Interview with Amiri Baraka
QUESTION 22
JUDY RICHARDSON:

If you could set the scene for me, 1968, a sense of the, the Nixon law and order, blue tanks and Agnew, COINTELPRO, that kind of thing. What does it mean for Black folks in '68?

AMIRI BARAKA:

1968. I think that we had this feeling of, full-out conflict, full-out war. I mean, Nixon, Agnew obviously were corrupt and mad. Police were killing Black activists, you know, certainly they were killing the Panthers. I mean, a kind of backward leadership had, ah, taken over from Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Cleaver had this kind of, ah, backward line of engagement where they would actually hole themselves up in these little places and be assaulted by the state.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Excuse me, if you could start that again, we will not have seen the Panthers, so if you'll just mention the Panthers and not get into it. So--

AMIRI BARAKA:

No, the thing about '68 is that we, it was, you know, a feeling of war. It was conflict. Nixon and Agnew, who on the face of it, were corrupt individuals and did not represent anything but violence and hatred of Black people. And I think that, ah, from '67 certainly the intensity of, of Black resistance, I mean, there was Black people getting killed every week. I mean, Black Panthers getting killed, Republic of New Africa, getting killed. All kinds of Black people getting locked up, rammed, people having to leave, Robert Williams, you know, Herman Ferguson, people in exile. Then people started getting murdered, you know. I mean they actually, ah, did a kind of bloodbath of the Black Liberation. I mean not only after the, the, Malcolm X thing, you know, but then all the people in between that, you know, Bobby Hutton, Ralph Featherstone and Fred Hampton, Medgar Evers, you know. They were murdering people. And I, my own view, is the people in the White House now, those far right Republicans, had a hand in that. I don't see, ah, why we wouldn't believe that this country could go so sharply to the right with only one Democrat being elected since Johnson, and that was Carter around Watergate, and now see that the whole wipeout of the Black Liberation Movement, and the other liberation movements, cause there was, you know, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans, you know. They tried to destroy the Young Lords in the Puerto Rican community,you know, the Brown Berets in the Mexican community. And all these things were aimed at destroying, ah, the back of the resistance, the back of the anti-imperialist movement that now had joined the anti-war movement for a kind real serious kind of force.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK, cut.