Interview with Amiri Baraka

I'm sorry, we're cut. I just want to do one more question.


You had talked earlier about the image of people, you know, the sit-ins, getting beaten, in and that whole sense of not being able to retaliate. Can you put Malcolm's image, for you, in that context, that he was a different kind of voice?


He represented a different class of people. Yeah. I mean, Malcolm represented a different class of people that I identify with. He represented the masses of people. Masses of Black people who never were willing to sit still and be spit on. They'd be brutalized so that they could appear to be, you know, civilized to White people, the most uncivilized people on the planet. So that, you know, a lot of us when we were young, rejected that, you know, that idea somehow. Because Black people had never been violent in that sense. You know, our protests in the main were nonviolent. When Black people got violent, then you would know about it, you know. So that, that, that never appealed to me. What appealed to me about Dr. King later was the way I began to understand his thinking as it developed around, ah, the question of Vietnam, the question about activism. Finally, when he began to talk about Ivan Franko, to deal with the whole issues of the workers, you know, which finally got him killed. The Memphis garbage strike. You know, then he became much more dangerous to the establishment, but I think then I began to see King in a little different way.