Interview with Amiri Baraka

What was your impression of Malcolm at that meeting?


Well, I thought that, you know, Malcolm was a great leader. I mean, ah, that further, you know, confirmed that in my mind. You know we talked about the nature of, of trying, of building a united front, what needed to be done and that, ah, particularly with some of us rather than denounce some of these, ah, mass organizations that we should be joining, we were trying to influence them rather than just,you know, standing on the side denouncing them as backwards. And, he really I think was, that was during the time he was trying to put together the OAAU, you know, modeled on the Organization of African Unity, he wanted, ah, African American Unity after, you know, the split with the Nation of Islam. And that's really what we were talking about, how to expand, you know, Black United Front how to create a stronger kind of Black organizational resistance and presence that would include not just one, you know, particular organization or one particular religion, you remember he was in the Nation, then he came out and became a Sunni, and, all these moves of Malcolm's were aimed at trying to, you know, come up with a secular Black United Front. You know it's interesting that that was King's, ah, last, ah, discussion, I had with him a week before he was murdered. He came to my house here in Newark. He talked about a united front, it was very interesting, of trying to pull together, you know, the so-called militants and the so-called, you know, non-violent or, you know mainstream civil rights people. So, it seems that both of those leaders were very, ah, conscious ultimately of the need to build a Black United Front, in the real terms, not just an organization calling itself, Black United Front, which is usually what happens. you know, some people get together and then they decide United Front is everybody that they like or everybody who relates to them politically and that's not a united front.