy. People 
kept pushin' me away from the 
house, but I could still see. Brown 
was on the ground. I kept cryin' for 
hoUerin' and jumpin' up and down. 
It seems that something entered me 
and wouldn't let me go. I was shak- 
ing and trembling. My liuigs ached. 
With every breath I took the pain 
reached across my chest, yet I 
screamed louder and louder. I pull- 
ed on somebody's pants and just 
hurled myself into the crowd, 
tumbling like a trash can takin' by 
the wind. Someone stepped on my 
hand and the pain went right 
through me, clearing my head, and 
opening my nostrils. I couldn't even 
cry. I felt these hands on me, firm 
around my waist. I was being lifted. 
Seems like I was going up and up 
and up real high. I knew then I was 
in Simni's hands. 

Folks called it brutality, and I 
knew what they meant. I saw that 
bottle in those white hands, as it 
opened Brown's head. I saw Ray's 
life juices flow all over our street. 
His blood is only a faint stain in the 
sidewalk now; but sometimes when 
I pass I can see the blood filling the 
cracks in the pavement, just like it 
did that Monday. 

Ray died a few days later and the 
street echoed with Felicia's wails 
for weeks. I thought maybe Brown 
was gonna die too. I couldn't keep 
nothin' on my stomach, cause my 
fears lived in my stomach and 
wouldn't let anything else in. I 
couldn't go to the hospital cause I 
was too yoiuig, but Simni told me 
that Brown was sittin' up and 
smilin'. He said survival was 
Brown's resistance. I must have 
looked real strange cause all Sunni 
said after that was "A change is 
gonna come." 

Summer time came and Brown 
was in prison. Sunni moved away, 
but came back some nights to play 
his horn. Folks draped the street to 
listen to Sunni talk. Mama let me sit 
on the stoop with her and we had 
jugs of Kool-Aid and bags of nuts to 
miuich on. One night when Sunni 
came around we all took turns 
singin' and dancin' while he played 
his horn. Cissy got up and read a 
poem she wrote for Sunni. 

Sunni's got a new thing goin' 
See him there, cuttin' the fool; 

He's really a mean dude. 
Last night Sunni was 

blowwoowooin' his horn 

talkin 'bout thems that got 
and thems that not 
Sunni says we thems that got. 
He jammed and grooved cooling the 
smelting pavements and heating 


minds of Black folk 

hangin' out windows 
sittin' on stoops 
Sunni riffed through the streets 
and bomiced in the alley, 
he flew across the roof 

then got down in the basement. 
Yeah, Sunni got a thing goin' on 
Rappin' to Black folk 'bout solid 

Like REV-0-LU-TION! !!!!!!!!! 

A New Love, A New Season 

for 22 million ex-slaves. 

Everybody clapped real loud for 
Cissy, and Simni gave her a kiss on 
the cheek. He played his horn long 
and low. Mama smiled and I fell 
asleep on Mama's lap, thinkin' 
'bout Brown and how I wished he 
was home. 

Drum 43 

44 Drum 

Drum 45 


aqui estoy en la vanguardia de los presos, 
atado y escapando, 
orando y maldiciendo, 
viviendo el resto de mi cuerpo 
medio muerto. 

"Lazaro, levantate y dispara. " 

Es un grito que me personaliza. 

Hoy, soy el arquetipo, la pregunta; 
manana, al hombre que hoy quisiera, 
la respuesta. 


Here I am among the vanguard of prisoners, 

rope-bound yet breaking loose, 

praying yet cursing, 

my trapped half-dead body only half alive. 

"Lazarus, get up and shoot. " 

That warscream makes me real, concrete. 
Hold on! 

Today Im only an archetypical question; 
tomorrow III be the man Td like to be: 
the answer itself. 


Hice crecer mis dedos tratando de alcanzarte 
y converti los ojos en una hoguera abierta 
para que hubiera luz: 
te tuve entonces cerca. 

Quise hacerte sentir todo mi nombre 
y con una hacha rompi cientos de huesos 
del escombo que era yo 
cuando me hacia difisil. 

En el fondo vi que eramos muchos 
picando a dentelladas el silencio. 
Y abriendo por los labios de la noche 
un gran camino. 

corrimos tu y yo, y todos nosotros, 

asesinando yardas de terreno 

sin prestarle atencion al flaco viento, 

que al vemos de las manos de los ostros 

colgar como un helecho, 

detuvo su marcha; 

y, encorvado, 

lloro la ausencia de recuerdos. 


I made my fingers grow trying to reach you 
and changed my eyes in burning charcoal pits 
into light. 
Then I got you close. 

I wanted to make you feel all my name. 

So with an ax I broke hundreds of bones 

that were fragments of what 

1 was when 1 used to make myself incomprehensible to you. 

At rock bottom I saw that we were many 
persons biting silence with our teeth 
and opening through the lips of night 
a huge passage. 

We dl ran, you and I and everyone 

assassinating distances 

and ignoring 

the skinny wind who 

in seeing us hanging from each others' hands 

like fem-leaues from a stem 


and bending dawn 

whined over the absence of memories. 


Te pregunto, hermano, 

hacia donde volcare mis ojos 

manana cuando el sol traicione 

la espalda de los monies. 

Te pregunto hacia donde 

porque han muerto los caminos 

y no hay puertos en las orillas de los mares. 

Te pregunto, hermano, 

porque tengo que partir hacia algun lado, 

solicitar un rumbo; 

y se me ha hecho tarde. 

"Hacia mi, companero, 

hacia mi que te llevo a los ostros hermanos. " 


I'm asking you, brother, 

where I can turn my eyes 

tomorrow when the lit sun betrays 

the mountains' backbone. 

I'm asking you where 

because all the roads are dead 

and there are no jetties on the oceanfronts. 

I'm asking you, brother, 

because I've got to go someplace, 

I have to find the route, 

my time is running out. 

"Come towards me, comrade, 

I'll take you to the rest of the brothers. " 

Poems by Miguel A. Rivera 

46 Drum 

Untitled Song of Love 
(for charlene) 

i am a reaper of nights 

giving birth to its song, ' 

and i scream with mourning 

turning in seasons. 

i am a reaper of broken colors 

that trap love in these eyes of meaning- 

these eyes soft as dew, 

faint as breath exhumed in bendings of the wind, 

glistening silently 

as whispers of rain are the sky s barren voices. 

and in these seasons 

death is carrion laced on static wings 

spat upon the horizon. 

once when earth was again naked 

there was you as there was 


and our dance was ripe with rhythm; 

it was supple as water teasing the shore. . . 

fanciful like haitian markets that sweep colors 

into air. 

and i/eye 

i am a dreamer, this night, 
my love splinters in smiles 
and is naked 

a prism raw upon an ebbing shore, 
this feeling grows vain against its laughter, 
tattered like memories of aging words, 
but it writhes and seethes with smew, 
and i am with love 
in this bending night of dreams. 

thomas waiter lones 

Drum 47 

CCEBS Door: Honor to the Ancients 

Margarita Vargas 

48 Drum 




Spirits in the Street II 


The committee for the Collegiate Education of Black Students (CCEBS) would like to congratulate the Class of 
1978. This year's graduation exercises will mark the sixth time that CCEBS students will receive their diplomas 
from this institution. It is our most fervent hope that this year's graduating students will be as successful in their 
career and life pursuits as their predecessors have been. Many of you have been accepted into graduate and profes- 
sional schools and some of you have decided to take positions in the business and corporate commimity. But, no mat- 
ter what you have decided to do, you must realize that you are truly fortunate to have the opportmiities you now 
have before you. It is imperative that you take advantage of them. It is of the utmost importance that you continue to 
strive for intellectual and personal growth. It is also very necessary that you never forsake those who have helped 
you to progress this far. Remember, you do have a responsibility to your family, friends, classmates, and the 
academic advisers that have aided you during your imdergraduate years. Make them as proud as other former pro- 
gram graduates have. We now have alumni who have earned doctorates in medicine, education, dentistry, and 
psychology. We have alumni whose activities range from being on the staff of the Mayo Clinic to serving as ex- 
ecutives of International Telegraph and Telephone. CCEBS alumni are now principals of schools, administering na- 
tional education programs, and working in academic support programs at other colleges and imiversities. Many 
others are making contributions to their conununities by working in public service agencies. I highlight these ac- 
tivities so that you will realize that you have a lot of "hard-acts" to follow. But, I know you can do it. The CCEBS staff 
and your families believe that you represent a new "elite." You symbolize the hope and desire for a brighter future, 
which we all share. 

So, go forward and never be afraid. Remember, there is no progress without struggle. As Arna Bontemps said 
in his poem "Nocturne at Bethesda," 

"The golden days are gone. Why do we wait 

So long upon the marble steps, blood 

Falling from our open woimds? and why 

Do our black faces search the empty sky? 

Is there something we have forgotten? 

Some precious thing we have lost. 

Wandering in strange lands?" 

Marjorie B. Barnes 
Donald Byrd 
Giselene Charles 
Sook N. Choo 
Stephen J. Cleary 
Michael E. Coblyn 
Mary E. Custard 
Alexander L. Daughtery 
Dendra L DeWitt 
Keith B. Dixon 
Juan R. Durruthy 
Karl A. Erikson 
Lawrence J. Erith Jr. 
Judith Grillo 

(Adele D. Hall) 

Arifah N. Rasool 
Ariel Hall 

Charles W. Johnson Jr. 
Lilia Kowalsky 
Gregory C. Maynard 
Jay H. Newsome 
Carol R. Reliford 
Joseph C. Rocheteau 
Lizzie N. Shell 
Johnnie C. Simmons 
Bobby J. Stoval 
Mitchell L. West 
Consuelo Y. Williams 

Good luck. 

Dr. Michael Ll*Jackson 
Executive Director 
Committee for the Collegiate 
Education of Black Students 

Kelly J. Wright 
LaVerne D. Mitchell 
Lloyd W. Alford 
Frank Anderson 
Lisa M. Clarke 
Aundre L. Clinton 
Walter Howard ILL 
Judy A. Jones 
Hubert L. Kelly 
Lenora Mobley 
Elaine Nichols 
Yvonne (Brown) Powell 
Michael B. Pyatt 
Samuel C. Rivers 

50 Drum 


Like you, 

those, who care, 

live spliced 

into the mountain, 

going to the top, 


with everybody else, 

equal step 

for equal step. 

With wild flowers 
in your hair, 
don't look back! 

The plains are bare; 

the hopeful, 

like the sky, 

are all around you. 


Andrew Sa\ke\) 

Darlene Y. Spencer 
Vickie T. Taylor 
Melvin S. Downes 
Broderic O. Grant 
Judy Yee 

Albert M. Morrishow 
Linda J. Stalker 
Geraldine Blocker 
Valinda T. Cannady 
Cathy Crosby 
Toni J. Johnson 
Kim O'Quinn 
Sharon Turpin 


It must be my fault 

because you are gone 

and I am left alone 

I won't lie 

I love you more than I realize 

The love I feel for you 

will never die 
It will last as long 

as creation 
cause it is given to us by the Creator 
I die each time our paths split 
but new life is found 
through an undying love 
I am so sorry 
I can't meet your desires^ 
for whatever you want you should have 
My arms are open 
You may come to me or another 
Don't worry about me 
cause I love you enough 
to want you to be satisfied 

Annie Carpenter 

Drum 5/ 




Am Alone 


Mind Wanders 

To Visit Friends 

And Family. Our Reunions 

Are Always Nice; We Smile 

And Laugh-Reminiscing of the Past 

Until Again My Mind Wanders 

Back Into The Present 

And Once Again 

I Am 


Harold Massea 

Photograph by Debbie L 

52 Drum 

"Bird and Bud and Minton's" 

During the 1940's Minton's playhouse on 118th Street & 7th Avenue in Harlem, 
was one of the places where Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and many other 
master musicians developed the classic music known as Bebop. 

Freida Jones 

Drum 53 


roots— the base of existence: 

the foundation on which to build; 

the backbone of our being: the heart. 

to follow our lives backward in time: 

to learn from past failures and accomplishments: 

to trace the Tree back to the very beginning. 

perhaps we'd all be surprised to find 
our roots were all one and the same. 

Barbara Jeffcoat 

The literature which I am introducing are poems from brothers at Walpole State penitentiary. Society has exclud- 
ed or tended to isolate these artistically inclined inmates. Drum has drawn special attention to these prisoners and 
has given them the recognition in which they deserve. We the members of Drum have the knowledge and the ap- 
preciation of the quality of your work. We are aware of the condensed language your poetry portrays. We hear and 
see your instantaneous convictions. 

Brothers, you have helped us to help you communicate and contribute your talents to the outside world. 

We Made Music 

we made music 

to be in rhythm with life 

to laugh 

to smile 

to hum a natural tune 

to a natural song 

to get a mellow feeling 

from a soul searching 

musical dream 

of perpetual happiness 

WE. . . MADE . . . MUSIC 


to give life 

where life was gone 

to give hope 

where hope was gone^ 

to give a sing-a-long 

with Aretha 

for we fell 

from a bridge 

into trouble waters 

Her Feelings 

Say brother! Do you understand your 

woman's feelings? 

Do you know how she feels, when you her 

man is gone, and she feels empty, or when 

she feels blue? 

That's right brother, no man knows 

when trouble call and he isn't there, 

no man knows 

when his woman is trying, while he is 


No man knows his woman's hurt and pain. 


Because no man really cares enough to 

give a damn. 

Yes no man knows his woman's suffering 

when she's in need of his love. 

No man knows when his woman's heart aches 

and her lips are silent. 

Yes no man knows, that his woman really 

tries, no man knows her tears, or how she 

feels inside. No man knows, because no man 

takes time to give a damn. 

Richard Alston 

Our vocalcords 


with divine togetherness 


a beautiful scale 

of sweet soulful sounds 

which penetrates 

the ears of man 

and brings life 

as a musical breath of air. 

and rode the waves 

with Our guitars 

Our drums 

Our dreams 

and our natural voices 

So, we made music 

Omar Abdullah 
(Clemis Franks) 

Drum 55 

56 Drum 

FESTAC 1977, Lagos, Nigeria 

FESTAC 1977, Lagos, Nigeria 

Drum 57 


block Sy bia^hjcfb'i > 
ingjhenMfT^ik&Jace, M 



,/i^e an':pinfikig 

, rstt Y one-' of fS^^i^g- u^-^ri^j^Jwiives 

'of a gradually ^nfoldihg fiattattuf 

of connecting recognition' *" 

or merely ^pcumentirig. '. : 

some egoceritric salt shocx orroth^f 

or merely informing us, ', 

tellirig us compassionately, 

now and then, of this' or that 

massive- land reclamation 

or'-alterHative structural reform 

or merely, diverting us 

with one travel entertainment 

or another, here and there, 

for an easy-passing hour or two, 

but rather of making 
, their vieud of ;the wjorld of stone ^ , , ,. .. _ ^ _ 

imaginatively, empathetically, ouj^fdwii' j:^;^-.! •^- '.?,'.* 

by startling the whole undersea range 

of the nerve-ends of our conscience 

and leaving us slowly emerging 

in a state of permanent change. 


'-li^ ..^%' "■■■'•• 

■ . / ■.• h' ■ * '^ !^ 

Andrew Salkey 

58 Drum 

The Ethiopian 

I do not belong here. 

My soul is heavy. 
Will they change me? 

The secret song is always in her heart. 
She remembers Home — where the sun shone 
Fierce against her naked breasts. Home, 
Where she would he a princess, not a slave. 
Home, where the flame trees burned. 

I do not belong. 

Here, my soul is heavy. 

They will change me. 

The grating words are always in her head. 

She was unique. Her hair flowed like the Nile, 

Her skin was black as onyx. She became 

the one the master craved. Nine times 

She pushed his life from her womb, and she is tired. 

I do not belong. 

My soul is heavy. 

Here, they have changed me. 

The droning chant is always on her lips. 

She mutters it. Her hands, like withered birds. 

Flutter softly in her lap. Her hollow 

Eyes gaze at a graying ash tree. 

It stands, dying, in the dusty yard. 

My soul is heavy. 
Change me. 

Camilla Parham 

Drum 59 

60 Drum 

Mviral Program 1977: Paintings on Doors 

Margarita Vargas 

7b/i's, the beast 

in you" 

big bad funky beast 
getting down 
singing, dancing 
doing the double bump 
kissing, laughing, loving, praying 
playing the part of Jesus Christ 
on Sunday 

focusing on the immaculate concep- 
of Nuclear Warheads 

you are 

the humanitarian of death 
Ihlis, that diabolical beast 
in living technicolor 
instilling his very being 
into the minds of the people 
choking them to death 
into a subconscience reality 
a dream land 

making monsters out of them 
that encroach upon society 
stealing their Welfare Checks 
and their underwear 

Dracula, Frankenstein 

the Pope of Rome 

Jack the Ripper, ripping off America 

and sucking the blood out of 

its vital organs 

Getting high & high & high 

& high & high 

and falling off into a nod 

into oblivion 

not knowing if you're coming 

or going or gone 

big bad funky beast 
trying to blow Gabriel's horn 
but not knowing the tune 
blowing his nose instead 

trying to become a magician 


open sesame 

pin the tail on the donkey 

stick the pin in the doll 

and puff 

this society is turned 

into a bag of fags, 

with high heel shoes 

and pocketbooks 

preying on the educated 

the ignorant 

and the silent majority 

that haven't got enough sense 

to stop playing 

Casper, the friendly ghost 

or Silent Man 

or Silent Mind 

because everybody's dropping a dime 

being a rat 

watch me pull a rabbit 

out of my hat 

big bad funky beast 

I know you 

Here is wisdom. 

Let him that have understanding 

count the number of the beast; 

for it is the number of a man. 


Awake Black brothers from this sleep 
you sleep. 

Can't you hear your black women 

I have heard their cries. 
I have seen your women, awaiting for 
for a job 

for you their men to awaken from the 

Yes, I have heard their cries because 
it's late. 

Because they can't feed their babies. 
Yes they are awaiting for you their 
men to awake, because they're tired of 
maybe's and later on's. 
Isn't it time you awaken and stop per- 
mitting whitey to destroy what little 
pride you have to defend. Prove 
yourself to be black men and lend her 
your hand. 

Richard Alston 

Omar Abdullah 
(Clemis X. Franks) 

Drum 61 

62 Drum 

Andrew WoolfolK 

These are just a few of the songs 
that exemplify Earth, Wind and Fire 
as the leading group of today. All 'N 
All We love you 

Al McKay 

Drum 63 



ii^ '^9HIh 


i^- ^& 

Frank Thornton 

(J'^ Drum 

"/ have returned to BUILD a Pyramid" 

Carl Yates 
Drum 65 


It's difficult to choose a world 

when you're scared to take a step, 
but it's even harder to make a choice, 

without ever having a regret: 
living with regret is not hard, 

but when your feelings do come through, 
who can tell you how to act, 

or just what it is you'll do — 

The feelings that I have for you, 

are feelings hard to show, 
the expression that is on my face, 

may not be the one you know, 
I'm touched by your concern for me, 

but never by your hand, 
allow me to enter your mind one day, 

maybe then you'll understand 

Let's not do it through the phone this time, 

or photographs or ink, 
yes, why not try it through our mind, 

just tell me what you think; 

it's not that hard to visualize, 

the obstacles you have gone through; 
perhaps it hasn't dawned on you, 

I may have faced them too. 

Barbara Jeffcoat 

66 Drum 

You're Perfect My Love 

You must have come from 

a distant point on Rigel, 
for I could never have 

imagined anyone as divine as you — 

a complexion as clear 

and as gold as honey; 
eyes like deep black coal, 

with a single flame 

burning within their midst; 
an angelic face, 

one that would make even Eros feel inferior. 

You make my days, my nights, and my life, 
You are perfection my love, 
and our love is indeed perfect. 

a body like none I've ever seen, 

as stern and firm and strong as a tree; 

a mind as complex as a computer 

yet you make everything seem so simple; 

and your soul my love, is like a church, 
always open and full of faith. 

You make my days, my nights, and my life. 
You are perfection my love, 
and our love is indeed perfect. 

Barbara Jeffcoat 

Photograph by Edward Cohen 

Drum 67 

We were trying to 
find the functionai 
art. In this quest I 
ran into a door and 
then many more— 
but not a maze, 
rather an ordered 
function based on 
its reality. For me 
the spirituality of 
the image/doors of 
Totems. Totems 
fashioned with a 
memory of Middle 
Passage Portholes, 
structured lil<e Afro- 
American Turf 
Boards and Shields 
to protect in the 
Wilderness of North 
America. 1 deal in 
substructures since 
understanding Mid- 
dle Kingdom Egyp- 
tian painting and ex- 
amining the order of 
the doors of the Oba 
of Benin. 

There are other 
l<inds of bridges 
than those which 
span water and con- 
nect land. There are 
bridges which span 
time and space to 
connect souls. And 
so doors have 
become my bridges. 
Nelson Stevens 

68 Drum 

Step Back in Real Joy, Turf-Board Series 

Nelson Stevens 

What is an Eno?— from page 28 
word of mouth communication, and 
the famous "talking drums." All 
ties with Afrika were supposedly 
severed. But, Afrikanism did sur- 
vive, and can be seen in the voice of 
the drum and the dancing in the 
churches of the South. 

The characteristics of Afrikan 
dance also remain the same: 1] 
bent knees, with the body close to 
the earth; 2) the use of the whole 
foot and immediate transfer of 
weight; 3] the isolation of body 
parts in movement; 4) the 
rhythmically complex and syn- 
copated movement; 5) the carrying 
of as many as two or three rhythms 
in the body at once (poly-rhythm); 6) 
the music and dance as a single ex- 
pression; 7] the individualism of 
style within a group style; and 8) 
the fimctionalism (becoming the art 
of "real life".) Fimctionalism can- 
not be understated, for Afrikans 
have always known that the dance 
is not just to have, but also to be. 
Lee Warren also says that "a sense 
of community is more basic in 
African culture than it is in our 
own. Each member of a society 
understands his role as one unit 
that is part of a whole. This com- 
mitment to a mutually shared loyal- 
ty, this awareness of who one is, 
can be envied by Americans 
bedevilled with an identity crisis. 
The torment of isolation is uncom- 
mon in traditional African com- 
munities." With the exception of 
the wizard or priest who does 

dance alone, Afrikans do not usual- 
ly dance for someone, but rather, 
with them. 

Of the two settings, the church 
and the social gathering, the 
church has remained much more 
traditional in terms of Afrikan 
dance (though not called dance 
because it was considered to be 
sinful) — free almost entirely from 
other influences. 

"The European influences on the 
dance expression of the slaves 
came primarily through specific 
steps from European folk sources. 
When the traditional African 
characteristics of rhythmic com- 
plexity and syncopation were com- 
bined with some of the movements 
of the European folk dances, the 
first development was tap dance in 
the mid 1800's. More precisely, tap 
dance was the earliest tangible 
development we are aware of. I am 
sure that hundreds of other 
developments occured which were 
never popularized or seen by 
whites and therefore were not in- 
stitutionalized in any way. The 
point about the institutionalization 
of dance is an important one. The 
beginnings of jazz dances for many 
people equalled its appearance on 
stage. For these people, the dance 
did not exist until it had gained the 
sanction of a socially accepted 
white institution," — as stated by 
Nontsizi Cayou, in her book, 
"Modern Jazz Dance." 

It is Ms. Cayou's last statement 
that I think bears the crux of pro- 

blems that arise in the presentation 
of traditional Pan-Afrikan dance or 
the true dances done among 
themselves by Afrikans. The fact 
that Afrikans, in the United States 
especially, do not/have not/will not 
build institutions to preserve their 
own cultural movements and 
dances is because of the lack of 
financial resources. The capitalism 
that still enslaves our brothers and 
sisters in Mozambique and Azania 
and pits our own against our own in 
the various forms of neo- 
colonialism, only offers further suf- 
frage to Black people the world 
over. Our mothers have told us that 
we don't put a fire out with another 
fire, but with water. In the face of 
vicious hatred, we must exhibit 
supreme love. . . for ourselves. In 
the face of fear, we must show a 
warrior-like courageousness. In the 
face of disunity, we must hold 
ourselves steady with faith, prayer, 
and patience. At the center of these 
stand our art forms, our image- 
makers. They can sway us one way 
or another. Our art forms can rock 
us passively to sleep, or they can 
rock us actively into overt action. 
We image-makers have an impor- 
tant role. Do we carry our role as 
our ancient ancestors did, bravely, 
and if necessry, against all odds for 
the sake of the commimity? Or, will 
we lay down our arms and submit 
to the ravishing neon lights and 
American corporate individual- 
ism? This is my question to you. For 
I, am "Eno." 

Drum 69 

Staff Collage 

Margarita Vargas 

70 Drum 

FESTAC 1977 

Reflections by 

Nelson Stevens 
Documented by 

Lisa DiRocco 

The Second World Black and 
African Festival of Arts and 
Culture, or FESTAC 77, took place 
in Lagos, Nigeria from January I3 
to February 12, 1977; 15,000 ar- 
tists from 57 lands assembled to 
share their variegated creations 
and ideas and to realize and take 
pride in our common heritage. 

For the official opening of 
FESTAC 77 in the National 
Stadium, 60,000 spectators 
assembled to witness over two 
hours of colorful regalia, music, 
dancing and songs as the con- 
tingents from each country parad- 
ed around the huge track, carrying 

their nation's flag and its banner, 
and wearing national costumes. 

They stopped before the receiv- 
ing stand holding Lt. General 
Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's head 
of state and Festac's official host, 
plus other dignitaries representing 
foreign lands; the groups paused 
while acrobats or dancers enter- 
tained the officials and the au- 

The procession was led by an 
Ethiopian sword carrier and ended 
with Nigerian dancers balancing 
flaming urns on their heads. In be- 
tween were Brazilian women 
costumed for Mardi Gras, Gui- 
neans walking on 14 foot stilts, 
Aborigines from Australia, belly 
dancers and acrobats from Egypt. 
After each nation introduced itself 
to the audience in its own way, the 
diverse peoples walked arornid the 
track together. A lone rimner, 
dressed as Shango, the Yoruba god 
of thimder and lightning, carried a 
flame to the roof of the stadium to 
light a huge torch, and 1,000 
pigeons were freed into the air. 

The American artists repre- 
sented 24 states; among them were 
Nelson Stevens of the University of 
Massachusetts Art and WEB 
DuBois Departments and Bernard 
Bell of the UMass English Depart- 
ment. The participants caught a 
glimpse of the constellation of 
black artists scattered around the 
globe, and returned to the U.S. re- 
juvenated with international 


I had known about \he planning 
0/ YESIAC for many years and 
although I had no doubt it would 
tafte place, the question was 
always "when." The only thing I 
was sure 0/ was that whenever it 
would take place, I wanted to be 
there; not only because it would be 
the largest world festival of the 
arts, but for other reasons which 
are more profound. It is well known 
to most African Americans that the 
vast majority of us came from 
GUINEA COAST. And Nigeria, the 
host of FESTAC '77 is central to this 

location. So in a sense it is a rever- 
sal of the process — going past the 
auction block and the middle 
passage and returning home after 
four hundred years. 

Another reason for my great an- 
ticipation has to do with the culture 
of YOEUBA-LAND. The Yoruba 
heritage of transported blacks has 
survived the middle passage 
journey and makes itself felt from 
Brazil and Haiti as well as New 
York City. I think of the Yoruba 
GOD of Thunder SHANGO every 
time I look from my NEW ENGLAND 
window to witness "the Devil 
beating his wife". It was also this 
area of the world that produced the 
art forms which have revolutioniz- 
ed the twentieth century concepts 
of art and aesthetics. All these 
things were going through my head 
at the ].F. Kennedy airport in 
January 1977 where Jeff Donaldson 
had started to explain some of the 
experiences that we could an- 
ticipate as participants in FESTAC 

A sister in the group asked about 
Nigerian food and water in 
reference to health. Jeff replied, 
"We have been eating bad food for 
so long that when we get some good 
food some of us will probably get 

Not many of us got sick and most, 
if not all, satisfied our personal and 
collective goals. The only drawback 
I can imagine is that about two hun- 
dred of us who attended FESTAC 
on the first flight to LAGOS missed 
seeing Alex Haley's Roots. I do not 
think it a drawback in any sense, 
for personally, for three weeks I 
felt like the whole tree with deep 
strong and healthy roots. 

Our contingency of 200 Afro 
Americans were delivered outside 
the stadium to participate in the 
procession. We stood amid lines of 
costumed participants being view- 
ed by great crowds of Nigerians, 
assembled to watch the festivities. 
We arranged ourselves along side 
the people from Zaire, men and 
women dressed entirely in green 
garb, sporting the silkscreened por- 
trait of their country's president. 

Drum 71 

Each representative group, with 
the exception of the U.S. wore such 
unifying and identifying costumes. I 
became very conscious of this, but 
recognized our group as having our 
own unique dress too. The 'uni- 
forms' we wore varied according to 
life styJes of the Afro Americans 
present. We hod peopie in bare 
feet, sandaJs, people with Frye 
boots and platform shoes. We hod 
very great extremes in terms of the 
drqss our contingency represented 
as national costume. The United 
States did not supply us with uni- 
forms for the venture as most of the 
other governments did. Most gov- 
ernments represented also sent Na- 
tional Troupes to woJk into the 
stadium, very much like the Olym- 
pics. We were given an American 
flag as weJJ as an identifying ban- 
ner. Our collective decision though, 
was not to carry the flag. Rather 
than walk in with the stars and 
stripes, we chose to carry only the 
banner. Our next decision was 
what we were going to do while in- 
side, parading around the stadium 
traclc. We decided to sing "Lift 
Every Voice. . ."and began prac- 
ticing. But the anthem became very 
weak in the second stanza, and we 
decided to leave it alone. Our final 
agreement was to sing "Amen". 

When we entered the stadium it 
seemed as though I had never seen 
so many bJack people before in my 
life. A sea of sixty thousand black 
faces. As we entered singing 
"Amen" the gathering seemed to 
unify and the song was picked up 
by each area we passed. They 
threw positive gestures at us, say- 
ing some very nice things that f can- 
not recaU now. I do remember 
thinking that as we represented the 
most diverse group in terms of 
dress, we also had the most varied 
racial breakup of any group. We 
had people in our contingency who 
could pass for white, as well as for 
any of the African countries that 
attended. And I distinctly 
remember friends of mine, trying to 
find themselves among one of the 
tribes on the African continent, the 
people that most resembled them. 

The experience of that five 
minute processional spanned a 
lifetime. Gathered in the presence 
of more black people then we had 
been with before, 1 felt my feet 

never touched the ground for the 
entire four hundred meters. 

Our reception at the festival was 
extremely warm and we were 
saluted very highly. Upon returning 
to the United States I heard and 
read reports identifying us as the 
vagabonds. The ones without 
uniforms, f don't think this was felt 
by any of us while marching. We 
were representing ourselves as 
ourselves and the rest of the Afro- 
Americans who could not go. 

The feeling I think most of us 
came away with, was that of par- 
ticipating in a collective baptismal 
on a world stage. Baptised in a sea 
of faces and feelings. We were 
treated as that part of an extended 
family who had been away for a 
long time and had finally come 
home. This feeling was made real 
by the Nigerians and the other peo- 
ple represented during our entire 


For the next four weeks, artists 
travelled around the city to the 
various exhibits to meet other ar- 
tists and view their work. There 
were traditional and contemporary 
displays in all mediums: from 
folkloric theatre to a staging of of 
Eugene Perkins satiric drama, 
"The Image Makers", about 
Hollywood's black exploitation 
films. From Burundi came 7-foot 
Tutsi dancers, and girls from the 
Ivory Coast did fertility dances, 
while a modern dance troupe from 
Brazil conveyed their statements in 
body movement. Artists met and 
discussed their work and its rela- 
tionship to their culture; new 
understandings ensued. 


After checking out the art ex- 
hibits of all the nations represented 
in the National Theatre, I kept com- 
ing back to the works of Malanga- 
tana Ngwenya. Everywhere I went 
afterward I told people that I 
wanted to meet the monster artist 
from Mozambique named Malango- 
tana, because I really dug his con- 
cept of man as a natural force, and 
his ability to deal with Western 
techniques within an African sen- 

We were introduced in the Na- 
tional Theater by an Oriental man 
from Mozambique who said 
Malangatana was looking just as 
hard for me. Malangatana and I got 
along well and we spent the next 
three days together. By day we at- 
tended art exhibits where he would 
explain the Africanness of form, 
the political implications of symbols 
and icons in each picture, while I 
did the same from my background; 
at night we would do drawings for 
each other talking of the 
similarities and differences in line 
and rhythms to better understand 
each other's strokes. Despite being 
an artist of international reputation 
and minister of culture for Mozam- 
bique, he is one of the warmest peo- 
ple and one of the best teachers I 
have ever had the privilege of 
knowing. At the end of this learning 
encounter, we gave each other 
several drawings. I am sure on both 
exchanges, that I got the best of the 
deal. Thank you, Malangatana 


The theme of technology versus 
tradition was a common concern 
among scholars, too. For two 
weeks, a Colloquivun of 700 intellec- 
tuals participated in an inter- 
change of ideas on the general 
theme of "Black Civilization and 
Education." Academics pursued 
such topics as a means to improve 
research in Africa and greater 
freedom of expression. They 
discussed the problem of allowing 
scholars more academic freedom in 
a continent where most of the 
universities are government fimd- 
ed. Many presented papers ex- 
pressing fear that by bringing in 
Western technology, Africa may 
also bring in undesirable Western 
values such as racism and the dif- 
fusion of African traditional 

The First World Black and 
African Festival of Arts and 
Culture took place in 1966 in 
Dakar, Senegal. Plans were made 
at that time for the second festival 
to be held in Lagos in 1970 but 
because of Nigeria's civil war from 
1967-1970, the festival had to be 
postponed. Other emergencies 
caused further delay. When a 

Continued on page 74 

72 Drum 


Drum 73 

FESTAC— from page 72 
definite date was finally settled, 
Lagos rushed to prepare itself for 
its future guests. 

At a cost of $60 million, a new 
National Theatre was constructed. 
There, scholars would present 
their papers and exchange 
thoughts; dramas would be staged; 
other visual artists would exhibit 
paintings, sculptures and films; 
musicians and dancers would 
display their art. 

The National Theatre resembles 
an ark — it was designed by the 
Nigerians AAdth the concept of 
Noah's Ark in mind — the idea that 
people would come two by two from 
around the world. The streets were 
cleaned and lamposts decorated 
with banners and flags of the 
Festival's emblem; a government 
order was issued forbidding 
automobiles on the city streets 
every other day, to reduce traffic 
jams. The population in Lagos is 2 

Six miles outside Lagos, FESTAC 
Village was constructed, an $80 
million housing project for the par- 
ticipants and others who travelled 
to Lagos to view the festival. Con- 
struction of FESTAC Village was 
not complete when the artists ar- 
rived; they stayed there, anyway, 
and construction continued. Other 
complications which plagued the 
Nigerians for the festival included 
an dispute with Britain over rights 
to the Royal Ivory Mask of Benin, 
emblem for FESTAC 17. 

The 16th century ivory mask was 
worn by Benin kings during 
religious ceremonies luitil 1897, 
when it was seized by the British 
during an invasion; it currently sits 
in the British museimi in London. 
Symbolically, the British refused to 
send the mask back to Africa for 
the festival — they feared it was too 
fragile. Finally, rights were 
secured so the Nigerians could 
register a replica of the mask and 
trademark it as the official emblem 
of the Festival. 


My most memorable day got o// 
to a slow start. \\. was about ten 
days a/ter we got there. We were 
standing around waiting /or the 
buses, wY^ich were Jote — \\ wasn't 

unusual io have Xo waif a Jong time, 
and I got tired o/ doing ihat. Ed 
Spriggs told me he was going to the 
International Secretariat 

Building — which was where ihe 
structural unit /or Xhe entire 
FESTAC was located, so I went with 

When we got there I passed out 
cards of work that I was doing. This 
drew a crowd for two reasons. One 
was the art work, the other was 
because there is a paper shortage 
and I was passing out paper. That's 
a phenomenon that I /ound was 
strange there. 

Two of the people that I met 
while passing out cards introduced 
themselves to me. One was named 
Gbenga, the other Ayo. I knew they 
were both Yoruba hy their names 
and they told me that they worked 
for Fela, who is a very popular 
musician in Nigeria. "Fela Ransone 
Kuti." "Nol Fela Anikulapo-Kuti." 

I had heard of Fela, so I took out 
a Malcolm X card, and wrote 
"Brother Fela, from one artist to 
another — I would like to see more 
of Nigeria. Signed, Nelson." And 
added my flat number in the 
FESTAC village. 

That was about noon. When I got 
hack to my flat at midnight, I was 
putting the key in the door. 
Napoleon, "the Weaver," Hender- 
son, my roommate, had not come in 
yet, and I realized there was 
someone crouched at the foot of the 
door. At first I was startled; then 
the man got up and explained that 
he had been sent to bring me to 
Fela. So I went in and quickly got a 
bunch of things — camera, silk- 
screen, some prints and different 
things that I thought I might need 
and extended an invitation to 
Ademoia Olugede/ola. He declined. 

Then we went down and he 
/lagged down a passing car. He just 
stood right in the middle of the road 
and made the car stop. He told the 
driver the two of us wanted to go to 
Mushin. He and the driver had a lit- 
tle argument, hut the driver decid- 
ed to take us when Fela's name was 

On the way there the man who 
was sent to get me explained that 
he had been waiting 10 hours and 
had /alien asleep. I was not to tell 
Fela about his sleeping. 

When we got to Fela's commune, 

the Kuti Republic, I noticed that it 
was surrounded by a high barbed 
wire fence. There were crowds 
everywhere — outside of the com- 
mune and inside, too. We pushed 
our way through to the gate and 
were cleared; we went inside. I was 
escorted to a large waiting room 
where I was served pineapple, 
coconut, palm wine and cola nuts. 
They kept bringing me gifts and dif- 
ferent things to drink and eat — just 
good Nigerian hospitality and infor- 
mation about Fela. 

Fela came in and I presented him 
with my gift, a silk screen print I 
had done; I told him that I wanted 
to catch his concert that night at 
the African Shrine. The African 
Shrine is a nightclub that Fela owns 
and per/orms in. It's always filled 
to capacity because of its populari- 
ty. Fela then invited me to a recor- 
ding session of his music, which 
would take place after the concert. 

Fela began talking to me about 
his religion and his music. He and 
his people are Yoruba. They are not 
Christian and they are not Islamic. 
They believe Islam and Christianity 
are both corrupt subversives from 
outside Africa. For them, the only 
indigenous African religions were 
those that had been there through 
the ancestors, like Yoruba. Fela 
wanted to draw on that traditional 
experience as a basis for his 
politics and music. 

We talked a long time about the 
United States and FESTAC. Fela 
wanted to know a great deal about 
both. He was very politically aware 
of what was happening in the 
United States to his Brothers and 
Sisters. He remembers that those 
who were educated abroad — 
either in the United States or 
Europe or even Russia — had come 
back in Western suits, and with 
Western mentalities. "Western 
Suits and Western Minds.'" 

In the sixties, he saw on televi- 
sion, brothers in the streets of the 
U.S. very proud of their African 
heritage and African traditions, 
trying to revitalize and revive them. 
He said it gave him a great sense of 
'correctness' in terms of his own 
movement. It allowed him see on a 
larger scale what was happening, 
and to reject some of the Western 

We left the Kuti Republic for the 

74 Drum, 

African Shrine which was just two 
bJocks away. We waJked, and all 
along the wolJtways on either side 
of the procession of people follow- 
ing Fela, there were spectators. 
They were standing, clapping and 
hollering, Tela for president/'; 
'FeJa's my man!'; and 'Fela's a had 
niggaV He's a very powerful man. 
He possesses the charismatic 
strength of Muhammed Ali, James 
Brown, Stevie Wonder, and O.J. 
Simpson aJJ forming one Yoruba 
deity. His performance at the 
African Shrine that night was pack- 
ed with people dancing and 
Jaughing in total freedom. 

Fela's music is caJJed Afro-Beat. 
They did a number caJJed 'Africa is 
Upside Down,' which was about 
how the rich get richer and the 
poor poorer. Nigeria is the sixth 
largest oil exporter in the world, 
and Fela is very concerned with the 
poor getting a share of some of 
Nigeria's new weaJth. After the 
concert we went to the recording 
session with his 16 piece band, 
eight women singers, and road 
managers, Ayo and Gbenga. 

Despite his heavy scheduJe, FeJa 
and I became very good friends 
over the next weelc and he wanted 
Gbenga to show me and some other 
peopJe around. Gbenga wouJd come 
to FESTAC ViUage and get a bus; it 
seemed as though he couJd get one 
much easier through his channels 
than we could through ours. So they 
secured several buses for us to see 
oJd slave quarters, Benin beaches 
and Yoruba ceremonies while the 
East coast of the U.S. was engulfed 
in the coldest winter in memory. 

They also took us to a Shango 
Priest where I was given my name, 
after telling my life's story. The 
priest did not speak directly to me 
but had an interpreter. Frank 
Smith, Adger Cowans, David 
Stevens, Vincent Smith and I went 
on that trip and I believe we were 
all given names. 

I was given the name Oya Deli. At 
first I didn't understand, because 
Oya's a woman's name. I said, 
'Why do you give me Shango's 
wife's name?' He was delighted 
that I knew. Then he told me Deli 
meant at home. So my name means 

the goddess Oya would be at home 
with me. 

When I got back to the United 
States, I read in the papers that the 
Nigerian government had ran- 
sacked the commune. There were 
rumors that at least one person 
was dead. I was very worried about 
a lot of people. Since that time I've 
gotten calls to alleviate me from 
those worries. But the Nigerian 
government was very rough on 
Fela's people after we left. I felt 
very safe when I was with Fela, and 
his friends; I did not realize that 
while we were there we were pro- 
tecting him. 


At the closing ceremony, all the 
nations assembled one last time, 
and danced a final dance together. 
The feelings of solidarity reached 
their height when Commander O.P. 
Fingese, the festival president, 
declared, "We are no longer the 
third world. We are the first 

"For the first time," said musi- 
cian Bayo Martins, "it dawned on 
me that all black people have one 
thing in common, a culture and a 
heritage. I believe in the spirit of 
FESTAC, the need for black people 
to get together and rekindle their 
consciousness and confidence." 

An excerpt from the Nigerian 
Daily Times reveals the task under- 
taken by past participants in 
FESTAC, and the goal of FESTAC 

"There is a black nation, a black 
world. It is a world whose citizens 
are spread all aroimd the globe, a 
world whose peoples share not only 
a tradition of customs, but also of 
ethical values. And it is these 
values that demand that we exert 
ourselves, not only in the reahn of 
art, but also in the realm of politics. 
The black world must continue to 
see its civilization and its freedom 
as threatened so long as a single 
black man or woman remains op- 
pressed anywhere in the world. 
This is the inescapable challenge 
which this gathering has placed 
before us." 

Drum 75 

by Kelly Wright and 
Diane Mitchell 

The Amherst area has been sub- 
ject to a distinct rise in the 
awareness and appreciation of 
Black Classical Music. In the past 
years, the residents of this area 
have had the opportunity to host 
such giants as Max Roach, Marion 
Brown, and Archie Shepp. More 
recently, there has been a greater 
exposure of the vocal aspect of 
music. In expanding on this sub- 
ject. Drum held an interview with a 
dynamic jazz vocalist, Ms. Vea 

Vea is originally from Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania where she began per- 
forming with a group known as 
"Sisterhood." She describes this 
experience as being most reward- 
ing. For it was with these sisters 
that she developed the techniques 
necessary for being a lead singer. 
Vea reminisces fondly of the 
closeness and progressiveness of 
this group. 

In 1973, Vea travelled to Atlanta, 
Georgia where she lived for three 
years before moving to the Amherst 



She is now employed with the 
W.E.B. DuBois Department of 
African-American Studies at the 
University of Massachusetts, and 
has recently been performing in 
this area with the group 
"Welcome." Together, they create 
an atmosphere of harmony and 
love which Vea feels is the overall 
message to share with her au- 

Her inspiration stems from 
dynamic women and artists such as 
Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, 
Dinah Washington and Betty 
Carter. Like these artists, Vea feels 
committed to the music she sings. 

Photograph by Ana Andreu 

Many artists of Black Classical 
Music have been pressured to alter 
their style of music to obtain sup- 
port by a commercial industry. A 
nimiber of artists have made this 
change, while many more will not. 
Vea believes she can carry her 
message to her audience without 
turning to the commercial industry. 

Members of Drum feel grovdng 
artists such as Vea Williams can be 
recognized in their field with the 
consistent support of listeners. 

We feel it is essential that we 
support our brothers and sisters in 
their endeavors of unity, on this 
campus and throughout the world. 

16 Brum 

The Idea of Duke 

". . .As though I were some very, very 
special child, my mother would say, "Ed- 
ward, you are blessed. You don't have 
anything to worry about. Edward, you are 

Here we find ourselves dealing with a vast 
field of colors, colors that stand out of a 
long tunnel of memory. Somewhere from 
very deep inside dwells the urge to 
manipulate these colors in space. It always 
seems quite natural to know that Duke once 
studied painting, and considered making 
that his primary craft, and not music. Who 
knows? But it is certain that Duke's mother 
was right, Ellington was "blessed" and any 
art form he encountered would have been 
enriched by his blessed vision. Mercer El- 
lington has noted the relationship of his 
father's music to painting; the way Duke 
had of establishing and maintaining an ever 
evolving sense of tonecolor and textures. 
The complex palette of sound springs from 
every musical source imaginable; but are yet 
linked implicitly to the elegance and elo- 
quence of the blues. 

But Duke's idea though texturally com- 
plex is undergirded by his firm sense of the 
role of the individual in the overall ensemble 
of color making and design. Duke's idea 
here stands for me as the model of the ideal 
society, the ideal social system. Duke El- 
lington was both aristocratic and 
democratic as an orchestra leader. On the 
one side of the sensibility we have the ability 
to make aesthetic judgements not only 
about music, but about people also. In this 
manner Ellington constructs for us a new 
kind of aristocracy, first a Duke must lead. 
But he must also listen as he leads if he is to 
be able to secure his kingdom. So that when 
one considers the idea of Duke we encounter 
a unique artistic relationship between Duke 
and the exemplary members of his or- 
chestra, the sense of a collective will to 
create ones own personality within the en- 
semble (the nation), but also to create for 

the sheer purpose of adding to the beauty of 
the ever emerging musical idea. This is what 
I mean by the democratic idea symbolized 
by Duke's orchestral history and concep- 

So for me Ellington's artistic method and 
intelligence constitutes the basis for a 
"governmental form". This form is both na- 
tional and international in scope. Yet like 
Ellington's music it maintains a specific 
ethos, a specific cultural reference and firm- 
ness of identity amidst the confusion of the 
world. This intelligence is both meditative 
and active. It is both sensual and at other 
times austere. But it is never afraid to see 
what it sees. (Max Roach's anecdote about 
the recording session with Mingus and El- 
lington comes to mind: Duke said that 
Max's drum solo should picture a lovely 
flower in a quiet rain forest that is suddenly 
attacked by a snake.) So now we find 
ourselves talking about an intelligence that 
is also poetic as well as visual. An aspect of 
the idea of Duke which is the attempt to 
keep his music encyclopedic. Duke's music 
is never really parochial in any real sense of 
the word. Perhaps that is because the entire 
body of his work indicates a merger between 
the science of music, emotional density and 
the rhythmic wisdom of the blues. 

As an out-chorus one wonders whether 
Duke's musical idea can be consciously ex- 
tended to the realms of government and 
society? Is the orchestral idea no less worthy 
of being a paradigm of government than the 
human body? Consider the minute connec- 
tion between Ellington and the brilliant col- 
leagues that surrounded him, the interming- 
ling and blending of diverse voices to create 
the shape of Duke's idea. And like Ellington 
we have been blessed, blessed to have heard 
him and to have helped create him. 

Larry Neal 4/23/78 

^Music is My Mistress by Duke Ellington 

Drum 77 

In Praise of the Coonville Brigade 

The arrival of Africans in the Western 
World changed more than a few things in 
America. The Africans' ability to synthesize 
their own diverse cultures and to 
transform— or personalize— the values of 
whites and Indians, resulted in a new facet 
of human experience. An American cultural 
militia was formed, a militia that fought 
many campaigns against the European con- 
ventions that could not speak to the realities 
experienced by African-Americans of that 
era. The changes affected by those African- 
Americans in American music, humor, and 
dance is a significant part of this country's 
culture, just as the Jews and Germans have 
affected European thought over the last two 
hundred years. 

I choose to call the African- Americans in- 
volved in those changes the Coonville 
Brigade partially because the name is 
huniorous, and partially because I envision 
an assemblage of musicians and dancers 
marching in constant rag tag, elegant and 
arrogant review, extending from sawers of 
plantation fiddles to manipulators of the 
many buttons on saxophones, from "pattin 
juba" to Diane Mclntyre. They are the war- 
riors who have won more international 
respect and sparked more international 
emulation than any other single group of 
American performing artists. 

African-Americans have been at the in- 
tersections of American development since 
their arrival: changing the way people 
season and cook their foods, how they 
walk, talk, listen to, sing and play music. 
And simultaneously, African-Americans 
have been influenced by the improvisational 
nature of America. It is a country that 
evolved through invention and adaptation. 

It is the musical arena that the Coonville 
Brigade has made its most obvious impact, 
not only in the development of the Spiritual, 
but in maintaining fresh ideas and percep- 
tions of popular music and art. It is very dif- 
ficult to imagine popular song, from 

Stephen Foster to the present, without 
thinking of those African-Americans who 
ignited that first spark. (Though it is just as 
important to know that there were black 
composers in the 19th century who were 
quite popular during the rage of the "Ethio- 
pian Airs.") In high art there is the music 
known — some might say misnomered — as 
jazz, which has been responsible for innova- 
tions in form, harmony, melody, and in- 
strumental technique. The innovations of 
black musicians have allowed us, in the 20th 
century, to hear trumpets, saxophones, 
basses, trombones, drums, flutes, even syn- 
thesizers, very differently than they were in- 
tended to be heard. In fact, the saxophone 
has replaced the strings (violin and cello) as 
an instrument of intricacy and sensitivity; it 
does for American music what those other 
instruments did for European concert music. 

Statements like those above are often 
dismissed as self-defensive, ignorant ran- 
tings, or chauvinistic by the cultural politics 
encountered in most academic institutions. 
Many others know very little about the 
sources of the styles to which they have 
become so accustomed. They might think, 
for example, that there were indeed drum 
majors in Europe who knew how to strut 
while twirling and catching their batons. 
They would, as Martin Williams pointed 
out, be surprised to find that the true 
originators served in the Coonville Brigade. 

When we think of the many, many con- 
tributions that have come from members of 
the Brigade, we can better understand the 
heroic possibilities of human life. We can 
better understand Duke Ellington's dictum: 
"The good thing about a problem is that it 
allows you an opportunity to invent 
something better than you were given." And 
all the medals of honor are all those com- 
plimentary extensions of those innovations. 

Stanley Crouch 

78 Drum 

















© 1978 

Courtesy Duke Ellington Center, New York City 

Drum 79 

80 Drum 


by Jorge Medina 

Those of us that are into contem- 
porary Afro-American music, 
whether we call it jazz, fimk, disco. 
Salsa, or Brazillian, have realized 
that the last few years has brought 
an intensive exchange of ideas and 
styles between Afro-American and 
Latin-American Musicians. Two 
good examples are Gil Scott-Heron 
and Eddie Palmieri. The reasons 
for this are many, but it is essential 
for us to realize that no matter 
what the modern influences and 
processes are, one thing is certain: 
our music — Salsa, Afro-American, 
Carribbean, or whatever — is 
similar today because of a common 
heritage, our common roots. 

North and West Africa have 
greatly influenced not only New 
World, or American music, but 
have also helped to mold the music 
of people from throughout the 
world. Eastern people, like the 
Arab and Islamic people, may also 
make the same claim. Prior to the 
discovery of the Americas, 
southern Spain was a center of 
Islamic culture from the seventh to 
the sixteenth century. As such, 
there was a diffusion of Islamic 
music and thought to the rest of the 

A more recent period, the 1930's 
to the present, offers us several 
musical talents that helped 
stimulate the type of exchange 
about which we are talking. 
Machito and Mario Bauza, Afro- 
Cuban greats, and Duke Ellington 
and Charlie Parker of the Afro- 
American culture, are among those 
talents. Many others deserve 
credit, including Stan Kenton, but 
one figure in particular stands 
out — the great Afro-Cuban percus- 
sionist Chano Pozo. 

Born in Cuba in 1915, Chano 
Pozo was a third generation Latin- 
American. His roots, therefore, 
were firmly planted in the Mother 
continent — Africa. Like most of us, 
he was a victim of oppression, hav- 
ing to face harsh conditions of 
poverty and racism throughout his 
life. The experience of going to 
prison was not absent from 
Chano's life, and he later became a 
counselor for other inmates — 
never having forgotten from 

whence he came. Despite the 
pressures (or perhaps due to them), 
Chano became an expert inter- 
preter and creator of Cuban music. 

Pozo, whose real name was Lu- 
ciano Pozo y Gonzales, played pro- 
fessionally in Cuba for some time. 
Like most artists, he held many dif- 
ferent jobs — jobs that had nothing 
to do with music. Nevertheless, he 
maintained an impeccable and 
highly creative style of Afro-Cuban 
drumming, which many feel has 
never been equalled. Before com- 
ing to the United States, Poco, being 
a member of a local Comparsa^, 
participated in an Afro-Cuban 
religious cult. This cult, called 
Abakua, was a group whose beliefs 
and practices were not much dif- 
ferent from those held by the peo- 
ple in West Africa. 

New York, the center of Latin 
and Afro-American music then and 
now, was Pozo's first home here in 
the States. Having been persuaded 
to come to this country by Miguelito 
Valdez, the famous Afro-Cuban 
musician, singer, and composer, 
Pozo arrived during a time when 
Latin music was receiving a signifi- 
cant amoxmt of attention. Musi- 
cians like Machito, Mario Bauza, 
and Vicente Sigler were enjoying 
great popularity as they played 
their Cuban and Puerto Rican 
rhythms to thousands. Afro- 
American music was also enjoying 
much celebration. The big band era 
had begun with the musical genius 
of several Afro-American masters. 
But the music was not the only 
thing people were relishing; dances 
like the "Swing," the "Conga," and 
the "Mumbo," were all very 

Chano Pozo met Dizzy Gillespie, a 
jazz trumpeter and band leader, 
sometime in the forties. Pozo "sat- 
in" with Gillespie's orchestra and 
was hired to work with the group 
shortly thereafter. Afro-American 
music, or Bop, began receiving 
Latin influence via Chano Pozo. 
Unlike Bauza, whose influence was 
felt through musical arrangement, 
Chano was one of the few who in- 
fluenced the music as a partici- 
pant. Like many Latin American 
driunmers, he possessed rhythms 

that were new and revolutionary to 
many Afro-American musicians, 
and drummers in particular. It took 
a while for the Latin-Afro- 
American blend to jell, but it was 
not long before Bop rhythms in- 
creased in complexity and 

Latin-jazz or Afro-Cuban jazz 
was being created. Chano com- 
posed songs along these veins, 
songs like Tin-Tin-Deo and Guachi- 
Guaro, which was later recorded 
by Cal Tjader and retitled Soul 
Sauce. Other familiar tunes of the 
era were Afro-Blue and Night in 
Tunisia, as recorded by Charlie 
Parker. Many of the tunes recorded 
then can be heard at the jazz 
festivals of today. 

As too often happens with our 
leaders, be they musical forerun- 
ners, political activists, or spiritual 
comforts, Chano Pozo died a yovmg 
man. Having worked with Dizzy 
Gillespie for a year, Pozo met his 
death in a Harlem night-club. 
Curiously enough, his death oc- 
curred on the eve of the feast day 
of his patron god. Change. ^ 

Much more can be said. We have 
not really covered all of the give- 
and-take that our musicians have 
experienced between each other. 
We are witnessing yet another 
peak in the coming together of 
Afro-American, Latin-American, 
Salsa, and other African and New 
World music. This coming together 
on the stage, in the studio, concert 
hall and on the dance floor reflects 
our coming together as ONE 
people. When we listen to our new 
types of music, whether it be for 
relaxing, boogying, or hustling, let 
us remember folks like the legen- 
dary Chano Pozo. 


^ These were community based non- 
professional groups that practiced Afro- 
Cuban Dance and Music. Their main activity 
was preparation for competition in the An- 
nual Comparsa festivals. Los Dandy was one 
of the more popular of these groups. 

^ Chango is one of the many gods or 

"Orichas" of the Yoruba and other West 

African religions. He is among other things, 

god of the drums and father of all African 


Drum 81 

82 Drum 

Nelson Stevens 

Marion Brown 


for piano 

nia music 


Was inspired by the poetry of Jean Toomer, Harlem Renaissance Poet. It is a structured im- 
provisation for piano. There are two parts, both are connected by a motif in the bass. Part I, is 
based on the following lines from the poem Evening Song: 

"Cloine, curled like the sleepy waters where the moonwaves start" . . . 

Part II, 

"Cloine dreams, lips pressed against my heart" . . . 

The interpretation of the music is left to the Performer. What I have written serves only as 
reference for improvisation, and identification of the composition as specific melodically, 
rhythmically, and with regards to form. Because improvisation is the goal of the music, the Per- 
former is at liberty to choose tempo, dynamics, and length of performance. This is intended to 
give the Performer space in which to make the music live by combining what I have written (the 
composition), with how the Performer feels (his interpretation, and improvisations) about the 

I would like to thank the National Endowment For The Arts for helping to make the composi- 
tion and publication of this music possible through assistance given to me in the form of a 

Marion Brown 

84 Drum 

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by Janet Rausa 

Sonia Sanchez is one of the most 
talented, imaginative, and gifted 
writers of this era. She is an 
essayist, a playwright, a novelist, 
as well as a poet. Her works have 
been published in many periodicals 
and anthologies throughout the 
country. Of her many publications, 
the books, We the BaddDD People, 
It's a New Day, The Adventures of 
Fathead, Smallhead, and 
Squarehead, and A Blue Book For a 
Blue Black Magical Woman; the 
short story. After Saturday Night 
Comes Sunday; and the plays, 
Sister Sonji, and The Bronx is Next, 
are more well known. 

Ms. Sanchez is a graduate of 
Hunter College and received her 
doctorate degree in Himianities 
from Wilberforce University in 
1972. Since she graduated, Ms. 
Sanchez has been instrumental in 
setting up Black Studies programs 
across the coimtry. She helped 
establish the Black Studies pro- 
gram at San Francisco State Col- 
lege where the first Black Studies 
courses were made available in 
this country. She has taught 
classes in Black English, the Black 
Woman, and many other courses at 
Rutgers University, University of 
Pittsburgh, City College in New 
York, the University of Penn- 
sylvania, Amherst College, and is 
presently teaching at Temple 

Like many other writers, when 
asked how and when she started 
writing, Ms. Sanchez said she had 
been writing since she was a child. 
Because she stuttered when she 
was young, she started to write in 
order to communicate effectively 
with other people. She knew that 
people wouldn't necessarily wait 
for her to say what she wanted to 
say; therefore, she started to write 
down messages that she thought 
were important to get across to 
people. She grew accustomed to 
writing down her thoughts and feel- 
ings, and much of her ability to con- 
vey those feelings through poetry 

has stemmed from those early 

As far as her greatest source of 
information is concerned, there are 
many. One of Ms. Sanchez's main 
reasons for writing is to "tell peo- 
ple what is happening to them," 
and what "has happened to them." 
She said that she has been inspired 
by those people who have gone 
before her and have tried to 
achieve similar goals in their 
writing. Ms. Sanchez also said that 
she has been inspired by such poets 
as Margret Walker and Gwendolyn 

90 Drum 

Brooks whose goals have been to 
tell the truth about life and make 
people aware of themselves and 
their condition, and to show the 
beauty of the Black face. She has 
read many works by these and 
other poets and has tried to cap- 
ture their tradition of writing. 

Another major source of inspira- 
tion in her writing is children. Ac- 
cording to Ms. Sanchez, "children 
are so receptive to poetry and 
truth." They are uninhibited and 
free from the social pressures 
which are placed upon them in the 

Photograph by Debbie Lee 

adult world. They have no fears 
and reservations about life and 
death, therefore they can believe 
and accept the true feelings and 
emotions that are present in much 
of today's poetry. Many of her 
children's stories and poems are 
written for her own children, as 
well as for other children that she 
has met and grown close to. 

When asked if there was any 
relationship between the Nation of 
Islam and her poetry, Ms. Sanchez 
stated that every Black person 
writing today has had a relation- 

ship to the Nation of Islam. In the 
50' s, Elijah Muhammad told his 
people that they were Black and 
they didn't respond to him. Blacks 
didn't want to be told that they 
were Black because at that time. 
Black was considered dirty and not 
nice. Their feeling of self worth 
was lessened by being called Black. 
It wasn't until the arrival of 
Malcolm to the Nation of Islam that 
their feeling of self worth came full 
circle. Malcolm stood up and told 
the Black people that they were 
Black, and people started to listen 
to him. He was a young, vibrant 
speaker, and the people in the Na- 
tion started to say, 'maybe we are 
Black.' Malcolm made Blacks 
understand their history and the 
things that had happened to them 
in this country. This was very im- 
portant for the progress and 
growth of the Black people as a 
whole. "At this level," Ms. Sanchez 
states, "every writer that says, 'I'm 
a Black writer,' has had that rela- 
tionship with Malcolm and the Na- 
tion of Islam." He/she had been in- 
spired to tell the Black people that 
they are Black and show them what 
it means to be Black in this coimtry. 
Ms. Sanchez has foimd a variety 
of poetic techniques useful in her 
writing. She had read a lot of poets 
and gotten many techniques from 
the way those poets write. Like 
most other poets, Ms. Sanchez uses 
such techniques as imagery and 
alliteration to create a certain feel- 
ing or mood in her poetry. She has 
written almost every form of poetry 
imaginable; from the sonnet down 
to the ballad and the haiku form. 
Such things as Black english. Black 
dialect, unusual punctuation, 
slashes, and small letters are often 
used to stimulate a certain feeling 
or reaction from the poetry. She 
also makes use of musical notations 
and rhythm. In many of her poems, 
there are notations to clap hands, 
sing, or chant certain words or 
phrases. Ms. Sanchez stated that 
she uses every "element she 

Drum 91 

knows; colors, water, sun, and the 
sea." Everything she sees and feels 
when writing, she incorporates into 
her poetry. 

Ms. Sanchez was once quoted as 
saying she writes song poems. 
When asked to comment on what 
she meant by that, she stated that 
she heard music when she wrote 
many of her poems. For many years 
she heard the music and was temp- 
ted to sing her poems, but she never 
dared to. At a reading not too long 
ago, Ms. Sanchez took the chance 
and sung part of a poem. It worked. 
A new life and feeling was given to 
her poetry. From that point on, the 
singing, chanting, clapping, stutter- 
ing, and tapping were considered 
an important part of her poetry. 
Special notations for music and 
sound effects were essential to ful- 
ly luiderstand and feel her poetry. 

Rhythm is especially important 
in her children's stories. Ms. San- 
chez stated that there is a lot of 
rhythm and movement behind her 
children's "stuff." "You can hear 
clapping in the background and it's 
like a song." The rhythm creates a 
feeling of lightheartedness and 
playfulness which coincides with 
the whole idea of children and 

When asked about the possibility 
of writing an autobiography, Ms. 
Sanchez's main comment was, "I'm 
too young to write one." She feels 
that not enough has happened to 

her at this point in her life to write 
an autobiography now. Ms. San- 
chez stated that the best time to 
write an autobiography is when 
"you've reached that point in your 
lifetime when you tie up all that has 
happened to you and you can let 
people know how you've found 
yourself in the world." She stated 
that she needed more time to find 

As for the possible structure and 
writing of an autobiography when 
the time comes, Ms. Sanchez said 
that she would probably wait to a 
point in her life when she could see 
exactly what her life has meant. 
Then, with the help of a diary that 
she has kept for years, she would 
start from her early childhood and 
explain how she got to that point in 
her lifetime. 

Some people feel that the mean- 
ing of a poem changes when it is 
read aloud by the author as op- 
posed to being read silently by the 
reader. When asked how she felt 
about that, Ms. Sanchez said she 
didn't agree. The 'feeling' gotten 
from the poem may change because 
of the different emphasis put on dif- 
ferent words by the author, but the 
meaning of the poem remains the 
same. Ms. Sanchez feels that there 
is a private relationship between 
the reader and the poet during a 
reading that creates the meaning 
and feeling of a poem. She feels 

that it is important for a reader to 
Hsten to a poet's reading and then 
go back and read the poem 
him/herself remembering the way it 
was read by the poet. By doing so, 
the reader gets his own feeling 
from the poem as well as the 
writer's, and combined, the reader 
gets a 'total' feeling. Ms. Sanchez 
feels that there can be a variety of 
feelings gotten from just one piece 
of poetry. There is no one 'way' to 
imderstand a poem or one 'feeling' 
gotten from a poem, that is more 
important than any other. It is the 
combined emotion which creates 
the meaning of a poem. 

According to Ms. Sanchez, 
"Poetry is universal." It is 
something that people all over the 
world can read and enjoy. No mat- 
ter what shape, form, or language 
poetry is found in, it leaves the 
reader with a certain feeling and 
emotion that is known the world 
round. Although every individual 
who reads poetry gets a very in- 
dividualistic feeling from it 
based on their own past ex- 
periences, there is an overall warm 
and gentle feeling that remains in 
the hearts and souls of everyone. 
Poems written by Sonia Sanchez 
are no different. The deep feeling 
of warmth and love remains 
whenever one listens to her read 
her poems aloud, or reads them in 
their own silence. 


by Debbie Lee 

Elizabeth Yoimg and Kenneth R. 
Chin, who is currently an En- 
vironmental Health major at the 
University of Massachusetts in 
Amherst, were taken into custody 
by the Secret Service on October 4, 
1975. The news headlines flashed 
that the Secret Service had aborted 
a suspected assassination plot 
against Emperor Hirohito of Japan. 
At that time. Emperor Hirohito was 
making a historical first visit to the 
United States. 

After making international news 
with this arrest of the Chinese- 
American couple, the Secret Ser- 
vice quietly handed them over to 
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco 
and Firearms for prosecution. The 
Secret Service had found no 
evidence to support and charge 
them with any kind of violation. 

The Government first placed Liz 
on trial alone. The charges were 
for conspiracy and transport of a 
firearm illegally into New York 
from California (this firearm was 
the alleged potential danger to the 
Emperor.) Liz was acquitted of the 

conspiracy charge. There was a 
himg jury on the second charge 
because the jurors could not come 
to an agreement on the illogical in- 
terpretation of the residence 
clause of the Federal Gun Control 
Act of 1968 given them by the 

The government then decided to 
place Liz and Kenny on trial 
together, for literally the same 
charges that were placed on Liz 
during the first trial. This time, the 
jury was prompted to interpret the 
term residence (from the residence 
clause of the Federal Gtui Control 
Act of 1968], as equated to domicile 
by the Chief Judge Mishler. This 
automatically rules out one of the 
exceptions to the Gun Control Act: 
a person may transport a firearm 
across state lines if he has dual 
residency. With the Chief Judge 
Mishler' s new interpretation, this 
clause no longer held in that court 
since a person may only have one 
domicile. At this second trial, the 
jury fouind Liz guilty of illegal 
transport of a firearm. They found 
Kenny guilty of both conspiracy 
and the illegal transport of the 
same firearm. 

Both Liz and Kenny (licensed 
hunters] claim not guilty of 
violating the Federal Gun Control 
Act. Liz had bought the rifle with 
legal identifications while in 
residence in California. Liz was 
moving from one state of residence 
to another when she brought the 
gim along with the rest of her 
belongings to New York from 
California. The Gun Control Act 
makes the exception of transport- 
ing one's personal firearm when 
moving from one state to another. 

According to an interview with 
Liz, "The whole thing was what 
they called selective investigation 
and prosecution. The fact that I 
have bought a rifle, I guess, gave 
them the excuse for the original ar- 
rest. Actually, the Federal Gun 

Control Act has rarely been enforc- 
ed. This law was basically enacted 
to regulate commercial trade of 
firearms across state lines. In fact, 
about three months ago, there was 
a feature article in New York 
Magazine called 'Nice People Who 
Owned Guns.' There was a picture 
of this woman who was saying that 
she went to Arizona and bought a 
gun which she brought back to New 
York with her. She didn't know that 
there were any laws. Yet, nobody 
arrested her. They pursued this 
law vigorously as their justification 
for their original action against 

It seems that at the time of 
Emperor Hirohito's visit to the U.S., 
the Secret Service was under 
tremendous pressure because of 
the attempts on President Ford's 
life by Lynette Fronune and Sara 
Jane Moore. Once the Secret Ser- 
vice had arrested Liz and Kenny to 
so called prevent an assassination 
plot on Hirohito's life, they could 
not free them even though there 
were no evidence to support the 
charges. More headlines would be 
made to question the Secret Ser- 
vice's ability to do their job. 

The question still remains as to 
why the Secret Service picked Liz 
and Kenny as their Scapegoats. Liz 
offers some possible explanations, 
"Both Kenny and I were very active 
in the Chinatown community, 
especially me, having been the first 
woman director of a youth program 
in Chinatown. Both Kenny and I 
have been actively working in the 
health field. We helped to organize 
the first Chinatown health fair in 
1971. . . , We were very vocal, that 
made us good targets. People who 
stand out are easy targets, this 
doesn't mean people shouldn't 
stand out and they shouldn't try to 
change things." 

"The only thing I can think of, is 
they [Secret Service) are trying to 
moke an example of us, I think that 

Drum 93 

by arresting us, they were trying to 
subdue and discourage the kind of 
community activities and organiz- 
ing that was happening in the 
Asian-American communities, 
something which is very new. So by 
arresting two of the most active 
local organizers and workers in 
Chinatown, I think the Secret Ser- 
vice thought that they may he able 
to discourage other people from 
getting involved." 

From being involved in this case, 
Liz has learned that, "We are stiJJ 
minorities in the eyes of the legal 
systems and judges. We were col- 
ored people. It was a hard reality 
we faced, but I have learned from 
it. This was a lesson I can share, in 
terms of the legal system, you have 
to have a big name or lots of money, 
or you ore of the white middle 
class. Otherwise, you don't have a 
chance unless you fight for it, 
unless you moke sure and are 
prepared to deal with what will 
happen to you." 

What happened to Liz and Kenny 
is not unique in terms of the Asian- 
American Community of the United 
States. Other cases such as the ar- 
rest of the Tarn brothers of Boston 
a couple of years ago can be cited 
where the law picked to arrest the 
non-whites involved in an incident, 
rather than the white-Americans. 

Historically, Asian-Americans, 
though an integral part of 
American society, have been used 
as scapegoats in times of mass 
hysteria. Such outrageous acts are 
exemplified by the mass round up 
of Japanese-American citizens 
along the West Coast during World 
War II. They chose to encamp the 
Japanese-Americans who were 
never involved in any subversive 
activities rather than the German- 
or Italian-Americans who were 
known to be involved in activities 
against the Allied forces. 

This case involving Liz and Ken- 
ny showed not only the racist at- 
titudes still rampant in the legal 
system, but also its sexist attitudes. 

"A s(;xi.s( ulf/liiilc was used to 
reinforce the prosecution's 
arguments. Also, if was a strategy 
used by the judge to discredit my 
lawyer who happens to be a 
woman. In the first trial, the Judge's 
attitude was not as hostile even 
though he did say things like. 

'You're just like my wife, you don't 
listen'. But in the second trial, he 
was obviously hostile towards her 
by constantly doing things to moke 
her look bod and incompetent. The 
attitude was. what is a woman do- 
ing in a court of law. and of course, 
it reflected upon me as a defendant. 
At one point, he made a snide 
remark, 'What's a nice lady plumb- 
er who happens to be a hunter do- 
ing with a smoke bomb in her 
blouse.' (Actually a hunting flare 
for lost hunters.)" 

"The whole sexism was on the 
basic assumption that women don't 
buy guns, women don't hunt. The 
judge kept saying that it didn't mat- 
ter if 1 was a hunter, he left it up to 
the jury's own assumptions that 
women don't buy guns because 
women don't use guns." 

Photograph by Edward Cohen 

"This gets into my right to have 
property, because the gun in ques- 
tion was in my name. J had pul-- 
chased it and I had moved it when I 
came back to New York. Yet, the 
judge was able to tell the jury that 
they could infer joint possession by 
the fact that Kenny and I lived 
together. Even though the gun was 
in my name, the assumption was 
that I must have 'done it' (bought it] 
for Kenny because women just 
don't act on their own behalf, so 
Kenny had to be the mastermind 
since women don't buy guns on 
their own. . . " 

"Another thing was the 
residence issue. The fact is that I 
am a very mobile person, having 
lived in many places. The judge took 
away my defense by refusing to 
allow my father to testify in my 

94 Drum 

behalf about how I went back to 
California to stay this time. Once 
this defense was disallowed in the 
second trial the jury thought I was 
just taking a pleasure trip to 
California as opposed to what it 
really was. They thought that I was 
still hooked up to Kenny." 

It was through the use of such 
sexist attitude that the government 
got away with holding a second 
trial in which both Liz and Kenny 
were convicted with violating the 
Federal Gun Control Act. 

Although both Liz and Kenny 
were given three years probation 
instead of imprisonment or a fine, 
their names are forever smeared 
as convicted felons in the eyes of 
society. Both have gained public 
support everywhere. But the 

Supreme Court has refused to 
review their case, even though the 
solicitor general had declared that 
there was no evidence to support 
Kenny's conviction. 

After almost two and a half 
years of hard work trying to clear 
their names Liz and Kenny are still 
far from seeing such a miracle, in 
face of the court's unwillingness to 
review their case. "So far." Liz 
puts it, "Our Jives are in Jimbo, we 
haven't been able to plan anything 
Jong range. . . " 

"I am just beginning to Jearn how 
devastating the effect on my health 
has been from the case, the tension 
and the pressure. I have developed 
an irregular heartbeat. I have just 
compJeted a whoJe series of car- 
diac tests. . . I feel strongly that it 

has been the trial. . . "1 have to 
slow down, because if I don't take 
care of it. . . , it may have a 
deleterious effect on my health." 

So now, both Liz and Kenny will 
be slowing down their efforts to 
clear their names, however they 
will continue to fight, for their 
rights and other Asian-Americans, 
rights as citizens of this country. 

For more information about the 
case, please contact: 

Young/Chin Legal Aid Committee 
c/o Asian-American Resource 

199 Lafayette St. 
New York, N.Y. 10012 

Photograph by Debbie Lee 

Drum 93 

mv. OF MASS. 


President Margarita Vargas 

Administrative Secretary Siierwin Moyston 

Business Manager Carl Yates 

Correspondence Kim Hill 

Editor Cheryl L Crowell 

Assistant Editor Lisa DiRocco 

Photography Editor Ana Andreu 

Art Editor Margarita Vargas 

Co-Editor Carl Yates 

Staff Kelly Wright 

Tony Crayton 

Janet Rausa 

Debbie Lee 

Laverne D. Mitchell 

Sharon Turpin 

Mary E. Custard 

Dana DeBarros 

Carmelo Medina 

Cleora Francis 

Nadine Kee 

Karen Yuen 

Antar Shakir 

, Matthew McDonald 

Sharleen Dickinson 

Advisor Nelson Stevens 

Professor of Art 

W.E.B. Dubois Department 

of African-American Studies 

Special thanks to our dear Professor; Nelson, without you 

it wouldn't have been the same. 

Drum . . . 

96 Drum 

KING. Jr. 

1929 — 1968 

Tree at last, free at.last. 

thank god almighty 

i'm free at- last" 

:«<-.-,•, «s- ~ <(.j-