Interview with Bobby Rush
QUESTION 23
TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

What happened? You walked up the stairs.

BOBBY RUSH:

Yeah. We were walking up the, uh, up the steps. And as we, I mean, I noticed as we were going up the stairs, although you could hear really, uh, guys standing on the steps with walkie-talkies. And they would say something like "They're on the second floor approaching the third floor." And then, "They're on the third floor approaching the fourth floor." And then... So we finally reached the fourth floor and I mean, this was pitch dark. You couldn't even see the hand in front of your face, okay? We finally re--reached the fourth floor and we went into this big massive room which I think it was probably a gymnasium. Okay. And Jeff Fort walked over to us and welcomed us to his, to his, his, his home, to his, his, his business or to his headquarters there. And he asked us to come over. And they, they had this long table sitting down the middle of the room. Okay, and after exch--a few exchanges he said, "Well, you all came over to our headquarters and you showed us some of your, your artillery. We'd like to just show you, uh, reciprocate by showing you some of ours." And he got on his walkie-talkie and started saying, uh, "Bring out the rocket launcher and bring out the machine guns," and you know, and they, and they, and when he'd say this, a couple of people would come up and they would march in front of us and they would have these rocket launchers and then they would have mach--you know, machine guns and then forces and things like that, know what I'm saying, and he after he impressed us, uh, very much so with his artic--artillery, we sat down and we started talking about things. And I think, but because of the fact that we were organizing, we were disciplined, there developed a respect between the Panthers and the Stones that even today we still have a certain sense of, of, of, of rapport based on the respect. Ah, he, he respected our ability to be disciplined. He respected our ability to be organized and he respected our courage, and I think that's, that, that, that's everlasting. In regards--as a matter of fact, on the, at Fred Hampton's funeral, there was a large contingency of Stones who marched in a military formation to come and pay their last respects for Fred Hampton. I think that, that all became, came about as a result of the, what we would have, the approach that we had in terms of defining our relationships with the Stones.