Interview with Ben Chavis
QUESTION 28
JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK. So on the day you come back from the convention and arrive back at the airport, what happened?

BEN CHAVIS:

OK. CLEARS THROAT] I left Gary on the last day of the convention. And I took a plane back to North Carolina. And when I arrived, ah, at the airport, ah, I noticed that, ah, my car, that I was being followed, ah, by some police. You know, plain clothes. We had been getting used to them, and I knew they were following. Actually, there were two carloads of them, followed me, ah, back to my church in Wilmington. But I wasn't really worried. I saw them in the rear view mirror. But I wasn't worried about them, 'cause I had some good news for the people. I had some good news about the success of the Gary Convention. That's what was really what was on my mind, even though I knew that the police were following me, ah, under surveillance. So I go back to the church, ah, on Castro Street there in the Black community in Wilmington. I noticed that the whole block is being surrounded by, by cops. Like they're getting ready for a raid. And, my church had been raided several times before, ah, by local authorities, for no reason, just to intimidate the congregation. So I didn't want them to raid the church again because there were a lot of young people in the church. So I went outside, and I remember asking the police officer, "What's the problem? I mean, is, ah, what is happening? What is, why, what is all this display of law enforcement about?" And he said, "Reverend Chavis, ah, did you have a good time, ah, in Gary?" And I said, "Oh. You knew I was in Gary?" He said, "Oh, yes, we knew you were in Gary. We knew, we know about the convention. We followed you all the while you were there." I said, "You followed me?" He said, "Oh, no, we have partners that helped us out in Chicago, in Illinois." And I said, "OK, well, you know, so what? I went to the convention. I--please, I need to get back, I want to tell the people the good news about the church--about the convention. I want to tell the people in the church the good news." So anyway, this guy, me and this guy--