Interview with Willie Felder

Baraka was a major force in the convention. What was your reaction to him, to Baraka, and his constituency? I mean, also if you can remember some story about Baraka that you might remember. What was your reaction to Baraka?


Well, Baraka has, Baraka's involvement was very, very crucial and influential in that, in the assembling of that assembly. But that did not mean, necessarily, that Baraka was that well thought of, or he had that much influence over that whole assembly body there. Because he had his own agenda, and my personal opinion, or my, my, my feelings about it was that I was not ready to follow Baraka's prescription, and I don't think eighty, ninety percent of those who were there was ready to follow a prescription of separatism. And that kind of threw fear into, or some consternation into the minds of people that were there and were it not for the Hatchers or the Diggs or the Jacksons and the Patersons and others, ah, you might as well have adjourned the meeting. Baraka played a great role in, ah, in, ah, in, ah, in denying, you see, when Coleman Young made his appeal for conciliatory understanding for the privilege of, of, ah, introducing some concerns from Black labor, Baraka's attitude was, "No way." And he was con- he was a part of the controllers at the podium, and so how do you, ah, how do you have an exchange with the presider of a 4200 assembly from the floor if you're not given the mic to do so?