Interview with Amiri Baraka
QUESTION 23
JUDY RICHARDSON:

So, why is it important, now, this is 1972, we've got the Nixon, Agnew oppression. Why do you feel it's important to have a Gary convention at this point, Black political convention?

AMIRI BARAKA:

Well I think the whole question of Black Power had, ah, arisen from even from King's marches and from the SNCC people, particularly Carmichael and the others. And, ah, the Black Power Conventions that Adam Powell had set in motion in Washington, the second one in '67 was in Newark, and in '68, Philly, and then '69 they had one in Bermuda, that the government of Bermuda banned most of the activists from even coming to. And so, 1970 Black Power Conference was transformed into the Congress of African People Meeting. And at the Congress of African People Meeting in Atlanta, a conference, a, a congress, a conference was called, ah, to be held in 1972. I was the person put in charge of putting it together, which would be a national convention to, you know, choose Black candidates, to try to organize Black political, you know, power development. And the Gary convention which had, you know, two, three thousand delegates, about eight thousand people there, was an attempt to do that, to set up a congressional structure, you know, how in terms of Black history, you know, about the convention movement and things like that.