Interview with Nancy Jefferson
QUESTION 22
JUDY RICHARDSON:

Going back to Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. How did feel about the Panthers, did you try and cool them out.

NANCY JEFFERSON:

Well the panther's were an exciting group as I look back on it, ah,ah Fred--you know I was afraid of them, really didn't understand them. Ah, ah,Not really afraid, but trying to cool them out, you know. I wasn't afraid of the fear, but just really afraid of what they were going to do, they weren't going to do it right. I understood it thought, understood where they were trying to go politically, and felt that they were going to change things. When I talk about fear, I was afraid that they weren't going to do it right, and I was always trying to cool them out, saying "that's not the right way to go," they were too direct**. I thought that you had, had to be more subtle in what you were doing, go a different direction. And they understood me, they really did, you know they tollerated my trying to cool them out. But it was also, a kind of a bind, when you--I look backwards at it, a it was kind of a bind: they needed me too, they needed me to say somethings to them otherwise they wouldn't have kept coming back to me, you know. Ah, ah,they understood that, ah,"'Ma Jefferson, you I know you, we're cool, don't worry about it," when we'd hear about them having guns, you know in the, ah,because they had a place at Western and Madison. They used to tell me, "come look, there's no guns," you know. I really was worried about, if I come up and look would I find them? You know? It was that kind of thing that was going on between us. But, but, but honest, it was--I don't think it was until--honestly, after they were murdered that we, that lots of people really understood, how what it meant how they politically where dealing with the politics of the time, 'cause if they had not been dealing on a real real true issue, they wouldn't have been killed. I think we all understood the why better what was going on with those young men. But they were an exciting group--I remember the breakfast program: they started the first breakfast program with our young people right here on the west side, and got me to start it for them. I remember them how they came up to me, "because you are who you are--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

I'm sorry if you could start again and just mention Fred and the Panthers. And starting the breakfast program--

NANCY JEFFERSON:

I remember that Fred, and, ah,ah, Bob Brown came up to me to start a breakfast program for the young kids. And I said "what about a breakfast program--" and he said "Mrs. Jefferson, you know that these kids are hungry, they go to school, they can't learn, if they go to school hungry they, at 10 O'clock in the morning they laying on their desk, sleep because they're hungry." And said "We want to start a breakfast program, and because of who you are, and how the people believe in you, if you help us start it, they'll know it's real," And I was saying "ya'll I don't understand this breakfast program." and they said "just trust us and work with us, and start the breakfast, program."

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Just cut please.