Interview with Bobby Rush
QUESTION 22
TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

You and Fred Hampton went to meet Jeff.

BOBBY RUSH:

Yeah. Well, Fred Hampton s--definitely had a, a unique and strong sense of, of power relationships, and he knew that any meeting that was going to be conducted between the Panthers and the Stones was going to send out certain messages. And he wanted to make sure that the messages that the Stones received from the Panthers was that the Panthers were, was not intimidated. As a matter of fact, they, not only were we not intimidated but we intended to represent strength and that we were, if there was going to be any intimidation being done then it was going to be done by the Panthers, not by the Stones. He also had been told that the Stones rival in the city of Chicago, a gang called the Disciples, that Jeff did not res--Jeff Fort, the leader of the Stones, did not respect them because he didn't think that they had any discipline, that they were just a bunch of brutes with no discipline. And Fred wanted to make sure that the Panthers, that Jeff knew, knew and understood that the Panthers were a very disciplined organization. And as a result of that, we decided that what we would do was be very organized when we went over to the Stones' headquarters. Now we were invited to come to their headquarters to talk with Jeff. The night before, we arranged on the third floor of our headquarters, we arranged chairs to s--simulate automobiles or getting cha--seats in automobiles. And we actually had Panthers to practice getting in and out of a automobile with military d--f--p--precision. I had been in the service. I knew about military precision and things like that. And so we actually had Panthers getting out of automobiles at precisely the same time. We also taught them about formations and how to march, and what happened was that on the morning of the meeting--I think we were supposed to meet about 11:30, twelve o'clock, we left our office on the West Side, drove to the South Side. We had weapons, all of us had shotguns and, and, and rifles. And we pulled up on a s--on 67th and Blackstone and on the side of the Stones' headquarters we got out of our vehicles and military, with military position, uh, precision, got into a military formation and actually marched about a block to the Stones' headquarters, okay? Ah, so, and when we went in to the headquarters uh, we announced that we were Panthers from the West Side and that we wanted to, we came for the meeting with Jeff Fort. Well, all hell broke loose. I mean, when we walk, marched in there with shotguns and the rifles. They just, you know, went hysterical. And Jeff wasn't there. So we went back to the West Side. Well, what happened on the way back to the west side, we, we, we had organized ourselves to get in there. We hadn't organized ourselves as effectively in terms of getting out, okay? And the police had been called and told that there was you know, thirty or forty people walking down the street with guns and things like that. So they had descended on us and waited until we actually disbanded. And we went separate ways and they were able to arrest a number of Panthers. And, and it, the weapons were, were in the trunk of most of the cars and things like that. So what happened w--after that, we went back over to our headquarters and an emissary from Jeff Fort came over and said that he wanted to meet with us later on that evening. Okay? Well, at the time most of our people were, were either, they were away from the headquarters. We weren't able to get in contact and a lot of them were in jail at that point because of the fact they had been arrested by the police. So we decided that we would take the, we would meet with him and that we would take a contingency Panthers with us. And so we went, actually went over to the Stones' headquarters, a, another one of their headquarters in the same area, this was a church, at about ten o'clock one night, and we got out of the car and we wasn't, wasn't able to do the military precision bit anymore because of the fact that, you know, we just didn't have the people. Um, but we, I remember getting out of the car and going into this building. And it was pitch Black. And we were told to walk up the steps. And there was about five of us and I think out of the five there were two women. Okay? So it was about three men and two women. Okay? And we were all, of course we were all, had our, had our weapons with us, handguns and things like that. And we, we, we went up these steps, these long, these long steps. I think we went to about the fourth floor of this building. We went past someone standing on the w--

TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

Okay, what I need is to have you just start, describe--