Interview with Les Campbell

OK, you read a poem written by Sia Berhan on WBAI, could you talk about that incident? And also, do you have any regrets for having done that?


Well, Julius Lester, who was the, ah, major factor at BAI during that time, he's now a professor at the University of Massachusetts, asked me to come on his show. He had came out, he had taped a class of mine on Black history, had played it on the air, he had gotten a very favorable response from his listeners, so he asked me to come on the show and talk about Ocean Hill. When I got to the studio I showed him some poems from some students, and I asked him did he think I should read these poems. I said, "These poems were raw responses of young Black students to what was going on in Ocean Hill-Brownsville." And I asked him if he thought I should read any of them. He selected this one, he said, "This one sounds really like dynamite." He said, "Why don't you read this one on the show?" I said, "Don't you, do you, do you feel that we'll get a reaction?" He said, "Well, hey, look, this is a controversial show, you know, we're going to read this poem." So we read the poem, we read, ah, her poem, which was called "Hey, Jew-Boy", and we read that on WBAI radio at the time. Um, we got some response from the BAI audience that night--