Interview with Amiri Baraka
QUESTION 24
JUDY RICHARDSON:

Can't get into that, but let me ask you in terms of '72, why particularly '70, '72. Why '72?

AMIRI BARAKA:

Seventy-two was the--elections coming up--and what we felt is that if we could, ah, organize Black political participation. That we would have much more influence on, ah, American politics in '72. And so we had laid out a thing where we wanted to run candidates locally, you know, statewide and, you know, even have some kind of consistent national political influence on, you know, candidates running for Congress, Senate, mayors, and everything else to try to really get some kind of a consistent, you know, Black political presence, and that's what Gary was about. And if you remember we had Shirley Chisholm declared for President that year. And then she gave her, then she gave her, ah, support to, ah, ah, what was the Democrat's name who ran against...

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Mondale.

AMIRI BARAKA:

No, that was the guy who lost so miserably. I can't think of his name. Got beat to death. But anyway, Gary, Gary demonstrated that the, not only the, that Black people felt that they needed some kind of organized national political representation, but that that was an important thing to do. But what, what wasn't scienced[SIC] out, or what we failed to be able to deal with, was the fact that the whole Black electoral movement, you know, which was headed up mostly by those middle class, Black politicians, that they would align themselves with the, ah, status quo institutions in many cases, and, ah.