Interview with Ben Chavis

Now talk about some specific incidents. how did you see that repression coming against you locally?


Well, first of all, the repression as evidenced around Nixon--keep in mind that Nixon was President and Spiro Agnew was Vice President during this time period--and we all knew about the COINTELPRO that was to put in check the Movement of the 1960s and make sure that it would not go--flower in the 1970s. And, ah, for example, ah, I was put in jail, ah, one night because my signal light didn't work. Another time I was put in jail because the registration for my car was not in my glove compartment, but in the trunk, in my briefcase, and they wouldn't allow me to get my briefcase out of the trunk. But what it prevented me from doing was having a rally that night, prevented me from organizing. And the whole strategy of the local repression was to prevent, ah, organizers from organizing. Was to prevent mobilizers from mobilizing people to fight against the new forms of racism. Which really weren't really new; they were old forms emerging again in the early 1970s.