Interview with Bobby Rush
QUESTION 25
TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

You were talking before about some of the benefits that you, your time working with the party gave you, the sense of discipline, you know--

BOBBY RUSH:

Yeah, well I think that the sixties, one of the things that the sixties represented to a lot of people, and a lot of young people, was an, an opportunity to get actively involved in, in making, uh, taking control of themselves and taking, and having some impact on the, on the environment that they were, involved themselves on, that they were in. We, I think that the sixties definitely for me, and for a lot of others, uh, uh, gave us an opportunity to exercise leadership, to make decisions, uh, to realize a sense of self-worth and self-accomplishment. And you have individuals 18, 19, 17. I mean, Ronald "Doc" Satcher was about 18 years old when he became a Panther. I mean, this guy created a free medical cli--clinic, a thriving medical clinic where, and he was able to interrelate, uh, interact with physicians, older physicians, heads of hospitals, and things like that. And I mean, you know, where else was he going, was he going to get that type of experience? Fred Hampton was a, a leader of men. I mean, Fred Hampton would, could get men three times his age to follow him. Okay? Ah, uh, so we were able to create a sense of identity and a sense of self-worth and a sense of achievement. And we were able to get a bearing and, and that experience is, and that is experience that just can't be duplicated. Ah, uh, I, I certainly feel as though I did not, as an elected official in the city of Chicago, I did not get to this position using a traditional approach. I was not a Young Democrat. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of fun ribbing other elected officials now and other members of the Central Committee because they, they, they all came up through the, through the Young Democrats and those kind of apparatuses. You know, my training was in the Civil Rights Movement. My training was in the, was in the, was in the Black Panther party. And we've been being a regular democrats for a while now. So I figure my training was probably a little bit better than theirs, okay, so--