Interview with Fred Nauman

OK, Could you describe the events around the death of Martin Luther King and the role of these new Black teachers, the teachers from the African American Teachers Association that were coming into Ocean Hill-Brownsville?


Ah, in February, ah, I believe it was, of 1968, ah, Leslie Campbell a teacher from, ah, ah, I he came from Junior High School 35, a nearby junior high school, who had gotten into some difficulty over there and had been, ah, brought up on charges, and as a penalty was transferred out of it, that school. Ah, he came into 271, along with a number of other people, ah, he immediately, he was a vice-president of the Afro American Teachers Association, ah, which was a small, relatively local group of, of Black teachers, ah, who had set themselves up really, in opposition to the UFT. Ah, he organized a group called the Afro American Students Organization in the school, ah, the group that was composed largely of the students with whom we had the most difficulty. Ah, as a matter of fact they, ah, sort of got a license, ah, to, to be out of classrooms, if they were part of this organization. Ah, when Martin Luther King was assassinated, ah, it was a shock to everyone, ah, but it was a double shock when we came to school that next morning and saw signs all over the walls, all over the bulletin boards, obviously had been prepared and put up early in the morning, accusing, ah, the language was something like, ah, "Our, our, ah, leader Martin Luther King has been killed by the vicious White man," ah, something to the extent that, ah, get even, ah. We were terribly disturbed. The students were terribly disturbed and I'm sure those signs had a great deal to do with it. Ah, students, ah, usually, they're, they're affected by things but things happen all the time.