Interview with Les Campbell

OK, could you talk about the independent school movement, the Uhuru Sasa Shule, and how they had roots in what was going on in Ocean Hill-Brownsville?


Well, in September of '68, a number of us at IS-271, Junior High School 271, decided to start an evening school to provide classes and instruction for the youth and adults of the community. Ah, this was just an idea that we had, and it became a tremendous success. Ah, we had dance classes where thirty and forty women would come in to participate. Ah, we had Black history classes where we had 25, thirty people taking Black history class. We had sewing classes and other classes that the community at that time identified that they would like to have. And this evening school became an instant success on very little money and very little advertising. So this told us that if we could do this, and it could be successful, that we could, in fact, develop our own types of schools! So, two years later, after Ocean Hill was over, this is exactly what we did. We went to develop the East, which was an educational and cultural center, we developed the Uhuru Sasa Shule, which means "freedom now school", and we developed other independent schools and independent educational programs throughout Brooklyn.