Interview with Michael Harrington
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

What was he like the last time lets move on to Resurrection City, a story --

MICHAEL HARRINGTON:

Yeah, I went to Resurrection City, this of course is after Dr. King had been killed. Resurrection City was a mess. There was a great deal of violence inside Resurrection City. It was not the beloved community. The beloved community as we called it, really had come to an end. And I gave a talk there. And I was sitting down on the ground. People gathered around. And there was a Black man in the group listening to me who might have had some emotional problems. I think he probably did. And he decided that I was the representative of White racism in Resurrection City. And he began to attack me, and attack me, and attack me in a sort of a wild and even incoherent way, and--

INTERVIEWER:

Why don't we go straight, "When I was invited down to Resurrection City?"

MICHAEL HARRINGTON:

I was invited to Resurrection City. When I got to Res, Resurrection City, I already knew from reading the newspaper reports that there had been a lot of violence, a lot of disorganization. That the beloved community was not there and by the, by the Washington, ah, monument. And, ah, I lectured. And everything was given rather impressive names. And it was called the People's University or Resurrection City University. It was a group of people who were coming down and giving lectures during the day. A group of people sitting on the ground gathered around and a Black man among them, I think with emotional problems, decided that I was the incarnation of White racism. And wanted to know why I, who had been in the process of giving a talk, attacking racism, talking about what was needed in order to, to end racism and poverty in the United States. He wanted to know why I was in favor of racism and poverty in the United States. And he got very agitated. And I became concerned that he could physically attack me. And the meeting sort of came to a very unhappy ending where my message didn't get across and it's very hard to concentrate on your talk when you're worried that somebody might be about to jump you. The meeting came to and end, the man left, and I left to go and catch a plane and to come back to New York, and literally ran away from the meeting. I wanted to get as far away from this place as I could. And on the one hand, I was delighted that I was out of this miserable situation and I no longer had to be literally physically fearful. But on the other hand, it dawned on me that this was an end of an entire period of my life that went back to 1954 when I had joined the Harlem NAACP, right after Brown vs. Board of Education, the desegregation opinion. And that one of the most marvelous political movements in America, in the form which it took under Martin Luther Kin,g from 1955 to 1968, had come to an end. And that the beloved, beloved community was gone forever.