Interview with Stokley Carmichael
QUESTION 76
JUDY RICHARDSON:

STOKELY CARMICHAEL:

Ah, when King was assassinated in April of '68 it really followed after a long line of assassinations of people like Medgar Evers, people like Malcolm X, and, others like William Lee, Herbert Lee, etc., to those had known about. So, Martin Luther King's assassination really came, ah, since the '60s at the end of a large number of assassinations. So it represented a culmination, that is to say. And through of all of these assassinations no one was punished. The culprits were never caught. When caught, were not punished, etc-- So the anger of the masses here had to be seriously appreciated. Our people were steaming with anger. And, ah, in addition to that, King was just the wrong person to assassinate at that time. I understand that J. Edgar Hoover had a decision to make.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK, cut please, I'm going to be able to get--



STOKELY CARMICHAEL:

Ah, so with the assassination of King after this long line of assassination by others, ah, the steaming anger of the people was clear. And I think the anger was even more so because anybody could have been killed except King since King was so perfect in his advocation of non violence. That is to say for the people, if they're killed, myself or someone else who was actually advocating self defense. This could be comprehended. But King himself was preaching total non-violence and living total non-violence. So for the people, whether you were violent or non-violent, if you were opposed to any aspect of, ah, the government that you too were putting yourself in danger. Consequently the time for a mass urban revolt was sensed. And those of us who recognized it, recognizing myself personally, that if no reaction came from the death of King, then these are racist pigs in the country will feel that they can kill anybody with impunity. So there must be some actions, some revenge must be made here, at King's funeral to stay their hands against killing those who come to take a leadership position in fighting for the people. Ah, I'm not afraid of death. But certainly I wouldn't want my death to go cheaply. I think that the enemy must pay for my death. So, since I was alive after King's death, all energies were directed towards creating, as quickly as possible, as much revenge by the people against King's position. Just in passing on your Black Panther program it would be clear to know just about every city in this country had a rebellion except in Oakland where the Black Panther Party, under the leadership of Eldridge Cleaver, in conjunction with the Police Department, quelled the population.