Interview with George Clements

I know you were very outspoken in the late '60s about some issues that were going on in the Black community dealing with the police. What made you choose to be so outspoken?


Well, those were very turbulent times, and, ah, I really felt that the police were extremely important, if for no other reason than that they were the only organized group of Black men in our community who could legitimately carry guns. And, ah, I felt that I would much prefer to have them on my side rather than to have them as enemies. And, ah, it was, um, a truism that in the White community, ah, the motto here in Chicago was, ah, "To protect and serve". And, ah, everyone just kind of accepted that in the White community. So that there was a feeling of, ah, security that came over a White person when they saw a police car cruising in their neighborhood. We had just the opposite in the Black community. In the Black community, we interpreted that, ah, "protect and serve" to mean to "protect White people, and to, ah, see to it that Black people were kept in their place." So, ah, I, I just felt like there had to be some Black police, ah, out there who would be more concerned with the Black community than they would be with trying to preserve the in- the interest of the White establishment. And we went out and found them.