Interview with Adrienne Manns-Israel
QUESTION 5
JUDY RICHARDSON:

You had also mentioned hearing a speech by Stokely where he started saying things that you had thought and you didn't know anybody else thought that.

ADRIENNE MANNS-ISRAEL:

I heard Stokely Carmichael speak in 1966. I was at Harvard for summer school. And while I was there I had met some students from the South, one particular student from Mississippi, Tupelo, Mississippi. She and I became friends. And she said, "Oh, I hear Stokely Carmichael is speaking tonight." And I didn't, I knew who Stokely was but I didn't really think it was, ah, significant. But she said, "Let's go," so I went. When I got there he gave one of his early Black Power speeches. And I'll never forget it, how electrifying it was, because all the things I had been, stored up inside, I had been thinking about at Howard, at how disillusioned I was with Howard, how tired I was of, ah, of our position as people, feeling that we were all on welfare is the best way I can think of. When I was at Harvard for instance, there was a scholarship program for deprived, ah, minority students who otherwise could not meet the standards of Harvard and they were allowed to come for the summer, supposed to be a pre-law type program. Well, I had come on my own merits, or at least I thought I had and not in this program. But they were always, and the newspaper would come, anybody Black, all the White students assumed that that's how we got there. And I was angry about that. And when I heard Stokely talk about Black Power and we need to stop apologizing for who we are and we need to start pushing--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

I'm sorry, we're going to have to cut, the camera just rolled out.





JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK, if you can tell about hearing Stokely and what affect that had on you.

ADRIENNE MANNS-ISRAEL:

I heard Stokely Carmichael in the summer of 1966 when I was at Harvard University for the summer school and went into, with a friend whom I met from Mississippi, went into the auditorium and he started talking and it was as if I were talking, you know, he was speaking for me, things that I had been feeling and thinking about, he was articulating them so well, especially about the attitude that, that we should have as Black people toward ourselves and the country and how we shouldn't be begging and pleading for our rights, but we ought to get together and organize and take what we, what rightfully belonged to us. And I liked that. I, I didn't like the, ah, passive kind of beggar mentality that I thought we were, we were into in the Civil Rights Movement.